Tag Archives: soccer

This is where Andre starts to earn his money

When we were watching MoTD last night young Mac and I started constructing some stats about our performances during 2012 – annoyingly Sky got to publishing it first (but they do this for a living!) – and of course 2012 is a split period in terms of management. Consequently we then did the previous two calendar years to see how our fortunes have turned once the New Year chimes have been heard. 

Anecdotally we all know that Spurs performances in the business period of the season has been worse than the first part leaving us at best disappointed at worst totally frustrated. But how bad has it been and what does our current manager have to do to improve our situation come the end of the season? The stats for the years 2012 to 2010 are as follows:

 

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

Points

2012

             

2011/12

20

8

6

6

31

21

30

2012/13

20

11

3

6

36

26

36

 

40

19

9

12

67

47

66

2011

             

2010/11

19

7

8

4

26

23

29

2011/12

18

12

3

3

35

20

39

 

37

19

11

7

61

43

68

2010

             

2009/10

18

10

3

5

25

19

33

2010/11

19

9

6

4

29

23

33

 

37

19

9

9

54

42

66

avbAs a result of the Everton cancellation we ended up playing 40 games during 2012 and managed to win 19 drew 9 and lost 12. Interestingly the number of losses is equal at 6 for Harry and Andre but as we ground to a halt in 2011/12 Harry had double the draws with 6.

Interestingly to me we scored 36 goals in the current season which is the most of all of the periods shown and so whilst this is  good sign it does show our vulnerability in games by not capitalising on periods of advantage. It was certainly a problem last year where we missed a hatful of chances and has continued this season where I feel that the lack of a creative player has reduced the chances created making it even more important to put them away. 

In my opinion perennial top 4 qualifiers like Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal continue to be in the Champions League because of their ability to convert their chances which forces opponents open up in an effort to get back into the game allowing themselves to be hit and punished once again.

For us winning points still remains the prime objective without showing the same ruthlessness yet at the seasons end goal difference will be the key determinant as to who qualifies for which competition. Maybe that is the difference between paying £140,000 and £70,000 for the best players in Europe? Maybe not.     

Of these years 2010 is the only year in which we fared better at the end of the season against the start of it. This suggests that for us to make Champions League that Andre must get the team to a level of performance not seen for some time. Entirely possible with the talent we have but is a creative midfielder required to link all those elements together so that the back four don’t have to look for the 60 yard cross field pass. I think it is. To set out why this is take a look at the same period at White Hart Lane.

WHL

             

 

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

Points

2012

             

2011/12

11

7

2

2

22

9

23

2012/13

10

5

3

2

14

10

18

 

21

12

5

4

36

19

41

2011

             

2010/11

9

4

5

0

14

10

17

2011/12

8

6

1

1

17

8

19

 

17

10

6

1

31

18

36

2010

             

2009/10

9

7

2

0

14

4

23

2010/11

10

5

4

1

16

9

19

 

19

12

6

1

30

13

42

What we can see is that fortress White Hart Lane has diminished in terms of the defeats in 2012 and because of the flair on show for our own fans over the whole period we have become accustomed to opponents playing two banks of four with occasional counters. We must accept that teams know that if they come and attack they are likely to get beat so only Manchester United, City and Chelsea play their home game these days.

Having said that if we could win 7 home games between now and the end of the season it would provide us with a decent platform for the top 4 so it must be on the road where improvement would really count.

ROAD

             

 

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

Points

2012

             

2011/12

9

1

4

4

9

12

7

2012/13

10

6

0

4

22

16

18

 

19

7

4

8

31

28

25

2011

             

2010/11

10

3

3

4

12

13

12

2011/12

10

6

2

2

18

12

20

 

20

9

5

6

30

25

32

2010

             

2009/10

9

3

1

5

11

15

10

2010/11

9

4

2

3

13

14

14

 

18

7

3

8

24

29

24

What this shows is an improvement away from home in terms of wins though the number of defeats has increased through our inability to scratch out draw so far this term. If we don’t do better than last season between now and the end of the season its likely that there will be no Europe next season at all and this may well be the reason that the managerial change occurred.  

My gut feel is that the top sides will post the number of away wins we have recorded in the first half of the season and we therefore have to do the same. The opportunity to do so exists as teams have to attack at home and we can therefore Bale2attack on the counter exploiting our pace. To do this we need to give the ball to Bale and Lennon whilst they are on the move rather than to feet so that they can open up and use their pace to frighten. With all of the ex player support for Bale today it would seem likely that better protection will be offered by officials to Gareth in the remaining games so that may bode well.   

To date Andre has suggested that little money will be spent in the window. If that is the case we need to keep a better tempo in midfield, get the ball to the wingers in Daniel Levydangerous position and put away the chances we create. If we want to do that Ade needs to play more down the middle and work tighter with Defoe if they are both to keep playing. Whatever happens, having felt the need to make the change Daniel Levy will be watching closely to see whether Andre earns his money.

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Anything but easy! Tottenham 2 Liverpool 1

Back to back victories provide us with 6 points and once again our season is on the march. But that doesn’t tell the real story of this game. After a blistering start which led us to a two goal start we then succumbed to Liverpool’s pressing game got thrown off our rhythm and many of us were wondering how we ended up winning. In essence it may have something to do with Liverpool being wasteful in front of goal or adopting some unusual tactics.

