At Newcastle despite the loss it was promising as Spurs bossed a decent enough side on their ground. In the first home game against West Brom, who have started the season well the first half was a Spurs’ master class – great play but no goals – ending in disappointment but much to look forward to.
The second home draw of the season, against Norwich who were thumped on their last visit to the capital, had pretty much no redeeming factors whatsoever. Well other than under ‘Arry we lost at home to the same opposition last season.
Of course the media are out in force with the boos that rang out at half time. Booing doesn’t help but was it really aimed at Andres Villas-Boas, as friends of ‘Arry would have you believe, or the players who looked lacklustre from the very off yesterday. Because that is a type of performance we saw at times during the previous manager’s reign. You know when Spurs start slowly, no zip and charging wingers, it’s gonna be one of those games.
Neither ‘Arry before or AVB now have that much ability to control things once the whistle has gone. Yes you can shout, whistle, have a word or sit there and twitch but if the players are lazily going to go about things, giving the ball away, and not showing the spirit required, other than making changes and hoping it invigorates proceedings and the incoming player doesn’t catch the lethargy going round, you’re stuck until half-time.
And that’s what the Spurs players were like in that first half, flat as Twiggy’s tits, more life in a tramp’s vest, only Brad Friedel could be described as being above average as the visitors looked the far more likely to open the scoring. Having the French captain arrive at the club playing his position an extra incentive? A number of saves throughout the game to make sure things didn’t end in a defeat.
There was just no creativity again in the middle of the park. With no Modric, as expected, and now van der Vaart, as not quite expected, that pass was missing. But without that available the wings should have been attacked more, after all even with those two ex-players in there the wings have been Spurs best outlet over the last few years.
But there’s a real gaping hole in the side now as Modric was replaced in the transfer window. Maybe a bit more time should have been spent on doing that by Daniel Levy rather than wheeler dealing the French goalkeeper. Moutinho if it had come off would have been ideal. The new recruits look good signings, Mousa Dembelee and Clint Dempsey but neither do that role. Dembele is closest but not quite there.
AVB did change things at half-time, with the Dembele introduction for one of the defensive midfielders, Sandro. It did change things, there was more life to Spurs, maybe also got a half-time rocket as the boos rang in their ears.
But again the manager made another of those strange substitutions that have kind of dogged his first couple of games in the league. Adebayor needed to come on – though I’m still not sure we’ll get that much out of him this season – for Defoe, who was back to his greedy uselessness. One prime example when he received the ball and was more interested in trying to make space for a weak, through a tree of legs from outside the box shot than playing in better team mates. And you could see it panning out like that the moment he received the ball. But no the striker came on for Sigurdsson, which as previously changed things to much, opening it up for Norwich to benefit.
Not long after Spurs’ old boy Bassong fouled Defoe, in the box it was a penalty but of course not given, a free-kick given on the edge of the area ideal for a Sigurdsson free-kick, but he wasn’t available. The penalty decision or non-decision was made up in classic refereeing style when Norwich were denied a stonewaller as Assou-Ekotto pulled Steve Morison’s shirt in the box.
Dembele made his big impact shortly after. He played Defoe wide, so maybe the little striker should have stayed on, getting the ball back a nice turn onto his left and it was in the far corner of the net. Nice way to open his account. The only surprise was Adebayor didn’t get in the way and block the shot, as he did so many times last season, though he tried his best.
At the time I Tweeted…
— Toxic Web (@Toxic_Web) September 1, 2012
Of course it was in jest but as it turned out things were going to have that awful deja-vu feeling. Last minute of normal time and blind panic in the Spurs’ box and the ball falls to a bloke all on his Todd for him to put it away and grab a point. It wasn’t an undeserved point either, in fact they looked more like winning it than Spurs did. It had been coming even before Spurs had been reduced to 10 men with Tom Huddlestone seeing a straight red card 10 minutes from the end, seven minutes after he came on. Don’t think it was a red but of course I’m biased.
So boos ring out, shouts for AVB’s sacking on idiot phone-ins. Ridiculous. With the loss of Ledley, Modric, van der Vaart, three of the best players at the club, none of which have been anything to do with the new manager it was going to be tough from the off. New players have to be introduced, all the signings are good buys but no fault of the manager he hasn’t been given all the tools he really requires, central midfield play-maker and top class striker.
It’s a rebuilding process that’s not going to be instant gratification, need to see how things go with the other new players who weren’t available against Norwich – he just needs to sort out his use of subs and stop messing the system up mid-game.