With more sub-plots than an Agatha Christie murder mystery we survived a hectic game at Portsmouth to emerge with all three points. Harry despite press rumours escaped the ordeal intact and only two of the six players with Tottenham connections were sent off.
Man.City failing to win at Wigan means that we maintain our third place for another week, the first time we have been in such a position after 9 games since 1984/5, 25yrs ago. We finished third that season in case you were wondering.
Our inability to close games down or come back from behind and the myth that we are vulnerable at set pieces are filed at the moment in a box marked 'not known at this address'. Only 4 of our 13 goals conceded have been at set pieces unlike Liverpool who have conceded 10 of their 13 from them, and one from a beach ball.
We had more than our share of luck in terms of their inability to put the ball in the net from inside the 6yd. box. A match winning performance from Gomes helped , especially when Defoe was sent off with half hour to go for a stamp on Mokoena's leg which seemed to be delivered more in regret than anger but tactlessly right in front of the referee. I forecast that we would win this easily and I was half right, although at half time it was looking as if I might have got it spot on.
Kevin 'Prince' Boateng with something to prove did just that, not only scoring but playing well in an aggressive attacking midfield role that perhaps had Harry wondering if he had done the right thing. If the Spur's fans were looking for some support for Wilson then we might just have let one slip through our fingers. If it gives us pause over Dos Santos and Taarabt then it might have been a mistake worth making.
Jenas played positively and combined well with Huddlestone to set up Defoe's goal on the stroke of half time. Ledley King scored the first, again from a Kranjcar corner. James came, changed his mind, and was retreating as Ledley's header sailed past him. On the positive side, Defoe hit the post with James beaten and Lennon should have scored at the end. I think the James for Gomes question was decisively settled.
Michael Brown, another Tottenham Old Boy, was sent off late on and comparing him with our current mid fielders is a measure of the massive improvement in the squad over the last three seasons. I have sometimes criticised Palacios for underwhelming performances and wild tackling but Brown gave a display of pointless aggravation and petty nastiness which makes Wilson a shoe in for the Nobel Peace Prize.
His reputation as 'Iron Man Wilson' was confirmed as he apparently only arrived back from Honduras shortly before the game and came on soon after Boateng's goal before jet-lag had time to fully take effect. No doubt a quiet word from Joe Jordan convinced him that he was fit to play.
So that's defending a lead with 10 men to add to the roll call of achievement so far this season, along with three hat-tricks; coming from behind twice to get a draw away from home; beating a 'Top Four' side; winning away three times; scoring 5 goals four times. And that's only after 9 League games and 2 Cup matches.
Did I doubt that we would hold on against Portsmouth? To be honest I did but I should have had more faith because we are not the same team nowadays in terms of attitude. The midfield trio of Huddlstone, Jenas and Kranjcar performed well in a hostile, excitable situation where football might well have come second best more than it did.
Progress then all over the pitch with Modric and Woodgate still to return.
(Statistics from Spurs Odyssey and The Observer)