For example, why was Steven Gerrard chained to the back four? He spent most of the game very deep and whilst he made some intelligent passes on the occasions he got into our box pandemonium set in and Dembele made a brave challenge before Walker cleared off the line in amazing fashion and then when he stopped taking the corners his header saw Lennon smash the ball into Bale’s face for what turned out to be the consolation.

Then they have a poor winger playing at left back and the left back playing on the wing. That certainly aided our first goal as Downing didn’t know where his man was and Lennon was free to tap in Bale’s cross and seemed  bizarre decision not aimed to assist when you have a flying man coming at you down the wing.

Thirdly what does Joe Allen do apart from running around? Whilst he fills you with no fear Suarez is a different kettle of fish altogether. His first touches were often outstanding and he missed a chance in the second half you would expect him to bury. Overall the Liverpool team did press like Brendan wanted them to in the TV programme and in the end it thwarted us and made us wasteful in possession.

We shouldn’t complain. At one times victories over Liverpool were extremely rare occurances but in recent times that has all changed.

Dembele, after a bright start, had a difficult second period and it might have been down to a lack of match fitness or just the constant pressure our players were put under to find a man in a white shirt. The game had started differently with Defoe picking Gerrard’s pocket to send Bale away for a blistering run and shot that was close.

Soon after another great run produced a back post cross that produced for Lennon the easiest of tap ins. The same Lennon that I was told doesn’t score enough goals in the Spurs shop before the game and that is true of most of our midfielders. The same can’t be said for Gareth Bale who had the bit between his teeth during our ascendancy hammering home a free kick that seemed to take a deflection off the wall to wrong foot Reina.

Winning a free kick is becoming like the Ronaldo show with Bale taking full responsibility and it may be for that reason why he went down so easily to earn his yellow card. The ball had gone dead for Gareth and the TV indicated maybe the slightest of touches on his boot so down he went. Don’t do it Gareth you’re better than that and we may end up missing on real free kicks if you don’t.

Gallas returned at the back to partner Dawson and we were lucky not to give away a first half own goal when Dawson smashed a clearance onto him. Lloris also continued and was lucky not to concede when he was out of his area before Henderson missed the target and apart from that it was fairly tidy performance from the keeper.

So our passing was off key and we failed to produce much in the final third during the second half but we come out with a win. I would put this down once again as a game in which our performance was forgettable for a large part yet outstanding to get us a 2 goal lead.

Maybe it was Liverpool proving to be better than West Ham or Reading that stopped us being good throughout but if we are to mount a really strong challenge we will have to be better than this to secure all three points. As an example if you gave Walker 10 goes at his goal line clearance how many would he execute as well as he did last night?

Maybe the quality of the Premier League is slipping while teams concentrate on keeping possession rather than scoring goals as Man City and Chelsea have demonstrated so far this season but we don’t consistently look like a top 4 side at the present time. I’ll take a spot if we secure it but I think we’ve got to look better than we are at the moment to really make sides frightened of us. Yesterday we started well but we need to keep it going and prevent our opponents from imposing themselves.

We know this Liverpool aren’t the side of old yet they should have had something from the game. At 2 up surely we should press for the third and an easy win in the time left and we were trying but got bogged down. When appointed I thought AVB promised a similar pressing game but it was nothing like Liverpools.

Final question of the night. If we play in all white and they play in all red why does the Ref have the red shirt on?

Those Glory Glory Nights

I had tears in my eyes today. Nothing to do with the away tie of the 2012/13 campaign against Lazio but a picture of a disconsolate Danny Thomas, head in hands after missing his penalty at White Hart Lane against Anderlecht in the 1984 UEFA Cup final. That was one massive crowd at White Hart Lane that night and at that moment the tie turned once more to Anderlecht before Tony Parks rescued it and won us the trophy. Certainly a Glory Glory Night. 

Then there was the disgraceful tie against Barcelona in the Cup Winners Cup Semi Final where a full blooded Graham Roberts performance got us a 1-1 draw against a team that looked so unlike the current Barca side that’s its untrue. Never were so many angry fans leaving White Hart Lane over the performance of the opposition. Not a Glory Glory Night but a poignant memeory nonetheless!

Then there was Glenn’s demolition of Johann Cruyff in a 4-2 home victory where we were 4 up by half time and the man we liked to take more care of knocking in 2 goals. A Glory Glory Night if ever there was one.

I have to say that the latest offering from Martin Cloake and Adam Powley “The Glory Glory Nights The official story of Tottenham Hotspur in Europe” is if not the best, one of the best books I have ever read about our famous club.

From the moment you open the front cover to see the first page map of Europe setting out the campaigns between 1961 and 2012 and a list of the matches in each you can tell this is going to be something special. This is a book that ouses style as it charts our history in all the white kit.

I was born days after the Benfica tie and can remember every game after Keflavik. Growing loving football I always looked forward to reading the programmes over breakfast the Dad brought home from those UEFA Cup ties. Teams with unusual foreign names from far away places and players with unpronouncable names. All the programme covers are here matching up with the reports of the games which includes a team sheet and scorers.  

And then there are the interviews with stars from every era, the wonderful Cliff Jones and Terry Dyson, Paul Miller and Mickey Hazard, the great Phil Beal and Martin Chivers and a foreward from Gareth Bale.

There are problems. Anyone receiving this on Christmas morning will find it difficult to put down and is likely to get into serious trouble but that’s not a reason for not adding it to the Christmas list! If you’re still not convinced that you want this book on your coffee table take a look at how it looks by visiting  The Glory Glory Nights book page and clicking on the book cover to reveal extracts of the pages inside.