(Bale – 6, Lennon – 50, Defoe – 60)
Bolton Wanderers 0
(Cahill s/o 18)
Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe all got themselves on the score-sheet as Tottenham recorded their tenth with in 11 matches against a Bolton Wanderers side who had Gary Cahill sent off after just 18 minutes.
Harry Redknapp had made seven changes from the mid-week defeat to PAOK with only Defoe, Lennon, Luka Modric and William Gallas surviving the cut from the Spurs manager.
And the gulf is class between the two sides was evident from the off as Spurs looked to attack the Trotters with intent.
The early pressure paid off after Gareth Bale’s darting run down the left before he cut back to Emmanuel Adebayor who found Aaron Lennon but the England man was challenged before he could get his shot away. Luka Modric drilled the resulting corner along the ground and found Bale to tap past Jussi Jaaskelainen to make it 1-0 after just six minutes.
It could have been two just three minutes later, Bale doing well to intercept Cahill’s cross-field ball before sending a low cross into the box but Defoe wasn’t able to direct the ball goal-bound.
The major talking point of the game came after 18 minutes, Scott Parker hounding down both Mark Davies and Zat Knight before capitalising and Cahill’s drag-back. Tapping the ball away, the England centre-half bought down his compatriot 40-yards from goal.
Many were expecting referee Stuart Attwell to produce a yellow at most but, much to the delight of the home crowd, the 29-year-old gave the former Aston Villa man his marching orders.
Spurs began to capitalise on the one-man advantage and if it wasn’t for a string of excellent saves from Jaaskelainen, it easily could have been 2-0 much earlier than the 50th minute mark.
The Fin did well to deny first Defoe on 25 minutes before Adebayor’s eight-yard effort was turned away following some good work by Parker.
And after 34 minutes, he was on hand once more to deny both Bale and Defoe as Spurs pressed to extend their advantage leading into half-time.
Bolton, however, weren’t going to roll over and it took an excellent save from Brad Friedel to deny Chris Eagles’ deflected effort, colliding with the post in the process, while Dredryk Boyata had his headed effort well save by the American and Younes Kaboul did well to block Mark Davies’ shot.
Adebayor had two further opportunities before the close of the half but couldn’t find a way past Jaaskelainen as Spurs went into the half 1-0 up.
However, just five minutes into the second, a sigh of relief was breathed around White Hart Lane. After clearing a Bolton corner, Parker found Walker marauding forward in the Spurs half. The England right-back cut back inside to Adebayor before releasing Defoe. He picked out Lennon on the left hand-side who, after cutting in and feigning an initial effort, found the back of the net to make it 2-0.
And it was 3-0 just 10 minutes later, Modric’s corner being flicked on by Bale and left Defoe with the simplest of tasks to tap in from two-yards out. Three and easy as Spurs were cruising for the three points.
Spurs continued the pressure but Jaaskelainen was doing his best to ensure the score was kept to a minimum saving well from Modric, Bale and Parker.
Defoe could have had his second of the afternoon but his drilled effort found the foot of the post before Nigel Reo-Coker had Bolton’s first real chance of the second half but the former West Ham United midfielder dragged his effort wide of the post.
Substitute David Ngog had his headed effort cleared off the line by Modric in the 82nd minute while Defoe came close again in the closing stages but was denied once more by the impressive Jaaskelainen as Spurs record-breaking sixth Premier League on the bounce compounded a miserable afternoon to Owen Coyle and the travelling Bolton support.
What Redknapp said after the game
“I never said we would win the league, I just said it’s not impossible. It’s an open league. It’s so close up there I don’t look at the table too much,” Redknapp said on Spurs’ recent title contender tag.
“We’ve been on a great run, 10 wins and one draw, it’s been a good run for us.
“We’re in good form but you’ve got to keep winning because everyone else up there is bang in form as well.
“It’s so close, Arsenal are on a good run, Liverpool are playing well, so they’re right in. You can’t afford to slip up. It’s very tight.”
Man of the match
Can Scott Parker do any wrong? The England midfielder put in yet another all-action display in the 3-0 win. His awareness and positional sense is second-to-none at times and his energetic, terrier-esc displays are contributing massively to Spurs’ now 11 game unbeaten run. Credible mentions go to Gareth Bale and Luka Modric while Jussi Jaaskelainen was excellent in the Bolton goal to ensure the score-line didn’t match the 9-1 win over Wigan Athletic in 2009.
Moment of the match
Gary Cahill’s red-card has been criticised heavily by pundits and Spurs fans alike. 40-yards from goal and Stuart Attwell felt his foul on Parker warranted his marching orders. Watching the highlights, we can understand his decision. Whether Zat Knight would have re-covered to cover the ground left by Cahill is another matter but, you can see Jermain Defoe springing forward past the former Aston Villa defender and there is no doubt in question that Cahill was denying a goal-scoring opportunity.
Meanwhile, Aaron Lennon’s 50th minute striker was the epitome of Spurs’ free-flowing football that has seen them propel up the table. From Scott Parker’s pass to Kyle Walker to the ball hitting the back of the net took a full 15.7 seconds and left many pundits salivating about the football the North London side are playing at the moment.