A stroll in the sunshine ended in a comfortable 2-0 win against a
frankly useless Celtic side, who wouldn't last a minute in the Premier
Whoever it was who said
Scottish football is full of hammer throwers wasn't wrong. The
physical approach taken by the Glasgow side, with only Aiden McGeady
showing any spark of creative ability, meant that the greatest risk the
Spurs side were likely to suffer was bad injury. Rarely can
Heurelho Gomes have had a more uninvolved game. Even in the Dutch
league, where he played for PSV.
The ease with which Tottenham eased
through the 90 minutes was embarrassing. Within three minutes they
should have taken the lead, when a good cross into the six yard box was
met by a completely unmarked Jermaine Jenas, but he got his header all
wrong and it came softly off his shoulder when any sort of decent
connection would have beaten Boruc.
With ten minutes on the clock, Spurs had
their first bit of defending to do, with Woodgate getting his head in
the way of Venegoor of Hesselink's header from McGeady's cross.
Zokora, who was playing at right back, did well when McGeady provided
the next bit of Celtic attacking play and he stood up rather than diving
in and bent down to provide a bigger barrier to the winger's effort on
goal and it drifted wide for a corner.
Darren Bent had been looking lively
before his goal. He had made some good runs without receiving the
ball and had almost put Jenas in on goal, but his pass was cut out.
A couple of times in the second half, Berbatov showed his frustration
with the £16 million striker when passes, which might have put him in on
goal, were picked off. However, it was a Celtic man who set up his
goal. Hartley didn't look up when he played a 24th minute back
pass and it was short of the penalty area when Bent nipped in to take it
wide enough of Boruc to leave him without a chance of smothering the
shot and enough of an angle to put it past the Polish goalie and into
the empty net. The first touch had just enough weight on it to
give him the right angle to score and showed his confidence is building
with the more games he plays.
Playing nice little triangles around the
Celtic players, the only Scot who made an impression was Scott Brown,
who went in late on Huddlestone and then brought down Modric, before
making sure he trod on the player as well. It was interesting
watching it on TV, with the Scottish co-commentator, Davie Provan,
struggling to find things to praise the Celtic players for and plumping
for Brown's importance being his competitiveness in midfield and
Modric and Huddlestone were picking out
their short and long passes respectively, leaving Celtic struggling to
keep up with the play, even though the pace was fairly sedentary.
In the heat, players were playing within themselves to last the match
out, but this was far from Tottenham's first team, while Celtic were
fielding most of the first choice side and are only a week away from the
start of their season. Only Boruc's anticipation stopped Tottenham
turning round two goals to the good, with a rush out of goal to block
Bent just inside the area when Modric slipped a perceptive pass through
the static Celtic defence.
At the break, Bentley came on for Lennon
and Bale for Woodgate to keep the pressure on the Scots. Little
came towards the Spurs goal, as they kept the ball well and mounted wave
after wave of attacks, even though they failed to create a large number
of openings. Bent put a low cross in from the right and Berbatov
stepped over the ball (more of which later) for Modric, but he was held
as he went for it, but the ref gave nothing. Bentley linked up
with Bent (this is going to get confusing) and his long pass beyond the
back line saw the striker race onto it, turn and then hit s shot at
goal, which was saved on 55 minutes.
Ramos continued to ring the changes and
Ledley King came on for Tom Huddlestone, filling in alongside Daws in
the centre of defence, but he had little defending to do, allowing him
to move forward with the ball from the back line. Using the ball
out of defence, with the full backs pushing on in support of the
midfielders, helped Spurs create some good positions wide on both
flanks, but often the cross was a little too strong, with Bentley
hitting one just too high for Bale to run in onto and Bale doing the
same for Berbatov. However, when Bale got away down the left in
the 79th minute, he kept his calm, cut back from the dead ball line and
put in a low ball to the near post. Berbatov, who had looked
interested and sulky in equal measure, darted to the ball with Naylor
and Boruc in close attendance, but he left the ball, fooling both Celts
and the ball ran across the edge of the six yard box to David Bentley,
who had the simple task of putting it into an empty net. His
celebration matched his words about his joy in joining Spurs, as he
gloried in his first goal right n front of the majority of Tottenham
fans. He didn't kiss the badge, but it was a close thing.
Coming near the end and with Celtic
offering little cause for concern, Spurs took off Zokora and Modric and
gave Chris Gunter and Jamie O'Hara a few minutes at the death. The
last chance fell to Spurs, with Bent taking on a defender on the right
side of the box and choosing to hit a shot rather than play the ball
across to Berbatov, but his effort rippled the side netting rather then
the inside of it and before long it was all over.
With Borussia Dortmund beating Feyenoord
in the other game, the German side will contest the tournament with
Spurs in the early game on Sunday, but this was no real test for
Tottenham and they will be hoping for a more competitive match in a
couple of days time.
featured had good games, with nobody having a stinker, with Berbatov
showing touches of commitment (he even chased back at the beginning) and
most players looking sharp. They need to continue their winning
streak and take that into the start of the season.