Well the expectations of previous seasons, the expectations reborn after last weeks capitulation against ManUre, not the expectations from those unbeaten games at the beginning of the season.
But what more should have been expected away at Chelski, that ref in charge and a certain player straight back in the starting lineup. It went pretty much how it should go, ending in a 3-0 defeat.
I liked the idea behind the idea of the personnel ‘Arry sent out and formation he intended to implement, no Crouch meaning no aimless long balls was a good start, little fellas running about keeping them occupied was the way to go about it. And to an extent it worked, Essien was kept busy by Lennon and Keane. The only thing was the problems it created for Spurs’ fullbacks. Poor old Assou-Ekotto has come on a great deal over the last few months since ‘Arry’s arrival but he still isn’t up to coping with a flying fullback in Bosingwa and a midfield player all on his tod. Over on the other side Charlie hasn’t got the pace to combat Cole and another piece of the blue diamond himself. No coincidence their most dangerous possession came from the flanks.
The other main problem is still Modric and the lack thereof, even with this set up there still wasn’t the great link play as before. Two games now without the little Croat and Defoe is struggling to get a chance never mind an actual goal. Instead of changing formation twice now should ‘Arry just have stuck someone in as a direct replacement for Modric, put Kranjcar or Dos Santos in that position, I’d like to see the latter given a go.
But a good start followed, as expected, lost of movement, as expected, missed chance – Defoe back to hitting the keeper rather than the back of the net, as expected, slack defending, as expected, one nil down, as expected.
Corluka, not helped by any wearing white in front of him, was though lollygagging at the back post to let Cole score from a ball from the other flank. Well we never hold onto a lead, time for ‘Arry ‘alf time magic.
Well that lasted all of three minutes as Ledley turned and then stopped. Not training because of the knee problems makes it more likely a muscle/tendon will go at some point and at this point the hamstring decided it was his time. Ledley had done his usual job of controlling their main target man in his quiet manner a manner Corluka just doesn’t have. The other main factor with King’s departure is leadership, he doesn’t wear the armband anymore and isn’t the shoutiest individual on the park but he is the leader, something the back lot desperately miss when he’s not there. Corluka, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Hutton and Huddlestone there isn’t much leadership between the lot of them.
But there’s still the best part of a half to go and Spurs are only one down, Keane’s got the ball in the box, a chance, a penalty, a stonewaller, no, as expected. It’s Howard Webb in charge, yes the ref that did his best to let ManUre back into the game last season with a non-existent penalty when we were two nil up chose to ignore Carvalho’s lunge on Keane. Too honest says ‘Arry as Keane tried to carry on giving the ref just the excuse he needed. Let them back into the game, not on my watch.
As expected, moments after being denied the chance to get back into the game it was over with Ballack’s goal. Game over, shape gone, no leadership front or back, no fight, as expected.
One more conceded, still no clean sheets so far this season, then worse than letting goals in, Bassong batters his head off the ground, out cold. Stretchered off, looking up from the prone position like he hadn’t a clue where he was. One more round boss, I’ll take him in the 15th, just one more round, I’m fine Mickey, cut me Mickey. Hindsight is always 20/20 but why did they enter the season with only one fully fit centreback to go with Ledley and the injured Woodgate and Dawson, neither of the latter two sounding as if they are anywhere near coming back.
Preston in the League Cup midweek, who isn’t shuddering at the thought of Corluka and Huddlestone being the only choices at the back. Give the kids a go ‘Arry.
Burnely up next week, at home which is lucky as Spurs need to get back on track quickly after the last two games and away at Turf Moor where Burnley are unbeaten for some time and have already done over ManUre in their first season in the Premier League, would have been a far harder game. Spurs v Burnley, got a very early 1960s ring to it. We’d all take 3-1 as the ’62 Cup Final but then we don’t have the likes of Blanchflower, Greavse, Mackay, White.
No we’ve got a player who shall remain nameless, who after missing the first four winning games of the season has played his part in the last two defeats. Coincidence? I think not.