MF’s Spurs Season Review 09/10 – April

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April 2010

Sunderland 3 Spurs 1

Kyle Walker wouldn’t have enjoyed his second Premier League game as much as his debut, he gave away the first of three penalties we conceded in this match. It was another defeat in a game where we conceded early. As in the losses to Wolves (both home and away) and Liverpool we were poor once we’d gone behind. We were injury hit with Gudjohnsen & Pav up front and Kaboul and Bassong in the middle at the back. Gomes, as usual, did his utmost to keep us in the game, he saved two of Darren Bent’s three penalties. This time though his heroics weren’t enough. With six games left we were fifth, a point behind Man City. Four of our remaining games though were against the teams above us. That’s a tough run in. First of all though Wembley and a really good chance to reach the Cup Final for the first time in almost twenty years.

Spurs 0 Portsmouth 2 (FA Cup Semi Final)

The most depressing result of the season. When, with just a few minutes left in extra time, Alan Wiley not only awarded Pompey the penalty that gave them their second goal but showed Palacios his tenth yellow of the season it felt like the game was up, not just in this tie but for the whole season. Wilson was now suspended for the home games against Arsenal and Chelsea. Following on from the good performances of the last month we threw in a showing here that was closer to those of December and January when we found goals hard to come by. Pav’s hot run had come to an end. Obviously we didn’t know it then but his volley against Fulham in the previous round would be his last goal of the season. He had scored nine in eight appearances but thereafter failed to find the net in the remaining nine games. We had over thirty attempts on goal a lot of which would’ve come in the last twenty minutes of normal time when it seemed inevitable that we would grab a winner, but no. Earlier Portsmouth actually had the better chances and again Gomes came to the rescue on a number of occasions. The one ‘goal’ we did manage came in extra time and shortly after Michael Dawson slipped on the skating rink that is the Wembley turf when just about to clear. Peter Crouch’s equaliser was disallowed for no good reason, a look at David James’ grinning and relieved face was all Wiley needed to see to know he’d made a mistake. So a sad and cruel way to lose. The fear now was that the season would peter out in a whimper. Not much was going for us so it was time to do a very untypical Spurs thing and roll up sleeves and just get on with it.

Spurs 2 Arsenal 1

The nineteenth anniversary to the day of St Hotspur Day proved to be momentous and memorable. Harry put out a starting eleven younger than Wenger’s much vaunted title chasing kids and thanks to the most spectacular first half strike from Danny Rose on his Premier League debut and Gareth Bale’s first goal for two and a half years, we gave the Arse a kick up the arse, sent their championship hopes to the graveyard and breathed precious life back into our season. All the players were excellent but once more the keeper, despite the great efforts of King, Dawson and Bale, could be singled out. Gomes’ saves from van Persie and fatboy Judas in the last ten minutes kept the gooners at bay when a goal might’ve led to an undeserved equaliser. The other performance worth mentioning is that of the crowd. The game was played out in a fantastic & intimidating atmosphere inspired by Rose’s magnificent and thunderous left foot volley after ten minutes and Bale’s sidefoot home just after half time when he beat a shitey attempt at an offside trap. White Hart Lane roared the team home. All the ‘jokes’ about open top bus rides the next morning and Sky cutting away before Ledley lifted the trophy are true. The fact remains though that to recover from the disappointment of Sunday’s defeat with a display such as this spoke volumes for the character of the side and Harry’s motivational skills. After the semi final all was despair; now it was Bring on Chelsea!

Spurs 2 Chelsea 1

Eventual champions Chelsea were soundly beaten as we put on arguably our best display of the season. Bassong came in for King and he and Dawson gave outstanding performances to give Anelka and Drogba not a sniff of goal. Bale absolutely ripped into Ferreira in the first half and Ivanovic in the second. The Welshman scored his second goal in the space of a few days when he fired past Cech from the edge of the box just before half time. We’d taken the lead when, much to everyone’s surprise, Defoe both took and scored a penalty after Terry’s handball. A comically bad display from the Chelsea skipper was terminated early by referee Dowd when Terry was beaten for pace by Bale and hacked him down. In another terrific atmosphere we should’ve done our goal difference a few favours but instead conceded a very late consolation to fat Frank for a bit of a nail biting finish. Before this three game run of fixtures against the big boys the general feeling was that we needed at least four points from nine. Now we deservedly had six with still one game to go. We’d won seven of eight games since losing to Wolves. Four games left and it looked more and more like the final Champions League place would hang on our visit to Eastlands in May.

Man Utd 3 Spurs 1

Amazingly we’d not missed the suspended Palacios, in fact we’d positively thrived without him as the little and large combination of Modric and Huddlestone had bested the midfields of Arsenal and Chelsea despite being outnumbered in each game. Harry though made the choice to reinstate Wilson, his decision helped by the fact that it allowed him to cope with another problem area, right back. Corluka’s injury, sustained against Fulham, had restricted him to one game, the semi against Pompey. After trying and rejecting Walker, Kaboul came in against Arsenal and Chelsea and coped rather than flourished, struggling with his positioning and generally living on the edge. Redknapp decided to drop Bale back to left back and move Assou-Ekotto over to the right for this game. It didn’t work. Palacios looked completely out of touch in the middle and Benny out of his comfort zone on the right. Two Giggs penalties, both given away in the right back position, were separated by a Nani chip. Whilst being nowhere near our best we still, after Ledley had made it 1-1 with a header from a corner, had a ten minute period where we looked the team more likely to score again. In the end we down tamely, just as we normally do at Old Trafford.

The top six at 30th April 2010  –

P   W     D   L   Pts

1.  Chelsea                            36  25    5    6    80

2.  Man Utd                           36  25    4    7    79

3.  Arsenal                             36  22    6    8    72

4.  Tottenham                       35  19    7    9    64

5.  Aston Villa                      36  17    13  6    64

6.  Man City                          35  17    12  6    63

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