Hotspur needed this. Not just the points, however handy they may
prove to be, but a reminder of the simple joys of football.
After a month of frustration, humiliation, anxiety and controversy, of being
thrashed by rivals, beaten in a Rome bar and told what to sing in their own
ground, here was a return to more elemental pleasures.
Three super goals, some sporadically delightful football, and a win over their
London neighbours. Sunday afternoons don’t get much better than that.
Yet until Jermain Defoe’s wonderful goal on the stroke of the break, this
looked like being another of those irritating afternoons for Tottenham.
began resolutely, pressing hard, maintaining a tight shape and competing
fiercely for the 50/50 balls. It took one moment of brilliance to unlock
them, and the game.