MF’s Spurs Season Review 09/10 – March

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Fulham 0 Spurs 0 (FA Cup Quarter Final)

League aspirations were put on hold as we went to the Cottage for an evening kick off. Fulham’s familiar approach, keep the shape and patterns and try and collect the rebounds from balls hit at Zamora, was good enough to shade this game in many areas but Gomes was rarely called upon, certainly far less than in the league fixture on Boxing Day. Despite being injury hit (Dervite, Rose, Townsend and Livermore on the bench) we performed well enough to deserve the draw and take the tie back to White Hart Lane.

Spurs 3 Blackburn 1

Some poor results for the other contenders in the battle for fourth meant that all of a sudden we were genuine contenders for the Moneybags League spot once again. Rovers started well and put us on the back foot early on but a Defoe tap in after Corluka had flicked on a corner at the end of the first half plus a couple in the second from the goal scoring machine that super Pav had become was enough to make sure that we took advantage of kicking off at Saturday lunchtime and putting pressure on the teams around us.

Stoke City 1 Spurs 2

As the situation at the top, (well nearly the top), got tighter we knew that we had to take advantage of the matches we played before our three games in April against Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd. It seemed that the only way were going to be in with a chance of a being in the shake up for fourth was to open up a bit of a gap that would inevitably close when we came up against the season’s three big hitters. As such the importance of this win cannot be underestimated. Defoe wasn’t in the squad due to hamstring trouble so Pav started alongside Crouch but his hamstring also let him down and he limped off after 36 minutes. We reached half time in good spirits as in general we’d coped better than adequately with the size and physicality of the Stoke team. The good spirits turned into raging optimism shortly after the break as firstly Gudjohnsen (who’d come on for Pav) scored his first goal for us (after a fine piece of quick interplay with Crouch) and then Dean Whitehead was sent off. We started to make good use of the extra space and should’ve been further ahead by the time Assou-Ekotto was adjudged to have clattered Kitson in the area and Etherington equalised from the spot. The crowd got behind the home team and we looked fragile; Ricardo Fuller missed from nowhere. Benny was clearly rattled by giving away the pen, even getting involved in a pushing match with Corluka. He did though eventually regain enough composure to send in a low cross after 77 minutes that Gudjohnsen dummied and Kranjcar absolutely leathered home. We held out easily. Only Man U, the Arse, Chelsea and, ahem, Birmingham, had won at Stoke to that point which shows the quality of the performance.

Spurs 3 Fulham 1 (FA Cup Quarter Final Replay)

All season we came from behind to win in just one league game (West Ham away). We finished with a similar stat in the cups, and this was it. Trailing at half time to a fine Bobby Zamora finish (the only goal Fulham scored against us in over six hours of football during the season) Harry threw caution to the wind at the interval and subbed on the just back from injury Huddlestone and Bentley for Kranjcar and Assou-Ekotto. He was immediately rewarded as shortly after the second half commenced Bentley’s curled free-kick from near the touchline found it’s way past everyone including Schwarzer and into the net. When Corluka got injured attempting to block a Simon Davies shot just after the goal, Redknapp stuck with the commitment to open play that served him so well through the season and sent on an unfit Pavlyuchenko to replace the Croat. Palacios moved to right back and Gudjohnsen dropped into midfield where he is so much more effective than up front. Roared on by a whipped up White Hart Lane crowd we blitzed the Cottagers with two more quick goals during a period of non-stop attack that left the away side shell-shocked and us through to the FA Cup semi final where we’d face the team that had been bottom of the league all season long. As close to a free passage to the final as we could ask for surely?

Spurs 2 Portsmouth 0

The injury sustained by Corluka against Fulham meant that he played only one more game during the season. Harry tried a number of replacements before the end of May starting off with the logical step of promoting close season signing Kyle Walker for this semi-final rehearsal. The youngster could hardly have picked a tamer game in which to make his debut. A half paced pre-season friendly of a match that we won without trying following goals from two former Pompey favourites, Crouch and Krancjar. Walker got to the byeline to help create the second  and will have enjoyed his first game in the Premier League. Things were looking good. Man City had played their games in hand and hadn’t closed the gap. Players were coming back from injury and we were through to the Cup semi-final to play a team we’d already beaten twice.

The top six at 31st March 2010  –

P   W     D   L   Pts

1.  Man Utd                           32  23    3    6    72

2.  Chelsea                            32  22    5    5    71

3.  Arsenal                             32  21    5    6    68

4.  Tottenham                       31  17    7    7    58

5.  Man City                          31  15    11  5    56

6.  Liverpool                         32  16    6    10  54

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