This was our first real test in the Amsterdam tournament against Champion's League perennials Celtic. Now according to their followers Celtic 'don't do' friendlies.Well they certainly didn't do this one. Spurs controlled the game completely, retaining possession and playing the ball neatly through midfield and Gomes in goal was rarely bothered. The first half was a little scrappy with both teams struggling to control the ball on a dry hard pitch but Spurs were always dominant .
Bent scored an individual goal,using his speed to cut out a back pass and to finish impressively from a narrow angle.He nearly scored again from a neat through ball by Modric but Boruc was quickly out to smother the shot. In the second half Tottenham controlled the ball better and the match and used the flanks well with Ekotto,Bale and Bentley later on exploiting the spaces down the wing.
In defence Zokora, playing at right back ,was very effective against McGeady their most dangerous player. Woodgate was rock steady against a series of hopeful balls aimed at Jan Vennegor of Hesselink. Ekotto was dangerous going forward and hardly tested in defence. In front of the back four Huddlestone played without pressure, Jenas was a little lethargic and again Modric was the best player on the pitch.Economical in his movement,quick and effective with the ball and off it.
Wonder of wonders Berbatov played the whole game and was increasingly effective in the second half. What light this casts on the will he stay or will he go saga I'm not sure.He was his usual self except that after his injury and short lay off he was a little off the pace. He was flamboyant and skilful,waved his arms about quite a bit and covered from the front well. It is difficult to know whether he pulled out of trying to contact Bale's clever ball along the six yard area after another energetic run down the left but the ball ran through to Bentley unmarked at the back post and he tapped in for his first goal for the club. He kissed the badge in the time honoured way but after Keane I need more proof of lifelong commitment .
It was good to see both King, who still looks as if he is still easing himself in,and Woodgate both get pitch time but we still might need an experienced back-up to bolster Dawson in his role as understudy. Gomes had no chance to show any of his skills but he is certainly a dominant and eager presence. He rarely kicks the ball out which is a welcome change from Robinson and to the purists delight means that we will keep the game on the floor and capitalise on the skills of midfield. Modric seems to be playing as an attacking midfielder which I think suits his abilities more than leaving him further back where we have Zokora, Jenas and Huddleston and there is talk of a player coming in to fill that role.
It's only pre-season and the first test that counts is at Middlesbrough quite soon now,but this was another good performance and Ramos must be very pleased with the progress.Although he looks a hard man to please.