Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Make Us Endure Jermain Inferno, Fabio

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Make Us Endure Jermain Inferno, Fabio

Article excerpt

Byline: Matthew Norman

WITH the World Cup more on our minds than ever after Friday's obliging draw, let's begin with a word of praise for Jermain Defoe. Where lesser colleagues would have awaited the tournament to give a masterclass in how not to take a penalty, this conscientious chap chose 6 December to give a foretaste of the calamity to come.

Until Defoe produced his replica of Stuart Pearce in the 1990 semi-final tragedy from which some of us have no hope of ever recovering, my World Cup thoughts had run along more picturesque lines.

First of all, it struck me that England's most devastating weapon next summer may well be neither Wayne Rooney nor Steven Gerrard, but Aaron Lennon. The monobrow was splendid again at Goodison Park yesterday. Having finally learned to cross he is now a lethal, world-class winger.

With him continually troubling a sub-strength Everton down the right, Spurs looked every inch a top-four team before losing concentration late on. In both the initial quality of passing and the subsequent cluelessness about how to defend a two-goal lead, in fact, theirs was an Arsenal display.

They should have secured the points by the end of a vibrant yet scoreless first half. After Peter Crouch sliced over, Defoe had enough chances to have bagged the match ball before the interval.

In times past, this inability to translate chances into a lead would have had Tottenham players resigned to the sucker punch. But there is a confidence about Spurs these days and they wasted barely a minute of the second-half before grabbing a goal.

As Lennon crossed delectably from the right for Defoe to lash high into the net, you began to fantasise about this combination unlocking stronger sides than Algeria and Slovenia next summer.

Everton were being sliced open at will now, and what little colour resides in David Moyes's face was drained by the second goal, when Lucas Neill's paralysis allowed Michael Dawson a free header.

At this stage, the solitary question was how many more Tottenham would score. Yet the turning point, as so often, was supplied by a rank bad miss. …

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