The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 7 December 2009

The Match of the Day(2) test

Let us apply the 'Match of the Day(2)' test.
Did you watch it? I didn't for the first time this season. Arsenal, Chelsea, Man.Utd: no problem we were beaten in the end by better teams and were never really in with a shout. Stoke: I decided that we played well enough even though we went down to a sucker punch. My disappointment for that match had worn off by 10.30.

But Sunday night? I'm afraid not. When I fall out of love with Tottenham I fall out of love with football. I still have that little knot of anger in my stomach two days later. I couldn't bear to watch the missed chances again, or the patronizing tone of the pundits patting ambitious little Spurs on the head and hinting that they doubted us all along. Perhaps they didn't adopt this tone. Perhaps they praised the grit and determination of Everton, all qualities that they would be implying we don't have. But remember I don't know because I didn't watch it. I couldn't run the risk of any further damage to my emotional system.

I knew, like every time-served Tottenham fan, that Defoe would miss the penalty and in truth by then we didn't deserve to win. We had been sidetracked in the first half into a physical confrontation and instead of playing football we attempted to show that we are 'hard enough'. Much to the delight of Everton who clearly had more to gain than us from such a battle and possibly from an element of our own supporters keen to show that we are not soft, southern, milk sops.

However this is to lose sight of the planet for the sake of a blade of grass. As a consequence of this diversion and Crouch and Defoe missing three good chances we went in level without a goal being scored.

In the second half we cleared the 'red mist' long enough to go two up and restored some sanity to the situation. But then we lost it again by not holding onto the ball and conceding possession at every opportunity. The fought and battled for everything, made it again a question of will, manufactured a couple of chances with help from Bale and Palacios and that was that.

Harry was slow again to make the changes we needed: Jenas for Kranjcar, Keane for Crouch perhaps. In the event Jenas came on after 88 mins. I'm not sure what that was about, to save the game perhaps. The penalty was a lifeline that we didn't deserve at that point but if it had gone in I might have watched Match of the Day but with a slight sense of shame.

A point away from home is never to be dismissed and in that sense this was not a 'must win game'. But on the day it was a 'should have won game' and they are the most likely to cause the Match of the Day audience to be at least one short. My head is telling me that we have gained two points from away matches against potential rivals for top four. That for most of the first game we played well, deserved to win both and that we are still on track

Nope. It doesn't work for me at the moment. This was four points that might just be useful during our difficult run in: two lost against Villa and two gift wrapped with bows and dropped into the skip against Everton who are more likely candidates for relegation than Europe.

Defoe's goal was well taken from another fine Lennon cross to the near post and captain Dawson scored a 'Boys Own' diving header from a Kranjcar corner. The first half was the poorest in football terms I have watched in a long time and we need a fight promoter for the next Everton game. What football there was we played it. Lennon was head and shoulders above everyone else which is quite hard when you're the smallest person on the pitch. Crouch was the tallest: draw your own conclusions.

Arguments over whether Keane, Pavlyuchenko, or Jenas should have started are irrelevant when you have done enough to win the game but throw it away by playing poor football. Results, apart from Liverpool, went against us for the first time recently and the gathering pack is poised to overtake us, especially a resurgent City. We remain in the top four and have a winnable home game against Wolves which I will preview when I have recovered my composure.

So the running order on 'Match of the Day(2)' is an evaluation of the quality of the game and the audience figures a measure of my emotional state on a Saturday night. Not bad for a football highlights programme. Were we on first? I didn't watch it, as I think I told you.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Our game was on Sunday...

JimmyG2 said...

Thankyou anon 15:58.
I have amended it .
Just goes to show what a state I'm still in.
But how did you enjoy the blog or the game Mr.Anon 15:58?

Anonymous said...

MOTD2

JimmyG2 said...

Anon16:25
Thankyou, have sorted it. See above.
Obviously applies when we play on Saturday too.

TMWNN said...

Two words:

No leader.

deepak said...

Jimmy it’s a great article, you say it like how I feel it as well. Hence why even though it was great to score 9 a couple of weeks ago I wasn't going to get overexcited because again as we showed we couldn't back it up in the 3 matches after (not being clinical during the periods where we are on top in games and then get punished or worse like last night we fold). Still overall I am happy with how things are going and I can see this team/squad getting better. It's just to get to that next level we still need to galvanise a bit more of a ruthlessness/professional/consistency to our performances like what the top teams have to in order to close out matches. So then in future matches when we go 2-0 up I'm not thinking 'I think we might need one more!' And may be we (players and manager) should just keep quiet about CL ambitions. I know in most cases they are just responding to journalist putting the question ‘do you think you’re good enough to finish in top 4?’ but instead of saying ‘yes’ why don’t they just say ‘we just want to finish as high as we can’ nothing more nothing less. Sorry I’m giving fuel to the idea that Spurs fans are always moaning, let me just reiterate in the main I am very happy with how things are progressing along at Tottenham :o)
PS: I didn't watch MOTD2 either! Instead I went to see Eddie Izzard at Wembley Arena to take my mind off things, hehe!
COYS!
Kind Regards, Deepak

JimmyG2 said...

TMWNN
Unusually brief and to the point.
I suppose Dawson who played well personally is 5th. choice after King,Keane,Woodgate and J*n*s and too young to exert authority. He certainly leads by example. Twice captain and scored both times.

Deepak.
Welcome and thank you for your kind words.
Yes we are doing well but as usual making it hard for ourselves by not grabbing the points when they are clearly there to be grabbed.
Spurs fans moaning. What an idea.

elwehbi@ibleedhotspur said...

