Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tottenham Hotspur 0 Manchester City 0

Saturday, 14th August, 2010
Tottenham Miss Chances to Turnover City

The early lunch time kick-offs matches tend to lack the atmosphere that is generated with an afternoon or evening start.  Whether they're too early in the day for fans and players alike, I don't know, but add the additional matter that it was the opening day of the season so you usually finds both sets of players testing each other out tentatively and cautiously.  So to be told that this game between Spurs and City ended goal-less, one's immediate thought would have been 'Boring.'  (in fact, when I told an enquiring Chelsea supporter the score - that was his first thought)

However, this couldn't be further from the truth as both sets of fans were up for the game and both sets of players set to with an endeavour and energy that belied the fact that it was a hot, humid August day and pre-season training was only just completed.  It was a match that Spurs should have won by a clear number of goals and would have done so had it not been for Joe Hart.  The newly selected England 'number 1' was all that stood between Spurs and a landslide victory or to put it another way, Hart was all that prevented the expensively acquired City team from suffering an opening day defeat of some magnitude.

During the ninety minutes, Heurelho Gomes made one comfortabe save while Hart rescued City on a number of occasions and Gareth Bale hit the post in the first half.  Spurs started the better and put City under immediate pressure with their midfield quartet, Aaron Lennon, Tom Huddlestone, Luka Modric and Bale, controlling the game and creating opportunities for themselves and for the strikers, Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch.  On numerous occasions Hart was required to make vital saves to keep his side in the game.  Twice he denied Defoe and also saved a 25-yard drive from Huddlestone.  It was a matter of when would Spurs score but throughout the game it wasn't to be.  In the second half, Hart saved shots from substitute Palyuchenko and in added as Spurs put together a good move on the right, Pavluchenko fired in a cross towards Keane and as the ball was blocked it dropped in the centre of the penalty area to Bale who should have scored but fired wide.

On another day, against a different goalkeeper, Spurs would have won.  It's two points dropped from spurs view, especially as they have reaped points so abundantly from City in past years, but forCity it's like a win so little have they taken from Spurs over he past decade.  As long as the top teams take points from each other as Liverpool and Arsenal have just done, this result confirms that Spurs are carrying on from where they finished last season and there is certainly much to look forward to in the next nine months.  If a clinical goal scorer could be acquired before the close of the transfer window then Spurs might not suffer so many frustrating afternoons as today proved.

'Results on the first day of a football season are no guide whatsoever to how a campaign will pan out.' - Jim Holden (Daily Express)
A very positive start from Spurs - now it's that very important Champions League qualifying game against Young Boys, Berne on Tuesday evening.

Echoes of Glory 1960-61
At half-time Spurs paid a fitting tribute to the 'Double' team. Players from the team or representatives of the former players and manager were introduced to the crowd at half-time to mark the 50th anniversary of the satart of that famous season, 1960-61, when Spurs won the League and FA Cup double.

Those present were Peter Baker, Maurice Norman, Mel Hopkins, Dave Mackay, Cliff Jones, Les Allen, Terry Dyson and Terry Medwin.  Tribute was paid to the 'late' Bill Brown (goalkeeper) - Ron Henry who was too ill to attend was represented by his son, the 'late' John White was represented by his wife and Bobby Smith had intended to attend but was unwell.

The 'late' Danny Blanchflower was represented by his son who carries out the FA Cup while the 'late' Bill Nicholson's daughter brought the Football League trophy to the proceedings.

All received a tremendous reception from the fans most of whom stayed during the interval to watch the tribute.  It was quite a moving experience and brought a tear to the eye.

Team: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Dos Santos), Huddlestone, Modric, Bale; Defoe (Keane), Crouch (Pavlyuchenko).  Subs: Cudicini; Kaboul, Palacios, Bassong.

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