10 years ago - Ledley and Daws recall a decisive derby double
Tue 14 April 2020, 14:35|Tottenham Hotspur
Turn the clock back 10 years, and we were about to step into one of the biggest spells in the Club’s modern history.
In fact, the week started with heartbreak at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final on 11 April, 2010.
We had the better chances against Portsmouth but lost 2-0 after extra time, the opening goal a direct result of Michael Dawson slipping over on the playing surface. The second goal came from the penalty spot courtesy of ex-Spur Kevin-Prince Boateng. It was a day to forget.
We’d also lost our previous match in the Premier League at Sunderland (3 April) as we chased Champions League qualification.
So, two hammer blows in a week. Next up, two of the biggest games of the season, back-to-back derbies, both at home, Arsenal (14 April) and Chelsea (17 April). Trailing Manchester City by four points with six matches remaining, with Liverpool and Villa breathing down our neck, this was it.
The rest is history.
Sparked by Danny Rose’s debut goal of a lifetime against Arsenal, we put together two thrilling 2-1 victories and with City losing their derby against United on 17 April, moved ahead of them into fourth place. We lost to United but a narrow win against Bolton and that night of all nights and a 1-0 win over City at the Etihad (5 May) saw us home.
How did we turn around the despair of Wembley on the Sunday to win the north London derby - Arsenal were third - and then beat eventual-champions Chelsea in the space of three days?
Here, Club legends Michael Dawson and Ledley King recall that week - and look out for our next two matches in The Archive - of course, Arsenal and Chelsea from this week 10 years ago...
“It’s crazy to think it’s 10 years ago. The semi-final was a massive blow. I didn’t play, but watching it was just as tough. We were well aware of the week ahead, and what we needed to do. Arsenal and Chelsea back-to-back at the Lane... the perfect games for us to get back to business.
“Danny Rose’s goal, I’d by lying if I said I was expecting it! It was hit like a rocket. It was a dream debut. What more could you ask for? Gareth Bale was really starting to show what he could do. I remember him being quite down earlier that season. We spent a bit of time together in the gym when he was recovering from injury. He had that record where he’d played without winning a game, that affected him at the time, but he had that belief in himself and we all saw what he was capable of once he had a consistent run of games.
“We’d beaten Chelsea in 2006, then the League Cup Final in 2008, then here. We were quietly confident against them at this stage, especially at home. Chelsea, Arsenal - these were the games we all loved. We always backed ourselves at home and with the support of the fans, we were ready.”
“The FA Cup defeat against Portsmouth was tough, everyone expected us to win. It was my slip that cost us that day. I remember watching the final, Pompey-Chelsea, and just thinking what might have been. But this is how football can change so quickly...
“The semi-final was on the Sunday, then we had these two huge games. Arsenal, Chelsea, six massive points in terms of the top four. You always felt the intensity and the pressure of the north London derby. I lived in the local area and everywhere I went... I’d go for a coffee the day before with my wife, my mum and dad would often be down as well, and people would just come up to me and say, ‘make sure you beat that lot’. You felt that.
“It all started with that goal from Danny Rose, an incredible volley. You dream of goals like that. Gareth Bale scored in both games. I remember him cutting in from the left and hitting it right foot against Chelsea. They scored late in that game and I had to make a challenge on Drogba late on. Things like that stand out. Gareth, some of the goals he scored were incredible. He’d just get you up the pitch with his speed and power, you’d be defending in your area and he’d get it and just run the length of the pitch! The next season, Champions League, talk about make a name for yourself... special times.
“You talk about critical weeks in any season but that week, the loss in the semi-final but then taking those six points against your biggest rivals and the team that won the league, that was a big, big week, two superb performances.”