Much will be made about how Tim Krul saved Newcastle from a thumping while Brad Friedel cost Spurs a clean sheet. They were major parts but it was much more than that.
It all started with AVB tinkering again, whether it’s the fact he doesn’t know his best starting XI – who does? – or players weren’t fully fit to start I don’t know. But while some see not playing a “defensive” midfielder in the form of Sandro as a positive thing because of that defensive moniker in reality it was a negative move.
Yes at home you’d think you’d want to play all your flair players. But Sandro is more than a destructive stopper, he gives the whole side some go forward momentum, from the moment he breaks up the oppositions play he’s looking to get the ball moving in the right direction. The first half when he wasn’t present saw nobody stopping Newcastle attacks before they became dangerous and saw nobody with any go forward as it was all ponderously predictable.
Come his introduction after the break and what was so missing in that first 45 was present and made Spurs a more attacking outfit.
So it just wasn’t Dembele’s dithering followed by a powder puff attempt at a tackle by Paulinho followed by Friedel’s natural instinct to retreat to his line that brought the only goal of the day.
If Sandro had been there he would have been picking the ball up in the middle not Dembele. Now I like Dembele, love the way he glides past challenges, but he did very little in this game and his slack, lazy, dithering at this moment started the ball rolling. Sandro wouldn’t have so easily lost possession the way Paulinho did and so Remy wouldn’t have been starting his way to goal when Friedel took those fateful two steps back before coming out and doing nothing to stop a goal scoring opportunity.
Lloris wouldn’t have made those two steps back. Yup, I’ve defended Brad in the past, he did a decent job for us but things are different now and with that high back line – containing a slowish Dawson – it can’t work. Is Gomes the answer? Well no, not long term but until a suitable understudy can be found then it needs testing. Have to be the domestic cups as I don’t believe he’s registered for Europe.
Now Pat Jennings left the club before I started on this journey but it did start Lloris is the best I’ve seen at the club. He’s certainly the best ‘keeper in the league. And the situation reminds me of Gordon Banks when he went down sick in the 1970 World Cup and Sir Alf’s reaction –
of all the players to lose, we had to lose him.
The other mistakes AVB made was the inclusion of Eriksen, the lack of Lamela and the introduction of Defoe.
Eriksen had done nothing in his previous outings to merit a starting spot. Bar one cross and a shot he did very little here to keep it. After his man of the match performance midweek this was screaming out for Lamela’s presence. That he neither started nor came on was a shocker. Yes Vlad’s injury just before the break and Sandro’s introduction meant AVB was down to one change available but that change should never have been Defoe. His contribution was less than you’d imagine it could have been. Five touches an offside, clattering into his own, better placed, player and various arm waving whinging.
Hi erstwhile strike partner was again on the end of no service. I did read how Newcastle’s Remy had good service while Soldado didn’t, one thing about that is it’s easier to get good service when there’s only two defenders in the opposition half, rather more difficult when facing a flat back 10, Andros Townsend coming inside and having shots time and time again isn’t anyway to give Soldado service. Though Soldado could quite easily have had a couple from headers, one a poor miss the other a great save.
Ah yes Krul, Tim Krul. Much like in cricket where most the players on the international scene have their best score or best bowling figures against England any goalkeeper that wants the game of his life just has to stump up at the Lane to play Spurs at some point. Plenty have come before and no doubt many will come in the future.
14 saves from 31 attempts from Spurs. It’s not like there wasn’t the chances to stuff the visitors. And it’s not like all those saves were Gordon banks versus Pele in Mexico 1970. Yes there was a number of outstanding ones, most notably from a deflected free-kick which wrong footed Krul. But a large number were just straight at him, most notably Eriksen’s weak dithering effort.
The SpursShow asked
When did we miss so many sitters?
— The Spurs Show (@spursshow) November 10, 2013
Well plenty of times over the last few seasons and as over the last few seasons when those around Spurs have dropped points, as three – Chelsea, Citeh and ARSEnal – did they never capitalise on others lapses. Some are saying they want their old Spurs back, well it’s all here.