Tottenham season review 10/11 – November

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Gareth Bale

November
Tues 2nd – Spurs 3 Inter Milan 1
The highlight of this and many other seasons. The memory of being present when the European champions were brushed aside will be something to always treasure. It still sends a shiver down the spine. Bale, Van der Vaart and Modric took the game to Sneijder, Samuel and Eto’o and taught them a lesson. ‘Taxi for Maicon’ was the chant late in the game as Bale turned on the turbo charger and ripped past the much-lauded full back again and again. His runs to create the second and third goals were extraordinary in their bravado and execution. The hat trick in the San Siro got him noticed, his performance in this game made him the talk, and the target, of Europe. Van de Vaart played despite a hamstring injury and only lasted until half time. He made good use of those 45 minutes though, getting on the end of Modric’s dinked through ball after 18 minutes to sidefoot us into the lead. After an hour Crouch somehow kept pace with Bale as he charged forward and was on hand to sidefoot home the Welshman’s perfect cross. Eto’o gave the away team a lifeline before Pav made the tie secure by again touching home from close range after Bale had made Maicon look a mug in traditional playground fashion.

At the end of an evening that epitomised the whole essence of ‘Glory Glory Nights’ we were top of the group with the knockout stages now a real possibility.

Sat 6th – Bolton 4 Spurs 2
From the sublime to the very poor. Redknapp went for a bit of squad rotation but those switched in let him down with a very lacklustre display. Sandro & Kranjcar were given starts and both looked off the pace. The only redeeming features were two sublime goals from Pav and Hutton. These two strikes made it 3-2 near the end but Martin Petrov caught us on the break for the coup de grace. Four conceded for the third time already in the season, though the first time in the league.

Tues 9th – Spurs 1 Sunderland 1
The misfiring of the forwards, at least domestically, had become a constant theme and here was another case where but for Van der Vaart we’d be struggling to find the net at all. We took the lead when the Dutchman got on the end of yet another Crouch knock down but lost it quickly when Gallas and Kaboul contrived to let a ball either of them could’ve stopped go between them to Gyan who made no mistake. Howard Webb appeared to continue his anti-Spurs vendetta, denying us a couple of penalty shouts, one of which was a stonewall one when Bentley was tripped by Zenden. Webb’s response was to give our player a yellow, the same ‘punishment’ meted out to Cattermole shortly afterwards when he tried to send Modric into orbit. The players left to boos, an understandable sign of frustration and disappointment after the highs of the previous week but it got the standard sarcastic response from Redknapp anyway.

This game was the last straw for big Tom Huddlestone’s ankle injury. Post match the decision was made to operate and that was the last we saw of him until exactly 5 months later.

Sat 13th – Spurs 4 Blackburn 2
Four in a game? Blimey. Probably our most straightforward home win of the season against a very poor Blackburn side led by Sam Allardyce (good luck West Ham). Almost everything went our way, Pav’s missed penalty being the glaring exception. He scored twice anyway, Bale and Crouch with his first league goal of the season got the others.

Sat 20th – Arsenal 2 Spurs 3
The best league result of the season. Two down at half time and seemingly out of it, some harsh words in the away dressing, three second half goals and there you go, our first win at the new Library. Wenger spent the whole season banging on about the character of his side apparently failing to notice what was going on on the pitch in front of him. Too much time spent lashing out at water bottles maybe. Anyway they failed this ‘character test’ as all out attack in the second half from Bale, Van der Vaart and the fresh back from injury Defoe showed up the weaknesses in the centre of the Gooner back four and when Kaboul flicked home Van der Vaart’s free kick in the 85th minute to give us the lead it was no more than we deserved. The final whistle led to over the top celebrations as the empty corporate cake tin echoed to Spurs songs long after the tourists had left for their coaches.

Weds 24th – Spurs 3 Werder Bremen 0
This win confirmed our place in the last sixteen and was achieved with a level of composure and skill that suggested we were well advanced along the Champions League learning curve. Kaboul, Modric and Crouch got the goals, Bale and Lennon shared the plaudits.

Sun 28th – Spurs 2 Liverpool 1
Another chance for a Moneybags League hangover and things didn’t look good at half time when we were one nil down to an opportunistic strike from Skrtel with Van der Vaart and Kaboul having already limped off. Liverpool were close to adding to their lead before Defoe announced his return to first team action by scuffing a penalty wide. Modric put in a great 30 yard run and cross which Skrtel kindly tucked past Reina. Both teams went close and that appeared to be it before Lennon nipped in front of a sleeping Konchesky and coolly finished for a last minute 2-1 win. Four wins a row to end the month.
Premier League table as at 30th November

P    W   D   L   Pts
1. Man Utd    15   8   7   0   31
2. Chelsea    15   9   2   4   29
3. Arsenal    15   9   2   4   29
4. Man City    15   7   5   3   26
5. Spurs        15   7   4   4   25

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