Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The lean, mean, biting machine...

The papers have all had their say, even the Sports Minister has chipped in with his two pennies worth, Harry Redknapp has defended him, so has Jol of course; it’s the topic that is dividing the nation in what must be a slow news week. Did Defoe really bite Mascherano, and if so why? Is he a child? Does he like biting men? It’s all very strange. In true Arsene Wenger fashion, The Waddler didn’t see it at the time from the posh seats in the West Stand, and TV replays have proved inconclusive. Surely its only a matter of time before Sepp Blatter, Pele and Kofi Annan all have their say and poor little Jermain is being tried for war crimes in the Hague.

The fact is though that the controversy has hidden a decent Spurs performance and taken pressure off Pardew that would have been turned up a notch after seven straight defeats. Spurs gave West Ham a good going over for about 80 minutes, and went some way for avenging the defeat on the last day of the season. Having only had one day to prepare, and on the back of a trip to the furthest reaches of Europe, it was a good performance, very solid, and with a little more composure in front of goal, mainly from the mean, lean biting machine it would have been more emphatic.

Aaron Lennon was back to his zippy best, and Paul Konchesky will be waking up in cold sweats at the memory of the little man whizzing past him like Road Runner. Tom Huddlestone seems to be growing by the game, adding little drag backs and flicks to his sublime passing skills. Mido started the game like he was wearing lead boots, with every pass being fizzed at a team mate’s chest or over his head. On the stroke of half time though he scored a goal out of the top draw, a beautiful flick up, twist and volley that went in off the post. He is a bit of an enigma, as he is a big guy, who is good in the air and gets labelled as simply a target man, but he is capable of subtlety when he wants and after the goal he became twice the player he was at the start of the game. He could have had a hat-trick with a header off the bar, and just failing to get on the end of a perfect Huddlestone cross.

Jol likes to hang on to a lead, and memories of the fixture from last season came flooding back with a series of corners towards the end that made for a nervy last few minutes. The result was different this time around though as Spurs hung on, and if Steve Bennett, the referee, was able to see beyond his nose, then Spurs would have had it far easier with Konchesky sent off for bringing down the biting machine, and a penalty when Robbie Keane was brought down in the box. It was not to be however, but alls well that ends well and Spurs should be able to send out a reserve team at MK Dons on Wednesday and concentrate on winning their first away game in the league this season at Watford on Saturday.

The Waddler.