Thursday, December 30, 2010

Singed by Spurs' wingers

Spurs 2 - 0 Newcastle Utd

Two goals courtesy of Spurs' flying wingers saw us finish the year with a defeat, and casting nervous glances over our shoulder at the relegation battle which is beginning behind us.

With Jose Enrique announcing to the world via Twitter that he wouldn't be playing thanks to a stiff hamstring, and Kevin Nolan suspended, Alan Pardew was forced to shuffle his pack and bring in James Perch at left back and Alan Smith into a five-man midfield.

In the first half, we coped relatively well, Perch doing a decent job on his "wrong" side and but for one moment - when Tim Krul pushed a Roman Pavlyuchenko header onto the post and then watched as it bounded along the goal line before clipping the other post and bouncing out - we looked reasonably secure at the back.

However, going forward neither Spidermag nor Spurs old boy Wayne Routledge were able to send anything decent in Rocky's direction, and our lone striker struggled to fashion a decent chance as a result.

The second half, unfortunately, demonstrated why Spurs' attacking play has seen them upwardly mobile in recent weeks, firstly when Aaron Lennon was given too much space by Perch and the winger was able to fire past Krul to give the home team the lead, and then when Gareth Bale was released on the counter-attack and he charged up field before eventually cutting inside Steven Taylor and hammering in the goal which killed off the match.

At that point, we'd been on the attack, with Rocky dispossessed on the edge of the Spurs box seconds before Bale scored at the other end, and with the home team down to ten men after Younes Kaboul had headutted Cheik Tiote (an altercation which had prompted a full and frank exchange of views between the two dug-outs).

Sadly for us, Bale's goal knocked the wind from our sails and even though we continued to plug away Spurs were able to see off the remainder of the game without too much to worry about.

Reflecting on the match, I suspect it's the last time Jose Enrique will be tweeting about his availability to play matches, and as the January transfer window beckons it served as a pointer to both new manager and Jabba as to the squad's shortcomings.  Whether that warning is heeded remains to be seen, but we're now in the bottom half and our next two games against Wigan and West Ham look to be very big ones indeed.

A Spurs fan's view: Dear Mr Levy

Other reports: BBC, Guardian

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