The Blog that's not always wrong.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Villarreal-ity check

Man kissing football
                                                Learn to love that ball

 We won the World Cup in 1966 and have never looked back since. The trouble is we were facing the wrong way. The periscope got jammed and we forgot to take the lens covers off the binoculars But as recent events have shown at every level we need to start scanning the horizon. Pre-season eh! In theory a carefully planned series of work outs to ease us gently back from the beach designed to achieve an outfit strong in mind and body in peak condition for the first game of the season. In fact a globe trotting, exhausting, jet lagged trawl around the Corporate high spots.

Villarreal was more of a full body pummeling for which we may feel better, eventually. Friendly? It didn't look like it. Unless you have the sort of mates who set fire to the curtains and chop up the furniture when invited round for a pleasant social evening. Next time they come round the invitations should be more explicit: a draw is acceptable; drubbings are not permitted. So just when you thought it was safe to start dreaming again its back to the drawing board.

I know all the excuses: some of our best players missing; first time the boys have all got together;
youngsters being given a run out; still working out game plans and formations; difficulties at centre-half; new signings to come in; dead wood to be cleared; and finally: 'Its only pre-season. Chill'.
Yep I've been through them all but it still leaves me with that nagging doubt whether we can build on last year's success and push on. A bit like the after effects of Burnley, but I'm over that now.

Lets take the positives; and there's always positives. As the man on the steps of the gallows remarked , 'At least it's not raining'. Some youngsters have appeared and by and large have shown some talent. Last night, Rose, Parrett and Walker in particular. Giovani surfaced and was as good as some of us always thought he was. The final pass of two of their goals should have been cut out and their third was deflected past a stranded keeper. Huddlestone and Bale maintained their form and none of our returning stars got injured.

For the first 20 minutes of the second half we put some pressure on them and scored an excellent goal. At 2-1 it could have gone either way and their fortunate third clinched it. However we were outplayed for most of the game by a team that have another month to go before their season starts. Outplayed by the current Spanish style of play demonstrated by the Spanish National team, the Spanish U.19 team, and Barcelona. A style that we have the tradition and talent to espouse. Clearly the world has moved on since 1966. We won the World Cup and set ourselves back 50yrs. We won't win it again until we turn our backs on the past, reject our traditional attitudes, forget power and strength and learn to love the ball. Even with some of the Worlds' most skilful players in the Premiership the emphasis is still on physicality and speed.

In British football by and large the ball is not our friend. When it comes our way we treat it like a stranger in a dark alley asking for a light. The Spanish World Cup squad love the ball. The Under 19's who beat us recently treat it like a brother. Villarreal, who are not even in the top ranks of La Liga nurtured it like their first born; they caressed and cherished it; they wanted it so much they pleaded for it when they hadn't got it; they looked lost without it.

Even at Spurs a talent like Taarabt is a figure of fun. We don't know what to do with him: he's an embarrassment. When he gets the ball newcomers in the crowd think his name is Gerrid. We don't know how to integrate him into the the team. Surely a failure of coaching as much as anything. Put him on for 10 minutes and all he can do is go through his repertoire of tricks in a desperate effort to catch the eye.

We have to start making friends with the ball and put the 'welcome home' mats out for it. We need to embrace it, take it for walks, marry it in a civil ceremony or whatever it takes. When a Spaniard passes the ball he expects it back. It's a loan not a gift.

At Tottenham where we have a tradition of keeping the ball on the ground, pass and move; where following the team is a pleasure as well as a duty born of family history or geography we at least should appreciate these 'continental' fads. We of all people should be grateful that the rugged efforts of Holland were eventually overcome by the passing style of Spain. It would have been a disaster for the beautiful game if the Dutch had won. Generally speaking we have courted this type of approach although occasionally in times of managerial stress it has disappeared from view.

Parking the bus and 10 man defences are going to be the norm next season especially at home. This is a reflection of our new Top Four status but also an acknowledgment by most teams that if they take us on they will lose. We have to out-think and out-skill them and we have the players to do it. We don't have the mentality or the tradition to do anything else.

So let's get hold of the ball and learn to love it. Keep it, protect it, love, honour and obey it. Give it to Modric and Huddlestone when we can; play through the midfield; fine anybody except Tom who passes it more than 30yds.Villarreal didn't allow the ball to travel much above head height or more than 20yds away in case it got kidnapped out there all on its own. Let's not ignore the timely Villarreal-ity check we were given. We can't just live in hope that we don't meet any Spanish sides in the Champions' League.


Anonymous said...

You're reading far too much into an unimportant game with a mixture of first team and reserve players who had been to America and back being played out of position

The reality check came against the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool when we won all 3

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous post. Lets get the season started and form out opinions then. I'm pretty sure you will see a different team to the one that lost to villarreal.

Windy said...

Jimmy - whilst I totally agree with the sentiment about Spanish teams, I think you're reading a little too much into our performance. Pre-season games are effectively training matches that they let the fans into. Remember that we were totally outplayed by Celtic this time last year - we made Samaras look like Torres!

