Tag Archives: Heurelho Gomes

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions Tottenham Hotspur 1 Blackpool 1

At this level decisions are all important to achieving a result. Unfortunately for Spurs I don’t believe we got enough of them right to get the three points we were looking for. I was unable to complete my preview piece for this match but after our 27 chance defeat at Bloomfield Road we had to hit the target to secure the win.

“Can we do it?” I asked, answering, “In truth I am not sure. It should be straightforward enough to hit the target but our strikers have proved convincingly this term that this is not the case despite the fact that they all have international experience”. 

Therefore, Decision 1, for me was who to start up front. After the Chelsea game that man would not have been Pav. Hopeless on that occasion he was equally hopeless here. For me it had to be Crouch and he came on after Bale’s injury. Unfortunately with 25 minutes left it ended up route one towards him and many of you will cite this as a reason for Pav. Yet in the first half when we put in a number of crosses would he not have offered more? It is an interesting point to consider why you would want to create so much width and crosses when they often produce no output.   

Decision 2 was whether to start Lennon or not? In my book he has had a raw deal since Real Madrid and when he came on after half time we saw a liveliness about our play down the right hand side that created a few chances. In the first half Kaboul had provided the output on the right and some of it was ok but in truth he is not an attacking right back. Yes he can make occasional runs to overlap the right winger but when that man is Rafa he won’t be there and therefore there is too much work to do.

The problem here is how to fit Van Der Vaart into the side. Lennon drops out to allow Rafa to play a roving role. He drops deep, makes passes and tries to arrive at the right time. Yesterday he nearly made a Bale cross and it would have been a great goal. When Lennon came on Rafa pushed up front but only for 10 minutes. That leaves Defoe on his own and maybe isolated and both Rafa and Luka Modric roaming wherever they fancy. Great when it works but it can leave others out of position if or when we lose the ball.

Decision 3 rests with our goalkeeper. My draft preview piece looked at this problem;

“Then at the back we have a goalkeeper who can no longer be relied upon following the latest of his errors and despite a week having passed I still want to see Carlo Cudicini see out the season. Whilst Harry publically supported the player in his TV interviews last weekend his more private comments must have questioned what the heck was going on. 

In many ways this could be the end of the road for Gomes for next season we need to push on and mount a serious challenge. Whilst he remains a good shot stopper he like many of the current goalkeepers does not appear to dominate his area or back four when it comes to instructions and therefore misunderstandings take place. 

Being a bit older I remember a league of home grown keepers who were able to get their message across. That might not be the way of the modern workplace with HR issuing memo’s about bullying but it clearly got across some responsibility to each defender in those days. 

I’m also informed that when Pat Jennings first played he was dodgy on crosses yet improved and in the end could catch them one handed. So it all comes down to whether we think Gomes can make that level of improvement to offer his team mates more support. The Jury is out for me on this point but I tend to favour the “he can’t” argument.”

Knowing that Harry was going to pick him I looked at his performance yesterday with some interest. In the first half two decent saves from Charlie Adam but one came as a result of a hasty throw out which got intercepted meaning he brought the save upon himself and on another occasion another quick throw put Rose under pressure on the edge of the pitch level with the edge of the box.  One problem he did have was only being able to clear to Bale but that appears to be lost to him until next season now.

Then came the penalties. The first a brilliant save, much celebration, vindicating Harry’s call to keep him in the team. Fair play I thought and turned to say as much to the bloke behind at which point the corner was taken and I turned back to see him away from his goal bringing down the man for the second. It can only be Tottenham Hotspur!

Decision 4 rests with Gomes inability to make the correct decision. How many more times can we see this level of nonsense take place before the opportunity is taken away from him. Yes I agree he can make the most brilliant of saves, like keeping out DJ Campbell, but his general decision making is extremely suspect and allows him to get into these tangles with forwards from which there will only ever be one outcome. 

Another Decision rests with our defence. Have they got confidence in the man behind them? If they have it is now wearing extremely thin and I suspect that if a change was made they would not be that concerned however nice a fella Gomes is.

We should also mention Mr Probert who had an in and out game. He was unsighted for the Bale tackle but did appear to lose control of the game for a period in the second half as tempers rose with the tension of the match. Both sides needed to win it and after Defoe had scored an excellent equaliser the crowd did their best to will a winner for Spurs.

