When my wife gave birth a couple of months ago, we we going to call the baby ‘Aaron’ if it were a boy. Instead our baby was a girl and we unwittingly still managed to name her after a Tottenham legend. We called her ‘Rose’.
If I were Danny Rose I would announce my retirement this morning, safe in the knowledge that things could never get any better in my career. It would be the football equivalent of J.D.Salinger polishing off The Catcher In The Rye and then promptly putting his typewriter up for sale on eBay.
What a way to endear yourself to the Spurs faithful. Indeed, I am harbouring a warm glow for all our team right now. After the apathetic performance at Wembley, there was no better way to prove that our team do have a bit of backbone than to beat The Scum.
Kudos must also go to Tottenham’s twelfth man – the White Hart Lane crowd, who collectively created a raucous atmosphere that ensured that the intensity on the pitch never abated. At first we were more preoccupied with the sport of bating Sol Campbell than the actual football match, but then Rose scored his wonder-strike and we actually started to turn our attentions to the game.
What a strike. I think it’s fair to say that the goal was one of the greatest, if not the best goal, ever scored in a North London derby. Just when you were expecting the cleared ball to be looped back into the box in hope, Rose decided to prove that he has an eye for the unexpected and smashed a perfectly hit volley towards the net and past the scrambling Arsenal keeper.
Many a quizzical eyebrow was raised at the sight of Rose’s name on the team sheet and it’s fair to say that goal aside, the experiment of playing Rose on the right wing didn’t really work out, with the youngster being replaced by David Bentley at half-time. The strike will at least ensure that Rose gets more opportunities and hopefully they’ll come on the left wing, where he feels more at home.
Having taken the lead, we sat back as Arsenal controlled the possession. They had so much of the ball that it seemed like they had to score before half-time, but they tended to go round in circles and failed to create meaningful chances. 1-0 at the break.
The second half had hardly kicked off when Defoe’s turned infield from the left wing and played a perfect defence-splitting ball, that the waiting Bale calmly slid into the net. Quite what Bale was doing lurking around on the right side is anyone’s guess, but after waiting a cautionary few seconds to ensure that he wasn’t offside, White Hart Lane went into party mode.
It was another great game for Bale. The other day I read Harry saying that Bale was the best left back in the country. I don’t disagree on current form, but it made me laugh considering that until a couple of months ago Harry clearly didn’t even think that he was the best left back at Spurs. Bale’s rise has been incredible. Earlier this season there was speculation that he would join Notts Forest and yet now he’s the most important attacking element of the team.
At 2-0 up we started to play as if we really believed in ourselves. I’m not normally a fan of Luka Modric in the middle, but against Arsenal’s powderpuff midfield, he was able to boss the game. He always wanted the ball and used it intelligently. His performance reminded me a bit of Ossie Ardiles and praise doesn’t come much higher than that.
Shame on me also for questioning whether we should bring back Ledley King, in yesterday’s preview. The bloke doesn’t play in weeks and turns in a performance like that. It’s just a shame that he won’t be available on Saturday to slip Drogba into his pocket.
Heurelho Gomes was another who gave a great performance as Arsenal brought on Van Persie and stepped up their efforts to get back in the game. The Brazilian made three brilliant stops, one of which was from a header by Sol Campbell and was therefore the most important. Eventually he was beaten when Theo Walcott finally put in a half decent cross, presenting Bendtner with a chance that even he couldn’t miss.
That goal ensured that most Spurs fans have very short fingernails this morning. You were just waiting for them to hit us with the sucker punch and earn a moral victory, but it never happened. Dawson, King and the boys remained strong and we saw out a long overdue victory.
Today the sun is shining and it’s once again a great day to be a Tottenham Hotspur fan. Harold Wilson said that a week is a long time in politics. We’ve now proved that four days can be an eternity in football. Come on you Spurs!