Pathetic! The word used repeatedly by my mind and tongue while watching the match against Aston Villa. Let the unexpected, undeserved yet long overdue win not soften the scathing assessment of our game play. We got the rub of the green and without playing a huge part in it. Villa shot themselves in the foot and even though they managed to end their barren run of games without scoring, three crucial points are what they will surely be missing. Benteke’s instinctive retaliation to Mason’s provocation was foolish to be honest. Things do get bad in heat of the moment and tempers flare, but the act of ‘slapping’ (strong use of the word, I know) an opponent merited a red card irrespective of the intensity. The referee was left with no option but to follow the letter of the law and send him off; however, Mason was lucky to not be cautioned. An evening culminated in remorse for the gigantic Villa striker, who was left to ponder over what could have been. And after majority of the game had passed through, there seemed only one thing Villa and Benteke were destined for.
And that was soothing relief, gained by finally hitting the net and also by winning a game after five successive league defeats. Spurs were barely in the contest. It was end-to-end stuff during majority of the first half but most of our attacks were killed before reaching the final third. Some attacks did reach the opponents box but the players were guilty of lacking the finishing. Adebayor deserves a special mention here. Clean through and one-on-one with only Guzan to beat, scoring the goal seemed the easiest option, but no. Why would our first choice striker make life easy for us? His feeble attempt seemed so casual and arrogant that it would have boiled the blood of every Spurs fan. He ran around lazily and unbothered. Another great opportunity went amiss, as Adebayor couldn’t bundle the shot into the net from close range. Despite last season’s late run of bountiful goals, the feeling of Adebayor playing solely for a new contract doesn’t go away. Eriksen and Chadli were creating few good chances but were equally wasteful as much as their team-mates. Soldado, linked up the play well and he would (and should) have been rewarded with an assist if Adebayor hadn’t missed that golden chance. However, his scoring boots have gone missing terribly and one wonders if they can be rediscovered. Mason continued in his rich form; he distributed the ball solidly and had some elegant dribbles during the course of the match.
Villa were good enough value-for-money for their imminent victory. Benteke had hit the post with Lloris well beaten. Afterwards, the first blow was made when Weimann clinically dispatched an incoming ball for Benteke after abysmal defending from Rose. Villa were rarely troubled and seemed comfortable even after going down to 10 men, as our toothless attack rarely threatened to make the half chances count. Kane eventually came on for the ineffectual Adebayor and had two good chances within a minute of taking the field. One could even argue that he showed more passion and desire to score in that 1 minute than Adebayor had shown since the start. The game mellowed down after that until the red card.
Then, with about 6 minutes to go and out of nowhere, we had a goal. Chadli showcased his great positioning skills as he lost his marker Agbonlahor at the far post and volleyed low from a corner taken by Lamela, who had replaced Eriksen at the start of second half. Then in the 90th minute, with hopes fading fast, Townsend went on an attacking run and was fouled at the edge of the box which resulted in a great set-piece opportunity for us. There was not much hope for us having just seen Lamela blast a previous free kick – from almost the same spot – over the top. This time, however, there was Kane alongside him, both willing to take it. And boy, were we glad Kane was there! His kick took a wicked deflection and Guzan was left with the job of picking up the ball from the Villa net. A diving celebration, a la Klinnsman, was befitting to the great courage Kane had shown in taking the free-kick instead of the more accomplished Lamela. The away crowd went into a state of delirium while I was more grateful to the footballing god who had taken pity on us and handed us a win on a platter. A win that was unwarranted but absolutely necessary. There was a common sentiment of satisfaction amongst all of us as this was the least that Karthik S (second from left) deserved for traversing so many miles at an unearthly hour. Respect and Kudos to you Karthik! 🙂
Winning ugly is not desired by anybody. However, when such wins come, we need to grab it with both hands as winning the “Spurs“ way seems to have been forgotten by the team. 3 points matter at the end of the day and I hope better days are on the horizon. You don’t get red card as gifts every single match. Up and onwards for now. COYS ! 🙂