Anonymous said...

Harry did even want to play this game he said. Three Spurs players got injured in the US again games Harry didn't want. Then we are playing two games next week. Harry is moaning to the press about the amount of pre-season games we have but someone at Spurs must have organised them? Who is to blame? Harry should be moaning to is a silly amount of games we are playing though.

Anonymous said...

Nice sentiment. I love it when we control the ball and make 'em chase. We have the players to do it too.

JimmyG2 said...

Windy and 1st poster.

These games are only unimportant when you lose them.
Win and they are clear indications of the great things to come. I'm just applying the same logic.

This pre-season has been disastrously arranged and they fact that we got well beaten after arriving back from the USA is nobody's fault but our own.

Anonymous said...

Remember what we did to Roma? Some people wet their pants in anticipation of the new season without thinking about how the Italian team was weeks behind us in pre-season prep.

2 points, 8 games.

Then again, if it wasn't for that...we wouldn't be where we are today.


Anonymous said...

I'm with Jimmy on this one if only because my (and probably anyone else who has supported Spurs for a while) head is still in the clouds following our (finally!) arrival at the promised land. A reality check cold shower (coupled with front row view of some real sexy passing football) is just what the doctor ordered for our lads (and fans). Sure, it smarts, but I reckon plenty of positives in that defeat.


joshtottenham said...

Any decent side was going to rip apart a midfield with rose played in the middle. It was a fitness game, nothing more. I counted 4 first team players in the starting line-up. Redknapp put out the worst team he could get away with a rotated to give youngsters a chance. It was completely meaningless, just as the Roma game was.

TMWNN said...

'We beat Roma 5-0 and looked what happened'

'We lost against Celtic and looked what happened'


Does this train of thought mean that we will win the League after getting tonked pre-season this time round? No, and losing is never a good thing, but whichever logic you apply to pre-season friendlies shouldn't hide the fact that we need 3 or 4 (as Redknapp openly believes) top notch players pronto.

'It's still the same team that beat both The scum and blue scum last season'

True, but it's also still the same team that lost to Wolves (twice), Stoke at home, struggled to break down sides such as the mighty Hull at home and made a banquet of getting to an FA cup semi-final which we lost to a depleted and relegated Portsmouth.

I really hoped that Levy wouldn't do his usual last minute dealing this season (it's far too important for that this time), but it looks like he is. I just hope we win the three league games and the two play off games that take place before deadline day.

Anonymous said...

This game was definitely a blessing in disguise Jimmy,as you say it should not only give the players a wake up call,but the manager and chairman also.Yes it was only a friendly but no matter the game no one wants to lose.

Saying this though we did field players who had only trained for three days,and amongst the others there were more than likely a few feeling the effects of jet lag,the one hundred degree heat of previous friendlies also adding to the woe,and finally a hodgepodge of players out of position partaking only to gain some match fitness,These however are not excuses posted by a dreamer,but rather facts based in reality.

These coming weeks should see us field our real first eleven baring injuries of course.Yes we would all like to see Tottenham play the same as Villarreal and Barcelona,and to a certain extent with a settled squad we have the means to accomplish this,only with the added spice of physical strength and power,this extra ingredient is not something to feel repulsed over but should rather be embraced as together it would make for a potent formula.

In conclusion then,I really wouldn't worry,the timing of this defeat was excellent and can be rectified with focus and dedicated learning,something Harry and our players have shown to have in abundance,see last season.


elwehbi@ibleedhotspur said...

"Unless you have the sort of mates who set fire to the curtains and chop up the furniture when invited round for a pleasant social evening."

Hey, have you met my friends before???

JimmyG2 said...

That's exactly my question and my fear
Where, exactly, are we today?
On the verge of establishing ourselves as a Champions' League force or because of a lack of urgency, planning and organisation about to sink back into mid table mediocraty?.

Josh Tottenham.
You may be right, but I still have my fears

Amen to that brother
'And losing is never a good thing'
totally agree don't we all foolishly expect Spurs to win every game or at least not lose?

TMWNN said...


Not me. I'm of a disposition that we'll lose every single game, then, everything else is gravy.

A proper little 'negative Nigel' if you like.

Come on Levy! Do us proud.

JimmyG2 said...

Foggy and Sam-I-am
Yep that's what I hope too. Did you say all that with your fingers crossed?

Er, I think I'll give that party a miss thanks.

Anonymous said...

JG2, it's fingers, arms, toes, legs and a few others. There's a fair few buggers out there just waiting for our lads to fall flat on their faces this season. Same old Spurs and all that shit. Still, I'd rather be where we are now with the possibility of failure than not have a chance at all. Come on Levy, Harry and all, get yer fingers out and get those two/three step-up reinforcements to the squad! Staying forth (or better) AND Champions League progression is going to be a lot tougher than our season last year. Plus, we're top four now and everyone wants to beat a top four side (Big Smile). COYS!


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