June 19 2013 Latest news:
By Daniel Grigg
Monday, February 11, 2013
Tottenham blogger Daniel Grigg looks back on Saturday’s 2-1 triumph over the Magpies at White Hart Lane.
It was no surprise to hear Spurs being labelled a “one-man team” as Gareth Bale made it four goals in three matches for his club on Saturday, helping to turn a defeat and two draws into a draw and two wins in the process.
But, given the Welshman’s recent form – his prolific scoring, his hunger for the ball and his seemingly boundless energy - it would have been the height of all foolishness for his manager and team-mates not to have taken advantage, particularly when Jermain Defoe is out of action with an ankle injury.
Bale was already Spurs’ biggest aerial threat, their biggest threat from outside the box and their biggest threat on the counter-attack – and he is arguably now the best finisher at the club as well, although Defoe would probably disagree.
Of course Tottenham mustn’t sell him this summer, or in summers to follow, but the club’s future and its potential for success extend well beyond a single player.
After all, Arsenal have managed pretty well following Robin van Persie’s departure, picking up some smart summer signings in a bracket of players that Tottenham are also perfectly capable of attracting.
It is worth remembering that Bale damaged his hamstring against Fulham at the start of December, and Tottenham didn’t collapse - they scored another two goals in the final half an hour at Craven Cottage, before narrowly losing late on against Everton and then beating Swansea without him.
I also don’t believe for a minute that, despite the club’s infamous hesitance in buying strikers recently, Spurs wouldn’t have bought one in January had there not been such quality goal scoring coming from midfield, especially from Bale.
I’m equally sure that Daniel Levy would be prepared to spend big if Bale were ever sold, just as he strengthened in midfield when Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart left, and at the back as Ledley King was forced to retire.
Lessons were certainly learnt from the Dimitar Berbatov debacle in 2008 and the lack of replacements, in spite of the huge transfer fee.
The miserable record of two points from eight games and the subsequent sacking of Juande Ramos was enough to jolt the memory of any conscientious chairman, should a similar need to replace the club’s star man ever arise again.
At the back, Spurs continue to contradict the perceived wisdom that a steady, unchanged rearguard is the way to go, as Andre Villas-Boas changed his defence without it costing him anything.
That area of the pitch has come on leaps and bounds, and it has now been more than two months since Tottenham conceded two goals in a league game – they have shipped just five goals in 10 games.
Hugo Lloris was the hero on this occasion, coming off his line superbly to close down and thwart Shola Ameobi after the ball had run nicely for the Newcastle striker late on.
Spurs were beaten just the once, and that was a little unfortunate due to the deflection off Michael Dawson, which left Lloris with no chance - although Yoan Gouffran was allowed quite a bit of space to get his shot away in the first place.
Tottenham don’t play again in the Premier League until Monday in two weeks’ time, away at Upton Park.
Before then they’ll play both legs of their Europa League knock-out tie against Lloris’ former club Lyon, who were convincingly beaten 3-1 at home by Lille at the weekend. Bring it on.
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