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.