September 16 could prove to be the true kickoff of the Andre Villas-Boas era at Tottenham Hotspur, or simply an example of a quality side beating up on a lesser opponent. For now, Spurs supporters will gladly smile when reflecting on the 3-1 victory over Reading, happily forgetting about all frustrations that were felt while watching the first 70 minutes of the contest. Tottenham have finally notched their first win of the 2012-13 Premier League campaign.
It's about time.
Reading 1-3 Tottenham: Man of the match
Forward Jermain Defoe routinely drives me to the brink of sanity with his "shoot first, pass never" mentality while in the attacking third. He can fire off 25 shots per match for all I care as long as he continues to find the back of the net. The England front man who has been in form while playing for both country and club at the end of summer opened the scoring in the 18th minute, but he wasn't the lone star of that tally. Aaron Lennon was sprung free down the right wing by a beautiful through ball delivered by Gylfi Sigurdsson, and the speedster beat a defender to the pass before laying off for the unmarked Defoe. Defoe fired off a far post strike the beat goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, putting Spurs up a goal.
Defoe then put the hosts away for good 16 minutes from time. He made a brilliant run down the middle of the field with possession, and he did well to hold off defender Alex Pearce while making his way into the left portion of the penalty area. Defoe then used his left foot, something he needs to do more often, to curl home a strike that completed his double.
Reading 1-3 Tottenham: Still frustrating
While all Spurs supporters will take delight in the scoreline, Tottenham were again too often their own worst enemy in the final third. They probably should have been up by at least three goals at the break, as Defoe, Lennon and Sigurdsson all squandered open chances in the first half. Sunday was the third time this season that Spurs had thoroughly dominated an opposing side in the opening frame but with little to show for it. As we've already seen, that's going to catch up with this team.
The Tottenham victory was then spoiled just a bit when they surrendered a goal on a counterattack right on the cusp of stoppage time. That's the third time in four league matches that Spurs have allowed a goal at the death. You just can't do that at this level.
Reading 1-3 Tottenham: Just what he needs?
Much has been made by fans and analysts about how Gareth Bale has largely been a non-factor in games during the current campaign. That was again the case in the first half of Sunday's contest, but he came to life following halftime, and he opened his account in the 71st minute with a goal that was kinda/sorta lucky. Kyle Walker played a cross into the box for the waiting Bale, and the Welsh ace miss-hit a right-footed strike that fortunately sailed upward and into the left corner of the net. It's sometimes better to be lucky than good, as they say, and that goal could be just what Bale needs to get back into the swing of things.
Reading 1-3 Tottenham: Conclusion
AVB has the first win of his Tottenham career, Spurs dominated an over-matched side, and all is right in the world for at least half of a week. Issues such as a lack of clinical finishing and an inability to adequately close out an opponent aside, Spurs desperately needed to find a return to winning ways before things got too out of hand. Sunday's result in no way erases Tottenham earning just two points in three games.
It's a start, though.