The Blog that's not always wrong.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Not a bad result at all really.

A star is born?

 Well I've given it 48hrs following my warning about blogging when you're angry or in this case euphoric, and my considered opinion is still the same: we were 'sensational' as they say on MOTD. Not because we outplayed them but because we didn't succumb. This wasn't quite 'winning ugly' but more like 'drawing unattractively'

They didn't let us play our game so we showed that we can play a different one. In fact they played more in our style and we played more in theirs. This was AC Milan in attack mode; a very different team than the one we played in Italy. Seedorf was transformed in his deeper lying role and one wonders what might have happened if they had played as they did on Wednesday in the first leg.

We looked them straight in the eye and said,' Come on then if you think you're good enough'.
They said, 'OK, we will'. But they weren't .It wasn't until the last ten minutes that I become worried that we might just let it slip away but in fact by then it was all over. They engineered very few clear cut chances and apart from Gallas clearing off the line there were very few alarms.

Gomes went walk about once and almost brought Pato down, but he made two excellent saves, several clean catches, one brave dive and had just the one mad moment. I like my keepers just this side of crazy and our success over the past two seasons could not have been achieved without him.

It was nice to see that Modric can have a quiet game and still be pretty effective. Van Der Vaart was clearly not match fit, and Piennar lively for the first fifteen minutes. Sandro was the stand out player, tackling with control, moving the ball quickly, maintaining his position and looking as if he might be the player we hoped he would be and the player we thought that Palacios was.

Let’s not burden the boy with the weight of too much expectation but two very good performances against top class opposition look more than promising. It is significant that his best games have been in Europe where the pace is not as hectic as it is in the Premiership.

Gallas verged on the edge of excellent, well supported by the rest of the back four. Crouch was a handful and might have scored. We were a bit one dimensional but got away with it. Crouch had, rather unfairly, 14 fouls given against him. Lennon teased and tormented and made several good runs and crosses. In the absence of Bale he supplied the threat on the break.

This was our 15th home game without defeat, since in fact we lost to Arsenal in the Carling Cup
on the 26th of September. A tight, tense game where once again we didn't pick up a single yellow card though Boateng's dramatics might easily have earned Sandro one. Discipline by Team Spurs at Fortress White Hart Lane. Harry got it all about right given the injuries and tactically for all his bluster was content to play a restrictive formation. His main input was to instil in the team the spirit and attitude to operate at this level as he did to good effect in the first leg.

The opening minutes showed that we had intended to match them but were forced into a more defensive pattern by the energy and passing of Milan. Harry again demonstrated that he can think on his feet. Milan played a high line from the start and we increasingly fell back restricting the room in which they could operate. We improvised and kept our precious away goal intact.

So a fine result in an uncharacteristic performance but it's nice to know we can be miserly when required and the confidence bred by this game will stand us in good stead in the quarter finals and will perhaps spill over into the final 10 games in the Premiership.

As each Champions' League game comes and goes I am moving from the belief that every game after qualifying is a bonus to the idea that we might just get be good enough to make further progress even as far as getting to the final. With Bale, Van Der Vaart, Huddlestone, Ledley and Woodgate all having another 10 days to get back to fitness things can only get better.

We celebrated coming 4th last year and progressing to the latter stages of the Champions' League this, but it is still true that we haven't won anything yet. We are coming to an important crossroads at Tottenham: at what point do we abandon our commitment to positive, entertaining football in favour of a more pragmatic approach in the name of success? Ideally one leads to the other but we look as if we might have to swap some of the former for a larger share of the latter.

New Books in the Spurs Library.

Walking on Water. By Harry Redknapp. (Triffic Publications)

Not all Brazilians are the same. By Sandro and Gomes (Stereotype Studies)

Earning my Spurs. By William Gallas. ( French Connection Press)

Enigmas wrapped in a mystery. By Jenas and Pavlyuchenko.   (Riddle Books Inc)

Small is beautiful. By Modric Lennon and Defoe. (Schumacher Updates Imprint)
New additions to this list are welcome.

Taken all round not a bad result at all.

( No Arsenal fans were abused, injured or harmed in the writing of this blog)


Anonymous said...

Good article. I agree with your assesment of the game and the players. I'm glad that you, unlike some other bloggers recognised that Luka even "quiet" still contributed not only defensively by covering/running over 11.000 meters, but also calming things in the middle (by far most passes completed in Spurs team and also with biggest percentage).
Also, I agree about expections warning regarding Sandro, because people tend to overreact (positively and even more negatively). The guy is a great prospect, and I saw this him since his first appearance against Arsenal in the CC, but many were talking about him pretty negatively after his one mistake against Bolton.

elwehbi@ibleedhotspur said...

"My Affair with Peter Crouch" by Rafael Van Der Vaart (Dutch Pancakes Publishing House).

Great to be back on the quality JimmyG2 blog! Excellent post as always my friend. The best part of that match was watching Sandro cover every inch of the field. He was absolutely stellar in my opinion. At 21, if he continues to play like this, he will be the real deal. Bring on the quarter-finals!


Anonymous said...

accurate and perceptive match assessment

JimmyG2 said...

Anon first poster.
Well we do have a tendency to reject or adulate people too quickly.

Hallo again friend.
So Crouch and Van eh?
Come on, do tell what you know.

elwehbi@ibleedhotspur said...

A gentleman never tells.

Anonymous said...

I can confirm my affair with Crouch is a rumour put about by my enemies.

Great report, the character of the team plus the contributions of each player, just right. I didn't realise Luka ran 11k. So right to say he did his bit without being the star on the night.

Right, I'm off the read How To Be A DJ by Benny Assou Ekotto (Schyster and Schyster Press). Well, he's not going to write anything about football, is he? Even he was delighted.

TMWNN said...

"We are coming to an important crossroads at Tottenham: at what point do we abandon our commitment to positive, entertaining football in favour of a more pragmatic approach in the name of success?"

100% agree with this. It isn't, as some would have it, money that is stopping us from being successful but tactics.

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