Spurs have finally secured a win in this season's Premier League. A convincing 2-0 victory over Bolton has lifted spirits all around and conveniently raises Spurs fans' hopes in the build-up to next week's clash with bitter rivals Arsenal.
The derby is set to be aggressive, controversial, and crankier than Naomi Campbell on a long-haul flight.
Anyway, back to this afternoon at White Hart Lane.
Spurs started off lively for a change. Nothing touchy-feely from Spurs today.
They got straight to work. They were really getting into it, passing quickly and trying hard to incapacitate Bolton in the penalty box.
It took 17 minutes of trying to crack Bolton's defence until a distant, but accurate cross from David Bentley reached the head of one Roman Pavlyuchenko who—up until then—hadn't scored for Spurs since joining them in the summer.
Pav finally opened his goal account by meeting the cross with a precision header. The ball bounced once and slowly but surely spun inside the left post to raise the roof off the stadium (if they actually had a roof). Jaaskaleinen couldn't reach the slow-moving ball and Tottenham were off to a good start for once.
To be fair though, Pav did look slightly offside. A bit unlucky on Bolton's part, but unfortunately referees and officials don't seem to like taking their glasses with them to matches, or even admitting that they need glasses.
The first half looked good. It was a goal chance ratio of three Spurs chances to two Bolton chances. A skewed shot from 25 yards out from Bolton's John Elmander on 26 minutes didn't trouble Gomes at all, but he likes to jump to look hard-working.
Bolton did have some other opportunities in the first half. Matthew Taylor had a go from the right hand side, but the ball just trailed past the left of the goal.
All seemed pretty normal at Tottenham. Goals and mistakes in the defence too.
The second half commenced. Spurs still kept their game up from the offence end.
The Bolton defence were opened up more times than a nymphomaniac's legs.
However, Spurs did have their hairy moments. Small blunders from defence and short
switch-off episodes almost cost them the lead, which often happens.
In the 56th minute, Bolton got a more noticeable taste of Spurs' past miseries. Gavin McCann got yellow carded for a second time in the match after fouling Tom Huddlestone. Diarrhoea has to go somewhere.
Spurs mishaps (generously provided for all of our entertainments by Assou-Ekotto and Gomes) stirred things up and kept them interesting.
Heurelho Gomes sometimes played like he preferred to be called Heurelho Gormless.
He jumped to hit the ball out of the box too often; the ball sometimes made its way back towards the Spurs goal two seconds after doing so.
Bolton's best chance to score was when Gomes unnecessarily came off his line to clear a ball which was headed away by a number of other players. A Spurs defender headed it back towards the goal. Bolton made Spurs scramble to get the ball away again. Gomes' foot stopped a hard shot to save Spurs' blushes.
This type of blunder is usually caused by a combination of Spurs flinging themselves forwards to swarm the Bolton half and Bolton counter-attacking. Apart from that, Bolton found that incapacitating Spurs in their penalty box was harder than Kate Moss trying to incapacitate Pete Doherty in rehab.
Huddlestone and Jenas could've scored had they not thought that the goal net was suspended 50ft in the air.
This was a sign that Bolton were just beginning to scare Tottenham and work harder to try and get something from the match at hand. Who would want to be the first team to lose to Spurs this season anyway!?
Still, it just didn't work out for Bolton. Darren Bent earned a lenient penalty
after 85 minutes due to being challenged for the ball by Jaaskaleinen. And in true Berbatov style, Darren Bent tucked it away into the side of the goal to seal the win for Spurs.
But Spurs still weren't finished. Luka Modric tried to bring out the "Cruyff" in him after lately being looked at as a Cruyff-for-help. He flicked a ball over a Bolton defender with his right foot and firmly volleyed with his left in the 87th minute. The shot was met with an equally good parry from Jaaskaleinen.
Spurs had done what they needed to keep the win in their hands and learnt
that it's always dark before the dawn.
Harry Redknapp has already had a chant written in honour of him. The tune is to the song "Hallelujah."
No. I didn't write it. :)
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