I may have a few crumbs of comfort for the Bolton fan who rang 606 last night to bemoan his side’s lack of application and effort. The same thing happens after every game these days, the fans of the opposing side making a similar complaint, and the common denominator is Spurs. Rather than your team not trying, it’s because they couldn’t get near us.
If it’s any consolation, this has come as a bit of a surprise for us too. The movement, the pace, consistency and teamwork – not words that trip off the keyboard when writing about the Tottenham of recent years. But hey, this is us, this is the real deal and its mesmerising allure has both our hapless opponents and the worshipping fans under its spell.
My only worry is how I’ll feel when this ends, the comedown during the long morning after the night before when my drug of choice fails to deliver the high that transports me onto a higher mental state.Still, that’s a while away, judging by this performance, and until then I’ll take my fill of this compelling delirium.
Another staggering, scintillating performance. Never mind the league position, on days like this, we are watching a side play football just for the sheer pleasure of being able to express themselves. Like a child who after toil and tears suddenly jumps on their bike and peddles off down the path, they’ve discovered the secret without quite knowing when or how. Once there, all they want to do is try it out.
So much to choose from the riches on display, where to begin? Luka Modric was the brightest star in the firmament. Scott Parker gives him the foundation and confidence. Freed from the anxieties of having to carry the whole midfield on his shoulders, he has that extra split-second in which to act and that’s all he needs. The ball to Parker that sliced open the Bolton defence would be a highlight of this and any other game if it weren’t for the earlier moment of sublime artistry when he arced a pass 40 yards into Benny’s stride. In the first half, two or three shorter and quicker efforts were no less excellent because they demonstrated the skill to deliver the ball to a particular blade of grass but also the vision to see where a team-mate’s run will be completed and an awareness of the defender’s position.
Bale, exuberant and unfettered on the left. How can a cross that was missed by not one but two players, Adebayor and Defoe, remain so memorable? When Bale delivers, that’s when. His diagonal runs inside caused problems throughout and he would have scored again if he had stayed calmer with his shooting. Bolton don’t do corners but those near-post runs if properly timed are hard to pick up. Scored one made one. The boot to the crowd looked bizarre from the Shelf but I get it now, a nice gesture.
Lennon capped a fine match with a well-taken goal that came at the right time, banishing any niggling doubts that we would be unable to convert our massive superiority into goals. He took it with the composure of a class striker, waiting for his moment amidst the bustle of the box, sensing that he had time and space then placing the ball into the corner. You couldn’t always describe his football in this way, and whilst I’m on the subject of changes, his ball control has been top quality lately.
And what are opponents supposed to do when you have both Lennon and Walker on the same flank? When the full-back is as strong as a centre-half and as quick as the fastest winger in the Premier League? When this same player made 44 passes and every single one of them went to a team-mate? He showed his defensive naivety when he committed to an interception that he missed and let in Eagles. However, he has the pace to get out of trouble and the capacity to learn. For the second goal, his header clipped away a corner then while the rest of the defence is ambling upfield he dashes twenty yards to pick up a pass, moves it on and sets up the move that resulted in yet another Spurs end to end goal.
Before this turns into a list, I must mention Defoe who was particularly good in the first half. He’s worked on his all round game and looks better now he’s coming from deeper rather than hanging around in the box.
We’d established our dominance before Cahill was unfairly sent off. Normally red cards are followed by delighted roars of derision from the crowd. This one was accompanied by an embarrassed murmur. With Spurs in this mood and form, Bolton stood no chance. However, credit Parker with the timing if this and other sorties forward. Throughout he picked his moment, ten yards acceleration to exert even more pressure.
The coaching staff at Spurs have been much maligned, although no one’s complaining at the moment. Before we scored, Kevin Bond was shouting and gesticulating at the strikers and midfield to pressure Bolton’s back four. They had obviously sussed this as a weakness. Result – we gain possession for the passage of play that led to the corner and first goal, then to the sending off incident. Also, if the skills coach is working on ball control, he has succeeded when other have failed. Anyone know his name? And banish any complaints about the players’ fitness – they look like they can run forever, but if you played the game like we are right now, you’d want to play all night.
Brilliant teamwork, breathtaking movement, we should have won by six. Their keeper was in fine form, although Manu does have a tendency to find the keeper. Rather than get over-excited, let’s just….hang on, for now, I’m going to leave it there. Actually, let’s get over-excited. Enjoy every moment. Rave on dementedly about how good this is and worry about the future another day. It’s not often you see Spurs play football this good. It’s a wonderful feeling to be a Tottenham fan.
Football fans have shown their true colours in the wave of empathy afforded to Gary Speed. My sympathy and good wishes to his family. The minute’s applause began yesterday before the referee’s signal, such was the desire to show our feelings.
Except that is by a few people in the executive boxes who felt that because they are privileged and behind glass, they are presumably different to the rest of us and therefore did not have to stand and applaud. They could not be bothered to lift their snouts out of the corporate trough to pay a moment’s tribute. Top tier boxes in the centre, above the tunnel and the bench. I can see you, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.