As end of season games go it wasn’t a classic, but we didn’t go to White Hart Lane on Saturday to be entertained.
For we are now in the unusual position of being in the results business and though our beloved Tottenham looked nervous against Bolton, what mattered was that we managed to eke out a 1-0 win and kept hold of fourth place.
If the overall performance wasn’t vintage Tottenham, the deciding goal by Tom Huddlestone certainly was good enough to be remembered. Those that remember Hot Shot Hamish from Roy of the Rovers, will recall how his powerful shot was strong enough to send opposing goalkeepers hurtling into the back of the net, along with the ball. Huddlestone strikes a football in much the same way.
It was rather embarrassing for myself when The Hudd unleashed his 20-yard thunderbolt, for the fact that I was loudly bemoaning the pointlessness of short corners to anyone that would listen, just as the ball got moved across the area for Huddlestone to give us the lead.
Up until that point we’d been nervous and the goal didn’t settle us down. Bale once again looked like our most threatening player and Huddlestone and Modric combined well again in the centre of midfield, but our strikers have picked the worse possible time to lose their mojo.
Neither Pavlyuchenko or Defoe looked threatening, with the Russian particularly anonymous. It was a major surprise when Defoe, rather than Pav, was chosen to be replaced by Peter Crouch. Does Harry stick with these two against City? It’s a big decision.
The best player on the pitch though was Kaboul, who gave a performance that left everyone scratching their heads and wondering what might have been against United, had Harry not dropped him to the bench. Not only was he completely uncompromising in defence, but he also was great going forwards. I don’t think we’ll be seeing any more BAE-at-right-back-experiments before the end of the season.
It was Kaboul who blocked Bolton’s best chance on the line. They didn’t threaten too much, but with the margin at just 1-0, we could never settle down and the second half was spent locked in nervous apprehension. It was a relieved White Hart Lane that heard the final whistle and could settle down to enjoy the final home game festivities.
Dawson got the player of the year award, Bale was the young player of the year, while Danny Rose was awarded the ‘made up award for scoring against Arsenal’. I was impressed actually that the players were willing to do a lap of honour through torrential rain, especially considering how soaked I got during the short walk from the ground to the pub.
That rainy walk was spent thinking and talking about one thing; the City game. Do we play it safe and go with the same starting XI, or does Harry start tinkering again? Lennon looked lively when he came on and I guess we’re all hoping he’ll start, though if he doesn’t, he’s a pretty potent weapon from the bench. There’s also the little matter of whether Ledley’s knee actually explode if he were to play again on Wednesday.
What’s great is to end the season with games that not only mean something, but with our destiny safely within our own hands. Win against City and we qualify for the Champions League, draw and we just need a win at Burnley. You can’t say fairer than that and it’s all we could have possibly hoped for back in August.