Tottenham vs Newcastle 9th February 2013

Not many pictures of the match as I was right up the back sandwiched between 2 blokes who were of a similar size to me – Extra Large, so taking snaps was a bit tricky!

The Journey

No engineering works, Waterloo & City line working fine, not snowing! I had the luxury of not having to leave home until 09:00 – result! The train from God’s own county, Dorset, was on time and I had a nice comfy seat for the unusually quick 2hours 14 minutes journey to Waterloo. A two minute wait for the underground saw me arrive at Liverpool Street at around 11:00 so I had time for a nice refreshing pint of Doombar in the White Hart Pub before getting on the train to White Hart lane.

The journey back was equally pleasant, and I got home a 18:30. I love these Saturday lunchtime games! After the trip a fortnight ago for the Manchester United game which entailed an eleven hour round-trip yesterday’s journey was

The Match

For me there were three parts to this match.  The first 15 minutes saw Tottenham playing at their very best.  Fluid, accurate passing, control of the game and something that I have thought lacking in the Tottenham side this year – pace.

Then there was the hour in between the first and last 15 minutes when to be honest some of the passing was very poor and the pace disappeared completely, during this time I thought he game could have gone either way.

Then,  the game caught fire again in the last 15 minutes- including the nail-biting 7 minutes of stoppage time, we all know what has happened to Spurs so often in the closing stages of games this season!

Gareth Bale was majestic.  That isn’t an exaggeration, he really was that good and without him I very much doubt if we could have won the game.  He could have scored six goals and absolutely should have scored his hat-trick, some very fine goalkeeping from Krul denying him the match ball.  Still two great goals and a win for Spurs more than made up for me losing the bet I had placed on a hat-trick being scored in the game, so close but no beer money for me I’m afraid.  His first goal came from a wonderful free kick, I was expecting for some reason that he would go for the top left corner of the goal but he went up and over the wall to slot the ball into the bottom right, giving the goalkeeper absolutely no chance.

Holtby had a very good game there were flashes of pure brilliance between him, Lennon and Bale that were very promising for the future. Once those 3 get used to each other then they will be totally invincible. Lewis had a couple of very decent attempts.

Scott Parker and Michael Dawson worked as hard as you would expect from these 2 top pros. Passion and work rate undoubted, but the passing was poor, especially from Michael. Dempsey didn’t impress me, I know he has just got back from a long trip, but the charges laid against JD of being greedy could be equally brought against Clint, and I still think he goes down too easily when challenged. Dembele was off form today his passing was also pretty poor. Kyle Walker really had a poor game in my opinion, and if Lennon hadn’t been racing back doing Kyle’s job when he was nowhere near where he should have been then I think the result could have been very different. Caulker as usual just did his job well, he never stands out, nothing flash, just solid play. Adebayor didn’t have a lot to do, but what he did do wasn’t brilliant.

Reading through the posts on the ShelfsideSpurs forum, among the top quality posting that is always found there I found the usual old rubbish from the intellectually challenged minority, let me tell you that NOBODY was ‘s**t’ as some folks so eloquently write, but I don’t think it was as good a performance as we are capable of and that really makes me happy, why’s that you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you why – because if we can beat a team that beat Chelsea last week, playing at let’s say 60% of our potential, then when the team IS firing on all cylinders we can mullah ANYBODY. There were times in the match when we looked like a proper Champions League side, in the 1st and last 15 minutes particularly, now we just need to do that for the whole 90 minutes and ‘the worlds our lobster’!

It was great to see a win at the Lane at last – this is my 5th game this season and the first win I have been lucky enough to witness. I was beginning to think that I was jinxing them. Fantastic performance again by Bale with Lennon and Holtby also doing great work.

And finally

We were third for a couple of hours and it felt good! Even after Chelsea’s win we are still just one point behind them and only five points behind Manchester City who are in second, both of the clubs above us are catchable so I think we have a great chance of Champions League qualification this year. OK, I know it went ‘Spurs shaped’ last year when we were 10 points clear in third at the same stage of the season, but that won’t happen again will it?