The Blog that's not always wrong.

Friday, 7 January 2011

So we lost a battle but the war's still on.

Rotation makes the World go round, the world go round.

 Which of the following words or phrases is the odd one out? Footballers in fast cars; trips abroad for celebrations; Mexican whiz kids; non English speaking Russians, mud wrestling; raw sewage or  rotation. Trick question because they are all dirty words to Harry. To Harry the the word 'rotation' sums up a nightmare in which Rafael Benitez and Claudio Ranieri tinker, fiddle and tweak their way through a game of football until the end of time.

It doesn't have to be that way of course. Rotation can be used not just to protect recovering players but to change tactics and to keep a squad of 25 players involved and ready when injuries, suspensions, or loss of form demand a change of personnel. Van der Vaart has been subbed early in recent games; Pavlyuchenko and Crouch have been picked for varying roles: Jenas has subbed for Palacios.

But it is not Harry's normal way. There is a definite pecking order in Harry's mind. So Bassong and Corluka are only backup in case of injury or suspension. Defoe is first choice striker and Gomes first choice keeper and like Modric and Van der Vaart play when fit. Several players are unused subs most of the time. These include Bentley, Kranjcar, and Giovani.

Some players have been brought in from the cold like Bale and Hutton when injury has demanded and have forced their way into the team but once there they are fixtures. This is good for first team bonding and for forming partnerships on the pitch but not good for squad morale and for keeping all the members of the squad match ready in mind and body.. After a prolonged period on the bench Sandro and Kranjcar have come in and tried to showcase their own skills and not put themselves at the service of the team.

Anyway I woke up on Thursday with that peculiar sinking feeling that I haven't had for some time. Not for several weeks in fact; not since the loss to Bolton on November 6th. I haven’t heard the familiar phrases 'It's only a game Dad' or 'Blimey what you gonna look like if something really bad happens'. Recently I have been greeted with ' What's up with you, won the lottery?'

Ah yes, its coming back to me now: we lost a game at last. I remembered what I was trying to forget. We weren't unlucky or robbed; we didn't dominate and fail to convert dozens of chances; we didn't go down to 10 men; we just played a team that played better than us. Everton are clearly under performing and on their own ground matched us for effort, challenged us in every part of the field, forced us into error and by the second half we'd had it. They didn't park the bus or get a lucky goal. They met force with force and pace with pace and beat us at our own game.

We looked tired and ragged and although we didn't play well against Fulham but took the three points it didn't happen here. However 9/12 points over the Xmas period would have been acceptable to most and we have been on a tremendous run. As luck would have it, not too much damage was done as other results weren't disastrous for our position and we remain in 4th.

Life could be much worse: you might be a Chelsea supporter, or even a Liverpool one, or in a worst case scenario a West Ham follower. Only Man.Utd are making dash for the title and we have the chance to interrupt that next week. In the meantime the cup game against Charlton should provide an opportunity for Modric. Van de Vaart, Gallas and Bale to rest and recuperate before we really have to set down our marker in the league.

Against Everton, Van der Vaart and Dawson played well, but there were too many individuals off the pace. Even Modric flagged in the second half and Jenas reverted to type, getting caught in possession as the game went on and misplacing his passes..We responded well to going behind before fatigue set in, Hutton crossing for Crouch to set up Van der Vaart within minutes of their opener.

The presence of Crouch led to the inevitable long ball game particularly towards the end and the introduction of Keane seemed a pointless gesture. We lacked shape and focus and Everton seemed certain to score eventually. We began the game raggedly and finished in the same way. Bale should have been subbed at half time but Kranjcar was ineffective when he eventually came on. Gallas was asleep for the first goal and Gomes who made some good interceptions was probably culpable for both.

.We looked tired against Fulham and knackered against Everton. Subs who had been stepping up were poor in this game. Jenas without the usual supporting drive of Modric looked lost. He is no playmaker and is good in support but not when he is reqiired to take the lead. Bassong and Corluka, who played well when called upon lately, were dropped to the bench.

Wholesale changes are likely in the Charlton game in the style of the Carling Cup defeat to Arsenal. I would prefer more gentle rotation throughout the season rather than throwing on the substiututes for a day out. If we were to be lose then this will prove Harry's point. But for a club with the best squad in the league, allegedly, then it would be an admittance that we only have a dozen or so players capable of challenging for top four. If true we had better set about swapping a few for some upgrades.

