With the news of Robbie Keane's departure breaking on the way to the
game, it was not the greatest way to go into the first UK pre-season
friendly for Spurs. But the Keane is Dead, Long Live The King.
Ledley's return was a welcome sight, as his
fitness is a major boost to the club's potential success. However,
with Robbie a fading memory and our captain managing 45 minutes and not
entirely a distinguished 45 minutes, it was the chance for others to
grab the limelight. And Darren Bent did just that.
The Canaries are about 11 days from their
league kick-off and have a large number of players who have joined the
squad this summer, following a bit of a clear-out by manager Glenn
Roeder. For Spurs, they had two training ground friendlies under
their belt and one game against a Spanish Second Division side.
So, the early stages looked fairly even, with Tottenham having a fair
bit of possession, but with Norwich perhaps being a little more direct
in going forward.
An early sign of the link-up between Luka
Modric and Jermaine Jenas, saw the Englishman put in, only to be blocked
put by the yellow shirted defenders diving in front of him.
However, on nine minutes, Giovani Dos Santos took on loanee Ryan
Bertrand and fired the ball low into the six yard box. Fortunately
for Spurs, Dejan Stefanovic could do nothing when the ball hit his
standing leg and ricocheted past David Marshall into the Norwich net.
It was a spell when Tottenham had been playing little 1-2s and playing
the ball in behind the full backs, but Norwich fought back well.
A Croft cross flew across the face of the
goal, Cureton managed to hit a shot on target that Gomes saved well and
when a move developed down the right wing, a pass inside to the edge of
the penalty area saw the Tottenham captain coming across to cover.
Instead of clearing the ball into the stand, Ledley was caught in two
minds and only managed to fall flat on his face. This left Jamie
Cureton the opening to slip the ball past Gomes to level things up on
the quarter of a hour mark.
Following the home goal, Tottenham held
the ball well and knocked it around with confidence, although Gilberto
tracked back slowly on occasions. The team looked comfortable in
possession and gave it away less than they managed last season.
With some tough tackles flying in from the City players, Spurs rode them
well, but Michael Dawson could do little to get out of the way of
Hoolahan's elbow and the split under his eye that spilt blood everywhere
ended his involvement in the match.
With Giovani and Modric showing good
skill on the ball and a nippy change of pace when they need to get away
from markers, Tottenham eased their way back into the game. A free
kick on the right taken by Dos Santos produced a header from King that
was going wide, but the keeper pushed it wider for a corner, although
Marshall did better when a 25 yard effort from O'Hara was taken easily
above his head. With the game heading towards the interval, a
lucky bounce of the ball from a tackle by a Norwich player fell for
O'Hara to slide in Darren Bent inside the right hand corner of the box.
Taking a touch on the ball, he steadied himself and struck the ball low
across the keeper to give Spurs a 2-1 lead.
The break saw King go off and Modric
leave the play, while a change around saw Benoit Assou-Ekotto go to left
back and Didier Zokora go into the centre of defence, while Lennon
started on the right wing, but dropped inside and roamed around behind
the front two. The moves sparked a wave of attacks, as Spurs
passed the ball accurately and sharply with City losing their shape and
any chance of getting back into the game.
Giovani was on the en do some neat
passing around the edge of the area and was denied by the Norwich keeper
with a good diving save and a block with his legs, as a low shot flew
in. However, he was left helpless in the 57th minute, as
Assou-Ekotto put in a low cross from the left wing that bounced up and
found Bent running in ahead of Stefanovic to power a header past
Marshall. It was a good piece of anticipation by the Tottenham
striker and the sort of ball he will thrive on.
Spurs continued to dictate the tempo of
the game and while Norwich piled bodies in front of the ball and their
own goal, Spurs moved it about until the chance for a telling pass could
be made. Once more, Giovani was played in around the edge of the
penalty area, hitting a low effort that Marshall stopped, but let get
away from him - a fatal mistake, as Darren Bent seized on the loose ball
to knock it home through the goalie's legs for his hat trick.
Norwich were in no way able to stop the
way Tottenham were playing and a flowing move down the right hand side
of the game saw the ball end up with Chris Gunter moving up the wing and
his first time cross low into the box was perfectly placed for Bent to
strike another shot between the keeper's legs to round off his four goal
haul in front of a crowd who were jeering him because of his Ipswich
Town connections. Each goal as different and each was taken very
well, leaving Juande Ramos a selection dilemma, with Berbatov stuck on
the bench - supposedly having a calf strain and unable to even make a
With the game sewn up in the 75th minute,
it was really just a matter of seeing out time, although the pressure
still moved towards the Norwich goal. It was only about five
minutes from time when Fotheringham managed to get on the end of a pass
and manufactured a shot that Gomes had to get down to smartly to turn
around for a corner. Apart from a cross that he lost his bearings
under and had to turn over the bar, Gomes had little to do and the hit
and miss coming for crosses of the first half were erased by this good
While there is a large gulf between the
two sides, it is pleasing to see Spurs play in this fashion. They
will not get as much space in the Premier League nor will they be
untested at the back, but for half a first choice side to play with a
comfortable ease on the ball and to finish chances created means it
could be an interesting few weeks ahead ... even without players some
might think we will miss.