“It’s like deja vu all over again” said Yogi Berra. For 76 minutes Spurs fans understood the American legend completely. Despite dominating possession and territory, Tottenham found themselves a goal down against ‘lesser’ opponents. Never mind the 1-0 loss last season against Wolves, the defeat by the same score line against Wigan in the previous game at the Lane was fresh in the mind.
Wolves tactics until their goal involved smashing it forward to no one in particular. For most of the first half all their players were behind the ball. While Spurs created several decent chances at no point did the crowd feel confident that a Spurs goal was forthcoming. As the clock ticked into the fortieth minute, that familiar sense of inevitability descended upon the stands. With their first real attack of the game, Wolves scored.
This habit of conceding goals in the final minutes of halves is becoming annoying. Werder Bremen, Wigan, West Brom and now Wolves has taken advantage of a collective switch off after spells of domination. Unlike the Wigan game we created chances, but as the game wore on the rigidness of the 4-4-2 became apparent. The strikers again failed to move from their central positions, the central midfielders stayed in their positions and the full backs often started too deep to really cause the opposition problems.
Kaboul had played fairly well but Alan Hutton’s introduction made a big difference. Willing to run further into the box there was a brief sign of intent before the first half ended as he won a corner after a burst forward. In the second half the Scotsman went close with a curling left footed effort before making the run that brought a challenge from Ward and the penalty that brought us back into the game.
The fans had clamoured for substitutions as the second half progressed and it was another sub that scored our second goal. Pavlyuchenko, rather anonymous since his arrival onto the pitch but showing a desire to run the channels, produced a composed finish when the ball fell to his feet ten yards out. Hutton’s fortuitous ‘strike’ gave the score a more flattering outlook but was no less than the White Cafu deserved.
After 257 minutes of Premiership football we scored against Wolves. After 9 years, we won a Premier League game in September. After three appearances, Rafael Van der Vaart opened his goal scoring account for Spurs. The match was not a classic, and the team needs to perform better against lower opposition. But its three much needed points that propels us into fourth spot, for the time being.
Krafty’s MoM: Alan Hutton. Rafael Van der Vaart looks a real class act, but the Scotsman showed the attacking dynamism that convinced us to splash over £8 million on him and helped us on to victory. Defensively people may question him but I felt he did fairly well, and his no holds barred tackles are much needed in a rather lightweight team. Is he the latest player to save his Spurs career?
Krafty’s Resurrection Man: Jermaine Jenas. After a strong performance in Bremen, JJ put in another good effort. He made a couple of excellent sliding challenges and showed good hunger in the middle of the park. Jenas also made one superb break forward, beating several men before running out of ideas in the penalty box. Yes, there was one break forward where he seemed to then lose the ability to kick a football, but overall it was a good performance that now needs to be the base for all his other showings.
Krafty’s fallen hero: Robbie Keane. If he had scored one of his two good chances, especially the header from Bale’s cross, then it may be all different. Unfortunately, Keane looks increasingly ungainly. The Irishman lacks fluidity in his running, appearing a touch slow, and he lacks the intuitive link up that he enjoyed with Berbatov. At this point in time, especially with Van der Vaart’s arrival, you have to question Keane’s role in the team.