BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 22ND NOVEMBER, 2009
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 9 (1) WIGAN ATHLETIC 1 (0)
Kirkland (o.g.), 88 - (awarded to Bentley by dubious goals committee)
Referee:- Mr. P. Walton
Spurs (4-4-2):- Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, Woodgate (Capt.), Ekotto (sub Bassong, 81); Lennon (sub Bentley, 79), Huddlestone, Palacios (sub Jenas, 84), Kranjcar; Defoe, Crouch
Subs not used:- Alnwick; Hutton; Keane, Pavlyuchenko
Wigan (4-3-1-2):- Kirkland; Melchiot (Capt.) (sub Cho, 85), Bramble, Boyce, Edman; N’Zogbia, Thomas (sub Gomez, 67), Diame; Scharner; Scotland, Rodallega
(Armband to Scharner)
Subs not used:- Pollitt; Figueroa; Koumas, Kapo; Sinclair
Defoe carves his place in football history!
Spurs striker Jermain Defoe carved his place in both club and Premier League history today with a magnificent five-goal performance in a game that Spurs won by their highest ever top flight score, and only the second highest ever Premier League win (behind Man Utd v Ipswich in 1995). Defoe became only the fourth player in Spurs’ illustrious history to score five goals in a league game. The others were Ted Harper, Alfie Stokes and Bobby Smith. (Editor's note:- Les Allen scored 5 in the famous 13-2 FA Cup victory over Crewe in 1960. I am seeking confirmation regarding Bobby Smith, as I have now seen conflicting records regarding his entry - See also this week's Premier League Review for some more information)It was the first time that a player had scored five goals in one half of a Premier League game, and Jermain joined Andy Cole and Alan Shearer in the Premier League records of players who have scored five in a game. Jermain’s first three goals were scored in the space of seven minutes, making that the second fastest Premier League hat-trick. At a stroke, Defoe also overtook his competitors in the race to be the Premier League’s top scorer, and he now has 11 league goals to his name, one above Torres.
Defoe’s was not the only magnificent individual performance today, as Aaron Lennon returned from injury to add plenty of sparkle to proceedings, making 3 assists and scoring a fine goal for himself in the goal-ridden second half. Niko Kranjcar also had a fantastic game, with plenty of sublime midfield skill, linking play, a few tackles and some fine passes, capped of course by his own special goal in added time.
It is hard to believe that it was only 1-0 at half-time in a game where Spurs started so brightly and threatened to overwhelm the fluorescent orange shirts of Wigan. Yet Wigan had not come to defend, but to take on Spurs, with Scharner (sporting a half blonde-half black hair style)playing just behind the front two of Jason Scotland and top scorer Hugo Rodallega. Ultimately this was surely to prove naïve in the extreme, and with former Spurs left back Erik Edman totally bamboozled by Aaron’s trickery, and Defoe rampant against Boyce in particular, it became a nightmarish day for Wigan, and in fact their heaviest league defeat.
Spurs are a team who have scored a lot of “firsts” in football history (Modern Double, European Trophy etc), and today they became the first Premier League team to win a match 9-1! It is interesting to note that in his programme notes for this game, Andy Porter made reference to the fact that we first scored 9 goals in a league game on this week-end in 1931. The last time was our famous second division 9-0 over Bristol Rovers on October 22nd 1977.
There had been a lot of rain in London this morning, but the modern-day Spurs pitch showed no signs of deterioration, and the players probably loved the surface. Spurs played towards the Paxton End, captained by Jonathan Woodgate in the absence of the rested Robbie Keane and the injured Ledley King. They clearly showed their intentions in the first minute after Kranjcar floated into a central midfield position and fed a good ball to Lennon on the right wing. Lennon’s cross just missed Defoe, but Crouch got a header onto it, going just wide.
Huddlestone made an excellent start to the game and played a threaded ball to Palacios, who had beaten any offside flag to get behind the defence of his former team. Palacios crossed and again Crouch got a header, but again it went wide. Huddlestone demonstrated excellent control of the ball before making a really good pass down the channel to Defoe, who turned inside the defence but then slipped over. It came as no surprise when Spurs took a ninth minute lead. Defoe’s good work led to his pass to Huddlestone behind him. Huddlestone fed that man Lennon and his cross was converted by a Crouch header.
