TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3
Van der Vaart (pen) 77, Pavluychenko 87, Hutton 90+1
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 1
Tottenham Hotspur will be feeling slightly relieved after what was a largely disappointing afternoon, especially for 77 minutes of Saturday’s home fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers. It looked like it was going to be another one of those days at White Hart Lane, where Spurs just could not put the ball in the net. Class, however, outshone and overpowered stubborn Wolves who eventually crumbled in the last 15 minutes of the game.
Harry Redknapp went back to his tried and trusted 4-4-2 once more, having played 4-5-1 in the draw midweek at Werder Bremen. The Tottenham manager also gave a rare start to Robbie Keane, his first for the club since January 16th. Redknapp also preferred Rafael van der Vaart on the right hand side of midfield over Aaron Lennon, who was largely disappointing on Tuesday evening in Germany. William Gallas also returned to the side, partnering captain Ledley King in the centre of defence.
Spurs attacked at will and looked threatening, but once more, were wasteful. Bale was energetic as ever, and his runs down the left were causing Wolves problems all afternoon. The Welshman was involved in the first and best chance of the opening 45 minutes when he played in Keane who missed what was a rather simple chance. In fact, the Irish international was profligate throughout and wasted a rare opportunity to show Redknapp that he is still capable of playing in this new look Spurs side.
There were other good performances amongst the Spurs XI. Jermaine Jenas, starting his second game in a week looked confident and composed in the centre of midfield. Under the watchful eye of England manager, Fabio Capello, Jenas showed the Italian that he still has a lot to offer and did not do any harm to his chances of an international recall with a fine performance. It was no surprise that the dynamic midfielder was named man of the match.
Spurs fans could be forgiven for feeling nervous heading into the later stages of the game. Their last outing at White Hart Lane ended in a poor 1-0 loss to out of form Wigan Athletic. With a total of 19 shots on goal compared to Wolves five, Tottenham’s comeback was justified having dominated large parts of the game. Van der Vaart scored his first goal for the club and a neat cameo from Roman Pavluychenko helped secure the win.
This could be a turning point in Spurs season. Three goals is a good return, but first half goals are what Tottenham strive for to help secure wins more comfortably. A much needed three points for Redknapp and his players, but there are harder games on the horizon.
4 Kaboul – 13 Gallas – 26 King – 32 Assou-Ekotto
11 Van der Vaart – 6 Huddlestone – 8 Jenas – 3 Bale
15 Crouch – 10 Keane
67 – 0 Pavluychenko on for 10 Keane
86 – 7 Lennon on for 11 van der Vaart