Sunday, 15 May 2011
Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda...
There can, surely, be no such thing as 'a dispiriting 2-0 win at Anfield', can there?
Of course there can't be, no. And yet that was a strange kind of joy. A wistful kind of joy tinged with regret and frustration.
But, joy nonetheless, so let's concentrate on that. It was a great performance and an excellent result. There was nothing particularly spectacular about it, but it was a team that really wanted the win and knew how to get the job done. Well set-up and spiritedly sent out by Harry. Full marks.
We didn't create a wealth of chances but pinched a couple of goals and looked resolute and unruffled at the back.
Actually, we looked fucking excellent at the back. And it's worth pausing to praise the returning King. Alan McInally, one of the Men Who Stare At Goals this afternoon (and one who's actually worth listening to), was asked after covering our game how good he thought Ledley was.
He was effusive and genuine with his praise. 'Just brilliant. If he'd been fit throughout his career, he'd have had 0ver 100 caps.'
Well said, sir. It fair brought a tear to my eye.
What he didn't say, however, and what every Spurs fan knows, is that King's presence also ensured that Dawson was once again the rock we know he can be. If anything, he was more involved and more effective than his senior partner - but only because the two of them were back in tandem.
Whether Ledley's his mentor, his comfort blanket or just the perfect, calm complement to his playing style, I don't know. But I do know that was his best game since... well, probably since the last time Ledley was fit. Regret upon regret.
Staying at the back, Danny Rose had probably his best game for Spurs so far. Not his best moment, of course, but away at Anfield, and with us under pressure for long periods, he looked assured, strong in the tackle and, as you'd expect, a threat going forward. Who knew he was a left back? Who decided he was a left back? Harry? We can only assume so. Again, full marks.
Even more baffling: Who knew Luka was a penalty taker? Who decided Luka was a penalty taker? Luka? Surely not. He scored, so obviously it was 'a good penalty'. But notice he didn't try and find a corner. It wasn't 'unstoppable'. And it's not, surely, a permanent appointment.
He was, though, excellent in every aspect of his game. As always. I watched the match on a feed from a US channel. I only mention this because they made Modric man of the match. And I only mention that because the man of the match award is 'sponsored by the US marines'. I also learnt that Crazy Larry's prices really are crazy, because Crazy Larry is crazy about value.
Crouch? Nah. He can go to QPR. He seems a nice lad, and it's always an entertaining three minutes or so when he tries to control the ball down from his neck to the floor using every part of his body on the way, but nah, not next season, not for me.
So, the double against Liverpool. Only the fourth win up there in 100 years or something, and a place in the Europa League in our hands.
Now, to some, that's like saying, 'and an especially runny turd in our hands'. As in, it's not something you really want in your hands, or anywhere near you, frankly.
But I want us to qualify and I want us to try and win it. What I want, in fact, is for us all to be in Bucharest just over a year from now, nursing hangovers after Spurs picked up their first European trophy in 28 years the night before, and reflecting that, actually, the journey began at Anfield on 15th May, 2011.
(And ideally I'd like us to be discussing how it can't have hampered our Premier League form that much... SEEING AS WE'RE CHAMPIONS AND EVERYTHING!)