Bolton 1 Tottenham 4: Lessons from a stunning Spurs win

What did we learn from Tottenham Hotspur's resounding victory over Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok on Wednesday night?

By Daniel Jolly
Barclays Premier League, 2 May 2012, Reebok Stadium
team1
Bolton
1 - 4
team2
Tottenham

Modric will be missed

Following Harry Redknapp’s comments on Sunday that the influential playmaker may leave the club in the summer, Tottenham Hotspur supporters will have wondered what the future would be like without Luka Modric. The 26-year-old showed a stunning glimpse of what he can produce, with the 37th-minute opener against a struggling Bolton side. After Rafael van der Vaart pinged a corner out to him, the Croatian took a touch before hammering an unstoppable effort from 25 yards to leave Adam Bogdan helpless. That goal was the first on the road for the visitors in 66 days, but Modric showed poor concentration early in the second half, as the home side got themselves back into the game. After a throw was flicked on by Kevin Davies and David N’Gog, it eventually found Nigel Reo-Coker who escaped the attentions of Modric and tucked the ball past Brad Friedel. Unbelievably, that meant that 30 per cent of Spurs’ goals have been conceded in the first 15 minutes after the break – higher than any other side.

Davies still can cause problems

If there is a man who can help solve a crisis, then Bolton Wanderers captain Kevin Davies is certainly it. The 35-year-old notched a double in the weekend victory against Sunderland and came close to taking his season tally to eight. Having scored in his last four home games against these opponents, the striker found himself in dangerous positions on a number of occasions but couldn’t quite direct his headed efforts on target. His record against the visitors on home turf is fantastic, with eight career goals against Tottenham in the Premier League. Only Alan Shearer, a man who Davies was once compared to, has scored more against the Champions League chasing Londoners.

Bale back to his best

The 22-year-old produced an outstanding display as he played an integral part in this vital away victory. Just as Bolton were starting to gain some momentum, Bale laid on a perfectly-weighted pass for Rafael van der Vaart to slot home a second Spurs goal from close range. The Welsh winger wasn’t finished there as he also played a part in the fourth. His through-ball found Emmanuel Adebayor and the Togo striker was allowed to run unchallenged before rounding Bogdan and finishing. This took his tally of assists into double figures, just the seventh player in this season’s Premier League to reach that mark. Certainly an improvement on his 2010-11 total, when he provided just one. It wasn’t just Bale who was having fun on the wings though and after impressing against Blackburn Rovers, Aaron Lennon once again staked his claims for an England recall. For most of the game he was well-marshalled by a solid home defence, but when he did get a glimmer of space, he outpaced Tim Ream before putting in a perfect cross to Adebayor. These moments of wing wizardry helped Spurs to pick up their first top-flight victory at the Reebok Stadium and notched four on the road for the first time since August 2009.

Adebayor makes his mark

When Adebayor first arrived at White Hart Lane, there was certainly some scepticism amongst the Tottenham faithful. To say he has won over those doubters is an understatement. Since his arrival, the striker had notched 14 times in 34 appearances, building a fruitful partnership with Van der Vaart. The 28-year-old added another pair of goals to that total in Lancashire as he made his mark once again. First, Lennon found him in acres of space as he easily finished and his evening’s tally was doubled after he easily rounded Adam Bogdan and slotted home. There are doubts over where his future lies, with his wages the stumbling block. With Tottenham’s wage policy stating that they won’t pay a player over £70,000 a week, the chances of him returning look slim. Before their weekend game against Blackburn, he had recorded 78 shots so far this season, with 61 per cent of those going on target.

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