In the first half of Spurs’ away game at Aston Villa they were too busy amassing corners and throw ins in the second they recklessly abandoned the goal for the record number of corners for actual goals.
Complete disregard for the important things.
This felt like the Norwich away game almost exactly a year ago – the last game of 2011, this is the second last of ’12 – as Spurs huffed and puffed completely dominating the first half without providing the goals the domination deserved. Villa just were in it at all. Still somewhat shell-shocked after conceding eight in their previous outing. So they go in at the break nil, nil.
The only thing of note being that 15 corners racked up at one every three minutes. Plus twenty odd throws.
Only difference between the two games was the start of the second half. This time round it was the usual Spurs post break malaise as Villa actually looked bothered now. With a change of formation it was all Villa, Lloris had matched his opposite number with an excellent save to keep things as they were. Then Sandro broke things up, as per usual, bit of tippy tappy going nowhere stuff from Defoe and Bale before Naughton played an excellent ball through the defence and Defoe put it through the Villa ‘keeper’s legs. Neither of the Spurs players had done anything of any real note in the first half and were amongst the poorest on show.
After that it matched the Norwich game as Bale – who had some good shots earlier – did what he did back 12 months ago. A good Villa opening was stopped by an inept Villa pass and Sandro’s leg, as the ball quickly made it’s way up the park Villa had a couple of opportunities to stop things but then Bale flicked it round a defender, Guzan hesitated, the winger was round him and it was two.
Then Lennon ran across the front of the box laid it off to the advancing Bale in the middle and it was three. A Bale brace in the middle of the park, just like at Norwich. Of course it was that game that made Bale think he was a striker and not a left winger.
It could have been a brace of braces but Defoe was back to his usual self with a ballooned shot that he couldn’t have done worse with if he was Emile Heskey. In the end it was a hat-trick for Bale, Walker playing a ball into the box for the onrushing Sigurdsson who played a lovely pass for Bale, again right in the centre of the box to crown his night. Matching his best league return only half way through the season and bagging his first league hat-trick.
Villa were pretty damn woeful. Spurs while being dominant weren’t that great in the first half. Lack of killer ball and a front pair that just don’t work together, desperately in need of a left footer at left-back. But when things open up they are deadly on the counter with Bale the biggest threat in situations like this.
Only downside being Dembele hobbling off again. It seems like he’s never going to get 100% fit, never given the time to do so because he’s so important and creativity wise he’s all there is, unless that changes in January. Parker as shown here certainly isn’t a like for like change. He has an amazing ability to pass the ball straight back to a player who has a man on. Well it’s one more in the pass completion stats.
And in the end they didn’t get that corners record with only one coming in the second half. Disgraceful.