But the aftermath could be the killer. Spurs keep putting in these insipid displays in the Europa League. So far they’ve dug themselves out of trouble with last gasp efforts. Going to have to do it again after drawing 2-2 at home to Basel.
AVB wants to win the trophy, apparently the players want it as well. Last night Basel wanted it more.
A frustrating night where there seemed no life and you didn’t want to see far too many players on the ball – Gallas, Naughton, Parker and Adebayor – while those you did, barely figured – Bale and Dembele.
Things didn’t get off to a promising start when shortly into proceedings when a dithering scramble in the Spurs’ box Gallas could have easily cleared the ball but chose to turn inside, towards his own goal and create a far more dangerous situation. It was a night when the defence collectively kept making the wrong choice.
BAE dragged inside leaving the Basel right flank wide open for continuous attacks. Vertonghen, usually the class act, committing himself and far too often missing tackles letting players past him, struggling to catch a number. Dawson playing some strange balls when under no pressure after he came on for BAE. Naughton doing that modern way of defending where the player can quite easily reach the ball, play the ball, but instead starts to try and play the attacking player. Slowing down to block the attack, who nips round them now they are on their heels and nips away with the ball. Man and ball are lost, Naughton left trailing in their wake. Why? For what reason?
Most of these failure were present in Basel’s opening goal. A cracking piece of play from the visitors even if helped out by the hosts. For the second there wasn’t much covering in glory by those in white. Quite a lot of white shirts in the box for the corner not so many blue and red yet after Vertonghen flicks the ball on Frie has a free header.
By the time of the opening goal Spurs had already been disrupted by the loss of Lennon. The first injury on the night that could have consequences down the road. Because as has been shown over the last few weeks Lennon is missed when not available. Missed more than some care to believe, not only with his attacking but also this year his defensive work.
It was a well earned lead. One team wanted it and the other were just cruising around. Just got to turn up. Parker fannying about giving the ball away – one prime example, under no pressure all on his lonesome in the middle of the park he kicks it out for a throw with a pass about 10 yards behind the advanced Benny on the left wing. Getting into attacking areas and then seemingly giving up attacking. Though you can’t blame people for not putting crosses in for example when there’s nobody there to be on the end of them.
One time they did get bodied in there it ended up in a goal. Just about. Cross from Bale on the right – oh he was playing – Adebayor completely misses it. Parker is running about and has a scuffer going nowhere, luckily bounces up and for once Adebayor isn’t on his heels, has somewhat read what’s happening, amazingly gets his foot in the right place and knocks it in.
Amazing to think that pile drivers from Naughton looked like Spurs best chances in the game, bar an effort by Parker that looked like the miss of the season – or a standard Parker butchering moment – but was deflected by Holtby…
…saying that I didn’t think it was going in. All that goal to aim for and he seemed to aim for the post.
Basel had a number of chances to probably put things out of sight, what with the number of away goals it would have meant, but just before the hour Sigurdsson equalised. A nice run by Vertonghen, now at left-back after BAE’s withdrawal by the manager opened up the space for Gylfi to have a pop, a deflection looping it nicely over past the ‘keeper.
After that Basel again looked the more likely to score as those in white could barely string two passes together. Don’t half have these periods of play when they’re just overrun and cannot get any ball control. They were somewhat helped by the visiting manager, who removed Streller and Salah who had caused the back four all kinds of trouble all night. The latter especially. They had a front three that really worked together.
AVB’s substitutions didn’t help either I don’t think. Yes bring Dempsey on but don’t leave Adebayor on and remove Holtby.
Then things took a turn for the worse, all three subs used, Bale rolled his ankle in an innocuous challenge – oh he was playing. He stayed down, but then we’ve seen that before but this time was removed from the pitch on a stretcher. Which is never a good sight. Bit of luck he might be back in a couple of weeks they’re saying. When have we ever had luck.
Gallas also limped off, this was no great loss and he was lucky not to have been given his marching orders by the ref earlier for what should have probably been a second booking.
So Basel were up for it and excellent, Spurs were crap, ended with 9 men and it finished a two all draw. It could have been worse. Yes they’ll be tough at their place but it’s not dead and buried. After all what good did it do Spurs having inter dead and buried in the last round?