BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 10TH SEPTEMBER, 2011
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 0 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (0)
Referee:- Mr. P. Walton
Assistants:- Mr. M. Cairns & Mr. A. Newbold
Fourth Official:- Mr. M. Dean
Wolves (4-4-2):- Hennessy:- Stearman, Johnson (Capt.), Berra, Ward; Kightly (sub Hammill, 75), Henry, O’Hara, Hunt (sub Jarvis, 75); Fletcher (sub Vokes, 81), Doyle
Subs not used:- De Vries; Elokobi; Foley, Milijas
Booked:- Stearman, Hamill, Johnson
Spurs (4-4-2):- Friedel; Walker, Kaboul, King (Capt.), Ekotto; Bale, Parker (sub Livermore, 84), Modric, Kranjcar; Defoe (sub Giovani, 89), Adebayor
Subs not used:- Cudicini; Bassong; Townsend, Falque (no. 34); Pavlyuchenko
Booked:- Walker, Parker
The light comes on for Harry!
Spurs are on their way with a deserved win at Molineux, and an excellent start for both debutants, with Adebayor scoring, and Parker battling, and winning the ball in the middle whilst finding time to create Adebayor’s opener with a clever pass. Despite starting like greased lightning, the result could have been different, as Spurs allowed Wolves to settle and to offer some pressure in Brad Friedel’s goal area. It wasn’t really until Gareth Bale was switched to the left side (where he plays best) after about an hour’s play, that Spurs looked balanced, and with Walker getting forward in support of Kranjcar on the right, more threatening.
Obviously for tactical reasons, Spurs did not share with us in yesterday’s team news that Aaron Lennon wasn’t travelling; Michael Dawson had an Achilles problem; and that Tom Huddlestone would not feature at all. These and other known injury problems gave the manager some selection worries. I thought that perhaps Walker would have played in front of Corluka, but the Croatian was also absent. Walker played at right back (and had a good game) with Kranjcar starting in front of him, and sadly too often having (as they say) the touch of a rapist. Ledley King made his first appearance this side of the summer in any Spurs game, and is always a welcome calming presence, giving Younes Kaboul more confidence beside him. Ekotto was his usual excellent self, and Jermain Defoe had a good game up front, making several good runs into space for Ekotto, before Bale took charge of the left flank. Harry had obviously seen Bale playing on the right of midfield for Wales, and thought it would be a good idea to play him there, but there were occasions when Bale was put in good positions, but found himself on his wrong foot.
In the middle, we are still waiting for the return of the 2011-11 vintage Modric edition, but Luka did play better than he did against Manchester City. Scott Parker made an excellent debut, and was to the fore in many Spurs plays. He is going to be a great addition to the squad, but the chants of “Super Scotty Parker” came a bit early! The other debutant – Emmanuel Adebayor – had a great start in the lilywhite and blue, and his goal of course capped his debut. Adebayor challenged for loose balls, made long chases, held up well, and passed accurately.
Spurs fans were accommodated in the Jack Harris stand behind a goal, as opposed to along the lower tier of the Steve Bull stand. The visitors were in one corner of a stand which did have a roof, unlike the Stan Cullis stand, which is being modernised, and which was not full.
Spurs made a brilliant start, and arguably should have had an early lead. Walker sent Bale away down the right side, and Bale’s cross won an early corner. The next minute, Parker won a loose ball about 30 yards out, and fed Defoe, whose shot also went out for a corner. Spurs were looking very sharp, and Ekotto sent Defoe away after 7 minutes. Defoe’s low cross was held by Hennessy. Ekotto then did it himself by getting deep down his left flank, sending over a cross which left Hennessy stranded, and Kranjcar seemingly with the goal at his mercy. He couldn’t really get the ball from under his feet as they say and saw his shot blocked, before Adebayor too was thwarted by the panicking Wolves defence. By now, Spurs should have had that lead.
Stearman got forward for Wolves after 12 minutes and wanted a free kick when he thought Kranjcar had fouled him. Referee Peter Walton waved play-on, and Friedel had some work to do to save from former Spur, Jamie O’Hara. O’Hara had received decent applause from the visiting fans, but later in the game was subjected to disparaging chants regarding O’Hara’s wife and Jermain Defoe. Adebayor of course now qualifies for a friendly chant, but the Spurs fans don’t seem to have quite decided which one to go for. “We used to hate him, but not anymore” was one that was aired.
After 13 minutes, Karl Henry got the better of Kranjcar and Friedel could only push his shot out for a corner taken by Doyle. Hunt later crossed from deep on the right and Kightly tested Friedel with his effort. Wolves were playing with confidence and in this phase looked more of a settled team than did Spurs. Hunt wanted a penalty when he went to the ground, but was denied by the unflappable referee. At the other end, Kranjcar was fouled and took the free kick, which took a flick and ran out for a corner. Kranjcar took it, and Ledley headed down and over the bar.
After 25 minutes, we saw some effort from Modric, as he made a run for an Ekotto ball, crossing low for Adebayor, whose shot was half-hit and held easily. Now Spurs put the home side under pressure, and had control. However, everyone seemed to be looking for a shooting opportunity, without managing to squeeze an effort on goal. The attack ended with a Walker chip landing on the net. Wolves then had a couple of dangerous headed chances, from which they might easily have taken the lead. As half-time approached, Defoe collected a loose ball 25 yards out, and hit a shot that Hennessy saved for a corner. In added time, Adebayor and Defoe combined to feed Bale, who delayed his shot, due to being on the wrong foot, and hit the side netting.
After the break, Kyle Walker seemed to be less restrained and got forward to help the attack. He fed Bale, still on the right, and Bale’s low cross was helped on by Defoe, before Modric shot wide. O’Hara had a chance at the other end, when Walker headed and Parker only half-cleared the ball to O’Hara’s feet. Friedel held the shot. As the hour approached, Modric and Defoe fed the ball to Bale, who had the ball taken off his feet and cleared. It was good defending by Wolves. Kranjcar had a shot deflected out for a corner, and Spurs started to control proceedings, with Bale working down the left flank at last. The light had come on! Walker made his ground down the wing, passed inside and Parker threaded a neat ball for Adebayor to round the keeper and score.
Mick McCarthy tried a double substitution, but Spurs increased their lead with ten minutes left. After a free kick the ball was worked to the right, and Kranjcar passed inside for Defoe to latch onto a shooting chance he wasn’t going to miss. The game was up for Wolves, and Spurs saw out the game comfortably. Parker received warm applause from the travelling fans, when replaced by Jake Livermore, and Giovani Dos Santos made a welcome appearance, even if it was with only a minute of normal time left on the clock. New boy Yago Falque was on the bench, but not used today.
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