9-1, well played lads, 'nuff said.
Oh! The Blogmaster says I can't get away with that, check the small print in the Blogcontract. OK. then: very well played lads. Nope, still not enough. Remember, less is more, 'Brevity is the soul of wit' Blogmaster.
Anyway at half-time I was thinking 'Stoke again' even though this time we had got the early goal and Lennon was looking purposeful if not positively single minded. For 25mins. we throttled and harassed and bewildered them and could have been 3 or 4 up.
Then we relented and let them play with ball a bit and although their shooting was woeful we gave them the opportunity to get back into the game. We played as if we had forgotten what Harry had said as we left the dressing room, something about high tempo, attack and closing down the midfield.
He obviously repeated it with threats at half time because the game was transformed by Defoe's deadly finishing and Lennon's tormenting of ex-Spur Edman in his first return to White Hart Lane. He must have called him a 'hyperactive dwarf' or something at some stage in the first half because after that Lennon failed to extend him the usual courtesies.
This was a squad victory : no Keane or King our team and club captains; no Modric, our best player though Kranjcar was no mere understudy here; no Jenas, exhausted after marking Kaka against Brazil presumably.
But everyone stepped up including captain for the day Woodgate and especially Huddlestone, who has started every game this season. Even Bentley managed an assist and a goal in his fifteen minutes of fame. Goals flew in from everywhere and every mistake, and there were several, by the Wigan defence was punished. Palacios too although still giving away free kicks unnecessarily was more positive and searching with his passes. We were rightly punished by Scharner's goal which he clearly handled but there was not a man within five yards of him when he scored.
We go to Aston Villa in the top four as of right. No need to study the table or take into account games in hand. Even if we were to lose at Villa, thanks to Jermain, we would still be fourth(unless they win by seven goals). How much it means in terms of confidence and momentum is difficult to assess but clearly it can't be negative.
I stress a squad performance because we are approaching the perils of the January transfer window. This leads to the annual pleas for buying players to take us to the next level. Well friends at the moment we are already there, achieved by Harry buying frugally and well since he arrived and assembling a quality squad who deserve some stability, loyalty, and continuity.
Players who are better than what we have are unlikely to come to us mid-season and in any case may disrupt the team dynamics or may take time to settle into the team or the Premiership. I think that Harry should tinker and fine tune a little more, try a limited amount of the rotation which was forced on him against Wigan, recall O'Hara, and stick with the present squad. We don't need to replace Pavlyuchenko if he goes because we don't use him anyway.
The lessons of the 9-1 victory were that we played at a high tempo, had a balanced 442 formation, kept the approach play mainly on the ground, despite Crouch starting, and apart from the 20 minutes before half time closed down the midfield.
I always have that 'This could be the day' feeling at kick-off. Its ridiculous I know but yesterday was just such a day and one to remember. Let's hope we don't have to wait another 30 yrs for something similar.