The Blog that's not always wrong.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Just when you thought it was safe.

portrait of a young man asleep on the couch after drinking too much beer

                                     He'll be all right, its only Wigan.

Let's take the positives first. Right that's that sorted. What about the negatives. How long have you got? In brief we were awful and were lucky to get away with a 1-0 defeat. Now of course it might be just a blip, a bad day at the office after a sensational midweek brain storming seminar that might alter the course of history for the firm, the country and indeed the Universe.

It's not the End of the World is it? We're still spinning away in the wastes of space. An apt phrase in some ways you might think. We hoped that this sort of performance was behind us but actually we knew deep down that it wasn't. Not that deep down either.

No-one can accuse Harry of being a tinkerman. He doesn't really do rotation. Find your best eleven and your most effective set up and stick with it. The only changes today were forced by injuries to Gomes and Corluka. Generally speaking it has worked but it didn't today,. Nor did the 442 in the first leg at Young Boys. I think that he is going to have to be a little more flexible with squads and tactics for the rest of this season.

Fighting on four fronts without some kind of variation of team and set-up is unlikely to succeed. Kranjcar, Gio or Keane, Pavlyuchenko and Jenas could all have started this game.Fresh legs, fresh minds, squad players with something to prove.

We were too impatient today and played the ball forward too quickly. Dawson as usual was the worst offender and he does it because he can whether it's effective or not. Nobody dropped short to link up with Huddlestone and faced with a hard-working defence that closed us down and got men behind the ball we were not inventive enough in and around the box to break them down. The same problem then as last year; dominant but failing to defeat.

In truth we didn't even dominate that well. We had early warnings: Ekotto twice played himself into trouble and Gohouri hit the bar unmarked in the six yard box. At the end they could have scored three. The goal that won it should have been saved but the back four melted away for the last 15 minutes like the Polar ice caps.. Crouch was ineffective as he often is under close scrutiny, Lennon and Bale were closely marked, Palacios wandered about without focus and Tom lacking any support in midfield joined him.

Credit Wigan, they came to try to erase the memories of last year and having conceded 10 goals in their first two games could not have been looking forward to their trip down Bad Memory Lane. They did this with gritty defending and their on loan keeper Al- Habsi replacing the no doubt demoralised Kirkland played very well and we gave up three points that most fans had already banked to a late goal.

Harry got his retaliation in first by reminding the fans that they should be grateful for what he had brought them. This in response to a hypothetical question about the fans' response by a reporter.
No-one is calling for his head, certainly not me but I am disappointed, unhappy, even angry and a little depressed, though not clinically. By midweek I will have rationalised it all, got it in perspective and be up for the next game. This time the qualifiers break will give me and the boys time to regroup and reflect.

The problem is only time will tell whether this is indeed just a temporary setback. Last week all that could be heard was the popping of champagne corks and bubbles, now the sounds are deeper and more ominous, more like the bursting and deflating of balloons.

Supporting Spurs has been a lifelong passion for me and I make no excuse for being temporarily irrational in my response to the highs and lows. I feel it: its ridiculous for a more than grown man and I will soon recover. It is a heady mixture of geography, family history, the success in the sixties and identification with a club that embodies an ethos and way of life to me, a belief system that transcends individual managers, chairman, and players, no-matter how gifted. The history the tradition, the achievements all add up to something that goes beyond the actual game.

Wives will be apologised to, pets stroked, children smiled at again and no actual suicides have been reported. But it is surely understandable that we moan, whinge and lash out. It's more than a game otherwise we wouldn't bother following a particular team. The fans are in it for the long haul and if they don't feel it they wouldn't bother. The performance was bad on a collective and individual basis, only Kranjcar brought some late spark on with him.

Was it the after effects of Wednesday? Over confidence and underestimation of our opponents? Was it a one off, a temporary aberration? Was it, sorry Harry, some of this must be down to you, poor team selection and formation? One, some or none of the above. Was it the wake up call we need? Should we just shrug and move on, or rant and get depressed?

Some of these questions will be answered by the next game and some will take a little longer. I'm going to try a little ranting and then some shrugging. I hope that someone in a position to actually affect things does some critical analysis before they do their hopeless gesturing. It's not a matter of life and death as we all know but for a few hours it certainly feels like it.


