NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 410
Submitted by Norman Giller
Just wait until Spurs start to play! On paper, they have made one of their better kick-offs to a new Premier League season but on the pitch, let's be honest, they have been so-so. Once coaching master Antonio Conte gets all his new acquisitions singing from the same song sheet we can all hopefully be in harmony on the old Glory Glory Hallelujah anthem.
Mercifully, Spurs have the goal Midas touch of Harry Kane to keep them on their unbeaten march. And how appropriate that he was watched from the impressive Tottenham Stadium stands by a master from yesterday, the Brazilian bomber Ronaldo. Yes, the original Ronaldo.
Our Harry would not pretend to have the same silken skills as the man who lit up planet football at the turn of the millennium, but my goodness can the Walthamstow Whirlwind (where he started) find the net.
By his standards he had a quiet match, but might easily have had a hat-trick against Wolves, including a header that hit the bar and an opportunistic winning goal from close range that proved defenders can never take their eye off him.
He is continually re-writing the record books. This was his 250th goal for Tottenham, and his 185th in the Premier League. This took him past the exceptional Sergio Aguero in the all-time list. He is just three behind Andy Cole in third place. Then legends Wayne Rooney and Alan Shearer to go.
Aitch is closing in on my old mate Jimmy Greaves as Tottenham's most prolific goalscorer of all time, which I never thought was a sentence I would write. I considered Jimmy the Great Untouchable,
As my Spurs Odyssey team-mate Declan Mulcahy reports HERE, Spurs were infiltrated in the first-half by that overseas invader called Lethargic. They just could not get their act together, and Wolves considered themselves unlucky not to be 2-0 in the lead at half-time. They are a well-drilled side but impotent in the penalty area, thank goodness!
The hugely experienced Ivan Perisic made his first start in a Spurs shirt as a sort of attacking wing back, and showed enough to suggest that he could be a powerful asset even in his veteran stage. He takes Greavsie-style inswinging corners and can land the ball on a sixpence (okay, 10p piece).
There was a huge improvement both in cohesion and in effort in the second half. As the calculating Conte said: "We had a time in between halves to analyse, and then we played with much more energy, intensity and put them under pressure".
Following a Conte rocket during the interval, Spurs were much more enterprising and energetic in the second half, and in a repeat of what happened at Chelsea last week, Tottenhams’ match-turning moment came from a set-piece. A Son corner and it was Perisic who flicked a header on to Kane who deftly diverted the ball into the net for what looked an easy goal … but he had used physical power and then positional cunning to outwit his close-marking Wolves' markers.
Let's give credit where it is due. Both those vital Harry Kane goals – first at the Bridge and then on Saturday – were masterminded in training by Gianni Vio. He is Tottenham's set-piece coach who famously used to scheme and plot for European champions Italy under Roberto Mancini. Conte is quick to give his countryman credit for his inspiring work behind the scenes. Harry Kane and Co love him!
It is now Forest, West Ham and Fulham to come, games that all look winnable. But nothing is ever going to be taken for granted by Conte's Conquerors.
Just wait until Spurs start playing! COYS.
Week four of our ninth year of Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenges:
Who won 59 caps, played in a World Cup quarter-final against Brazil, scored 159 goals for Spurs and from which club did he join Tottenham?
Please email your answer to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with Quiz Week 4 as the subject heading. Deadline midnight this Friday. I will respond to all who take part.
The rules are the same as in previous seasons. I ask a two-pronged question with three points at stake – two for identifying the player and one for the supplementary question. In the closing weeks of the competition I break the logjam of all-knowing Spurs-history experts with a tie-breaking poser that is based on opinion rather than fact. That’s when I lose the few friends that I have. But, hey, it's fun. Please join in.
This year’s prizes for the champion will be announced later in the season, but most important of all, they will include a framed certificate announcing the winner as 2023 SOQL champion.
Last week … Question 3: Which Tottenham player has won 113 international caps and scored 32 goals for his country, has played in a World Cup final and with which club did he win a Serie A championship medal in 2021?
Yes, Ivan Perisic, who under the guidance of Conte won a Series A medal with Inter-Milan. I featured him to underline Tottenham's new strength in depth.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!
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