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Spurs vs. Stoke: Match Review

A win is a win, all that matters is the W, three points is three points. I've repeated these tired cliches to myself over and over in the last 24 hours. While they may be true, the fact is that Tottenham didn't play very well on Saturday. We relied on a face goal, a stunner, some missed sitters, and a blown call to win. Spurs were not the better team over 90 minutes on Saturday and Stoke deserved to win the game. Off the back of the debacle in Bern, it was not an encouraging performance.

With Defoe, Keane, Pavlyuchenko, and Dos Santos all unavailable, Harry's hand was forced as Jenas, Huddlestone, and Palacios all played. Spurs had considerably more of the ball in the first half for two reasons. First, the inherent advantage in the center of the pitch when you're playing three central midfielders against two, and second, the fact that Tony Pulis probably didn't know that was coming. Once he got a chance to talk to his squad in the locker room, Stoke made their adjustments and had about 2/3 of the possession in the second half.

That second half was truly awful for Spurs. They got battered for 45 minutes and somehow walked away without conceding. Tuncay missed a couple of sitters, Fuller had opportunities, Shawcross had opportunities, it was target practice on Gomes. When he was challenged, he came up big. Often, Stoke failed to challenge him when they should have. There's no question that they should have scored at least two goals in the second half.

Of course, they did score once. Just don't tell Chris Foy, who inexplicably looked to his linesman for a decision when he was two yards away from where the ball crossed the line for Stoke. Don't tell Redknapp either, he said that Foy was right not to allow the goal. Everyone with an HDTV or high-quality stream knows otherwise.

So, the positives. Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon had flashes of brilliance once again. When things aren't going well for Spurs, the two young wingers have shown an ability to create something out of nothing. Bale's second goal, in particular, was a superb strike. Jermaine Jenas deserves some praise as well, he had a surprisingly solid game. He disappeared for long stretches of the game in true JJ fashion, but he created a couple of chances and his hard work on the defensive end saved Spurs at the end of the match. It's nice to know that Spurs have a whopping SEVEN quality central midfielders (Huddlestone, Palacios, Jenas, Modric, Sandro, Kranjcar, O'Hara).

My biggest thumbs down for the match goes to Younes Kaboul. After the debacle in Bern, I (and everyone else) was calling for him to get his chance in the center of defense. He was at fault for Stoke's goal, completely losing Ricardo Fuller on a corner kick. As much of a d-bag as Billy Gallas is, we need him. Our central defenders are a guy with no cartilage in his knees (King), a guy with cement shoes (Dawson), and a couple of mentally disabled guys (Kaboul, Bassong). I expect the CFC and the cement shoed one to play against Young Boys on Wednesday.

Honestly, if we don't win our next three matches (H Young Boys, H Wigan, A West Brom) I'm going to hit the sauce hard. Usually I'd say that's cake, but these guys are scaring the crap out of me. Sort it out, boys.