Great post JimmyG2:

Like you, I also couldn't swallow the loss (I mean draw) initially. However, when it all finally settled, I was finally able to read some blogs posts and write one myself. Draws at Villa and Everton are not results to be ashamed of. It's the bullying 2-goal comeback which is hard to deal with.

What is the solution?

TMWNN said...

JimmyG2,

I love Dawson. He's got an old fashioned air of honesty and enjoyment for the game; two aspects that would appear to be sorely lacking today.

He's still learning his trade as they say, but I think he lacks the mean streak to really take the reigns and drive the team on.

This should be done from the centre of the park and there's a space next to Palacios crying out for a real captain. A player to stop the panic and slow things down when teams begin to smell blood.

His goal though, was textbook stuff. When was the last time you saw a diving header like that? The last one I can think of for Spurs was Dumitrescu away against Ipswich back in 94.

On a side note, isn't it funny how you remember a second of brilliance a decade or more ago, yet struggle to remember what your missus wore the day before yesterday?

Redknapp shouldn't be absolved of any wrong doing here, and I'll tell you why:

Rather than persist with the gung ho style of football that every Spurs fan craves, sometimes in a game there is a need to protect what you have. The old adage 'attack is the best form of defence', although being a nice turn of phrase, isn't necessarily true.

The real turning point of Sunday's game was when Crouch, at 2-0 to the good, missed an excellent opportunity to put the game beyond Everton. They then scored and the kitchen sink was duly thrown. This was the time to make a change. Rather than continue to bomb forward as though chasing the game, a striker should have been sacrificed for another midfielder and control should have been restored by being able to win and retain possession more easily with the extra man in the middle.

Redknapp left it too late, and for a man with as much experience in football as he, I find that a bit worrying. He nearly got out off the hook with the late penalty, but it wasn't to be. It was also noted that he wasn't too outspoken about yet another collapse because he knew it was predominantly his fault.

Long enough this time? ;-)

JimmyG2 said...

elwehbi

Depends what you think the problem is.
'Mental weakness' is currently in vogue.
Electric shock treatment,late goal aversion therapy, sports psycholgist,heavy fines.
All or none of the above.
Tactics are the main answer: astute substitutions,better contingency tactics when protecting a two goal lead with 15mins. to go.
Matching the oppositions tactical substitutions.

TMWNN
Yes. Plenty long enough. Plenty. Apart from J*n*s we seem to have an alarming degree of agreement which is quite unnerving.
I cover some of your points above in the answer to elwehbi.
Can you make a new player to the team the captain. I suppose you could if he had the stature of a Davids. Sandro wont be the man.
Personally I think Dawson should be the man,make him first choice centre back for the rest of the season and make him captain.
We can't mess around waiting to see whatfor King and Woodgate to return to regular play, if either of them ever do.
You are right about Harry but I have to say here that he hasn't done bad by us so far.
Has your missis said anything then? I can remember!
If I had access to 'smileys'on this blogsite I would insert one here.

TMWNN said...

Apparently she was wearing my favourite stockings and suspenders (and to avoid any confusion or snide remarks, they were hers).

Owing to alcohol abuse to dull the pain of defeat (the draw), TMWNN could neither perform nor remember.

I've surely written too much this time.

JimmyG2 said...

elwehbi

Depends what you think the problem is.
'Mental weakness' is currently in vogue.
Electric shock treatment, late goal aversion therapy, sports psycholgist, heavy fines.
All or none of the above.
Tactics are the main answer: astute substitutions, better contingency tactics when protecting a two goal lead with 15mins. to go.
Matching the oppositions tactical substitutions.

TMWNN
Yes. Plenty long enough. Plenty. Apart from J*n*s we seem to have an alarming degree of agreement which is quite unnerving.
I cover some of your points above in the answer to elwehbi.
Can you make a new player to the team the captain. I suppose you could if he had the stature of a Davids. Sandro won't be. Anyone in mind?
Personally I think Dawson should be the man,make him first choice centre back for the rest of the season and make him captain.
We can't mess around waiting to see if King and Woodgate return to regular play, if either of them ever do.
You are right about Harry but I have to say here that he hasn't done bad by us so far.But perfect he is not.

alwyn said...

Good article, Jimmy. I 'caught' the second goal on the soccernet gamecast at 1am Malaysian time, went to sleep with a smile on my face, but lost all mood for breakfast in the morning after I checked the results.

we held on against west ham, against portsmouth, against liverpool, sunderland - all of which gives me hope that the team CAN keep a lead when push comes to shove comes to kick - but Howard diving the right way after what i deem to be pure arrogance and over-confidence which allowed the blues to crawl back, took this away from us.

that's my diagnosis: arrogance and a superiority we-can't-not-win-this complex. this works against teams like wigan but not one which has won more trophies than us sigh.

JimmyG2 said...

Alwyn.
Thoughtful stuff. We do have an arrogant streak which leads us to underestimate opponents at times.
But in some ways I like this streak, it leads us to play confidently and with class at times as befits our traditions.
I dont think it was the cause of our not winning against Everton, nor do I think it was down to 'mental weakness' which is gaining ground as the reason for all our woes.

More down to poor tactics, lack of contingency plans,poor substitutions and individual errors.(Bale and Palacios)and perhaps lack of leadership on the pitch. Dawson is fifth choice captain and third or even fourth choice choice centre half.

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