Sunday, 2 March 2014

Spurs 1-0 Cardiff City, 2nd March 2014


It’s quite funny really. I’m lucky enough to have been to a few of the amazing eateries across the US that Adam Richman has featured on his show, and now he has been lucky enough to visit White Hart Lane, the most amazing football ground he will ever have been to.

Adam is of course the Brooklyn raised dude who hosts Man v Food, this crazy yet enticing show where he used to eat as much as he could stomach at these most incredible restaurants in a set time. A bit like some of us used to do when we were younger. So why is this significant, you ask? At half time we were introduced to Adam, which was wonderful in itself, and this sweet half-time chat with our Man v Food guy allowed us to escape the Man v Dire fare that Spurs were dishing up, in a they-will-never-win-Masterchef sort of way.

Like cooking, preparation is so much the key in football, and with Lennon on the right, Townsend on the left, Adebayor and Soldado up front, things looked very well balanced indeed. Time to light the fires.

But Paulinho and Dembele failed to put in a decent shift, and Townsend’s lethargy coupled with his usual desire to shoot on sight if he can even sniff the goal meant Tottenham’s midfield were as far away from being cooked to perfection as one of the greasy burgers along the Tottenham High Road.

Okay, enough of the food analogies, as they’re getting a bit stale. Adebayor played more off Soldado than alongside him. Ade sported a rather large bandage on one leg and there had been talk that he had been playing in some pain. Fortunately for Spurs that hasn’t stopped him scoring, playing well or being someone we can’t do without. He was indispensable yet again, even setting up the goal for Roberto Soldado that had been promised for such a long time now. Adebayor’s slightly deeper positioning may have been a result of his minor injury that he possibly has, or Sherwood playing Soldado more centrally in the hope that he may score which he did, or both, even. Whatever, even though the midfield misfired yet again, this tactic worked out fine just enough to win the game.

The jubilation on Soldado’s face said it all. He had been waiting for it for so long, and his goal was even more important in that it proved to the winner; he was smothered by the entire team save the ‘keeper while celebrating in front of the Park Lane crowd. Robbie played well on top of that as well, linking better than most of the midfielders. He is quick, he tries hard, and the White Hart Lane crowd have sung his name without yet being rewarded with goals because they know they will come, with interest.

Nice touch of the day came when the Spurs crowd started singing to anyone associated with Cardiff “you’re supposed to play in blue… (repeat ad infinitum)” to which the Cardiff City fans responded in kind followed by respectful applause all around. Generally, we all have a healthy competitive dislike of each other, but as football fans, on some things you just can’t help but stand together, and Vincent Tan’s disrespectful change of colour of the Bluebirds’ kit left a bad taste in the mouth for everyone. You just know that the next owner will change it back. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but how else could you possibly get the entire fan-base on your side so quickly? Restore the club’s history and traditions, that’s how.

On the flipside, Cardiff’s Craig Bellamy showed that he hasn’t totally shaken off the slightly annoying bad boy image that has followed him around. After one naughty tackle by his team mate Kim, Bellamy said something to rattle the referee’s ire and got booked. The ref had barely turned away to allow the game to resume when Bellamy stupidly mouthed off again. The ref turned back to him and for a moment it looked like he was going to wave a second yellow and then a red. But he didn’t, and Bellamy stayed on the pitch. Lucky boy, lucky boyo?

Cardiff may be languishing near the bottom of the table but they created chances, as they did even when mauled at home by Hull city last week. They came close to equalising a few times. On one of these occasions a corner found the head of a Cardiff player but it was luckily blocked by Lloris who was, to be honest, more perfectly positioned to block than he was able to react to stop it.

Spurs fans would have been expecting more than one goal after the aforementioned slaughter by Hull. Three points are of course the most important thing, but performances are in the doldrums. This is getting a bit concerning as a string of very tough games are coming up. A look at the fixture list will have Spurs fans reaching for the bottle. Losing Kyle Walker is massive as he has been one of the most important players for Spurs this season. I find myself even missing Danny Rose’s industry; he’s not a left back by any definition, but he penetrates deeper than the uninspiring midfield and even looks more capable of scoring than they do.

Michael Dawson blocked in the way that sometimes only he can do, but he has to show this consistently. Jan Vertonghen may be emerging out of his dark place which will be of much use in the coming weeks. Goalie Hugo had to get in the way a few times which is just fine, but his distribution is worse than Postman Pat with a dodgy sat-nav.

Timmie’s Boys go marching on, they are still just about in touch of a top four place, but there are some mighty strong teams to displace up there if Spurs can come through the coming fixtures relatively unscathed. It will be tough, but at least Spurs can at least rightly say they are in a position to challenge. Up until four or five years ago they wouldn’t have been at the races. But they are now. So you really, really do have to watch this space.

Come on You Spurs! 

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