It wasn’t to be, yet more damage done in a season that is finishing extremely flat. Our record against most of the bottom teams has been poor with only Wolves giving us more than half the points and we go to Manchester City and Liverpool with injuries in key positions and a team lacking form.

Having said that, Modric had another good day at the office and was unlucky not to convert a header early in the second half and Sandro continues to improve showing others it will be hard to dislodge him from the side. The Bale injury looked horrific on MoTD and I would be surprised if he takes further part this season and because of substitutions made Kranjcar got his obligatory 5 minutes to try and rescue the game for us. In my book that’s another strange decision as we could have gone three across the back and given Niko a longer run out.

That would have sacrificed Rose earlier which would have been unfortunate as he had a decent game and is likely to play at left back if Benny cannot start for our last three games. Harry suggested on the full BBC interview that he will be a left back at Premier League level as he is not good enough to be a wide man. An interesting disclosure but a wise decision? It was the story of our day.               

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So near – but yet so far: Chelsea 2 Spurs 1

If its not one thing it’s the other. Having put up with another dreadful performance from Pav in the first 45 minutes Gomes takes over as only he can and allows the Chelsea crowd to draw the linesman into making a howler of a decision in awarding an equalising goal. 

Then to compound things he misses an offside decision in the second half allowing Kalou to knock in the winner on 89 minutes. During the second half Chelsea were by far the better side and put us under lots of pressure. We were lucky to survive a strong penalty shout half way through that period which would have given lots of momentum to them but without Gomes mistake the half time team talks would have been much different.

Despite sticking up for the keeper during his press conference with Andy Burton it has to be time up for Gomes for this season at least. There comes a time when defenders cannot trust the man behind them and it interferes with concentration and that point must now be reached. A dreadful parry in the second half was another example of the damage done to his confidence and if we want to press on he has to step back.

I wouldn’t have started with Pav. I know some of you think that with more playing time Pav could be the man but to be fair Gandalf could grow his beard from scratch before that point is reached; it’s just not going to happen. It can be like starting the game with 10 men and today was one of those occasions.

Within five minutes of coming on Defoe had done more to threaten Chelsea in an attacking way and at that point we were being stretched and pushed as Chelsea looked for the lead unlike the first half when we were much more competitive. I’m not saying he would have scored because he isn’t in great form but we lacked something in the final third throughout the game and you cannot win these games if that is the case.

The midweek debate we had (Berbatov or Drogba would they work at Spurs)certainly continues for Drogba finished the game string and dominant and a real handful to our defenders, if only he had been on our side at the beginning.

I wanted Sandro to start, he did and what a goal he scored. Certainly the goal of the game from Rafa’s clever overhead kick and leaving Cech with no chance whatsoever of saving it. Did Modric get a touch? If he had it would have knocked him over as it was certainly travelling. 

Harry tried to get him to sit deeper thereafter as we were giving up space and Torres was threatening and he did so winning countless challenges and breaking up play. Modric too was exceptional. He was all over the pitch but ended the game as he had started it running freely. Lennon did not. His socks were down and he looked weary but both he and Bale were cleverly marked so that when the ball came to them nine times out of ten they were standing flat footed unable to do damage. 

That left Kaboul as our attacking force down the right and whilst he started well, in the second half he was getting tackled every time and was then too far up the field. Bale was casual in conceding possession in an identical position to the Stoke game and having dropped to left back tried to take on Drogba to break out. Thankfully only a throw resulted. 

It is delightful when your players have the confidence to try these things but sometimes a little common sense has to come to play. If you are defending away from home don’t muck about get it downfield if you are the last man rather than trying to take on the whole team.

So a spirited performance which offered much but delivered little. Sky were predictably trying to suggest that this defeat will cost us £30m by missing a Champions League place but that honour has so many homes this season this is just a small step along the way. One point off Wigan, Bolton and Blackpool away, West Ham or West Brom at home and maybe allowing Arsenal to get two goals ahead before turning up. Yes today was a final nail but it is certainly not in isolation.   

We haven’t won at Stamford Bridge since 1990 and whilst we were competitive we were nothing more. If we wanted to win at half time we had to score a second and I don’t recall many Spurs shots in the second half. Chelsea are rarely held to “nil” at home so a second goal is a necessity. Yes the officials got it all wrong and cost us a victory but had they not got the first goal wrong would they not have awarded them a penalty? It’s an irrelevant debate of course and not one we should dwell on. 

