Saturday, 5 February 2011
Bolton out of the blue
Well that was an astonishing, thrilling and, at 91 minutes, wholly unexpected three points.
(I'm trying hard not to mention the Arsenal result)
Dreadfully unconvincing performance, inestimably important result.
As previously established, fuller and better analyses of the game are available elsewhere. I'm not a football expert, I'm a one-eyed, passionate and quite often despairing Spurs fan. These are just a series of observations, some of which may have relevance to what happened during the 90+ minutes during which we were playing football.
(I'm absolutely not mentioning the Arsenal result)
1) Drinking at least two cans of Red Stripe in the Bell & Hare is definitely a lucky charm. (We drank Fosters for the Wigan game. Never again).
2) Can we all agree that Jermaine Jenas is a fine and useful squad player and that he's been a real asset to this club for eight years or whatever it is? Why the constant negativity from a significant section of fans? I thought he was top great again today.
Okay, maybe he's never 'great', but he was pretty damn impressive: busy as you like in defence and attack, nearly got a winner with a free kick that he'd won himself; er, like twice as good as Pienaar.
And did you see the highlights of the Blackburn win? In the last minute Samba directed a header towards our goal and that would have meant two points down the drain. But it bounced off Jenas and went over the bar. He didn't mean to get in the way and he certainly didn't know where the ball was going. But the fact is, he was there to get hit by the ball. And none of our other midfielders would have been.
(I still haven't mentioned the Arsenal result)
3) What the fuck's up with the other Jermain? His all round game was fine today, but whereas he used to be on almost embarrassingly intimate terms with the goal, now he's like a gawky teenager on a first date. To paraphrase Richard Keys, he used to smash it. Now he can't find it.
4) Dawson's creaking. Terrible defending for their equaliser. Not as bad as last week, but still terrible.
5) We won without Modric, Bale and (second half) Van der Vaart - this season's three outstanding performers. If you asked the media or other fans, no other names would get mentioned. And let's not forget Thud, Woodgate and King.
So we're getting results stripped of our stars and without much conviction. That's good, right? Well, it is if, as is to be expected, we improve exponentially when they return.
(How did Arsenal get on? Anyone know?)
6) Good God how much do we love Niko Kranjcar? In terms of a reserve midfielder, he can't be beaten, can he? Okay, so our first choice would be Lennon, Modric, Thud, Bale. But Kranjcar can cover for all of them. And he's far better than fucking Pienaar.
The winner today, the way he made the space and struck the shot, was pure quality. Thank fuck we didn't sell him in the transfer window.
7) Dean Sturridge looks good.
8) Fuck it, let's talk about Arsenal. Hysterical, obviously. But, when word of Newcastle's fourth reached WHL, and the crowd went nuts, I have to admit I was a little pissed off. Not because those fools had thrown away a four goal lead, that was ace, obviously. But because we got so stupidly excited and celebratory about it - while we were drawing at home to Bolton.
I just wanted us to concentrate on - and be dissatisfied with - our own performance, rather than be small and petty enough as to be so sated by their travails. Their fuck-up should be a side dish, not the main course.
(There is an alternative view that it was the sudden surge in crowd noise, passion and urgency that moved the team up a gear. Maybe)
8) We have three away games coming up: Sunderland, Blackpool and Wolves. We need a minimum of seven points. If we manage it, let's see where we are and recalibrate the scope of our ambition accordingly.
Actually, I'll do it now: 5th by five points or 5th by 10 points. We'll finish closer to Liverpool than we will to Chelsea (in terms of points totals, anyway).
Sorry, it was a fun day and an exciting result, but, we did only just beat Bolton at home.