Whoever came up with the idea of football matches being split into two halves with a break in the middle, is an absolute genius. Without that man, there would have been no words of dressing room wisdom from Harry and no half-time substitutions to change the game.
We arrived for the first half expecting something special, but got nothing but a limp display from Tottenham and the disappointment of going 1-0 down to a well taken Bobby Zamora goal.
The team might not have been playing, but the White Hart Lane crowd still managed to have a first half blinder, creating a cracking atmosphere to try to inspire our misfiring heroes. No amount of noise or vocal encouragement was ever likely to raise the game of Benoit Assou-Ekotto though. He just had one of those nights when he couldn’t put a foot right.
It was no surprise then when BAE didn’t come out for the second half, with Tom Huddlestone taking his place and Niko Kranjcar being swapped for David Bentley. Bale dropped to left back, allowing Modric to move wide, Huddlestone to play in the centre and Bentley to provide some width on the right. Immediately we looked to have more balance and before long we had an equaliser.
Bentley curled in a free kick that was so impossible to defend against that it didn’t even require a touch from a Spurs player en-route to the net. We were back in it and with the changes made, the momentum seemed to be with us.
The only thing which seems to be threatening our efforts this season is the amount of injuries we are picking up and another one threatened to derail us when Corluka sprained his ankle. Everyone in the stands scratched their heads as we pondered who we would play at right back, while looking at our phones bitterly to check if both Hutton and Naughton were currently in action for their loan clubs (they were).
Harry decided to
bring on the only player that didn’t have a paper round to do in the morning throw caution to the wind and bring on Pavlyuchenko, with Palacios moving to right back and the impressive Gudjohnsen into central midfield.
It wasn’t long before the move looked like a spark of tactical genius. A cross from the right was met by the waiting Pavlyuchenko who smashed it back across goal. My first thought was that it was a carbon copy of Van Basten’s famous goal against USSR, until the Jumbotron confirmed that it was a far more pedestrian effort that involved some bouncing. Still, they all count.
Six minutes later the game was put beyond doubt. A Modric through ball took a deflection and fell into the path of Gudjohnsen, who netted his second goal for Spurs in the space of five days.
The Icelandic international was quite possibly our best player on the night. Very strong on the ball and accurate in the pass. Robbie Keane’s hopes of returning to us are getting dimmer by the minute.
Fulham looked rather shell-shocked by this turnaround and weren’t able to mount a fightback of their own. Let’s hope that they can get their season back on track in the Europa League, because I’ve got a lot of time for them and Roy Hodgson deserves the plaudits he’s finally receiving in his home country.
On a side note, why on earth were there so many police at the game last night? Did they think that we were playing Chelsea or West Ham? This was nice, friendly Fulham. Did they expect Hugh Grant to attack us with his fringe?
Back to the football and you have to say that it was a perfect night for us. We win 3-1 and book our place in the semi-finals, while Manchester City lost and Aston Villa could only draw. The Champions League is within our own slightly sweaty grasp. Now dry those butterfingers.
For the next couple of days though, my interest in the league will be dimmed by my preoccupation with the FA Cup. The romance is alive and kicking in N17. Come on you Spurs!