Spurs didnâ€™t have to play very well to win this one, and we didnâ€™t particularly. The 4-0 scoreline hides what was at times a careless performance in which our passing game stuttered as much as it flowed. Bolton overall had more shots and Gomes was forced into action more than Harry would have liked.
Still, Owen Coyle came bearing gifts in the shape of a weakened team and with an intriguing & inviting quarter final at Fulham at stake we werenâ€™t about to knock them back. You can only imagine the delight in the home changing room when they discovered that Kevin Davies wasnâ€™t starting, assuming he was fit that seems a most bizarre decision and one that was tantamount to waving a white flag.
Having virtually the whole ground to ourselves was a novelty and a good atmosphere improved after 23 minutes when crowd favourite Pav took a pass from Modric, kept his balance well after a clumsy challenge from Knight and steered a left foot shot into the bottom corner. We hadnâ€™t been totally convincing up to this point with Bolton having as many chances as us and we werenâ€™t afterwards either. Soon after Pavâ€™s goal Gardner let fly with a left foot drive that whistled just wide and caused a mini commotion amongst the 200 odd Bolton fans whoâ€™d made the effort to show up.
Defoe had a shot tipped wide by Jaaskelainen and then after 35 minutes his slide towards a low Palacios cross from the right following a corner on the left was enough to force the Bolton keeper to deflect the ball into his own net.
Despite Gomes having to save from Klasnic before half time Harry decided that 2-0 was enough and swapped Gudjohnsen for Defoe at the break. He was proved right as within a couple of minutes of the restart the sub put a rampant Bale away down the left. He aimed his low cross at an unmarked Pavlyuchenko but Andy Oâ€™Brien decided to intervene and turn the ball neatly past his own keeper for the second o.g of the night.
The remainder of the game was played out in a low key fashion with Rose taking Bentleyâ€™s place and Kranjcar coming on for Palacios. As usual, the absence of Wilson saw a marked increase in possession for the opposition and Gomes had to ignore the adulation of the Park Lane crowd behind him for a while to take on Bolton sub Mustapha Riga in a personal duel, the highlight of which was a reflex save from a close range header.
The final goal came from a break away with a few minutes left. Krancjar won the ball on the edge of our area and fed Gudjohnsen who put Rose away down the right. Roseâ€™s cross might well have been meant as a return ball for the Icelander but instead found Pav at the far post. He cut inside an already committed Knight and placed his shot past Jaaskelainen for his second of the evening.
Overall, a comfortable win that allowed Redknapp to rest players ahead of Sundayâ€™s game against Everton. I like an easy win of course and I know itâ€™s being picky but there was plenty of room for improvement. We never took a total grip on the game. Part of it can be explained by the slightly unbalanced line-up, we finished with Modric as the holding midfielder and with two totally left footed players playing down the right hand side for instance. There were plenty of positives though. The continued form of Gareth Bale plus the renaissance of Pavlyuchenko, the return to fitness of Assou-Ekotto and the flashes of class and vision from Gudjohnsen.
Fulham is a tough place to go at the moment as weâ€™re well aware, they had the better of the 0-0 draw there in December. You can already sense how important the first goal is going to be. Still, weâ€™ve started to win games again and with Pavâ€™s goals suddenly taking the pressure off Defoe, Harryâ€™s got to fancy that he can see a glint of the Wembley arch out the corner of his eye.
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