So Saturday was a bit of a surprise wasn't it? Bolton played the best they have in a long while, and arguably outplayed Spurs, who have been a quality side so far this season. If you read my match preview, I wasn't very optimistic for this match, I said we might sneak away with a draw. However it was Tottenham who were lucky to get a point. If you missed the match, I pity you and provide you with these highlights (note their length!). Now let's talk about the match.
Bolton showed their dominance early with a goal in the 3rd minute. Off a throw in from Jlloyd Samuel (by the way 9 of our 10 goals this season have been off set pieces), Gardener hit it with a powerful header to Chung-Yong Lee. Chung-Yong shot, but it was deflected by Cudicini right to the boots of Ricardo Gardner, who couldn't miss.
After a long period of pressure by Bolton, which included a lovely run by Gardener, Tottenham got one back from their first shot on goal. Peter Crouch beat Sam Ricketts in the air (which you can't really fault Ricketts for, Crouch is 6 foot 7) and Crouch directs it to a sprinting Kranjcar. Here's where the criticism comes in. I've said it about a million times on this blog, but we aren't marking the man. In this case the culprit was Zat Knight, who was running the absolute wrong way when he cut to try and stop Krancjar. However he was far too late and this cut meant that Jaaskelainen couldn't see what was going on, hence his late reaction and inability to save the shot. The defense is having some seriously communication and marking problems which they need to work out very soon.
From there Tottenham picked up the pace a little, but they weren't really in full swing until Defoe came on in the 67th minute. This game was very indicative of how important he is to Tottenham right now. While Bolton controlled most of the first half, the second half was roughly even, with Spurs granted the edge after Defoe graced the pitch. He definitely added a whole new element of danger to their attack.
The second Bolton goal was a work of beauty. A real team effort, Gardener passed to Tamir Cohen, who offloaded to Lee. chung-yong coolly back-heeled it back to Cohen, who sent a beautifully precise cross to the far post where Kevin Davies nodded it into the goal. It was a wonderful flowing move, which demonstrated what a genuinely good team we can be when we are performing to our potential.
The Spurs equaliser was yet another example of our incompetent defending. The offender this time was Matt Taylor, who left Corluka completely unmarked on the edge of the box, and didn't even give him any competition in the air. That being said both the corner and the the header were executed very well, but I still think Taylor could have at least made it harder for the Croatian.
Over all the game was very encouraging. Our midfield looked fantastic with Cohen and Gardener especially shining (also Cohen cost less than a million, what a steal!). Our defense is very questionable, but what I really can't understand is why Megson started Knight ahead of Steinsson. I think Steinsson is a very reliable player, and Knight is looking dangerously unreliable. The defense aside we were very promising, challenging a quality team and launching good attacks. I'm very pleased. I wish you all a happy international break! I might do a little update on our boys in the international action later in the week, so keep a look out.