Once again the all-new-Tottenham Hotspur prevail where once they would have crumbled. We certainly rode our luck to nick this victory, but on a weekend when our rivals Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City all failed to win away from home, we showed our mettle to hold on.
For that we can thank Aruna Dindane who missed two absolute sitters that even Sandra could have put away. Thanks must also go out to the recalled Heurelho Gomes, though as ever, his brilliant performance was not without the odd erratic moment.
Gomes made same spectacular saves that few (if any) other keepers in the Premier League could have matched. He made a brilliant save from Kaboul, but Portsmouth only had that free kick because Gomes’ poor clearance forced Jenas to make a foul. Gomes was also at fault for Kevin Prince Boateng’s goal, allowing the ball to pass him at his near post.
This spurred Pompey on as they chased an equaliser, but our Brazilian shot stopper was equal to everything else they threw at him. Overall it was a great individual performance, but it was not one that will completely silence his critics.
Another individual who had a mixed afternoon was Jermain Defoe. He looked very sharp and scored against his old team, but then let himself down by stamping on Mokoena (in quite a pathetic and girlie manner I might add) and got himself sent off.
Defoe has a poor disciplinary record when playing against his former teams and will now be punished with a three match ban that includes the away game at Arsenal. Redknapp apparently gave him a bollocking after the match and rightly so. Let’s hope that Pav’s ready for some action and is willing to take his chance.
Another player up against his former teammates was Niko Kranjcar, who provided another assist with his corner, that was met by the head of Ledley King to put us 1-0 ahead. Have we finally found someone who can deliver accurate and consistent corners? If we have, then Niko will be very important to us this season. Away games are often won or lost by how well a team can attack and defend set pieces (just ask Chelsea).
Our performances away from home is where we really can improve this season. We’ve always been viewed as a soft touch on the road and won only four away games last season, with just three the season before. We’ve already won three times on our travels this term and if we can keep it up, then our challengers will struggle to keep pace.
I’m starting to believe. Not that we will win the league, or anything silly like that just yet, but a top four place certainly isn’t beyond us. Our rivals are all dropping points and the top of the league should be a lot tighter this season. It’s Stoke next and whilst they should give us a good game, a win will make the derby game against The Scum, very interesting indeed.