04 January, 2006

Solid (against the) Citizens

Manchester City 0, Tottenham Hotspur 2.

As I was saying...a win against Manchester City tonight was vital. It's these kind of games that Tottenham have to win in order to confirm their credentials as legitimate challengers for a Champions' (sic) league place.

And, win they did.

Not only was this a strong performance, it was a great effort in difficult circumstances. Spurs kicked-off with a rebuilt midfield and lacking the tower of Ledley King in defence. With Tainio ill and Edgar "Yellow Card" Davids struggling with injury, teenager Aaron Lennon and the nearly forgotten Michael Brown lined up at the start.

Lennon used his speed and close control to continually harry Man City. Brown was a workhorse in the middle of the park. In defence, Anthony Gardner put in a solid if not always tidy game replacing King.

Lennon it was who carved the opening for the first goal. His enthusiasm unsettled Distin. The City defender should have deposited the ball in row Z. Instead, the quicker Spurs man stole the ball on the goal line and cut back for Mido to side foot home.

Spurs bossed most of the first half, but had only that chance to show. They looked close to scoring early after the break, but again couldn't carve open a clear cut opening. It was City who took hold of the game. But, in a lacklustre display failed to test 'keeper Paul Robinson.

So, it was left for ageless Robbie Keane to pounce on Mido's flicked header direct from a booming Robinson punt. Keane's nifty control set up a thunderous drive which David "Calamity" James had no chance saving.

Black marks: injuries to Lee and the outstanding Mido. The latter, of course, now misses three matches as he travels to play for Egypt in the African Nations' Cup. Spurs get off fairly lightly. Bolton will lose several key players during the tournament (20 Jan- 10 Feb in Egypt). The tournament is a high spot for Sunderland, who lose no players. They need all the help they can get.

In other news, supreme moron Paolo Di Canio has agreed to stop giving the fascist salute. Di Canio, you may remember, had a varied career in England. Revered by West Ham fans, he joined the Hammers after a long suspension for pushing over a referee. Of course, in amateur soccer that kind of behaviour would lead to a life ban. Prima donnas, like Di Canio - a big fan of Mussolini, it seems - can get away with just about murder, or at least assault of an official and a Nazi salute.

I will continue my battle for liberty in other ways, with the help of the lawyers who assist me

Bollocks, mate. Not even worthy of a donut.


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