Tottenham, sporting their White Tottenham Home Kit, needed a win after coming off two straight losses. The team, however, did not play really well. Despite playing at home, it was Sunderland who seemed more comfortable with the ball. Spurs was just not in tune with themselves. With Peter Crouch starting, they opted for the usual highball for Crouchy to nod down to someone.
Keane Connects With CrouchyTen minutes into the game, Spurs took their lead in one of their forays into the Sunderland box. Benoit Assou-Ekotto sent in a highball to Crouch. This time Crouch connected and nodded the ball down towards goal. Robbie Keane, rushed onto the ball to tap it in. His first tap ricochet off Sunderland’s Craig Gordon’s hands. The ball fell into Keane’s path for him to finish off with another tap into the net for his eighth goal of the season.
The goal did nothing to change the momentum of the game. It can clearly be seen that Spurs lack direction at midfield. Jermain Jennas did make a few attempts to carry the ball forward. He showed that he has good ball control. However, when it matters, he failed to make that pass to the open strikers. He just don’t have the vision.
Sunderland was clearly the better team in the first half. Andy Reid, was unlucky that his long range attempt hit the post with Gomes clearly beaten by the strike. Apart from that one strike, Gomes proved to be the one solid wall preventing Sunderland from scoring. Even when his defenders failed him.
Vedran Corluka, sent a weak header back to Gomes which was intercepted by an onrushing Keiran Richardson. Richardson was clear on goal. Thankfully, Gomes was quick to come off his line and prevented Richardson from scoring.
The second half didn’t fare any better. The fans booing at the interval had no effect on the team. They were clearly at a lost in terms of creativity. It’s really amazing to see Sunderland still down by a goal. They have thus far been the better team in the match.
Along Came Kranjcar
Niko Kranjcar’s entry in the match changed the match. Spurs now have an extra man in midfield. Tottenham began to play better football. They gained more control of the ball. Instead of just laying the ball up for Crouch, they are now moving up from the flanks and sending in crosses into the Sunderland goal area. Spurs are playing better football.In the 68th minute, Jermaine Defoe proved that he can also be a provider. Controlling the ball at the top right corner of the penalty box, Defoe screened the ball past two defenders and sent a sweet lay up to an onrushing Tom Huddlestone. From the edge of the box, Huddlestone met with Defoe’s lay up to send a scorching thunderbolt past Martin Fulop’s reach straight at the top post and into the net.
It probably was not Sunderland’s day. They were pretty much in control of the match for the most part of the game. They had more goal scoring chances. They even had a penalty awarded to them. They just couldn’t beat Gomes.
Darren Bent was awarded a penalty in the second half. Although replays showed that he seemed to have fallen even before Gomes touched him. Bent himself took the spot kick. Truthfully, it was not a really good kick. The ex Spurs, delivered a weak low kick to the left of the goal. Gomes guessed right and palmed the ball away. He didn’t even have to stretch for it.
Top Four For How Long?
Tottenham is now fourth in the table with 22 points. 3 points behind Arsenal and United at 25 points. Arsenal has one match in hand. Chelsea sits pretty at the top of the league with 30 points after beating United 1 – 0 at Stamford Bridge. Aston Villa is one point behind Spurs as they routed Bolton 5 -1 at home.
The upcoming International break is certainly a welcome break for the team. It should provide some time for Spurs to regroup and recollect themselves as a team. Harry should really do something to beef up the current lack of vision in midfield.
The absence of Luca Modric and Aaron Lennon can clearly be seen. Keane is certainly not up to filling up his role as a wide attacking midfield. He is much better of sitting up top. Yes, he did score. However, apart from that, he barely made any impact.
Kranjca should be given more playing time. He certainly made enough impact to turn the momentum for Spurs. What about Pavlyuchenko? Lets see a little bit more of the two. Don’t you think that Kranjca deserves more playing time?
Can Spurs maintain their stay in the top four if they continue to play like this? Come On You Spurs!