ITV4 provided a fitting broadcast for Spurs second Europa League group game against Anzhi Makhachkala. While the teams produced a game that was like watching paint dry, Alex McLeish’s commentary was like listening to paint dry.
A game that would have been oh so different had the Anzhi owner not decided on the summer fire sale. For one thing the game wouldn’t have been played on the dog of a pitch and against a better team Spurs might have bothered a bit more. All of which made for a pretty lacklustre three points.
Don’t know what it is about Spurs but when they’re up against inferior opposition standards just drop. This was a prime example, the hosts had little interest in doing anything in the first half but Spurs seemed to have little interest themselves. So what followed was the usual aimless passing about until someone lazily and cheaply gave the ball away.
Lamela has apparently come in for some criticism. The usual extreme type, writing him off after this as a waste of money. Well he didn’t have a good game. But I will make the old pitch excuse, it killed nearly every attempt at a dribble and his passes were just that bit under hit on that surface.
And he wasn’t alone in that.
Again the spark came from Lewis Holtby and again his contribution was overlooked. Again the first goal was all Defoe, Defoe, Defoe. Yes he scored, hitting the top of the net, looked like he was trying to hit the woodwork. But again he would have done nothing if not given the service by a brilliant ball from Holtby.
So Defoe scores and again the media start their campaign for him to replace Soldado at the weekend. No mention of very little else from the striker or indeed the inept swinger he had later on. If Soldado had the service that Holtby has provided for Defoe in the cup games the Spaniard would have more than his two penalties in the league.
Holtby was at it again five minutes later with a nice ball over the top for Walker who for once didn’t dither too much but actually ran forward without stopping and putting his foot on the ball, crossing for Chadli to sweep home the second.
What followed was much like what had come before, except worse probably as Spurs dropped off even more with the complacency of a team that think the job is done. Anzhi came out with more fight in the second half with the introduction of Traoré. Though bizarrely the home side didn’t manage to find the giant striker on any of the number of corners they had in the half.
It’s one positive for Spurs in this game for once their corners didn’t suck. Corner count Anzhi 8 – Spurs 0.
AVB sent out a damn strong team. One that should have been far better than this – crappy pitch or not – don’t know what it is but it looks like complacency, so you wonder on a decent pitch against the big name signings that would have been in the host’s side lasts season would it have been better.
But then it was a victory, three points, yet another clean sheet. The only downside being Kaboul going off injured again. The poor sod has the look of Jonathan Woodgate about him. Get back into the side look good get injured, get back into the side look good get injured…