Matt H said...

I agree. Seems like Harry should have used this opportunity to rotate the squad a little. The YB game was only 3 days prior, and we should have seen Bassong, Gio, Keane, Walker and maybe one other rather than the same lineup. Hoofing the ball up to Crouch worked well against YB because they did not have the strength/height to compete. We saw how well that worked Saturday...

Anonymous said...

How many wake up calls do you need? Last season we had a million. Young Boys in Berne should have been a big shake up. Granted Stoke is not an easy place to go and win, but we were very very luck to have taken all 3 pts. So again I ask the question. How many wake up calls do you want?

Anonymous said...

Like you, I'm not sure why Harry doesn't rotate players a bit more. Particulary when I wasn't that impressed by the team performance against Young Boys in mid-week. I thought that our midfield was creatively poor in that game and we basically got lucky because Young Boys aren't good in the air.
I got a bit disillusioned with the Huddlestone/Palacios partnership last season. They just don't compliment each other and we were quite fortunate that Palacios had his suspension at such an important time. Against Man City we started with Huddlestone and Modric and played well. Now you can't tell me that Harry thinks Palacios and Modric are similar players, so why change a winning system! Kranjcar, Jenas or even Dos Santos would be closer equivalents.
The other thing that stood out to me on Saturday was how slow both Huddlestone and Palacios were to get forward to support the front men. We kept playing long balls forward towards Crouch, when there was a massive gap in midfield to take advantage of any knock downs.
This is getting to be a serious gap on Harry's CV. It has happened too often now. When poor teams just concentrate on packing men behind the ball and pressing, we don't have any idea how to deal with it and compound matters by switching off defensively and getting caught on the break.
Like you, I hope that someone will give this issue some serious analysis, but if the penny still hasn't dropped after it happening three times last season, I'm certainly not holding my breath.
Very depressing, as I don't really like to watch a central midfield of Huddlestone and Palacios and a front pairing of Crouch and Defoe, even if it is relatively successful.

elwehbi@ibleedhotspur said...

I had to apologise to my wife; I was furious!

Wigan were the better side yesterday; we looked tired and lacking. Why didn't Gio play last night? Injured?

who framed ruel fox? said...

Jimmy. Nice stuff- very much liked the opening two lines. Which isn't to say that's all I read, I just found it tres amusing.

Elwhebi. Gio? Last night? Injured?

Gio came on in the second half and the game was at three in the afternoon. Gadzooks, man! ;)

JimmyG2 said...

The Fox.
Pleased you sorted out Elwhebi.I didn't like to say
anything. Obviously all too much for the man.

Keep it together man, its only a game whatever I might say.

4-0 against YB and your still critical. Your worse than me but your not wrong.
They say you learn more from defeats then victories though.

Matt H
Your point about effectiveness of Crouch against YB is exactly right. Surely Harry, Kevin,and all th other coaches, several at the last count can see this.

I notice you say 'you' and not 'we'. Not a fan then? But your question is still a good one.

IKnowAlanGilzean said...

Good summary JimmyG2. I very much share the concerns of the first three commenters. I also thought Harry a little too quick to jump down the reporter's throat on MotD. If it's a thank you Harry wants, then thanks. But we are Spurs not West Ham, Pompey et al and it isn't good enough to keep making the same mistakes at home to teams like Stoke, Wolves, Wigan... Just so he knows.

Still, my preseason resolution was to stay calm and retain belief in the chairman, manager and his huge coaching staff and the team. So I will.

JimmyG2 said...

So was mine. And I haven't.
I don't mind us making new mistakes but to keep repeating the old ones seems wasteful.

elwehbi@ibleedhotspur said...

JimmyG2 and Foxy:

I'm sorry gents! I had to watch the match on TV and was away for the 2nd half (thankfully)! Had no clue that Gio came on!

Anonymous said...

Now we have a new word to blame every result for - rotation.

Either we did it too much or we did it too little but it is always down to the magic word Rotation.

My line up for the next game

Rotation Rotation Rotation Rotation
Rotation Rotation Rotation Rotation
Rotation Rotation

Guaranteed that team will not lose !!

JimmyG2 said...

Not sure I'd play them in a 442.

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