Tottenham season review 10/11 – February

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William Gallas - Tottenham news

February
Weds 2nd – Blackburn 0 Spurs 1
The transfer window had closed with only the South African pair of Steven Pienaar and Bongani Khumalo being added to the squad. Supersport United’s loss turned out to actually be Preston North End’s gain as Bongani ended up at Deepdale for the remainder of the season. Keane, Giovani and Bentley had also been sent out on loan. So with no firepower added up front it was up to the existing strikers to prove their worth and lead us into the top four. With the pressure on, Peter Crouch proved once more that Blackburn are his bunny. In a case of role reversal he got on the end of a deep cross from Van der Vaart after only three minutes to power a header home and give us a lead that we just about managed to hold on to despite intense pressure from the home team. Gomes made some top class reflex saves and Gallas was manful in front of him. Some better finishing from Defoe might have made the game a little less nerve-wracking but he was hesitant and indecisive when presented with a couple of opportunities.

Our first win in five came at a crucial time. We were embarking on a run of games as we moved towards the end of the season that would allow us, in theory, to build up a pile of points that would inevitably be eroded as we entered the final, and very difficult, last half dozen fixtures. This was clearly on Redknapp’s mind as he started lowering expectations in interviews, starting with the post-match one here.

Sat 5th – Spurs 2 Bolton 1
We started superbly here and ran Bolton ragged. We should’ve been out of sight but in the end it took an injury time belter from Niko Kranjcar to secure us the win. Van der Vaart scored one pen after six minutes but missed a twice taken one a few minutes later when Twattenburg randomly got all nostalgic and ordered a retake after encroachment. When was the last time you saw that? Gomes’s ricket from Sturridge’s drive looked like costing us the points until the much underused Kranjcar drove into the top corner from outside the area at the death. Cue celebrations.

Sat 12th – Sunderland 1 Spurs 2
Niko Kranjcar once again proved his worth by firing home the winner. This was a great result coming on the back of the two wins in February already. The team had had to dig deep in each game and on every occasion had come out on top.  Dawson equalised after Gyan had put the home team in front. Kranjcar’s beautifully executed volley after an hour gave us a lead we never relinquished.

At this time we had a sort of invulnerability about us and when the verdict on the Olympic Stadium was announced the day before this game, the fact that West Ham were judged to be better guardians of a ‘legacy’ than us seemed slightly ludicrous. A few seconds reflection then made one realise that the words ‘demolish’ and ‘legacy’ aren’t particularly compatible.

Tues 15th – AC Milan 0 Spurs 1
Into the last sixteen of the Champions League and yet another night to remember in this season full of them. Some stalwart defending from Gallas and Dawson was allied to a coming of age performance from Sandro and a beautifully worked late breakaway goal. We played with a high tempo from the off and were unashamedly direct in our approach as Crouch continued his effective and good form in Europe. We’d easily been the better side in the first forty five but had nothing to show for it. Milan came out after the break with a much more aggressive approach as they sensed trouble was brewing. Flamini took out Corluka with an over the top challenge that resulted in Jonathan Woodgate making his first appearance since 2009.  Those who missed his cameo never got another chance as this was his first and last of the season. The perpetrator was lucky to only get a yellow and was even more leniently treated after later trying to pick a scrap with Joe Jordan of all people. Luka Modric had been left out injured but he came on with half an hour left to add some composure to the midfield. His flick to Lennon set the flying winger off on a run to the Milan penalty area where he hurdled a desperate Nesta challenge before rolling a pass into Crouch’s path that he finished neatly. What a moment. A fine and deserved victory.

Tues 22nd – Blackpool 3 Spurs 1
The attendance at the San Siro was the largest for a Spurs game all season and in a neat juxtaposition this one at Bloomfield Road was the lowest. 75,652 versus 16,069 for those keeping count and that’s not far above the number of chances we missed in this game. A win would’ve put us third on merit however our lightweight and non-functioning attack failed to capitalise on much good work down the wings and through the middle. In defence we were back in suicidal mode with Bassong in charge of the noose and basically, with the help of a dodgy lino for goal number two, it all went horribly wrong. Pav hit a spectacular volley for our consolation but it was much too little far too late.

We weren’t to know it at the time, but this result signalled the beginning of the end as far as our assault on the top four went as the ticking over of the figures in the ‘D’ column instead of the one under ‘W’ started gaining speed.

Premier League as at 28th February
P     W    D   L  Pts
1. Man Utd    27   17   9   1   60
2. Arsenal    27   17   5   5   56
3. Man City    28   14   8   6   50
4. Spurs        27   13   8   6   47

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