An unambitious Bolton side were ultimately cast aside, but not without the traditional Spurs jitters. Well before half time, we should’ve been far enough ahead to start thinking about ticket arrangements for Wembley, this is Spurs though so it was only when Saha’s piledriver whizzed past Bogdan in injury time that we knew we were safe.
Even if we still lack the pace and width of the first half of the season, it was still the best we’ve played for a while. The away defence was sliced through regularly as Livermore, Parker, Van der Vaart and Adebayor all missed straightforward chances before we eventually took the lead. These attempts could be added to countless pots at goal from Bale, a free-kick against the bar from VdV and headers just wide from Livermore, King and Adebayor. That list is far from comprehensive. Bolton provided virtually nothing in return, Klasnic though should be disappointed he didn’t do better when clean through against Cudicini with the score at nil nil.
Livermore and Parker sat in the middle in the modern way whilst Modric, Bale and Van der Vaart scuttled around in front of them attempting to play in, off and around the hard working Adebayor up front. We were very narrow for long periods as Benny and Walker were asked to provide the width. This they did to a degree with Walker’s pace often prominent. Despite a lack of tempo we were well on top as I say and should’ve made Bolton attempt to make a game of it long before they eventually brought on our nemesis, Kevin Davies, and briefly threaten to get back into the tie.
Things were far brighter throughout the evening than they have been of late. We kept possession with more comfort than we have been doing, Nelsen and King were dominant, Adebayor provided a constant and reliable outlet and even the corners were regularly missing the first man. Hallelujah! It was from one of these that we finally scored when Bogdan misjudged a Van der Vaart inswinger and Nelsen rose highest at the far post to head back across goal and in. Bale finished off a break away a few minutes later after a fine ball from Defoe.
So, into the semi-final and with Lennon back for the weekend, any pangs of optimism feel less like nostalgia than they have been of late. The biggest plus of the evening was that, following on from Stamford Bridge, we might have found a template for a formation that will get us through the rest of the season. Swansea though at the weekend. Anyone who gets anything from them has to work for it; this performance is a good basis from which to start.
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