This was another great victory against a tough, London opponent. We now have three wins in a row and are finally putting teams away. Here are some points raised by the game:
- I wish we still had Berbatov
In the first half Berbatov was a joy to watch. Full of nice touches and flicks, he just makes everything look so easy. He was a real favourite of mine while at Spurs and I was very unhappy when he left. Losing Carrick the year before was probably more key to the team but losing Berbatov was more upsetting.
When there were rumours he was available in the summer I really hoped he would come back to the Lane. With the problems Adebayor has had, we could certainly do with him. Alas, it was not to be.
What confuses me is his relationship with Martin Jol. I have very fond memories of Jol too and his time at Tottenham. He seems like a nice guy and I hope he does well at Fulham. When Berbatov signed a lot was made of his history of playing for Jol. He even said words to the effect that that was one of the reasons he went to Craven Cottage.
What I remember of Berbatov’s time at Spurs contradicts this. His last few months were spent sulking and destabilising the dressing room. According to the media at the time, it was pretty much this that got Jol sacked just a short while after the Bulgarian had left. Something doesn’t quite add up.
- We still can’t play well for a whole match
The first half was poor and we didn’t look to have much fluency in our passing. Everything was a bit slow and disjointed. The second half was much better, Sandro’s goal seemed to give us confidence and we pushed on well from there. It ended up being our most convincing scoreline of the season. It was nice to put a game away and for once not have to spend the last ten minutes desperately holding on.
- Bale is a bit unlucky
Gareth Bale has now been booked for diving four times this season and in two consecutive games. I know I’m biased, but both of the last two occasions looked really harsh to me. Bale seems to be getting a reputation and once that’s the case it’s hard to change.
I will admit that he does make the most of some challenges and he can go over theatrically. In his defence he is often running at very high speed and at that speed the slightest touch can send you off balance. Watching it in slow motion after the game gives an unfair view of what happened . Secondly, as a high profile and very skillful player he does get kicked a lot by the opposition and often he is “diving” to get out the way of a bad challenge rather than to win a free kick.
- Dempsey and Sigurdsson make a contribution
One of the biggest let downs this season has been the form of our two new goal scoring midfielders, Dempsey and Sigurdsson. Both arrived with high expectations after impressing last year. Neither has quite got going yet. Their signings seem to have been made more by the chairman than the manager, Sigurdsson was signed before AVB was even at Spurs and Dempsey was a last minute deadline day capture. I was a bit worried they were “fantasy football” signings, i.e. based on their number of goals and assists rather than their overall abilities or fit for the team.
In this game both contributed assists for Jermaine Defoe. Sigurdsson with a lovely drop of the shoulder bamboozling the defence and Dempsey with one of the passes of the season. Maybe they are going to turn out all right after all.
- We need to buy Moutinho
As I have mentioned many times in this blog, Dembele is absolutely key to our side. Now he is back we look so much better as a team. I have heard some people mention this as a reason we don’t need to pursue Moutinho again in the January transfer window. For me it makes this even more important. What if Dembele gets injured again? We need another player with that drive in midfield so we are not so dependent on the Belgian.