Brad Friedel frustrates Spurs but Michael Dawson takes point off Villa
The lesson here for Spurs was not that they cannot play Wigan every week, they knew that already, but rather that their luck will not be in every week. Considering they were away against a team Are All Prada Products Made In Italy Authentic Prada Handbags Usa only one place below them, this was a Tottenham performance almost as impressive as last week’s cloud nine, yet they came close to getting nothing for it.
The difference was Brad Friedel, some dogged Villa defending and, until Michael Dawson’s late intervention, a complete lack of a friendly bounce or a fortunate break for Spurs. Villa were comfortably outplayed, yet held a lead until 13 minutes from the end, despite the visitors creating almost as many clear-cut chances as in the Wigan game. It was not even a case of poor finishing, it was more like watching the law of averages in action after last week’s glut. Even after Dawson’s equaliser, Emile Heskey headed inches over at the end, although Villa did not deserve to get that lucky.
“We were hanging on towards the end,” Martin O’Neill said. “Tottenham are a very fine side and we just couldn’t get out of our own half.” The goalscorer Dawson was not about to disagree. “We made loads of chances and had lots of shots,” he said. “We showed what a good team we are.”
Indeed they did. Yet after Niko Kranjcar brought the first of many saves from Friedel with a shot from the edge of the box, Spurs found themselves behind after 10 minutes through clumsy defending of a set piece. First, Carlos Cuéllar was allowed a free Authentic Prada Fairy Bag For Sale header from James Milner’s corner, and although a combination of Heurelho Gomes and Benoît Assou-Ekotto managed to stop it by the post – possibly illegally as the full-back appeared to use an arm– the ball was not cleared and Gabriel Agbonlahor forced it inelegantly over the line.
The visitors’ efforts to get back into the game were hampered by Wilson Palacios giving the ball away in midfield and Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe operating too far ahead of the rest of their team-mates, and the closest they came to an equaliser in the first half also came from a set piece. After Tom Huddlestone’s effort from a free-kick was blocked by the wall, Defoe’s shot on the turn was beaten out by Friedel, and when Dawson seemed certain to score from the follow-up, his drive was blocked on the line by Cuéllar.
Villa dropped back deeper and deeper and invited Spurs to come at them as Richard Dunne and his defenders were initially having few problems dealing with attacks down the middle. Harry Redknapp occasionally appeared in his technical area pointing meaningfully to the under-utilised Aaron Lennon, mostly to no avail, although when Lennon did get involved on the stroke of the interval, a cross from the right produced a chance for Crouch, only to be met by a poor header.
Kranjcar began the second half as he had begun the first, with an even better shot from Crouch’s lay-off, which brought an even better save from Friedel. The Croatian was also denied by a brave block from the busy Cuéllar after an hour, although bizarrely Villa could have been two up by then had John Carew showed his usual awareness in front of goal from Ashley Young’s cross. Instead he missed the target, Authentic Prada Handbags For Cheap which was turning into the story of Villa’s evening.
Embarrassingly for the home side, the game’s stats flashed up on the giant screen at that point to show that Spurs had had seven attempts on target to Authentic Prada Factory Outlet Online Villa’s one. It would double by the end. Spurs were even denied a penalty after 70 minutes when another wayward header by Crouch caused the ball to fly off Luke Young’s boot and hit him Authentic Prada Canvas Bag on the arm. The referee did not appear to see it and may not have felt like awarding it anyway, although Phil Dowd did redeem himself a couple of minutes later by spotting Defoe had handled the ball before bundling it into the net after Friedel had once more rescued Villa, this time with a save from Huddlestone.
Finally, after Crouch had seen an effort blocked on the line, an equaliser arrived when Dawson was given a second chance by a rare error from Dunne, and crashed a shot into the roof of the net that even Friedel could do nothing about. It was no more than Spurs and their captain deserved, and after spending almost all of the second half on the back foot, Villa could have no complaints. They almost lost at the death when Defoe went desperately close. “I think 14 attempts on target says it all,” Redknapp said. “It was one-way traffic in the second half.”
THE FANS’ PLAYER RATINGS AND VERDICT
Jonathan Pritchard, Observer reader We played quite Authentic Prada Clutch well in the Authentic Prada Handbags Outlet Uk first half and I think we shaded it. But in the second half we were overrun. We were far too defensive. At home you should not be playing with one up front. O’Neill should have played two strikers. We are probably the seventh or eighth best side in the Biggest Prada Store London country and we are deluding ourselves that we can get into the Champions League. It was good to see Reo-Coker back but I don’t think he has a future at the club. We need to buy a striker in January.
The fan’s player ratings Friedel 6; Beye 8, Dunne 7, Cuellar 8, L Young 7; Milner 6, Petrov 7, Reo-Coker 7 (Sidwell n/a) replica prada leather bags, A Young 6; Agbonlahor 6, Carew 6 (Heskey 75 n/a)
Dave Mason, Observer reader You can’t score nine every week but we had enough chances to do that here. Our performance in the second half was staggering. Are Prada Trainers Made In Vietnam It was one-way traffic and I don’t know how we didn’t win the game. We were away from home but completely controlling the game. But when Defoe’s had a goal disallowed, I knew it wasn’t going to be our day. Friedel was brilliant. He was their best player. Our goalie on the other hand had absolutely nothing to do.
The fan’s player ratings Gomes 7; Corluka 7, Bassong 8, Dawson 8, Assou-Ekotto 8; Lennon 7, Palacios 7 (Jenas 66 7), Huddlestone 6, Kranjcar 9 (Keane 78 7); Crouch 7, Defoe 7
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