Van der Vaart 47, Pavluychenko (pen) 50, (pen) 64, Bale 85
The scoreline tells a story of one in which, Tottenham appeared to have dominated and won the game comfortably. A game which included three penalties and a red card plus five goals, it was a showcase of Champions League football. The match stats from the game tell a story in which both sides will look whilst scratching their heads and wonder how one team lost and one team won.
FC Twente had in total, 22 attempts on goal whereas Spurs could only muster 12 – which shows Tottenham were more clinical on the night and Twente were wasteful. However, the match possession was largely controlled by Tottenham who had 59% of the ball. Three penalty decisions assisted by the controversial fifth official aided Spurs goal haul. Two of the three were slightly dubious, but the second was the most obvious of the lot. Tottenham could only convert two of the three, which didn’t hamper their chances of recording a vital win – which didn’t look as set in the stone as many thought at the beginning of the match.
As usual Harry Redknapp lined his side up in their usual home formation of 4-4-2. Spurs struggled to start the game as they would have liked to. The first twenty minutes or so, the Dutch side looked solid – closed down at every opportunity and their physicality disrupted a usual free flowing spurs side. It was a shock to see the two sides go in at half time goalless but that was how it was. The game sprung into life after the restart and Rafael Van der Vaart was at the centre of everything. He was creating chances and barraged the goal with some thumping efforts. He was also doing the dirty work, which eventually led to a second bookable offence and a red card. The Dutchman still seems to be on a huge high since arriving at White Hart Lane, which has led to many silly bookings – due to thinking he still has to impress the crowd. The timing of his red card could not have been worse timed with Twente just pulling one back to make it 2-1 to Spurs. But Spurs were helped by the generous officials which helped them restore their two goal advantage. The consistent and impressive yet again, Gareth Bale, scored the fourth which secured the win.
A slightly fortuitous victory for Tottenham, and one that puts them in a good position after two games. Spurs have started well and their approach has helped there fine entrance into the Champions League. Matches like last night could have swung either way but Redknapp will be delighted to notch up an impressive win. The next two matches are so important for Tottenham. Back to back games with the holders Inter Milan could make or break their progression in the tournament. Spurs will need to take something from one of these matches to ease their nerves.
02 Hutton – 26 King- 19 Bassong – 32 Assou-Ekotto
06 Huddlestone – 14 Modric – 11 Van der Vaart
03 Bale– 15 Crouch – 09 Pavluychenko
66 – 08 Jenas on for 15 Crouch
82 – 07 Lennon on for 14 Modric
89 – 10 Keane on for 09 Pavluychenko