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Incredi-Bale: The Italian Job

Written by thfc1882.
I’ve got to admit I couldn’t see last night happening. Sure, like most fans I was hoping and praying but Inter destroyed us 2 weeks ago no matter what the final scoreline was. I’ve said on this site before that at some point we’re going to put two halves of football together and give someone a beating. Finally it happened and it came against the Champions of Europe.

No-one should belittle that fact either. We’ve played 180 minutes against one of the best teams and in particular defences in Europe and we scored 6 goals. It wasn’t as if last night’s performance wasn’t deserved. We played them off the park, completely dominated and created all the chances. Had it not been for Peter Crouch’s lack of confidence in front of goal we would’ve been 2-0 up after 25 minutes. Maybe the fact that wasn’t the case and we had to keep fighting meant we got the win that all but guarantee’s qualification to the knock out stages and currently see’s us sitting top of Group A.

All the plaudits are going to Gareth Bale who had another good game. It’s a pity he can’t play against Maicon every week who I expect will be having nightmares of the Welshman for months to come. Before I get onto Bale though I’d like to discuss whether one player getting the limelight as much as he has recently, especially since the game in the San Siro is a good thing for him, the club and the rest of the team?

Last night, Luka Modric played as we all know he can. In the first half he was simply brilliant. No other words can describe his performance, except maybe exceptional, outstanding and incredible. He was actually my man of the match. He outperformed, outplayed and generally made Wesley Sneijder, possibly the next Ballon d’Or winner, fade into the background. To keep a player of his quality relatively quiet for 90 minutes while effecting the game positively and not just hacking him down was a joy to watch. The movement between Modric, vdV and Bale in the first half was what we want to see every week. Little triangles, pass and move and all done with a purpose created Benitez’s men problems they just couldn’t deal with. His movement, skill and vision for our first goal was sublime. The longer he and vdV play in the same team the better they’re going to get.

Another unsung hero was Benny Ekotto. Since I wrote about him a week ago I’ve been waiting for him to have one of his “moments” but he’s just not having them. I know he won’t get any credit for how he played and judging by a text I received from a friend there were still people in the crowd last night slating him. For what exactly I couldn’t tell you, because he didn’t put a foot wrong for me. The same guy apparently caught Ekotto’s shirt when he threw it into the crowd at the end of the game, which he grabbed gleefully so I guess he didn’t dislike him that much.

Even Jenas was good when he came on. The much maligned Jenas has done a decent job for us when he’s come off the bench, especially in European competition. The other outstanding player was Lennon. Finally he seems to be gradually getting back some of his old form. If he and Bale can click at the same time with the likes of vdV and Modric in the middle look out Europe because here we come.

Onto Gareth Bale then. The match winner extraordinaire. Maybe a little over the top but he was good wasn’t he? It still makes me laugh when I hear Liverpool fans saying how good Benitez was for them. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought Bale would have a quiet night because Inter would put two men on him all night but hopefully that would mean room for our other players. What was Benitez thinking? Maybe Maicon had said he could handle it this time but after 10 minutes that was obviously not the case. He’s been quiet in the league recently, mainly because teams have quickly learnt to push him onto his right foot and as with the Everton game are double teaming him. He’ll need to learn quickly how to adapt his game if he wants to regularly put in performances like last night in domestic football.

It’s nearly impossible to explain the feeling from last night’s game. Spurs didn’t let us down and whenever that happens I feel slightly numb and lost for words. Like last season’s game at the City of Manchester stadium. As the second half started and vdV didn’t come out didn’t you think we’d lose it from there?

This team is different though. All the legends of the past that witnessed last night’s game must have seen a similarity between their successful teams and this one. The defence must take some credit too. We weren’t as assured as we have been at times with our first choice out there but we restricted Inter to long shots for the most part. It took until the 80th minute for us to make a critical mistake when Huddlestone didn’t close done as he’d been doing so well for the rest of the game and then Hutton did the same, allowing Eto’o time and space to lash a brilliant shot into the bottom corner. This is it I thought. This is the start of the end. 10 minutes of back to the wall defending hoping to hang on, but that’s the old Spurs. That’s the other teams in Europe. We don’t do defending. The best form of defence is attack so I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise when Bale made another Forrest Gump like run and produced the perfect cross for Pav to slot home and get the party started. The home of entertaining football.

Will players feel resentment towards Bale if he continues to get the headlines I wonder? Does that happen in football? Isn’t it just human nature? Little Aaron Lennon also played very well in both games against Inter but he’ll always be behind Bale and vdV, much like Modric, unless he starts scoring hat-tricks and producing wonder shows. Will the displays of others bring the likes of Lennon up a level? I’d like to think so.

Last night was a glorious night, a real Glory Glory night at White Hart Lane. We all know on our day we can beat anyone in the world. I just hope the players are starting to realise that and we’ll see that type of performance every week and not the one we saw at Old Trafford only 3 days previous. Once the dust settles we’ve got Bolton away on Saturday. Last night was great but it only becomes truly memorable if we don’t ruin it by putting in a lacklustre performance in the league. Forget tiredness because there shouldn’t be any. Get in their faces, move the ball quickly and with purpose and more importantly play like we know we can every single game. If we do that we can forget about all the ignorant “how can Spurs keep Bale” comments because who would leave one of the best teams in Europe? ;)

Let’s not get carried away because there were still areas of concern last night but we can certainly enjoy being top of Group A. Say we are top of the group, say we are top of the group.


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