Just a bad day
Just a bad day.
(With thanks to Walt Disney's 'Song of the South'
Music hath charms to soothe the frenzied breast of Tottenham supporters who are starting to fear that the best is behind us and that the worst is yet to come. I find that Walt Disney is a great comfort in situations like this. Mickey Mouse outfits anyone? But let's not get carried away. Only a fool would think that we could match our starting sequence of games for the whole season. Well as we are on a musical theme here, as Elvis Presley put it:
'Every now and then, there's a fool such as I'
Realistically, I suppose, we were bound to have a sequence of poorer results. Every team seems to be doing it this season. We outplayed Villa who beat Man.Utd. at Old Trafford yesterday. Bolton scored three against Chelsea. We beat Wigan 9-1 who beat Villa and so on. We couldn't hope to maintain a 2 points per game average through the season. In our first 8 games we gained 18 pts. (five wins and two losses.) In the second 8 we got 11pts. (three wins and three losses ) 'From rags to riches' or visa versa. Another Elvis offering as it happens.
You will find the Wolves' result in the Desk Sergeant's book along with Stoke under 'muggings'. It puts the away draws against Villa and Everton into a brighter perspective. These teams came to spoil and not to play, and there will be others. We are going to have to devise better formations and strategies to overcome this 'park the bus tactic'. Once again we dominated possession( 70%/ 30%) and shots (18/4) but if you don't score, you can't win: and if you don't keep a clean sheet you might just lose.
Ideally we will escape this decidedly average run against Man.City on Wednesday or they and Aston Villa will threaten to leave us behind. The challenge from Liverpool is delayed by the Arsenal win today.
We had chances to win it. Kranjcar uncharacteristically missed a good one after some slick passing between Corluka, Lennon and Modric; Huddlestone drew a good save from Hahnemann; Defoe and Crouch could have done better with their opportunities. In the end we were not clever or sharp enough around a packed box to create enough clear chances.
Until Modric came on there was little buzz or inventiveness in the midfield. He allowed us to play the ball shorter and quicker and provided a link that Huddlestone and Palacios seemed unable to provide. It was good to catch sight of Gio again as he also offers some hope of quicker thinking although ten minutes was too short to see whether he might make a difference.
In general we passed the ball well but our build up was slow, deliberate and somewhat ponderous. Some very poor passing amongst the good ceded possession at vital moments and these stick in the memory. Keane, who made some good runs, seems to have completely lost his confidence and touch. Crouch was slow of thought and movement and not one of his flick ons reached a Spurs player. In the end we went route one with little success. Defoe seemed to be in a world of his own. Lennon was well marked again and rarely made the by-line on either flank.
Our next 17 games in the run up to Arsenal in April contain Man.City at home and away, Villa at home and Liverpool away. The other 13 games are against what you might consider 'easier' teams. You need to put the Stoke and Wolves results to one side at this point. That's a bit like saying that apart from the blizzards, the hurricane and the floods the weather has been quite settled.
By then we need to be more than in contention because our last five games involve 3 of the usual top four suspects. The way its going it might be all over by then. One game at a time Jimmy, one game at a time.
I finish where I started with Disney lyrics this time from 'Snow White' and this time in honour of our one true great, Luka Modric.
'When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true.
Modric is my star and my dream is of a top four finish, this season. In true Spurs fashion we are making it harder and less likely and the rest of the season is becoming unnecessarily exciting or perhaps depressing. I'm off now to browse the Walt Disney songbook again to find some cheeringful material for future columns. You have been warned.