The FA Cup third round… 3pm kick off… lower league opposition. It’s enough to make me come over all Ron Manager.
In a weekend when Liverpool could only draw with Reading and Manchester United were humiliated at home by Leeds, it was pleasing to see Tottenham dispense with Peterborough with relative ease.
Right from the off we were all over them and carving out chances. Defoe missed an opportunity to put us in front, as he slid in to attempt to convert a cross from the left and then soon after, somehow conspired to hit the bar, with the open goal gaping in front of him.
Eventually we took the lead as Modric and Kranjcar combined in their first start together in a Tottenham shirt. A nice ball from Modric found Kranjcar on the left, who cut inside and fired an unstoppable drive past Joe Lewis.
The goal came just at the right time, as Lewis was in great form in their goal and if they’d have held out much longer, Peterborough might have started to imagine that they could force a draw, or some such fanciful tosh . Lewis has long been reported to be a Tottenham target and on this evidence, would be a decent signing to provide competition for Gomes.
Kranjcar made it 2-0 when he converted from Gareth Bale’s cross in the second half, before Defoe killed the game with an identikit goal from another Bale pass. Deputising for Assou-Ekotto, Bale really looked the part and was a constant menace when attacking. It’s true that he didn’t have much to do defensively, but this display should certainly help his confidence and reaffirmed that Bale remains a player of great promise. If Harry could get Assou-Ekotto playing as well as he does now, then why not someone of Bale’s talents?
The final goal came in the dying seconds of the match, as we won a penalty after Danny Rose was brought down in the box. Keane converted from the spot, to add a much needed goal to his season’s statistics.
We fielded a very strong side, despite making a few changes from the team that defeated West Ham. Modric and Kranjcar look as if they will be able to ease the pain of Aaron Lennon’s injury, with their collected guile compensating for the lack of pace that the absence of our fleet-footed winger inevitably brings.
It was also a good opportunity to take a look at Danny Rose, who slotted in well, without being remarkable. We even got to catch a glimpse of Kyle ‘Ken’ Naughton, who despite looking somewhat uncomfortable when playing as a left back, seems pretty calm and composed when in possession.
With the match never really a two horse race, the crowd spent much of the time amusing themselves. My favourite recollection is some bloke stealing Paul Whitehouse’s latest catchphrase and chanting a surreal ‘Green Army!’, at our country cousins from Peterborough.
Heurelho Gomes received his now customary invitation from the crowd to ‘sleep with my wife’, in a song which began as a piss take, but grows in sincerity with each passing clean sheet. I’m not quite sure though, why so many Spurs fans sang in praise of Pavlyuchenko when he came on as a sub. Do players who constantly bleat about leaving to the press deserve a rousing reception? He certainly didn’t seem inspired by the singing of his name to bother putting in any effort.
Small gripes concerning players who probably won’t be with us much longer aside, this was a pleasing display in front of a healthy attendance. Our reward is a home tie against Leeds, in a game which must be destined for television coverage. On this evidence, I’ve every faith that we’ll give them a much tougher game than Manchester United managed.