Tag Archives: Carling Cup

Nasri spoils the Sandro show Spurs 1 Arsenal 4

In many ways we got a footballing lesson tonight from a much stronger Arsenal side than has played this round of the competition for some years. No problem with that at all; it is up to every Manager to decide who to play and after being well beaten in the competition last time round I understand why Mr Wenger names a decent side.

Both times Arsenal attacked the Paxton Road they showed us how to do it. In the first half they were classy providing an absolute exhibition as we spent most of the half ball watching and failing to compete. Quite how we were only one down at half time I’m not sure but thankfully we were.  The simple facts were they could pass to a red shirt and unfortunately so could we. Time after time we conceded possession and allowed Arsenal to push the ball around the park.

Then in the first half of extra time they took the initiative right from the kick off and caught us asleep before falling over easily to win two penalties and then catching young Naughton napping for the fourth. The first penalty was awful and Bassong looked close to tears the second naive on our part. They don’t like the physical but they do like the cynical and overall they were by far the better team on the night.

Our second half performance was better and Keane scored a goal that the keeper should have saved to give us a lifeline. Frankly he was more offside than two flags Arsenal got in the first so we had some luck. Keane’s introduction gave us some extra impetus and maybe a bit of leadership that we lacked in the first half. Giovani gave way plus Livermore for Lennon and we gave ourselves a much better chance in our best period of the game. Keane also hit a post from a Bentley free kick but chances were few and far between.

So how did our boys fair? Pletikosa was ok but flapped at a cross poorly and kicked through to the other keeper on more than one occasion. Naughton was shown up more than once and the ball for goals came from the right side for the first and he was asleep for the fourth.

Caulker was welcomed to the big stage and probably learned a lot tonight. He played because no other option existed and it was a big ask. He got done for the third penalty and the first goal went through him to the back post but he did do quite well in the second half.

Bassong had a decent game and took the skippers arm band for the night. In truth he is a better supporting centre back than leading one so to skipper the side was a big ask and that may be one issue with our squad the natural leader on the field.

Assou-Ekotto is a constant worry as he tries to dribble his way out of defence. One day he is going to get caught and it will be costly.

Bentley had his first game since his injury and was slow at the start but improved and finished the first half with some decent forays under his belt. But he drifted in the second half and was probably exhausted at the end. He also missed hitting the target with a free header in extra time at the back post which would have got one back.

Livermore was withdrawn at half time and played in the centre first half. Won possession but gave it away and did not impress that he has enough about him to nick a place in the first 11. Why is it that so many home grown players are not up to making the grade leaving us to sign our stars? Perhaps he will prove me wrong but not on this performance.

Palacios was out right in the first half away and out of the action. Still sloppy and often uncomfortable in possession he looked better after the half time changes but still needs to recover his best form.

What is it about Giovani? A hero for his country but a nothing when it comes to domestic games. He worked hard and tried hard to win the ball but nothing seemed to be happening for him. I can’t see him being around that much longer.

Sandro took a few minutes to pick up the pace of the game but once he did he looked better and better and better. I could see the Socrates suggestion in his running style and height and this performance suggests he can do things for us. Went off in extra time and probably shocked at the pace of the game played tonight. We will see him again this season.

And Pav ran about, wide and deep but in front of goal up front with his strike partner? Not really. For me it was a typical Pav performance, not very super at all and with few opportunities to produce anything special. His lack of aerial threat is an issue if the ball is not coming to feet. For me at best an impact substitute.

Lennon played the second half and continued his run of low confidence. I’m not sure how he will correct this at present. It has been suggested he might be a bit sulky as Bale is playing so well and everything is going down the left but that should provide him with better chances as all the markers move out left.

And Niko came on at the end and did not get much chance to impress. Not sure what has happened here as Harry is not going to him. I fancied he would get a game tonight and was surprised he featured so little. Don’t really understand it but he doesn’t look that cheery either at the moment.   

Final comments, firstly it was sad to see so many blue seats during extra time but well done to those who stayed and sang at the end.

When will Glenn Hoddle learn to not keep talking up our squad against those of our nearest rivals just before the game. Yes it looks good on paper but paper never won games and we have to put up with extra stick as a result of it.

We’re out of the Carling Cup in an embarrassing scoreline which was not the intention. Lose the game by all means but the manner of the first extra time period leaves a bad taste for those of us who had enjoyed the 90 minutes.

Lastly, it was good to see the minutes applause observed by both sets of fans before the kick off and nice to see those members of Bobby Smith’s family who stood with the former players pitch side and got a bit of the atmosphere he had told them about. May you rest in peace.

The Tottenham Hotspur Game of the Decade

Tottenham Hotspur has been running a competition to decide the Spurs goal and game of the decade. What we’ve decided to do is to rank those goals and games and see whether you agree with our choices: 

10. Spurs 4 Aston Villa 4 in 2007

The 125th celebration match with the white and light blue shirts, flags for the whole crowd – including 3,000 claret and blue for Villa fans. Continue reading

Manchester United Vs Spurs review

A performance as miserable as the Manchester weather but did it have to be this way? It seems that as soon as we see the kit of a top 4 team our knees start knocking and we beat ourselves before the referee blows the opening whistle. We had a decent chance tonight, opened the better only to find ourselves behind against the run of play.

We pick ourselves up and try again only to give up possession too easily and allow another great effort from Gibson to hit our net. 2-0 down and really game over unless we can get ourselves going and we failed to do so melting away as the second half wore on.

Both sides played people who often sit on the bench. Jenas should fancy to do as well as Gibson or better. He has loads more experience yet Gibson shows him how to deliver when a chance to show the Manager arrives. Bentley gets a rare start and on his favoured wing yet doesn’t really get going and cannot beat the first man from any dead ball situation. Hutton has loads of good runs but cannot cross the ball with any accuracy.

Why is that? How can these guys not know what to do to get the job done.

Ok, I accept Vidic played well but did we do our best to put him under pressure. Jenas has a great engine I’m told but all I see is him ambling between boxes without the ball and getting rid when it comes to him. What does he offer apart from defeat when he is in the starting line up? The only answer is a lack of desire and motivation.

What else do these guys have to do apart from practice? And there lies the problem. It seems that some have trouble fitting in training and matches into their busy lives. What with all the drinking, car crashes and hotel room fun who would want to practice corners or moving towards the opposition goal when putting your foot on it and going backwards appears acceptable.

Yes we had good possession but did we create enough? Harry’s tactic of putting Lennon against Gary Neville was a cunning one but we failed to get him the ball in positions where he could exploit it. When Tommy came on we did try and exploit the space better as nearly every distance pass had been under hit in the first half.

We also have to believe there will be a man in the box. JD was playing so he’d be borderline offside every time but we did not believe enough to try and make the cross. Bale had several good opportunities and then checked himself. If the cross was gone for and good it’s up to others to get the head/body/foot on it so why don’t we believe a man will be there?

Tonight we can console ourselves that Top 4 is more important than Carling Cup and we are right. But we shouldn’t overlook that this was another poor performance when it mattered and a couple of thousand Spurs fans travelled 300 miles to see it.

We also have to make the top 4 and on this showing we won’t get any points against the top 4 teams because we’re too busy showing them too much respect rather than getting stuck in. That means it is questionable. Harry’s face summed it up in the last 5 minutes. It said “we’ll be in the top 3 for agent payments again next season if we really want to compete”. We certainly need to do better on Saturday.

Finally I noticed Berba’s new hair cut. Is it so that Sir Alex does not recognise him and he maybe gets picked more often?