Chelsea are back to form and incredibly difficult to overcome on their own ground. Like all of the top teams they finish the game strongly and nothing is guaranteed till the final whistle. Certainly we were mugged and hearing Frank Lampard telling us how it was all fair does nothing to make it feel any better.

Next up Blackpool and then another tricky game at Liverpool. That may well be the decider for fifth place as even if West Ham do us a massive favour tomorrow the points gap is still too wide to catch City.  

Our boys from Brazil – how they performed against AC Milan

Young Mac was complaining when he returned from his paper round on Thursday morning and had bought a copy of The Times to show what had annoyed him. Matt Hughes had rated the players of both sides and along with Modric and Pienaar with a mark of 5 this was the review given to Sandro; “Left out of Tottenham’s 25-man squad for the group stages, he looked out of his depth, giving the ball away frequently and conceding several needless free kicks as his side were overrun.”

We didn’t agree and I suggested that he look again at the skyplus to see how we – or maybe Matt – had gone wrong. Whilst there I suggested that he look at the Gomes display so that we could decide if we were overreacting to our concerns over our keeper. Here’s what occurred:

3.22 Gomes goal kick goes straight to Nesta, no Spurs player within 10 yards. He feeds Boateng who looks to find Seedorf. Cut out well by Sandro. Fast pas well stopped then distributed to Luka Modric.

7.23 Gomes takes a free kick, finds Crouch but foul on Nesta. Ball played forward Sandro slides in to intercept ball finds Van Der Vaart.

8.23 Sandro tackles Kevin Prince-Boateng. Judged to have fouled him. Minimal contact – free kick to AC Milan.

11.48 Ball forward Thayo Silver hits ball back into the Spurs half first time. Straight to Sandro who plays  quick ball to Corluka to start a Spurs attack.

12.29 Boateng on the ball Sandro goes in for tackle but Boateng plays it before he got there and Sandro slips back into his position.

12.35 Abate on the wing, beats Pienaar looks to find Robinho but his pass is cut out from a slide by Sandro.

14.10 High ball to Ibrahimovic. He takes a touch but Sandro heads back to Gallas. Boot in the air nearly hits him in the face. Gallas back to Gomes who takes a first time goal kick. Awful kick straight to Dawson only just made it out of the box in the air. Dawson plays it back to him and Gomes volleys clear towards Lennon but it doesn’t reach him. 

Boateng intercepts pass brings it forward and is fouled by Sandro. Foul in dangerous place but the replay shows no contact on KPB.

15.30 Ibrahimovic from the free kick Shot going in bottom corner good save from Gomes parries it away or a corner.

15.39 Sandro and Pato called up for tussling in the box. Ref has a word with them both.

15.55 Corner by Robinho. Boateng rises and heads goalwards. Gomes dives and holds onto the ball. Good save. Boateng penalised for climbing.

16.12 Free kick by Gomes. Lands straight onto Crouches head who gives it away. Ball over top cleared by Gallas.

16.17 Ball from Gallas, Sandro and Boateng go in for it. Sandro wins it but takes too big a first touch and ball becomes out of his control and into path of Robinho who plays it to Seedorf. He moves inside but Sandro puts in a sliding tackle to win the ball back.

17.24 Spurs lose ball upfield. Cleared upfield to Ibrahimovic. Sandro sprints back to take the ball fairly off him before playing the ball to Gallas. Commentators commend Sandro’s contribution.

18.45 Ball from Corluka to Sandro who tries to play a first time pass to Lennon. Given away. Ball goes to Robinho whose first touch is poor and Sandro wins it back and plays it to Luka.

21.38 Foul on Boateng by Lennon. No contact. Sandro pressuring him and  I think he would have won the ball. 

22.05 Free kick comes in. Crouch goes infront of Gomes who flaps at nothing. Ball goes to Pato whose first touch takes it away from him allowing Gomes to come and collect with no pressure.

23.10 Robinho shot. Sandro has a little nibble at Robinho who falls over ans appeals for a free kick. Nothing given.

24.50 Good goal kick from Gomes. Finds Crouch to Lennon who loses it. Played forward to Pato who is pressed by Gallas. Pato is going further away from goal. Gomes comes out to try and claim it. He dives and Pato eases it past him. Ball across the box to Robinho. Hits a shot onto Ekotto’s head and off the line by Gallas. Gomes is in no mans land. Commentators say awful decision by Gomes.

