Spurs 1 Bolton 0
Before we kicked off, four teams were still in with a shout of taking ‘our’ fourth place. Our job was to better or match the results of the teams below us. That’s all. City were at home to Villa and a massive roar went round WHL when Carew scored to put the away team in front but in the end City won 3-1. Liverpool lost at home to Chelsea on Sunday which meant that after the weekend the contenders were realistically down to two. In our game we were a bit nervous in front of goal but played well and should’ve won by more. Huddlestone’s superb strike from range into the top corner was the only goal in our first 1-0 win of the season. Palacios was moved back to the bench and Kaboul came back in at right back where he was many people’s man of the match.
Man City 0 Spurs 1
Effectively a play-off match for the final Champions League place. We gave a nerveless, skilful and superbly accomplished display that climaxed when Peter Crouch, during probably his best game in a Spurs shirt, nodded home the only goal after 82 minutes. Tevez flickered briefly early on but Man City’s expensively assembled attackÂ was never allowed to catch fire as every player in a white shirt gave a performance to make you proud. It was assumed that Ledley wouldn’t be wheeled out again after playing against Bolton but here he was, alongside Dawson, putting in a performance that would be singled out and talked about for days to come. He was strong, composed and commanding and seemingly personified the players as a whole as they grasped their chance fearlessly and deservedly left the field with a Champions League place safely snaffled away. At the final whistle they cavorted in front of the away fans as though they’d won the league not finished fourth but such is the nature of what is considered success in the game these days, they can be forgiven. Inside and out Spurs fans too celebrated, there were tears and laughter and joyous singing and shouting. It was a very very memorable evening.
Burnley 4 Spurs 2
The party carried on at Turf Moor as (once more led by Ledley, his third appearance in eight days) we toyed with the home team in the first half taking a 2-1 lead in to the interval. In the second half they spanked us. Whether the players found out that Arsenal were three up, meaning that the chance of us grasping third place at the death had effectively disappeared, or whether the efforts of a long hard season had finally taken their toll I don’t know, but it was an ignominious way to end the season. We’ll just forget that one shall we?
The top six at 10th May 2010Â –
PÂ Â WÂ Â Â Â DÂ Â LÂ Â Â Pts
1.Â ChelseaÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 38Â 27Â Â Â 5Â Â Â 6Â Â Â Â 86
2.Â Man UtdÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 38Â 27Â Â Â 4Â Â Â 7Â Â Â Â 85
3.Â ArsenalÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 38Â 23Â Â Â 6Â Â Â 9Â Â Â Â 75
4.Â TottenhamÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 38Â 21Â Â Â 7Â Â Â 10Â Â 70
5.Â Man CityÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 38Â 18Â Â Â 13Â 7Â Â Â Â 67
6.Â Aston VillaÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 38Â 17Â Â Â 13Â 8Â Â Â Â 64
So a season that started in the sunshine with Benny and Bassong ended in defeat at Burnley but not before qualification to the world’s (or Europe’s anyway) premier club competition had been achieved for the first time since 1961. We had a great start out of the stalls with four wins out of four and finished at a gallop by winning nine out of eleven up to the game at Man City. In between we stuttered occasionally, but continually bounced back from reverses to pick up points and keep our challenge for one of the top places going. We had our fair share of injuries but judicious purchases by Redknapp, plus his ability to get the best out of the remaining Jol and Ramos buys meant that we had the squad to keep getting results.
The team changed character several times during the season. We started with the speedy midgets, Defoe, Lennon and Modric dominating affairs. Peter Crouch forced his way into the team and we went all route one for a while, solid defence and a long run of clean sheets wasn’t matched up front as we struggled to score goals. The double gift of footballing rebirths to both Gareth Bale and Roman Pavlyuchenko took us back on an upward curve through February and March and when Pav’s goals dried up, Bale took up the reins by scoring crucial second goals in the big big games against Arsenal and Chelsea. Great performances full of skill and attitude characterised the last quarter of the season, the wins at Wigan, Stoke and Man City in particular.
It was a season full of excitement and tension. As the final whistle blew in each game, you couldn’t wait for it to sound again signifying the kick off of the next one. Fingers crossed for more of the same next season.
Some personal thoughts –
Player of the season – In Heurelho Gomes we found a keeper of world class. He tipped any number of games in our favour with his reflexes and athleticism.
Young player of the season – Bale’s been around so long you tend to forget that he’s only 20. Post Christmas he ranked amongst the best players in the league.
Disappointments – The lack of breakthrough of any youngster from the good crop we have at the moment. Redknapp obviously likes something about Danny Rose but (with one obviously huge exception) it’s hard to see what. Bostock and Parrett made no progress towards the first team and Adam Smith along with Kyle Walker were overlooked at right back when Corluka was injured. Jon Obika scored some goals whilst out on loan to perhaps suggest he’s got something about him and good things are being said about Harry Kane.
Team performances of the season – Home against Chelsea, away against Man City.
Individual performances – Defoe against Wigan at home, Gomes against Arsenal at home, Palacios against Fulham in the cup at Craven Cottage, Bale against Chelsea at home and Crouch at Eastlands.
AOB – Just a word about our disciplinary problems, or lack of them to be exact. Defoe and Palacios were the only players to suffer bans which is a good effort in these days of self-serving referees and managers who are trying to turn football into a non-contact sport.
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