A look back at Tottenham’s win against Stoke

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Peter Crouch

From zero to hero? Well not totally, but Peter Crouch’s two goals in this game will at least have helped him climb a couple of rungs up the ladder to redemption. If he doubles the feat on Wednesday evening or embarks on a run of scoring that gets us back in the CL next year then maybe people will forget the disappointment his rash behaviour in the Bernabeu engendered.

A bit of a strange game this one. We played very well for most of the first half and took our chances excellently. Tony Pulis will be furious with the ease with which Crouch was able to get clean headers on to Pav and Huddlestone’s crosses and also the way Modric, with basically only one dip of the shoulder after collecting Pav’s pass ended up staring into the eyes of Begovic on the edge of the six yard box. The goals reflected our superiority, Etherington and Jones kept Stoke in the game however with efforts of real quality which meant that we were only one ahead at the break.

Huddlestone was undone by Etherington’s speed for the first and embarrassing though it was, all it did was expose the weaknesses in big Tom’s game that we already know about. Fortunately throughout the rest of the game he was able to display the promptness and range of passing that we are also familiar with. His quick thinking and confident moving of the ball with both feet provided a dimension we’ve been missing hugely and it was good to see him back.

Younes Kaboul also provided welcome strength and confidence but his scampers forward at the very end of the game when we fairly desperately attempting to cling on to our lead indicate that there’s still a way to go in terms of discipline and concentration.

In the second half the momentum shifted Stoke’s way as we struggled to gain and keep possession in midfield. Gomes dealt well with crosses into the area and saved from Etherington and Jones. At the other end we were occasionally bright with Pav stinging Begovic’s paws and having a perfectly good goal disallowed but in general the away team were on top. We held on though for the three points our first half display at least deserved.

Pav and Van der Vaart played the full ninety minutes. The Russian did well I thought throughout the whole game. His movement was excellent and whilst he appeared to take an extra touch occasionally, he linked up well with big Tom and Modric and his cross for the first goal was excellent. Van der Vaart played nominally on the right but spent most of his time in a more central position meaning that we had no width down his flank. He too was exposed for a lack of pace and his free kicks continually hit the wall or the first man.

Van der Vaart is a fine player who is struggling a bit and had an off day here but even so for him to appear (and obviously it’s not his fault) in the list of nominees for the PFA Player of the Year with no sign of Modric alongside him makes you wonder. The Croat was again superb showing his normal skill and vision plus the strength on the ball his slight frame belies. Bale and VdV haven’t even been the best players in the Spurs side this year let alone the Premier League.

The win keeps the chance of fourth place still alive and breathing. It will though take some spectacular form in our last seven games plus much pin sticking into voodoo dolls of Carlos Tevez. Another break next weekend then it’s the filthy Gooners. Danny Rose waits in the wings.

By MF

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1 COMMENT

  1. I think it makes up for last Tuesday… Crouch was probably only responsible for 2 out of the 4 goals at the Bernabeu. The first one he was still on the field and the second was a good header but Ade was totally unmarked. The last two were probably down to the tiredness of the players after having to play with 10 men for so long. Here Crouch has managed to score 2 goals (Pav would have missed both and Defoe, well one he wouldn't be able to head the ball and secondly he'd wait for it to come down to his feet and then hit it straight at the goal keeper), without which we would probably have lost the game, and possibly have gone down to the wire for 5th place in the league with Liverpool. However, now we are back in the running for 4th place, with the games against Chelsea and Man City key for the possibility of getting back into the CL next season. COYS

  2. Dont think Crouch can play Weds!

    Pav looked vastly superior in his all round game to Defoe (at least based on recent form).

    As an attcking force we look so much more potent with two strikers – we have played a few games with VDV as a right winger in a four man midfield and have scored plenty of goals with this lineup (I recall the 4 against Blackburn) – I hope Harry has noted this.

    For me, I’d play the rest of the season with the 442 which got us into the CL in the first place. VDV, Bale, Modric and Lennon could rotate, thereby giving Bale and Modric some rest (I wonder how much of his injury was caused by fatigue/burnout). I think VDV could cover Modric’s role with a disciplined CM beside him.

  3. @ Leonardo:

    I am beginning to think that part of our problem is that we have too much talent and cant work out how best to utilise it. I agree that the 442 worked on Saturday, and Pav made two goals. It seems like a different era since JD made the same contribution.

    However, to demonstrate my point, looking at your team selection, what are we going to do about Sandro. I remember the impact that that Palacios had when he first joined, and I think Sandro is even more noticeable. And then there was the glorious pass by the Thud straight to the head of Crouch and GOAL. It wasn't a lucky pass. He does it week in and week out. So where do we put the Thud and Sandro in a 442 formation?

    • I agree. VDV has not been great of late, and a feature of his game (recently?) has been to drop far too deep to pick up the ball, and as a result get in Modric's way, and leave the front man isolated. Last season we did away with the having an out and out defensive midfielder and played with one ball carrier (Modric) and one ball player (Hud). Sandro is different from these (latter) two again and could be complimentary in a midfield three. VDV often picks the ball up and looks to play a hollywood, but there is no one in the space where he himself should be occupying.

      This then raises the question of VDV. Is he getting in the way? I think Harry was falling into the old England trap of simply picking the best 11 players and forgetting that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

  4. theres no way it makes up for last week, stoke is a shit hole, ever been there? Last time I was there I wandered around with my bird looking for a restuarant, is there one? fuck there is so we ended up in Macs. Thats Stoke. So they come to WHL and nearly pull it off but just lose=makes up for Madrid? You psy!

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