26.07 Ibrahimovic first touch is poor. Sandro comes in and wins it. Heads it back to Gomes who catches and kicks to Crouch.

26.35 Robinho on the ball. Sandro comes in and wins it. Robinho goes down dramatically claiming to have been hit in the face. Replay shows no facial contact was made. Free kick smashed miles over. Gomes takes goal kick which Crouch wins but is blown up for climbing.

30.35 Sandro rushes in and pressures Seedorf who pushes his kick and it just goes high in the air and Spurs win possession.

31.22 Robinho with the ball Sandro comes across and wins it.

31.38 Milan gets in behind Spurs, Pato with the shot Gomes saves and parries the ball into the middle of the box Gallas clears.

34.05 Boateng on the ball Sandro pressures. One two played with Jankolovski. Sandro still doesn’t give him room and Boateng is forced to play it back to Nesta.

41.20 Sandro picks up the ball. One touch and plays simple forward ball to Luka Modric.

41.36 Again Sandro puts Boateng under pressure. He can’t go anywhere but Sandro is judged to have fouled hm. Replay shows minimal contact.         

45.40 Sandro loses header but Dawson wins back possession.

HALF TIME

47.12 Abate gets inside Ekotto. Puts in a dangerous ball across the box. Sandro clears.

52.22 Sandro breaks down AC Milan attack. Plays it to Modric. Van Der Vaart to Lennon who plays a quick ball to Sandro. Silva comes across and tackles but Sandro wins it back playing it towards VdV who pushes it to Crouch who is adjudged to foul. Free kick to AC Milan.

56.30 Sandro tackles Boateng and starts an attack.

57.50 Flamini plays a ball towards Boateng. Sandro intercepts but poor distribution.

60.24 Modric to Sandro. He plays it first time to Gallas but it is a poor pass and Robinho attacks. Nothing comes from the chance.

64.42 Abates ball across. Gomes jumps and catches it. Attempts a quick throw out but it’s a poor one and Silva runs onto it to intercept although VdV doesn’t attack the ball. Attack and shot at Gomes, saved but a goalmouth scramble ensues. Gomes pushes it away into path of Flamini who shoots wide. Should have been calmer before throw. Gomes shouts at VdV commentator suggests he is living dangerously.

68.08 Gomes long throw finds Crouch who heads but it is given away.

73.19 Modric to Sandro. Hits him on the shin and comes back to Luka who returns it to Sandro who then finds Jenas.

76.35 Merkel’s ball into box diving header by Sandro to clear.

76.54 Pato shot just wide. Gomes 50/50 getting there as hit extremely hard. Milan fans think its in!

78.13 Sandro gets the ball just outside the box. Does a full 360 pivot looking for a pass and finds it in Corluka.

78.35 Gomes comes out and takes a catch under pressure from Ibrahimovic. Does well, little roll out to Benny.

81.49 Ball in the air Sandro cushions a header back to Corluka.

82.31 Sandro wins and helps on the ball to Luka.

83.10 Gomes goal kick picks out Bale who flicks it inside. Ball back to Sandro who heads it to Luka.

83.42 Sandro picks up the ball little bit of skill to get away from Merkel moves forward but then turns and plays the ball back to Gallas.

85.40 Bale to Sandro who makes it his ball moves towards the corner flag and holds the ball up under pressure of three Milan players. Eventually loses the ball.

86.04 Milan just outside the box. Beat Modric but Sandro stops him in his tracks and Spurs clear. Townsend “Sandro has been immense Clive. Dawson and Gallas have been good but Sandro has been Spurs best player by a long way.”

90.56 Robinho hits it just over the bar. Gomes beaten. Gomes takes the goal kick to Pav who wins another free kick.

FULL TIME

So who was right? Matt Hughes or nearly everyone else? He also wrote about Modric “Tottenham looked to be a man short in midfield but most of the fault lay with Sandro who was unable to impose himself and provided no protection.” Maybe Hughes was disappointed by the lack of impact Luka had and felt the blame could not be laid at his door. We can’t agree Young Mac and I. We felt that Sandro impressed throughout and competed hard particularly when he had conceded possession to win it back. I hope you don’t disagree.

As regards Gomes with the exception of the two incidents referred to in the match report and above he had a decent game. Unfortunately the problem for goalies is that you don’t want to see or hear them during a game and when you do it is often for the wrong reason. On Wednesday Gomes got away with his two heart in the mouth moments but on another day he might not be so lucky.