With all the conjecture about who should replace ‘Arry if he takes the England job one name seems to divide opinion. The Special One.
Some see the positives of a winning coach, with a winning mentality that he instils into his players and the trophies that come with it. Others focus on what else comes with it. The ego. The siege mentality and the money spent. But another negative in many’s mind is the negative football, this thing that Roman binned him from Chelsea because he wanted more flair, fantasy football or indeed the Tottenham way. They don’t want pragmatism at The Lane.
Did that change on Saturday morning? There seemed a lot of admiration for the way Spurs went about the game at Chelski. Happiness that things were tight and not gung-ho. Happiness at the way Jose would have probably gone about such an away game, especially after the recent run of form.
It couldn’t be much tighter or indeed un-Tottenham like in that first half. A 4-2-3-1, turning more 4-5-1 with very little space between the deep defence and the midfield, made for very little going forward from Spurs, especially not at any great pace. Where once they would zip forward with one touch here they were taking three, four, five and then looking back. Indeed one breakaway was very noticeable for the lack of Bale when it all came to nothing in the opposition penalty area.
Passing back and plenty of bodies in there to cover individuals inadequacies. ‘Arry, Joe and Kevin constantly screaming at Sandro to sit and smother Lampard. Was it all designed for Parker?
Well that and to make sure there wasn’t the shipping of goals seen in recent times against the Top 4 competition. It worked though there was some hairy moments in that first half, mainly from long balls. Hoofs right down the middle, cutting out that centre. Gallas was looking like a guy who had only six and a bit league games this season and the last of them being nearly three months back. Rusty.
Keep it tight and maybe nick something seemed the mantra of the day and it nearly came to pass in the dying seconds of the first half when van der Vaart or Adebayor should have put one of the chances away in a goal mouth scramble. At this point you just had that sneaky feeling that it was gonna be nicked by them in the way that happens so often for Spurs.
Second half had more life about it, still wasn’t the spark you’d really want. Gallas grew into his role and was snuffing out the danger coming his way while showing the sort of on field leadership you’d think should be coming from the one with the armband.
Modric was getting more into the game, Bale was in the game, Adebayor was fighting better in the game – first half his touch was hopeless, could trap a bag of sand territory, resulting in the ball being given away and no forward momentum – he was still surrounded by numbers blue shirted players but wasn’t giving the ball straight back. Still all taking far too many touches when it was screaming for one touch, give and goes, triangles.
As it went on though that feeling started to really take hold. It had the look of
heartbreak all over it. A good performance, chances created that should have been taken – Adebayor clean round the ‘keeper and his weak shot blocked well before the line – and they’re going to undeservedly nick it right at the end.
They still hit the woodwork but the more dangerous stuff was from Spurs, they were enjoying most of the possession and it was almost paying off. Even set pieces were not that far off working. Gallas’ header over, when he should have done better, from a free-kick, Cech saving down low from Bale’s attempt. Corners with dangerous whip and pace, resulting in Bale’s header off the bar. Heartbreak, heartbreak, heartbreak. It wouldn’t go away.
In the end it did. As the ref blew for a surprising nil-niller. And the feeling started to grow that they should have won it. Worst Chelsea side faced in many a year, bossed the game with possession and attempts but it’s another season gone by without a win at their ground.
But people still happy. Happy to grind out a no score draw against a team like that, name wise not actual current player wise. Isn’t it the way Jose would have played it?
Chelsea 0 – Tottenham Hotspur