Friday, October 20, 2006

Brilliant Berbatov

A great performance by Spurs last night in Turkey, and a brilliant show from Dimitar Berbatov who capped off a fine night with a cracking individual goal. He also had an assist for the first goal, scored eventually by the impressive Hossam Ghaly, and really should have had a penalty and another assist when Robbie Keane somehow managed to hit the bar from 10 yards out. He was quite rightly singled out by both managers after the game.

"Berbatov showed some flashes of his quality.” Big Martin Jol said, “We've always said if our strikers can make a difference then we will be a good team. Berbatov is the extra quality we have up front. It was a terrific goal and, hopefully, it will break the spell as we have struggled to score this season."

The Besiktas football director, Jean Tigana, also felt Berbatov was the difference: "His goal was fantastic. When you have a player like that it is a lot easier to win. He can change a game by himself. Tottenham were very good.”

Neither of them were wrong either, as last night our new Bulgarian hero showed what he is about. His strength and ability to hold the ball up is excellent, and his composure and close control are a marvel to watch. With his goal he showed that you don’t need raw pace to beat players, just some skill and guile are enough to do the job, as he out foxed both the defender and the goalkeeper, before stroking it home. Robbie Keane needs to follow him around in training because he can learn a lot from this man. Robbie was woefully out of touch last night in terms of his shooting; hitting the bar, tapping a tame effort at the keeper and blazing one over the top during the course of the evening. If it wasn’t for his profligacy in front of goal, Spurs could have gone home with 3 or 4 goals without reply. It wasn’t all Robbie’s fault that didn’t happen though, with the referee ignoring a stick on penalty when Berbs was brought down in the box. If that had been up the other end with 36,000 Turks baying for blood, one suspects he may have given it.

Some good performances by Pascal Chimbonda, again, and Jermaine Jenas are also worth highlighting. Both men work tirelessly in their respective positions, and both have calmness under pressure and use their skill when the opportunity arises. It was also great to have Ledley back, he’s the type of player that you often don’t notice because he simply does everything well, and is always neat and tidy and gives the team a confidence in its defending. Tom Huddlestone also didn’t look out of place on the European stage, especially considering he is only 19 years old. He is a little slow when in possession, but he’ll learn, and Besiktas took to fouling him horribly in an attempt to threaten his midfield domination with JJ.

It was an excellent away performance, another great European night for Spurs to add to the collection, and a reminder for those younger fans what Tottenham Hotspur is all about - glory. After some Turkish baths no doubt last night, Spurs head home this morning, full of beans, ready to put the little brother West Ham back in their place on Sunday. Has that corner now been turned? Its looking good, the proof will be on Sunday.

The Waddler.