Spurs were steaming at this stage, and one thought they would pay the penalty for not taking a two or three goal lead. They were to prove convincingly that such fears were unfounded on this day! Kranjcar again found himself in a central midfield position and again fed Lennon. He crossed for Crouch, whose effort was saved before Lennon followed up bringing a good save from Kirkland, whose form was not that of a goalkeeper deserving to concede nine goals. A Kranjcar corner was half cleared to Huddlestone whose shot from 22 yards whistled just past Kirkland’s left post. Another Kranjcar corner tested Kirkland who with Crouch threatening, had to push the ball out for another corner.
Wigan finally had a chance after 16 minutes, after the referee had failed to give what was a blatant handball in the midfield. This led to Corluka only half clearing the ball to Diame, whose effort went wide for a corner, with a deflection. Kranjcar sent Defoe away on a run with a great ball from his own half, and was present to receive a return pass. Niko then passed to Palacios whose shot brought a flying save by Kirkland diving to his left. Huddlestone had another rasping drive go just wide from Kranjcar’s corner, before Gomes had to get down and save from Scotland’s effort.
Spurs were now losing their momentum, but chances still came, such as a rising Defoe shot that beat Kirkland but hit the bar. Defoe also beat the offside to reach a great ball from Woodgate, but hit that shot wide. Wigan had a free kick where Rodallega shaped up to take it, but N’Zogbia hit a good effort around the wall, saved competently by Gomes. Defoe had yet another effort just before the break, saved by the keeper.
We had no inkling of what was to come! Those at the Park Lane end were in luck as they were to witness 8 Spurs second half goals at close hand. After a Gomes free kick, Defoe reached and controlled the ball sending to Lennon, and was then at the near post to try a glancing header at Lennon’s cross, which went over the bar. In the 51st minute, after some prolonged Spurs pressure Lennon crossed again and Defoe got a lovely touch with his right foot to make it 2-0. Spurs fans’ counting skills were to be tested to the full! Three minutes later Palacios and Kranjcar challenged in the middle and won the ball, before Palacios’s speculative pass reached Defoe making a run down the right channel. Jermain scored again with a firm right footed angled low drive. Kranjcar crossed deep from the left and Crouch was challenging for the header, winning a corner.
Scharner was allowed the time and space to control a cross from the left. He did illegally use his hands which should have been spotted by the referee, but his shot beat Gomes to make it 3-1. In the context of the game this bit of cheating meant nothing like the events in Paris in mid-week. Defoe immediately restored the three goal advantage (4-1) and again Lennon was the supplier for Defoe to score again with his right foot from an angle on the right of the box. Kranjcar was then providing a chance for Defoe down the left channel, but the shot went wide of the keeper’s left post. Kranjcar again passed to Defoe whose lofted cross was headed goalward by Crouch, bringing another Kirkland save.
Now Lennon deservedly got in on the scoring act (5-1), with Kranjcar, Defoe and Crouch involved in the build up that ended with Lennon dancing into the area past ineffective defenders, scoring with a low shot beneath Kirkland. Defoe’s fourth goal (6-1) came after a great ball from the right by Corluka and another clinical finish from a more central position by JD.
With a big game coming up next week, Aaron Lennon was allowed an early breather with Bentley replacing him with just over ten minutes to go. Perhaps Harry Redknapp sensed that Defoe could make history, which could be why he was not also given such a break. Gomes had to dive low to his right to save from Scharner, but the game ended with three more goals by Spurs in quick succession. Jermain scored his fifth goal after a defensive error allowed him one on one with the keeper, who by this time was well and truly shell-shocked and beaten (7-1) Now Bentley took a superb free kick from 25 yards that hit the bar and went into the net off the back of Kirkland who has to “wear” the own goal (8-1)on top of all his other woes. In added time, Kranjcar scored a cracking goal after Bentley’s cross from 15 yards inside the box.
We had joked about needing to win 16-0 or 17-1 to go above the gooners on goal difference, but we never dreamt that our beloved Spurs team would get more than half way towards that target! Fourth place is thus secure, even if we were to lose by a one or two goal margin next week at Villa Park. However, this win and performance will do morale and confidence the world of good, and on this form, Spurs are more than capable of getting a decent result.
Luka Modric returned to full training on Friday, so he will be challenging for the team within a week or two, I expect. Bearing in mind the superb form of Kranjcar today, one does wonder how the return of Modric will be accommodated. Kranjcar is more than capable of holding down a central midfield role, but we’ll let Harry worry about team selection when the day comes. In the meantime, keep those grins on your faces Spurs fans!
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