As you can probably guess from the scoreline, Spurs won this at a canter but without ever having to get out of 3rd gear. Spurs brought good support filling the away stand but it was also fairly obvious that many of us were dotted around the home ends of the ground.
Amongst the Peterborough lineup was former Spurs youngster, Charlie Lee who was lucky not to receive an early red card when he tripped Jenas when through on goal. Most of Spurs good play in the first half came from the middle with Palacios and Jenas surging forward neither afraid to shoot from distance. Bent & Pavlyuchenko both missed early chances as Spurs took control with some neat possession passing.
The first goal came in the 36 minute when Bent beat the offside trap and coolly slotted home past the advancing keeper. O’Hara had a night to forget as he continually gave the ball away and his frustration was obvious when he got into a scrap after a naughty tackle on him.
Harry made 4 changes at half time and the introduction of Defoe and Modric brought about more conviction. Spurs began to get behind the Posh defence far more regularly with Defoe’s willing runs and there were glimpses of the Defoe/Pavlyuchenko partnership blossoming. The second goal wasn’t too long in coming when Modric skillfully played in Defoe. His first shot was saved by the keeper but it fell kindly for him to tap into an empty net.
Boateng was another player beginning to catch my eye (and not because of the red boots!). He looked hungry for the ball and confident in possession but an injury cut short his evening. If the tie wasn’t already over, it certainly was moments later when Chimbonda raided down the right flank, cut his cross back from the touchline, and Modric smashed home from close range.
Despite Peterborough’s recent promotion to the Championship and reputation for good passing football, they rarely threatened the Spurs defence, with Assou-Ekotto putting in a fine display. His positional sense and composure seemed to help young Dervite through the game and Huddlestone got some more playing time at the back (wouldn’t be surprised to see more of this with Zokora now gone). Cudicini made a handful of decent saves but never looked like being beaten.
Pavlyuchenko completed the rout with a superbly curled shot from outside the box as the game came to a finish. Defoe nearly embarrassed himself late on when he missed an open goal after excellent work from Assou-Ekotto and Modric down the left. The linesman’s flag was a relief to us all.
The final whistle couldn’t come quick enough for the Peterborough players who chased shadows for much of the second half. A thoroughly professional display by Spurs but not the kind of opposition that’s likely to extend us. I doubt I’ll be able to say that when the Champions of Europe come to town on Friday!
By Steve Perry
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