That was more like it. Wednesday night was a superb one to be at White Hart Lane where a display of commitment, invention and stalwart defending saw Spurs see off Moneybags City and put a spring back in the step of what was becoming more of a limp than a charge towards the dotted line at the top of the table.
Three excellent goals were accompanied by a clean sheet as led by skipper Dawson the Spurs defence kept the away team at a distance until the last ten minutes when Mark Hughes brought on the kitchen sink in the shape of Martin Petrov. Early on Ireland, Robinho, Tevez and crowd favourite Adebayor kept possession with lots of tippy tappy play in front of our back four but not once did the concentration lapse and a pass or angled through ball find its target in a dangerous area.
After looking initially a bit bemused by the fanny merchant stuff going on around them Palacios and Huddlestone gained control of the midfield midway through the first half and we never looked back from there. The space available was in total contrast to Saturday and the tactic of getting the ball to Lennon as quickly as possible was one that City never coped with. After a number of efforts from the his crosses and cutbacks had failed to hit the target the right winger eventually took a ball from Kranjcar, skipped past Silvinho and lofted one to the far post. Crouchâ€™s goalwards header hit Ireland but Kranjcar had continued his run and he poked home the rebound.
One feature of a good team is that they have regular ways of scoring their goals. Our first came from the tried and trusted route of a Lennon cross and after 54 minutes Defoe got on the end of a Crouch knockdown to half volley in from eight yards for number two, another familiar experience.Â
The City fans were quiet from the word go (another change from Saturday where the Wolves fans got behind their team throughout) but they were given little to inspire them by their team as they did nothing to suggest they were capable of coming back. You wonder how theyâ€™d only lost one all season before this?
As the game stretched and opened out we had a number of opportunities to get further ahead on the break. A number of Crouch stepovers and pot shots caused as much mirth as frustration before at the death Lennon and Kranjcar fashioned a short corner that left the City defenders standing like training ground cones as the Croatian wriggled his way into the box and stabbed the ball between Givenâ€™s legs. It was fitting that the two wide men were involved in the eveningâ€™s final act as they were both on top form all night. From what weâ€™ve seen so far Kranjcar looks a hell of a player. His quick feet and instinctive passing marked him out tonight even without the goals. Redknapp must be wondering how heâ€™s going to fit him and Modric into the same starting XI but itâ€™s got to be worth a go.
The game began in pouring rain that had mostly relented by the end and thatâ€™s a fitting metaphor for how most Spurs fans wouldâ€™ve felt as events unfolded. The collapse at Goodison and the loss on Saturday meant that anxiety was the principle emotion at kick off. In the end though City were brushed aside to the point where even Mark Hughes didnâ€™t try to make excuses afterwards. The thing is though that good performance though it was there is clearly more to come. Palacios and Corluka gave displays that couldâ€™ve been even better by adding a touch of composure when on the ball, ditto with big Tom when shooting and Assou-Ekotto when crossing. That sounds churlish but City gave us loads of space to play, space we wonâ€™t get against most teams and so we need to learn how to make the most of it.
One final word of praise should go to Michael Dawson. His was an outstanding captainâ€™s effort tonight. From the word go he was issuing instructions to those around him and leading by example. One second half tackle on Ireland when the strangely bearded one was about to pull the trigger was positively Ledley-esque and you canâ€™t get much higher praise.Â
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