Inside Lane: A Spurs fan’s verdict on AVB’s first home win over QPR

11:57 24 September 2012

Clint Dempsey (left) rises highest to head at goal against QPR

Clint Dempsey (left) rises highest to head at goal against QPR

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Tottenham supporter Daniel Grigg gives his views on yesterday’s 2-1 victory over the Rs at White Hart Lane

A victory was badly needed at White Hart Lane yesterday – firstly to end the disappointing run of results at White Hart Lane since Andre Villas-Boas took over, and secondly because a trip to Manchester United is looming next week.

Old Trafford certainly hasn’t been a happy hunting ground in recent years, and that ominous fixture was hard to forget when Spurs were trailing QPR 1-0 yesterday.

Indeed, it suddenly looked all too possible that the Lilywhites might have just five points on the board from six games this time next week – relegation form if that average were to continue over the while season.

Fortunately, two quickfire goals near the hour-mark changed the game and, with Spurs managing not to concede in the final 11 minutes of a league game for the first time this season, the whole picture changed.

Somewhat unbelievably, Tottenham are now just a point behind Arsenal and the reigning champions Manchester City - despite all the positive coverage that the Gunners have been getting, particularly defensively, in recent weeks.

Villas-Boas’ side are also only two points behind a resurgent Everton, four behind Manchester United and five behind the leaders Chelsea - a far brighter place to be.

The bad news is that the fixtures now get a lot tougher, and winning ugly only works if you start getting your act together at some stage.

Still, it’s another week where Villas-Boas can work with his players without intense pressure and speculation - at least from the media - about the security of his job.

After all, Harry Redknapp only picked up 10 points in his final six games of last season against pretty beatable opposition, so Spurs weren’t exactly walking on air towards the end of that campaign either.

Given Luka Modric’s departure, the assembly of a new side and a somewhat different way of playing, you could argue that the Portuguese head coach has had a decent - if unspectacular - start to his tenure.

But the performance against QPR was anything but accomplished and complete. Tottenham were very fortunate to escape with all three points after so many big-money and big-reputation players failed to turn up and show themselves.

Thankfully Jan Vertonghen wasn’t one of them. The Belgian defender is improving with every game to justify the lofty expectations which greeted his arrival earlier this summer.

Calmness personified in possession, he is as close to a direct replacement for Ledley King as the club could have found - and hopefully he will aid Steven Caulker’s development in much the same way that King did with Michael Dawson’s.

Caulker is 6t 3ins and weighs more than 12 stone so, while he is still only 20 years old, he already has the physique of a man. Having been successful in his various loan spells with Yeovil Town, Bristol City and Swansea City, he is looking like an excellent centre-back – and he was unlucky to see his first goal for Spurs against Lazio chalked off in midweek.

Caulker’s introduction at half-time yesterday was important as Villas-Boas pushed Gareth Bale forward to break up the floundering attacking midfield trio of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Clint Dempsey and Aaron Lennon, who had hardly created a chance between them in the first 45 minutes.

Tottenham are still a long way away from a perfect balance and formation, for all the combinations tried so far, and they are still to put in a really good performance - the closest being the comfortable 3-1 win at Reading.

They are also yet to find the secret to getting someone other than Jermain Defoe on the scoresheet regularly.

Villas-Boas should be applauded for his handling of Defoe – unlike many of his predecessors – but Spurs have been heavily reliant on him.

Indeed, with the exception of Mousa Dembele’s brilliant debut strike against Norwich, the rest of Tottenham’s goals this season have been pretty lucky – Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s long-range effort against West Brom was deflected, Bale scuffed his shot at Reading and the equaliser yesterday was a QPR own goal.

There is plenty of room for improvement but, given that this is a work in progress, we will certainly take our tally of six points from the last two league games for now!


Latest Sport Stories

Mauricio Pochettino (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Harry Kane fired Tottenham into the knockout stages of the Europa League as they finally overcame stubborn Group J minnows Qarabag 1-0 in Baku.

Maksim Medvedev of Qarabag challenged by Christian Eriksen  (Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images)

Spurs beat Qarabag 1-0 to qualify for the Europa League last 16 in Azerbaijan, here’s how we rated the players.

Surrey winners of the Division 2 LV County Championship  (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

English cricket will break with tradition in 2016 after the England and Wales Cricket Board announced a new rule which will see the forsaking of the toss.

Haringey Borough manager Tom Loizou. Pic: Tony Gay

Jerome Martelli struck the decisive goal as Haringey Borough earned a crucial home win in Saturday’s basement battle against Heybridge and climbed out of the relegation zone in Ryman League Division One North.

Andreas Sotiri scored a try in his first game for Haringey Rhinos. Pic: Tony Gay

Andreas Sotiri scored a try on his debut for Haringey Rhinos’ Under-14s as a side featuring a number of young players put in an encouraging performance, despite their defeat to Chingford.

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino

Baku, Azerbaijan. The Spurs squad are halfway through a 5,000-mile round trip and face FK Qarabag this evening just 64 hours prior to another London derby - Chelsea are the visitors for a midday kick-off on Sunday at White Hart Lane.

Yesterday, 16:02
Chris Rainsford (left) in action on the road for Highgate Harriers. Pic: Dieter Perry

Highgate Harriers were crowned national champions on Sunday as the prestigious UK 10k road race championships were held as part of the 30th anniversary of the Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash.

Yesterday, 15:58
Great Britain's James Ward (far right) with Great Britain captain Leon Smith, Jamie Murray and Andy Murray

Great Britain stand on the verge of history in the Davis Cup as they prepare for this weekend’s final, bidding to win the crown for the first time in 79 years.

Most read sport

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!


You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder