Tag Archives: Spurs

Now hang on a minute Andre!

I’ve just arrived back in Colchester after witnessing another 90 minutes devoid of entertainment to hear that the tactical genius who is our Head Coach has criticised the White Hart Lane crowd for making it like an away fixture. To be fair the atmosphere was more than a little muted today but this is the first home game since the Club sent out its questionnaire asking for our views on the Y word argument so maybe there had been some reflection.

We are accused of creating “much anxiety” on the pitch which provided “negative energy” to the players on the field. My own view, for what its worth, is that the tactics we have been employing have created much anxiety in the stands to the point where we are nervous about any game. For at least three years teams have been employing the same “good strategy” to combat our play and in all of that time we have learnt nothing at all about how to overcome it.

It cost Harry his job for had he worked it out we would have made the Champions League and it threatens our current management squad who despite a reputation for strong preparation appeared totally surprised and without another option to use when teams don’t roll over and accept a beating.

Andre suggests the Hull employed a “great work rate” so why didn’t we? I hear every week positive things about Paulinho but for me he slows us down every time he takes possession and appears to be trying to fulfil a role he is unfamiliar with. Like Sandro when he joined he looks a bit overawed by the English game and needs time to get up to the pace but should it be in the public eye all of the time. 

All of our midfield appears to like to take the ball deep. Whoever plays up front is totally isolated and for most of the games the centre forward has not received any service whatsoever. We focus on the high line and most of the time lack width so we reduce the pitch to such a small box that it becomes easy to defend against and hard to break down. 

This afternoon in the first half we focused on trying a myriad of intricate flicks in an effort to break through and lo and behold none of them came off. Those of you who go to White Hat Lane will know about the warm up game that the 10 onfield players undertake during the warm up. Our games are becoming like that. 

Our tempo is slow and each game starts to look like a pre season friendly. We end up playing the ball across the back to the midfield and then return it to the back four. It’s comfortable but ineffective. In my book the centre backs are asked to participate too much. I appreciate that the game is changing but the midfield has to take responsibility for moving the ball not the other way round. This was always my beef against Jenas and Huddlestone when they played together but it seems to me that our current crop is drifting that way.

The exception is Townsend who has taken his chance and run at defences creating havoc in earlier games. Today wasn’t his best performance but he is still young and won’t play brilliantly every week particularly as he gets used to more attention. Last year we got used to the brilliance of Bale but in truth it wasn’t great for the team. But I couldn’t work out who was in charge. Bale or AVB? 

Bale started the season on the left, beat men crossed for no one to get on the end of it and then started to play more through the middle hitting shots and converting free kicks. He clearly had no faith in the forward man. At the end of the season he played on the right cutting inside for moments of brilliance. By the last game we were waiting for it as much as he was – no one else was going to.

This year the influx of new players provides us with a greater platform for a team effort and I accept that will take time to do. But so far we have seen a repeat of last year with Townsend replacing Bale and with Lennon injured Sigurdsson playing out left. Only he doesn’t do that creeping inside at every opportunity. Granted he has scored goals and wants to play a more central role but isn’t he in to provide chances for Soldado? 

Today Lennon was back and started on the left. He has played there before but it is not his best position. When it wasn’t working should they not have swapped to allow him to get out wide right and work with Walker who he knows well? It did happen but only in the second half.  

We complain like mad about Steve Harper wasting time or players going down injured but we waste half the game before we put players on the correct wings to create crosses for a centre forward that I would like to work out is better than Defoe or not. We will never know if we carry on playing as we have been. 

But this isn’t the only crime committed. Playing Naughton at left back was nonsense as he appears to have never kicked a ball with his left foot. It just can’t work effectively and he has now dropped to the bench. But the worse bit for me is actually sending Naughton out to his death in the first place. How does that help his confidence in the long run? My Father always told me a one legged man would be no good at an arse kicking contest but I fancy that Andre might try it a few times before accepting it!

 

Sandro also started today and wasn’t at his best giving the ball away a few times. He was replaced at half time and whilst it called for a half time substitution should Dembele not have come on for Paulinho to reunite their successful partnership of last year or Eriksen come on to play further up the field allowing Holtby to come deeper alongside Sandro who needs playing time. What we miss is a number 10 and we had a good one of them before allowing him to leave last season for a former club. 

In conclusion I think that this squad has the ability to be something quite special but I fear that the tactics being employed are preventing them from fulfilling their potential. To quote Andre we need what Hull had today, “good strategy” and “great work rate” so that the team get the crowd onside by reducing their anxiety. In Hoddle’s reign I thought the players became confused by the tactics employed and began to look anxious and unhappy. Looking at Vertonghen today that seems to be returning. 

Us fans get paid wages for the jobs we do and have ordinary mundane lives. We come to The Lane to be entertained by the team and support those we believe in and those who try – as demonstrated by Townsend’s reappearance on the field – so Andre if you do your part of the bargain then we will do ours without reservation.

It’s your job to get the tactics right to give us something to cheer and clap. Spurs have become boring to watch and it is your job to fix it. If you don’t goal difference will be your undoing come the season’s end!

Mid Term Report: Best team in the Country?

It’s been a while since I posted but those of you who follow twitter may know that I remain alive and well. In that time we’ve won away at Fulham. West Brom and Norwich, beaten Aston Villa, Bolton and Sunderland at White Hart Lane, drawn with Chelsea and Swansea and lost an uphill battle at Stoke. 

As we enter 2012 we’ve seen United, Chelsea, City and now Arsenal go down in games and with City and United facing difficult fixtures later this week our game against West Brom has a little more pressure, knowing that a win further cements our place in third before the game in hand comes along next week.

What we’ve seen during November and December is more of the same high tempo quality football that has made us the darlings of the public. In American Football Dallas became known as “America’s Team” under Coach Landry and Spurs certainly fulfil that role for lovers of football at the present time. 

At times we have been quite sublime and my only concern is the number of chances that we have put wide of the goal rather than into it during some of the thrashings we have handed out. Take the Bolton game. Had that been 8 nil no one would have turned a hair such was the gulf between the two sides. We also played Villa and Norwich off the park but didn’t really press home our advantage in terms of what the score should have been.

That’s greed on my part and not meant as a criticism of the team, who have been just spectacular, but if you look at the table it’s a stand out point. Those who believe we might have a great chance of the trophy should see that this might cause us a bit of problem if we are able to catch up the Manchester clubs.

I agree with Sir Alex. We are playing the best football or equivalent to the leaders of the league at the present time and I do feel that we are the second best team. But for Sir Alex to start mentioning it makes me feel that the mind games have commenced for their upcoming visit and if we are to do well that’s a game we need 3 points from.

As I’ve said in previous posts Parker has been brilliant but in recent weeks so has Sandro. The way he kept the ball alive with his head on the ground against Chelsea as it was running out of play summed up this team. As Spurs fans we love to see great football but we’ve not been used for years to see every single player loving being on the pitch and wanting to keep possession. 

For many years we squandered it badly giving the opposition ample chance to hurt us but so far this season we’ve kept going up the gears and not given opponents much chance to get the ball, let alone hurt us with it. To be fair Swansea were very good and we could have come away with very little and Chelsea should have caught us in the second half but when we’ve been at our best nobody has lived with us; Chelsea included.

For me Lennon’s injury was a major disappointment as I’ve been delighted with his performances this year. His final product has been very good and often it’s the finishing that makes you shake your head. Walker has settled into the side showing a pace that’s hard to live with. In the summer in the U21’s I thought he might get caught out but that hasn’t proved to be the case as his defending has been good.

In central defence Kaboul has also shone and after a shaky start against PAOK Gallas looked terrific against Sunderland and Chelsea. It’s unfortunate that Friedel was at fault for the goal against Swansea for till that point for some fans he had been our signing of the summer. It’s been a while since we’ve had s solid keeper in the goal and it makes a huge difference. 

Then, of course, there is Ledley. Massively missed when absent and a calming influence on the field. He has a massive part to play between now and the end of the season.

The midfield is terrific but when one is missing replacements show the gulf between first team and remainder. There is a tempo of play between Lennon, Bale, Parker, Modric, Van Der Vaart and Sandro that is difficult to pick up by others either as a sub or starter and like other sides injuries to our top players could prove costly. Adebayor has been on wavelength and I would question how much money he really needs in his life as he must fancy staying a second season to play in this side.

And then to Harry. The tactically inept man we took on to get us out of the relegation zone. The job he has continued to do is astonishing and I cannot believe that he might want to leave for a well paid part time job when this team is the best he has ever worked with. It may be that Her Majesty’s pleasure will call and this might be our biggest threat to the second half of the season. 

So as we begin January are we too tired for West Brom and Everton?  Only time will tell but for me wholesale changes are a mistake as the dreadful Europa League games showed. What we need is the pace and tempo of our top players to secure victory early before making changes to close out the match giving playing time to others. If injury dictates we can cope with one change but to rotate wildly provides too much hope to a nervous opposition arriving at White Hart Lane. 

All I can say is we’ve been brilliant so far and I hope we can continue. I’ve never felt we could be consistent enough to win the title but I’m maybe wavering on this point. Not this season but if the team stays together and continues to learn and develop we’ve certainly got the pace, desire and ability to start winning trophies.

Can’t wait to get to the Lane tomorrow night so Come On You Spurs.  

Let’s bale- sorry bowl them over: Spurs V Aston Villa preview

Having dealt with the Dutch on Wednesday night we now need to put The Villians to the sword in tomorrow’s Premier League match. Many will be waiting for the slip up pointing to the “after the Lord Mayor’s show” mentality that follows an important European fixture. But with the experience and quality of our top players this should not become a reality. The leadership of Van Der Vaart, Modric and, if he makes it, Ledley King will be crucial to leading among others Tom Huddlestone through a game of equal importance to Wednesday if we are to pressurise others for fourth spot.

Like West Ham Villa have been out of sorts so far this season but the appointment of Gerard Houllier has seen successive victories. We therefore meet a team coming into form and need to place our marker firmly and early on the game. If we do that we should win comfortably but we’ve heard that all before!

Personally I’d be happy to see our side from Wednesday start the game. My only concern would be the lack of a ball winner in the centre of the park but Luka and Tommy did a cracking job against Arsenal and Chelsea last season so we know that they can do it. If he misses out Jenas will be unlucky but the one man up front has not been working and we really need two to take advantage of Bale’s crosses.

If Gareth can continue his current form Villa will be in for s torrid time down the left. The question will be how many men they can put on him to keep Luka and Rafa quiet or Alan Hutton bombing onto a flighted ball from Tommy. It promises to be an interesting tussle for which my team is;

                                                Gomes

           Hutton           King               Bassong             Ekotto

                                         Huddlestone

                         Modric     Van Der Vaart                     Bale

                               Crouch                       Pav

And a result of 3-1 to Spurs.