performance this time around.
That’s two and a half poor performances on the trot in the league from Spurs. The wins over Wigan and especially the Woolwich Scum went some way to mask what was on show. Draw, after being ahead twice, at the Toon didn’t.
Again things started badly before kick-off as ‘Arry played yet another tactical master-stroke. While it was obvious to all that the scum would flood the midfield in the last game, ‘Arry decided to go light in there when it was screaming out for Sandro’s presence. This time around he had spent too much of the international break watching Wales’ games.
So Bale is plonked on the right. Now it has worked for his country over their last few games. It hasn’t worked when he’s played in a Spurs shirt, white or now purple – no matter what ‘Arry says to his media chums. A completely anonymous first half from the left winger. This mistake was compounded by our favourite midfield maestro being shunted out to our least favourite position for him. Left wing. He doesn’t really like it, it doesn’t work for him, we don’t like it, it doesn’t work for us, ‘Arry likes it though. Caution: Tactical Genius At Work.
So after a brightish start it all fell to pieces with a slapdash, sloppy exercise in giving the ball away. Much like the ARSEnal game. While Newcastle had plenty of ball they didn’t look that dangerous as Kaboul was having a beast of a day but things started to look bad on the half hour as Ledley took a knee and looks done for a bit. It’s been great having him there at the back, who ever thought we’d pretty much get 4⅓ straight league games out of guy?
Anyway, exactly like that aforementioned game Spurs went in at the break one up after a 40th minute opener from van der Vaart. This time though it came from a penalty. Legitimate penalty, as Adebayor was blatantly tripped by Taylor – who is prone to doing such things on a regular basis – after some nice harrying work by Livermore. It was one penalty of three that could, should, have been given. The other two after Adebayor was nudged in mid-air going for a header in the box. If the striker had nudged a defender in the same way you know the ref would have blown. Definitely would have if Crouch was doing the fouling.
‘Arry said he didn’t like what he was seeing in the first half. He wasn’t the only one, though he was probably the only one who didn’t realise who was to blame. It was a surprise to see Bale head out left at the start of the second half.
As with the previous league game the lead didn’t last long after the break. Two minutes quicker this time but it did came from the same flank.
The sloppiness of the first 45 continued as Parker did one of his stupid pirouettes and then passed straight to the ref. Ball given away there was a chance to regain things but everyone stood and watched as it bounced in no man’s land. Modric bizarrely seemed rooted to the spot. The ball goes wide and Modric is telling Walker to cover the overlapping fullback, this though requires Modric to do his job correctly but he flounces a challenge on Gutierrez, who gets the cross in for the all alone Ba in the middle of the goal. Far too simple.
Yes Livermore had let Ba go but then I’m watching Parker who is mincing into the box, not particularly doing anything, just sort of heading towards the ball, kind of making sure it looks like he’s making an effort and then skipping away as the goal is scored. Funny how much stuff does come down the middle now the enforcer is in there.
It was the kick up the arse Spurs needed. More life and better play followed. Actual chances crated. Modric was back in the middle more and bossing things. But there was also the sloppy times. Bassong looked shaky a number of times, maybe a run of games now Ledley will be missing and there’s no one else really, will see him gain some confidence, like two seasons ago.
Defoe comes on to really muddy the van der Vaart or Defoe debate. One minute he proves his fans right, with a cracking finish, the next he’s proving his detractors right with his selfishness and amazing ability to hit the ‘keeper. There’s no doubt for his faults van der Vaart is the better player, Defoe can provide finishes like that, but he can also miss a lot of sitters – would he have scored the penalty? – and doesn’t contribute a lot to the game. Defoe isn’t the most natural finisher because he misses far too much. Funny how van der Vaart’s detractors complain about him being lazy, then complain that he drops too deep for the ball. All honesty it comes down to the formation, 4-4-2 and it’s Defoe, 4-2-3-1 and it’s van der Vaart.
Another lead and yet that feeling that one goal just isn’t enough. Especially as Newcastle started to pile it on. It was no surprise when the equaliser came with four minutes left – cracking finish from Ameobi, remember when Bale used to score them? Only surprise was in those final few minutes, plus injury time, they didn’t get the winner. It was a classic Spurs hanging on job. And it was close.
Spurs didn’t play well, St James’ is a bogey ground, Toon are on an unbeaten run. So you’d think a point gained. But they are decidedly average and Spurs were ahead twice, honestly two points dropped is more the case.
Newcastle United 2 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur