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Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 West Bromwich Albion (Spurs Fan's Perspective)

Wednesday 4th January 2012
Spurs won't be able to afford many more victories like that one. A 1-0 defeat of West Bromwich Albion at home means another important three points is secured and a first league double at the first time of asking.

Injuries to Gallas and Sandro made it a costly victory. It is no coincidence that moments after Sandro left the field, West Brom launched their most meaningful attack of the half. In the first half, Spurs were frustrated by a Baggies outfit that stuck exactly to its gameplan. Missing so many key players, ambition was the enemy of success for West Brom and they staunchly refused to leave their defensive positions even as they launched occasional counter attacks. Despite Spurs statistical dominance, 0-0 at half time was far more suited to West Brom.

With Man City and Chelsea both winning, the pressure was on Spurs to match their rivals. Eventually, the pressure they were able to sustain in the second half told. Jermain Defoe, sporting a questionable new hairstyle, put away a fine shot on the turn. So many times Spurs players had touches in the box but failed to test Foster. Defoe always knows where the goal is, and made no mistake in the 63rd minute. While Spurs showed no less enthusiasm to get forward, Younes Kaboul was particularly aggressive, West Brom gradually gained a foothold. They made plenty of chances in the final half hour and had Spurs scrambling, but the thin white line held and as Friedel claimed their fourth consecutive corner deep into injury time, the points were assured.

The star for Spurs was Rafael van der Vaart. The Dutchman was not at his most damaging, but he was creative and skilful with the ball and aggressive and strong in defence. He made the difference at both ends and was certainly the key player. Bale too, improving after a poor game against Swansea, drew four yellow cards as hapless Baggies defenders scythed him down rather than watch him run by.

Spurs are now, with a game still in hand, five, six and eight points clear of their rivals for the top four and are keeping up the pressure at the top. The return of Ledley King and Scott Parker will be welcome when Spurs play their next match in eight days, but the losses of Gallas and Sandro will be keenly felt if they are long term.
Samuel Rooke

Total articles: 19

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