Updated: May 10
They say Spurs are a one-man team. When considering the player-of-the-season so far award, I’d look to the wing, to a player with speed and power, who terrifies opposing defences and is a pleasure to watch in full flow. When he scores, Spurs never lose. His name, of course, is Aaron Lennon.
Gareth Bale certainly catches the eye, and no one can doubt the contribution he’s made with vital goals and assists. And this isn’t a competition to pit one player against another – Spurs have the best two wingers in the Premier League and that’s something to be enjoyed. But after years when Lennon has been viewed as ‘almost there’, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s finally got to where he needs to be going.
The sight of Lennon picking the ball up, cutting in from the wing and running at the heart of the opposition defence brings joy to the heart. His pace down the wing and ability, at last, to get dangerous crosses in consistently is also something to behold. And this season, he’s shown astonishing workrate, tracking back, tackling, harrying – wherever you are on the pitch, it seems Lennon is going to hunt you down.
His absence at Anfield may well have been the difference between us establishing a commanding position and what eventually happened, especially as Dembele was moved out wide to fill in for him. Lennon is every bit as vital for Spurs as Bale – and just as Bale once had the unwanted stat of never having played in a game Spurs won, so Lennon has a remarkable, and more positive, stat to boast.
Spurs have never lost a game in which Lennon has scored.
Since he signed for the club in 2005, he has scored in 25 matches, with Spurs winning 21 and drawing 4. His total haul is 26 goals, with a 4-0 home win against Middlesbrough the only game in which he has scored more than once. His first goal came on 18 March 2006 away at Birmingham City in a 2-0 win in which Robbie Keane scored the other one. Since then he’s bagged a consistent 3 or 4 a season, including goals in some pretty special games.
He was on the scoresheet in that fateful second leg UEFA Cup semi-final against Seville, when a 2-2 draw was not enough to stop Spurs going out, but enough to preserve Lennon’s record*. The following season he got one in the joyous 5-1 League Cup semi-final demolition of what Arsenal fans like to call their reserve team, conveniently forgetting at least eight first-teamers featured. And the season after that he bagged one in the historic 9-1 demolition of Wigan.
Arsenal must be sick of the sight of him, as he’s scored more times against them than any other club. After contributing to the League Cup humiliation, he got the equaliser in the epic 4-4 comeback game at the Emirates, and of course he stylishly slid the winner in for this season’s 2-1 home derby win which could prove to be pretty significant.
All in all, Lennon has a fairly similar record to another great winger, a man rated by the others members of the great early 80s Spurs side as the only irreplaceable member of a team that featured Hoddle, Ardiles, Crooks, Archibald and Perryman – Tony Galvin. Galvin played 201 senior games for Spurs over nine years, scoring 20 goals. Lennon has played 225 games for Spurs over eight years, scoring 26 goals.
Like Galvin, Lennon is a true Spurs legend.
• Thanks to the guests on last week’s Spurs Show podcast for bringing this stat up, to stats king Chris Leadbeater for pursuing it with me, and to TopSpurs’ legend Jim Duggan for allowing me to reproduce the bare facts below.
* I would like to apologise in advance if writing this blog puts the kybosh on Lennon’s record next time he scores.
** Updated to include the terrible omission of the winner in the November 2006 home game v Chelsea. Thanks to reader Wilf Blackwood for pointing this out.
Lennon’s goals in full
18-Mar-06 FA Prem A Birmingham City W 2-0 Lennon, Keane 29-Apr-06 FA Prem H Bolton Wanderers W 1-0 Lennon 5 Nov 06 FA Prem H Chelsea W 2-1 Dawson, Lennon
27 Jan 07 FA Cup 3 R H Cardiff W 4-0 Lennon, Keane, Malbranque, Defoe 24 Feb 07 FA Prem H Bolton W 4-1 Keane (2), Jenas, Lennon 12 April 07 UEFA QF H Seville D 2-2 Defoe, Lennon
11 Nov 07 FA Prem H Wigan W 4-0 Jenas (2), Lennon, Bent 19 Jan 08 FA Prem H Sunderland W 2-0 Lennon, Keane 22 Jan 08 LC sf 2 H Arsenal W 5-1 Jenas, Bendtner (og), Keane, Lennon, Malbranque
29 Oct 08 FA Prem A Arsenal D 4-4 Bentley, Bent, Jenas, Lennon 29 Jan 09 FA Prem H Stoke W 3-1 Lennon, Defoe, Dawson 21 Feb 09 FA Prem A Hull W 2-1 Lennon, Woodgate 04 Mar 09 FA Prem H Middlesbrough W 4-0, Keane, Pavlyuchenko, Lennon (2)
23 Aug 09 FA Prem A West Ham W 2-1 Defoe, Lennon 29 Aug 09 FA Prem H Birmingham W 2-1 Crouch, Lennon 22 Nov 09 FA Prem H Wigan W 9-1 Crouch, Defoe (5) Lennon, Kirkland (og), Kranjcar
28 Nov 10 FA Prem H Liverpool W 2-1 (Skrtel (og), Lennon 28 Dec 10 FA Prem H Newcastle W 2-0 Lennon, Bale 22 Jan 10 FA Prem A Newcastle D 1-1 Lennon
18 Aug 11 Europa League Q 1 A Hearts W 5-0 Van der Vaart, Defoe, Livermore, Bale, Lennon 30 Oct 11 FA Prem A Fulham W 3-1 Bale, Lennon, Defoe 11 Jan 12 FA Prem H Everton W 2-0 Lennon, Assou-Ekotto
6 Oct 12 FA Prem H Aston Villa W 2-0 Caulker, Lennon 27 Nov 12 FA Prem H Liverpool W 2-1 Lennon, Bale 2 Mar 13 FA Prem H Arsenal W 2-1 Bale, Lennon