Mick McCarthy the Wolves manager and Harry Redknapp the Spurs manager shout directions to their players during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham and Wolverhampton on January 14, 2012.
Tottenham Hotspur might have believed their own hype a bit. One match after they were universally dubbed as title contenders, they looked nothing like the best version of themselves in a 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers at White Hart Lane. Save for one absolutely brilliant strike by Luka Modric, they simply weren't good enough.
Of course, the officials did not help. They made more bad calls that were to our detriment than bad calls that were to Wolves' detriment, but they were bad all around. That is not to say that the officials cost Tottenham the game -- Spurs simply were not good enough and did not deserve three points -- but the officiating in the game was very poor and it needs to be pointed out. This is not the first poor game that Michael Jones has had this season.
Wolves didn't go forward much and were a bit dirty with their tackling, but they played well. On the couple of occasions where they tried to play football, they did an excellent job of it. Their goal came on a well-taken corner kick and the effort of both Steven Fletcher and Roger Johnson was superb. They kept their defensive shape and knew how to be physical without picking up a red. So, before continuing, it's important to give credit to them. They didn't play the kind of football that I like and the officials were bad, but they executed their gameplan well and deserved a point.
The goal came on a corner that probably wasn't in the 22nd minute, but it's certainly not an excuse. Though the television feed made a point of showing the replay of Kyle Walker not touching the ball over and over again, this is a routine thing that happens in almost every game. Spurs didn't respond well, and their marking on the corner kick was shambolic. Johnson got in-between Younes Kaboul and Michael Dawson for a free header, which he put on target. Luka Modric cleared off the line, but only as far as Fletcher, who finished off the chance.
Both before and after the goal, Spurs had plenty of chances that they squandered. Gareth Bale and Rafael Van der Vaart did their best Roman Pavlyuchenko impressions all game, hitting Row Z repeatedly. Emmanuel Adebayor's shortcomings were perhaps even more infuriating -- he refused to pull the trigger. After a very frustrating first half in which Spurs should have scored two or three times and shouldn't have allowed such an easy set piece goal, they went into the locker room down 1-0.
Shortly into the second half, Luka Modric struck an absolutely brilliant shot from just outside the penalty area, beating Wayne Hennessey and equalizing the match. Unfortunately for Spurs, that would be the last time Hennessey was beaten. He was absolutely brilliant for the remainder of the match, making three big saves between that goal and the end of the match,
The bounces and calls didn't go Spurs' way on Saturday, but that's certainly no excuse for their play. Van der Vaart, Bale, Walker and Adebayor were repeatedly wasteful. Despite his goal and a number of very nice through balls, Modric was not at his best. Dawson and Parker looked off the pace, like they had not yet fully recovered from their injuries and time off.
It's two points dropped that Spurs should have won, but they're right back in the title race with a win over Manchester City next week, regardless of what they do against Wigan on Monday. Believe. COYS.