Monday, January 21, 2008

Good preparation for forthcoming cup matches

A two goal winning margin, a clean sheet, our top striker notching his 100th goal for the club... it must have been a comfortable win on Saturday against Sunderland? Ha! It was anything but that. Spurs worked hard to take all three points, and although it wasn't easy, I think it will stand us in good stead for tomorrow evening's Carling Cup semi final.

Despite resting a bunch of players, we got off to a flier when Lennon was there at the far post to stab home in under two minutes. We then missed a catalogue of chances and I couldn't help but feel we may end up ruing our wastefulness. I'd read before the game that Sunderland score most of their goals in the final third of a match, so I was well prepared for a second half onslaught.

As it was, I could not believe how close we came to conceding. There were four or five moments when I was certain Sunderland had equalised. Part of me was frustrated that hanging on for dear life - and using up all our luck - was not the ideal preparation for the ARSEnal game. On reflection though, we may have had some good fortune but I think the 'backs to the wall' performance we witnessed is good practice for any big cup game. Tomorrow night's or Sunday's trip to Old Trafford for that matter.

I can honestly say that I don't think I've ever had a more intense feeling of relief at a football match than when Keane scored. It wasn't the emotion of it being a landmark goal for him (I only remembered that as I left the ground), but the confirmation of the three points after spending 45 minutes staring down the barrel of a gun.

As for Defoe, I am now getting confused as to what he's up to. He was supposedly at Villa Park for talks last week, was then given a rare start on Saturday, and blow me down with a feather, he was also made captain. Surely this was the club's farewell gesture for him (reward him with the captaincy in a game where we can afford to rest some of our first choice players, then substitute him so he can get a standing ovation before departing to pastures new). Well according to the press that wasn't quite the plan. Ramos has allegedly had a change of heart, wants to keep Defoe at the club, and made JD captain to apologise for telling him he could leave a fortnight ago.

Will he stay or will he go? Who knows, but I do hope we keep hold of him.

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