Itâ€™d be difficult to summarise this Spurs performance in a few words such was the spread of quality on show. In midfield some sublime and tenacious play from Modric and Sandro was set alongside headless chicken stuff from Jenas and Pienaar. At the back our full backs struggled all afternoon to cope with Jarvis, Milijas and Hammill which meant a lot of very decent crosses came in to Dawson and Gallas who dealt with some manfully and some woefully. They were â€˜assistedâ€™ by Gomes who threw more punches than Joe Calzaghe on a good night. Up front Pavlyuchenko and Defoe combined three fine strikes on goal with some powder puff general play (especially Pav) and an inability to kill the game off at 3-2 when presented with clear cut chances which came about mostly due to a very fine cameo appearance from Gareth Bale.
It was a potato field of a pitch in front of an excitable home crowd who really should get out more. In fact the home supporters were deathly quiet early on as the togetherness engendered by the heartfelt tribute to Dean Richards was replaced firstly by a mutilated and mercifully clipped Jeff beck and then by the sound of contented snoozing as the warm Wolverhampton sunshine gave the rampant hoofing on the field a flattering sheen.
Most of the belting the ball forward with no thought as to its eventual whereabouts was coming from us as in particular Assou-Ekotto and Dawson cleared their lines consistently as though Shearer and Drogba were somehow magically leading our line. A frustrating start to the game got worse when Doyleâ€™s free header woke up the home crowd after 20 minutes but then took an unexpected twist ten minutes later as Defoe suddenly escaped the shackles to curl in two beautiful right footers the first of which he celebrated with relief, the second with a more â€œwhy are you surprised, this is what I do?â€ type of air.
If those two moments were uncharacteristic of a playerâ€™s performances so far this season then we were treated to one that was totally indicative a few minutes later as Hutton was left wanting and gave away a penalty which Doyle tucked away confidently. I make that nine pens conceded this season (not all by our hapless Scotsman though it feels like that sometimes).
Pavlyuchenko showed what he can do when he belted home a third for us just after half time. He celebrated with some over the shoulder thumb pointing to his name which was unnecessary given the abuse heâ€™d been receiving from around me with regards to his lack of involvement and apparent lack of effort. Everyone knew who he was. Wolves dominated most of the rest of the match as we were either unable or unwilling to try and keep possession. We gave away free kicks in dangerous positions, failed to keep composure when clearing, were unable to break competently and generally let them get the ball into our box too easily and too often.
Some relief came when Bale came on and immediately looked dangerous. Lennon was on soon after (why was Bale left on the right and Lennon on the left? Totally perverse) and it was during this period that we had several chances to get a fourth and seal the win. Defoe hit the post, players had shots blocked and Bale appeared (from my view in Row B) to want to walk the ball in a couple of times when a swift thump into the bottom corner was required.
They sent on two more forwards to help the very impressive Doyle and the pressure eventually told as Fletcher (with another free header) equalised at the death. After the game ref Mike Halsey was being abused equally by both sets of supporters, as it turns out the Wolves fans maybe with more justification.
We could have easily won; we could equally easily have lost. There were some positives (Bale and Sandro and Defoe rediscovering his scoring boots) but we were very poor for long periods. The team was set up with a total lack of width, Modric, Bale and Lennon were all played out of position, Defoe and Pav remain enigmas despite their goals and we looked frantic and panicky at the back. Obviously a lot of Harryâ€™s tactics were about keeping the powder dry for Wednesday but itâ€™ll take more than just a swapping a couple of faces around to see us through I reckon. Defensively at least, we really need to up our game.
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