I have no point to prove or axe to grind. I desperately want Spurs to do well, I've followed them for long enough through thick and, mainly, thin. However at Everton we simply lost a battle after a long and successful campaign but the war's still on. Talk of winning the league is for the players and it is good for them to aim high as all Spurs supporters have been taught but there is no damage in fans being more realistic and to criticise even a very good manager is not to have a hidden agenda.

Harry out? Certainly not. But to say that Harry is not perfect is not to belittle his considerable achievements over the past two seasons. Substitutions and tactics are Harry's Achilles' Heel but because of the quality in the squad we succeed almost despite it. We are not yet top of the league or even certain to finish in the top four again this season. Wearing out the players one by one over the course of a 60 game season is not a sensible way to go.

7 comments:

Beso said...

Great article, Jimmy!

I always read your posts and your blog is probably the only place in the net where I do so.. :)

Keep it up!

Regards, from Georgia (republic, Europe).

Anonymous said...

Have to agree - why not leave Corluka in there for Everton, maybe Bassong for Gallas. It was obvious after Fulham that the team was knackered. I can understand Harry being reluctant to switch as he would get tons of flack if we then lost - but surely great managers know when to change and take those personal risks.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jimmy G11 you can criticise Harry on his selection but you are not seeing the big picture.I have told you till i sound like a demented Parrott. We where also doing well last year and we where about to face Liverpool who where chugging behind us if they lost they would be seven points behind us. We had a good Christmas period and our fans where in a bullish mood and why wouldn't we be Gerrard was Missing and even better Torres. I must have bean one of a few Spurs fans who new we where in for a torrid time and this could end our good run well we got overrun by Duracell Bunnies there nick name given to them for the way they chased the ball and worked for 90 mins plus. This was dejavue my stomach turned over at the thought of playing Everton three points of the dead zone and ang Looming a relegation dogfight. This Jimmy G11 is the problem with the premiership lets look at both game Liverpool scored early and never let us get going there best players missing they where not missed. Now Everton scored early and we hit back and finished strongly Harry thought we would win.I new what was coming and i was praying we would score another 2 goals to win sadly they scored and the energy did the rest. the second half they chased and stopped us playing there strikers especially Saha he had not scored for 11 months. They was missing Jagielka and Cahill was also missing it made no different's My question to you Jimmy is this How can Stoke beat them 2-0 and West Brom 4-1 yet we struggled. David Moyes used the same noises has Bolton Wigan West Ham and other teams who have beaten played with more zest and vigour what he meant was they upped there Tempo at half time and won. This tempo can destroy any team no matter who you pick Gomes gifted them Goals and Gallas and Dawson where caught out by a player who had come out of a medical comer and even amazed is manager Coleman who is not a bad player was elevated to Bales standard was, this was on loan at Blackpool last year and they are shocking every one even a 19 year old bought from Wycombe Dj Campbell Marlon Harewood Varny on loan from Derby. So when you call Harry you need to no this what Paddy Kenny was caught taking is rife in teams who have no money and are desperate for points no manager can legislate for this because a lot of them don't no its goingHarry has said more than once i thought at half time we would win its deep in the changing room where the tactics are made energy no not drinks Ephedrine is being used to save managers jobs the trouble is there is now to many and they are beating each other this his 100 percent the truth Spurs would have not lost like Utd if we where using this then Huddlestone would look like Fellani and Piennar who was rubbish in the world Cup hope this has helped please tell Ancelotti why the Wolves bit him.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy G11 my Blog is the truth and iif you don't print it i will understand your grateful Davspurs forever a Cockerel and looking after our backs in the North West

Simon said...

HR needs to learn very quickly how to manage a 25 man squad. There are some very unhappy players in the squad due to lack of game time and consequently when called upon just don't perform. The way that Sandro has been introduced into the team is quite frankly scandalous.

Anonymous said...

How about some paragraphs, Davspurs?

JimmyG2 said...

Beso
Thankyou poster from afar, You're welcome

Davspurs.
I appreciate your time and effort but until you can produce evidence rather than assertion I remain unconvinced.
Lots of teams like Everton up their games against 'top' opposition which I'm glad to say we are these days.
'Duracel Bunnies' I like a lot.
Whatever you say is printed.

Simon
We mnay be guilty of believing the hype about Sandro.
On arrival he clearly isn't as described on the tin, yet.

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