…was the killer.
From the moment Spurs took the lead, in the 21st minute, it felt like it would be a 70 minute hanging on job and this being Spurs, not a successful one.
It was and it wasn’t.
It was another nothing performance. Started off slowly and ineptly, gifting Citeh the ball with ease and finished in such a manner and contained much the same in between. Number of players just not involved with play at all. Some looking like they didn’t want to be.
Of course it all started off – and finished – with complaints from the anti-AVB brigade. How dare he not start Defoe. Didn’t he see Defoe’s hat-trick in the Europa League. It should have been the same team. 4-4-2 is the way.
Yes because away to the reigning English champions, unbeaten in the league, who cost somewhere in the region of the Greek national debt to assemble is exactly the same as a home game against the champions of Slovenia who were probably put together for £4 three shillings and sixpence – with a bunch of bibs thrown in.
Not exactly a like for like situation. And Defoe, well he scored three against those Slovenians but what is his record against top of the table teams in the league? Yes I’d have picked a different line up. Might have gone for Carroll instead of Huddlestone and Dawson for Gallas and maybe Lloris in goal.
Well the first half Spurs rode their luck. Gallas’ handball in the area was a penalty, surprisingly not given. Huddlestones charge on Zabaleta was a foul and another penalty. Hudd eyed him up and took him out. But then Adebayor was taken out by both Kompany and Hart in one move that should have resulted in a spot kick – though it would have probably been missed.
Spurs weren’t passing to each other and weren’t winning any balls. The only exception was the exceptional Sandro. His partner though was having one of those lazy days in the centre of the park, at one point being run away from by Barry. One of the slowest players about. Of course shortly after having a go at Huddlestone for that he put the free kick in for Caulker to open the scoring.
But the big fella never controls a game, can never dominate a top opposition. And so the middle of the park is lost and against the likes of Citeh who flood that area it spells trouble.
With nothing in the middle nothing came from the wings either. Adebayor had done a fair bit of work, coming for the ball, moving wide and creating a nuisance of himself – though his first touch is still woeful and he never seems to have control of the ball. He completely mugged Zabaleta with a bit of a going down easy routine. The fullback was booked and was getting a bit narked about Adebayor along with other perceived injustices. It was the ideal time to launch Bale at him. Get the winger running at him, at pace. Only two things could happen. Bale would either get round the defender or would be fouled trying.
One up against ten men is a different game.
But it never happened. Bale just didn’t see any ball, never mind enough ball. Neither did his team mate on the other side of the park.
Second half needed changes. Dempsey was absent. But the boss had to figure in that Adebayor had as I said done a bit of work and hadn’t featured much this season so would probably tire and need replacing. While Mancini changed things with a shift to 3-4-3 formation it meant Spurs were even more overrun in the middled of the park.
At this point it needed a calm head from Spurs. Oh Dembele how we miss you. But no we have Two Ton Tom. Walker was getting the blame for Citeh’s equaliser but it all started from more sloppy play from Huddlestone. An attempted pass that was completely needless, trying to force things, when even if it had succeeded wouldn’t have actually led to much as the intended recipient was crowded. Eventually falls to Aguero after Walker’s interception goes astray and the striker finishes with aplomb.
Half an hour of waiting for this to happen was followed by waiting another half an hour for the inevitable winner.
Injury to Walker brought bizarrely the introduction of Dawson instead of a fullback. No Naughton came on when Lennon was brought off. Bringing on defenders when hanging on for either win or draw, it never works.
Before their introduction the high line was paying off. Offsides were coming a plenty. Defence was working. With more players who are defenders on it’s not as simple as a back four step up. Too many in there who are dropping back because that’s their default position. One ball over the top someone playing them on and game over.
Again AVB maybe didn’t help himself but again what he’s working with is missing some important parts while others aren’t fitting into things the way you’d think when they were signed. Is next week a must win? Well it’s against the scum, doesn’t matter who the manager is it’s must win.