MF’s Spurs Season Review 09/10 – February

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Leeds 1 Spurs 3 (FA Cup 4th Round replay)

We had a busy February lined up (in the end we played seven times in 26 days) and the injuries were coming as thick and fast as the fixtures. Harry picked his team at Elland Road with half an eye on Saturday’s game against Villa and rested Palacios and Modric. We played well, particularly in the second half where Bale was dominant down the left, and we deserved the ultimately comfortable win. David Bentley gave what probably remains his best performance in a Spurs shirt (though admittedly against lower division opposition) and made two of Defoe’s goals in the latter’s third hat-trick of the season. Like the original game in this tie, it was a rousing ninety minutes played at full pelt in a great atmosphere.

Spurs 0 Aston Villa 0

The frustrated chants of “Boring boring Villa” ringing around the ground at the final whistle said it all as the away team’s extremely cautious approach designed solely to ‘keep shape’ and hope for a point was rewarded. Countless attempts on goal from us were blocked or beaten away by yet another inspired keeper. Liverpool moved above us and into fourth following this result. City & Villa were below us but if they won their games in hand we’d be down to seventh. With only one league win in 2010 it was clear we needed to up our game and get some points on the board.

Wolves 1 Spurs 0

Which is exactly what didn’t happen. Wolves deservedly completed a season’s ‘double’ over us by notching early on and then coping easily with our attempts to get back into the game. Kaboul (at right back) and Gudjohnsen (up front with Defoe) were given their first starts since being signed in January and neither performed with distinction. Jenas it was though who was caught ball watching for the Wolves’ goal. This was his last appearance of the season (and maybe for longer). Perhaps coincidence, perhaps not. A really depressing evening finished with us in sixth place, a point behind Man City who had two games in hand. Three league goals in 2010 told its own story as to where the main problems lay.

Bolton 1 Spurs 1 (FA Cup 5th Round)

The type of match for which the phrase “A game of two halves” was invented. Bolton dominated so much early on that an alternative cliché, “The St Valentine’s Day Massacre” might have been more appropriate; perhaps that’s what happened to their fans, barely any of whom turned up even at heavily reduced prices. The away supporters started in great spirits with “You can stick your red roses up your arse. Because I love Tottenham more than you” but noises of frustration soon took over as the Terriers terrorised us and were unlucky to go in at half-time only one goal up. Whatever Harry threw around the dressing room during the break did the trick as we were all over them in the second half. Defoe equalised from a Bale (who else?) cut back and then Tom Huddlestone missed our fourth penalty of the season. Fortunate to still be in the game at half time we ultimately felt disappointed not to win it.

Wigan 0 Spurs 3

In many ways this game was the tipping point in our challenge for fourth. Scoring goals had been a real problem for a while but in this game the answer came off the bench and kick started our ultimately successful run to the end of the season. On a mud heap of a pitch, Modric in particular was excellent. Defoe scored an early goal from a very offside position but then when Ledley decided this was one of his “I’ve started but I’m not going to finish” outings, instead of collapsing to let the home team claim an undeserved point, Pavlyuchenko came on to notch twice in seven minutes, seal the win and spark an idea in Harry’s head that maybe the lad was worth perservering with after all. If you believe the reports then Pav was very close to moving back to Russia the week before this game, a move that Redknapp put the block on and will be forever grateful that he did.

Spurs 4 Bolton 0 (FA Cup 5th Round replay)

Another double from Pav and two own goals helped us swat aside a half hearted Bolton. Owen Coyle showed his hand early on by leaving Kevin Davies on the bench. The Trotters fans obviously knew something was up as they brought barely enough to fill a Horwich kebab shop. Cup fever had not hit Bolton. A routine and confidence boosting rout, a mouth watering tie at Fulham was the reward.

Spurs 2 Everton 1

Everton’s dismal run of injuries took its toll in the early months of the season but their form in the second half was top notch, in fact only Chelsea and Man Utd collected more points after January 1st. So this standard looking victory was in fact a good & valuable win. We dominated before half time and were rewarded by a fine poacher’s goal from Pavlyuchenko (starting his first league game of the season) and a superb strike from Modric after a bit of Croatian keep ball with Kranjcar and Corluka. Luka’s goal would’ve been a serious contender for our goal of the season if it weren’t for Danny Rose’s left foot intervening in April and making sure there was only one winner. Everton made tactical changes after the break and became the better side. We lost Huddlestone with a seriousish looking injury and struggled thereafter as Kaboul came on to give a very stilted display in front of the back four. Landon Donovan’s 76th minute miss from two yards out with the goal at his mercy was the away team’s last chance of repeating their December comeback however. This win took us back into fourth place with ten games to go.

The top six at 28th February 2010  –

P   W     D   L  Pts

1.  Chelsea  28  19    4    5   61

2.  Man Utd  28  19    3    6   60

3.  Arsenal  28  18    4    6   58

4.  Tottenham  28  14    7    7   49

5.  Man City  27  13    10  4   49

6.  Liverpool  28  14    6    8   48

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