Spurs 4 Aston Villa 4

O'Neill: Bad day for officials 

(“son of a b****”) 

One of those brilliant nights where you go down to the pub on your own, braving the pitying looks from the locals who regard you with the kind of face that screams ‘you’re in your twenties and yet you still have no-one to watch a game of football with in the pub you sad bastard’. Still, the last laugh is on them. As they ‘chatted’ about whether they had milk in the fridge or did they feed the dog that day, Spurs and Villa served up a feast that any dog would’ve devoured without a second thought. Dunno where I was going with that one, moving on….

Spurs are generally entertaining to watch which makes going to see them in action an enjoyable experience no matter who the opposition are, and last night was no exception. Martin O’Neill’s teams have a reputation for grafting, for getting results beyond their means, and yet last night I was pleasantly surprised by the pace and fluidity to their play. The fact that Spurs play in a similar way to Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle days of ‘don’t worry if they score, we’ll score more’ means that Villa were afforded space on the wings, and Ashley Young found the going good on the left wing on plenty of occasions during the first half.

Gareth Barry was composed on the ball and involved in a real battle with Huddlestone and Zakora for supremacy in midfield. Spurs looked the likelier team to score throughout the first half, and Berbatov’s goal gave them the lead, although the Bulgarian was one of the poorer players for Spurs and is struggling to recapture his form of last year. That said, whenever he plays there are at least a few moments of genuine class, and he threaded through balls for both Taino and Keane though neither could capitalise.

Then came Paul Robinson’s now customary cameo. Corner. Robinson calls for it but forgets he has to catch it. Spills it to Chimbonda who panics and Laursen steps in. Bang. 1-1. Lead lasted a good minute and a half.

Then, more delightful defending from Spurs. Bit of ping-pong in the box and somehow Laursen has deflected a clearance between Robinson’s legs?

Then, Agbonlahor (talented, certainly, but a bit too much Djibril Cisse attitude for our liking) skinned Dawson and Villa were 3-1 up.

Daniel Levy’s face at half-time was that strange mix of disgust, evil and satisfaction that we saw from Roman Abramovich when Rosenborg took the lead against Chelsea a couple of weeks ago. Jol was going to get the sack. Levy had the performance to convince the Spurs fans that enough was enough. His grin summed it up and many a text was sent by viewers saying ‘did you see that?’…..It was like seeing a murderer getting away with a crime, Levy knew he was untouchable….But was he? Bam-bam-baaaaaam………

Yes, yes he was. For a while at least. Gardner stepped up and bang, 4-1. An hour gone. Villa hadn’t scored away from home before last night. Yet here they were, being outplayed in possession and style, and yet fancying a bit of a cricket score against a team expected to challenge for a Champions League place….

But wait, Defoe rattled the post leaving that funny fella Chimbonda to pull one back. Marlon Harewood attempted to castrate Defoe in the box leaving Robbie ‘i’ll break Alan Shearer’s penalty record wait and see’ Keane to make it 4-3. Bent had a goal disallowed before the ball got thrown in and out of the penalty area finally falling to Kaboul to unleash an unstoppable left footed drive into the roof of the net. 4-4. Off comes the shirt, Kaboul’s not Jol’s fortunately, Jol celebrates a 4-4 draw at home to Villa as if he’d won the league and Levy….?

Levy claps along with the fans as if to say we’re all in it together and aren’t we all excited that we’re Spurs fans? But he also knew that sacking Jol was no longer an option….Liverpool away on Sunday is his next chance……

Jol's Spurs leave it late

* Our favourite moment of the night though? Setanta’s stats for Jermaine Defoe. Shots 1. On target 3. Goals 0. It was taken down quicker than a Burmese monk….

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