If you’ve been to a football match and you tell someone that your team won 3-1, they’re bound to say something along the lines of: “Sounds like a good game”.
Well sometimes appearances can be deceptive, because this was a pretty dull game where we somehow found ourselves 2-0 up without having done very much.
On this day of deception, no one went further to fool the general public than Roman Pavlyuchenko. Anyone who looked in the paper on Sunday morning and saw that Super Pav had bagged himself a brace, would think that he’d played another blinder. The truth is that he was our worst player in the first half, when he could scarcely do anything right.
Pavlyuchenko’s touch let him down on a number of occasions and he missed two very good chances before the break. He scuffed a volley when in so much space that he might even had time to take a first touch, before later shooting wide at the near post from a dangerous cross by Bale.
Luckily, while we were missing chances, Blackburn weren’t creating anything. They showed less attacking threat than almost any team that I’ve seen at White Hart Lane this season (though of course this didn’t stop them from being able to score against us).
If Blackburn weren’t so wretched then you’d say that our first goal just before half time was undeserved. Kranjcar’s corner was met by Corluka, who headed towards the back post where Defoe was waiting to poke home.
Just 10 minutes after the break, Pavlyuchenko made it 2-0 with a long range shot that Blackburn’s substitute goalkeeper Jason Brown let squirm underneath his body. Game over we all thought, before remembering that we support Spurs.
The inevitable gift of a goal to the opposition was the fault of Heurelho Gomes. First he opted to punch at a cross, rather than catch it and ended up conceding a corner. As the resulting ball was swung in, Gomes went to claim it before deciding that he wasn’t going to get there and then retreated back to his line. All of which allowed Christopher Samba (easily their best player) to head the ball into our net, with little opposition.
The nervous feeling in the stomach was not to last long though. Within 5 minutes we were able to put the game to bed. Pavlyuchenko swung at a ball in the box like a novice golfer, but proved that luck was on his side, when moments later he got on the end of a Bale cross to make it 3-1.
Before this game I questioned whether a left wing position could get the best out of Bale, which is why I now have a napkin round my neck that is currently catching crumbs of humble pie. It was clear from the opening moments of the game that Bale had the measure of Salgado and he gave the Spanish star a torrid afternoon.
What impresses me even more than Bale’s ability to beat his man is how dangerous his resulting crosses are. Very rarely do you see him getting into a good position and then misplacing the pass.
As well as the assist for Pav’s second, Bale had two decent shouts for a penalty, but Howard Webb is nothing if not determined to do his bit to get Liverpool that fourth place. It’s a shame for the Reds that Torres and Gerrard don’t look equally committed to the cause.
If I’m starting to reconsider Bale’s shift in position, I’m still not sold on the idea of Modric in the centre of midfield. He didn’t play badly, but tends to go wandering off on attacking meanderings, leaving Palacios exposed.
Even though they didn’t have that much to do, I was very impressed with Bassong and Dawson. With Bassong’s pace and left foot complimenting Dawson’s sheer Dawsoness, they’re a very natural partnership at the back.
As I’ve already said, I don’t think we played very well, but at this stage of the season I’m willing to settle for anything as long as the result is right. Scoring a few goals from very few chances, is certainly preferable to scoring none from a hat-full, as we witnessed against Stoke and Hull.
You’ve read me slagging Pavlyuchenko off for not playing that well, despite him scoring two goals, so why don’t you now buy TottenhamBlog’s exclusive Super Pav T-Shirt? CLICK HERE or on the image below to be transported to our shop.