Well it worked against Bolton so why not give it a go against Fulham: smother them away from home; wrap them up and entice them back to the Lane where we devour them whole.
'Come into my parlour said the spider to the fly'
.Ah but what about Leeds? That was reverse psychology: lull them into a false sense of security; give them a chance at the Lane; then swat them just when they think they've cracked it. So I'm relieved in a disappointed Tottenham fan sort of way but clearly it was all part of the Tottenham overall grand plan. Neither side were prepared to risk everything to secure a Wembley semi-final place agaiinst Portsmouth. Fulham, although at home, had Europa Cup hopes and Juventas on their minds. With a depleted squad, we were content to do enough to bring them back to the Lane.
On a tight ground they were compact in defence and unadventurous in attack. Neither Crouch nor Pavlyuchenko got much room to work in. Both teams were missing their creative heart in midfield with Murphy and Huddlestone out. It opened up a little in the last quarter but neither side really departed from the safety first option. None-the-less on a rough hard pitch in windy conditions an impressive amount of decent football was played and not just by us. We had the better of the possession and they had the best of the few chances . Both keepers made a couple of decent saves. We forced another 9 corners and didn't make any of them count.
Palacios was voted our man of the match but Zamora was the best player on the pitch on the day. He has certainly changed his game since he was with us, relying more on strength to hold off challenges. He played most of the game with his back to goal, and trying to set up others . In his brief time at Spurs under Hoddle he scored a single goal in 20 or so appearances.
Palacios under the threat of a two game suspension for ten yellows patrolled the mid-field with intent but with more circumspection than usual, as he did at Everton and was all the better for it. No late lunges and more precision and time in his passing. Bale Modric and Kranjcar made a number of decent runs and we didn't overuse the long ball. Modric, playing in the centre, didn't make as much impact on the game as we would have liked. It took him some time to become more attack minded although he was playing in his normal position for Croatia. Perhaps he was under instructions to tend to his defensive duties first.
Harry chose the Ekotto option in defence, with Bale in midfield and it worked well enough although with several midfielders to return it may not be a long term option. Decisions will have to be made, sooner rather than later with any luck. Pavlyuchenko's control was poor in the first half but improved later and he made a useful contribution by dropping deep to cover. There was little sign of any rapport between the two strikers. They played like divorcees at a party determined to ignore each other. Defoe looked more threatening in his ten minute cameo than either of them.
A replay at the Lane is by no means a worst case scenario. None of our rivals for the top four played in the Premiership this weekend so that's yet another week in fourth to enjoy. Wigan bearing us no grudge beat Liverpool to give us a game in hand as well as a point of daylight and a superior goal difference. Our heavy defeat of Wigan might prove vital in the final analysis.
Harry said this week that what is important is 'the way we play'. I don't believe or agree with a lot of what Harry says except when he is running for the 'statement of the bleedin' obvious' award, but I hope he means this and if he does I will cut him a lot of slack. We haven't sold out to a billionaire playboy who wants results the day before yesterday and we haven't sacrificed our values in the search for glory and success so far. On Monday night Liverpool were ragged but also crude and over physical in a way that I hope we never resort to. And it didn't even work. Was this the Wigan side that we convincingly beat twice this season?
This can all be frustrating to older fans hungry for the return of the Glory, Glory days or for those too young to remember them, or fed up with hearing about them. Building success and making steady progress is more satisfying in the long run. Trust me. Who outside their fans loves Chelsea? Are they respected and admired? Similarly Man.City. Aren't we all delighted that the Abu Dhabi billions haven't bought them instant payback and have already led to the sacking of one manager. Birmingham, even with access to large Hong Kong fortunes, have done it the hard way and are commended for it.
We have won a lot of attention this season by the quality of our football. We have restored a lot of pride in ourselves and remained true to our traditions. It can all come unstuck obviously but there is no reason at the moment to suppose that it will.
The travails at Portsmouth, who have had more owners than league wins this season, and the discontent at Man. Utd should give us all pause for thought. Less than half of even Premiership clubs are financially viable and when new accounting rules are brought in, which they assuredly will be in the aftermath of the banking crises, then clubs who are trying to cut corners may find themselves broken down on the hard shoulder and not in the fast lane with the top down.
Mind you I've had this bloody 'Doom is Nigh' placard round my neck for some time.