…a better time.
While most managers in the league were whinging and crying about their players going away to play in World Cup qualifiers, Andres Villas-Boas probably couldn’t be more grateful.
After a run off three defeats, two in the league, he just needed that little break to get things back on track. While hoping those that went away didn’t come back crocked it was a couple of weeks to get those on the treatment table back in action.
Though it got a bit dodgy there at times it eventually worked out well.
Not many teams have come away from Swansea with all three points and even though they’ve dropped off a bit after their League Cup victory this was still a good victory after those three loses. And a good game between two teams that play a proper game, though it got a touch niggly in there at times.
After an opening when Swansea dominated possession without looking like doing anything, Jan Vertonghen charged through the middle of the pitch with some sort of intent. Laid off to Bale he carries on the charge into the box where Bale finds him with a glorious chip, beautiful first touch by Vertonghen to bring the ball under control then slides it past Vorm.
It was glorious all round.
What followed 15 minutes later was also glorious. Starting with Lennon pressuring Vorm – this came very shortly after Lennon had done some good tracking back to help out the defence – into a hasty kick to his defender who headed the ball into space, via another Swansea player’s head. Space in the middle of the park that Vertonghen was very quick to pounce into, while others stood and looked. Vertonghen played the ball to Bale who controlled it and banged it in, in one move.
The two goals and what happened in between though highlighted Spurs’ problems for the rest of the match.
While Vertonghen and Bale’s first touches at shots during the goals were excellent we have a striker whose first touch and shooting ability are worse than a central defender. Adebayor when he wasn’t losing the ball, or doing nothing, ran through the Swansea defence only to present Vorm with a back pass “shot”.
Short of confidence they all cry. Do me a favour and stop making excuses for a player who has had a dog of a season. All of his own making. The argument seems to be though that because Defoe hasn’t exactly been great somehow that makes Adebayor indispensable. No.
Adebayor was useless for an hour and Defoe for half an hour. So the latter touched the ball only 11 times -and did hus usual trick of hitting the ‘keeper with a shot – the former wasn’t much better really. And during that half hour Defoe was on he didn’t exactly get much service as Spurs were doing their usual hanging on for dear life to a one goal lead. Some blaming Defoe for Spurs struggling in the final period when Swansea were on top, yet they did the same at the end of the first half when Adebayor was on the pitch. Saw some argument about the number of times Adebayor is dispossessed of the ball, I wonder what the figure is for the amount of times he dispossesses himself.
That under the cosh final period also brought into focus another problem area on the park. Left back. Naughton was there again and again he was found wanting in what isn’t his position. But as I mentioned for the second goal Lennon had been doing his working in defence on the right, whereas Naughton had no help at all for most of the game. Sigurdsson just wasn’t there for him.
It was a weak spot for Spurs and the Swansea manager had obviously set it as a target area, Tiendalli having the freedom of the park on that flank most the game. It was where they created most of their chances from.
Though at one point when a cross from the right was headed onto the bar from six yards by Dyer, the rebound hitting the same player to bounce out of play you just thought Spurs might be getting the rub of the green. When Swansea took a very quick free kick and Friedel was the only Spurs player alive to it and made a great save you just thought it might be their day.
When Michu scored and you figured he was lucky to be on the park at that time, after a couple of leading with the elbows and general falling overs, you start to wonder.
Much talk earlier about Spurs losing late goals but I feel this season they’ve held on during periods of being put under pressure at the end of games with a goal lead than previously. And AVB is better prepared for the run in and stopping the rot quicker than say the previous manager couldn’t last season.
Still would prefer for that third to go in before they pull one back.
It wasn’t a great display over the 90 minutes. During the first half around the time the two goals went in Spurs played some good stuff. But Dembele and Sigurdsson were quiet, latter could have got the third with a curler – Adebayor just standing there watching as it was saved and then Bale crossed from the right. Lennon had little service and was in and out as an attacking force. Parker gives you nothing going forward. Dawson was a bit Bambi on ice and culpable for the goal as well as a couple of other chances.
Still 3 points and back up to 3rd.