The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Gutted of White Hart Lane

Team huddle: crucial for team bonding or a pointless gesture?
Was Ekotto right all along?

So not such a successful season after all. There have been some exciting highlights; Arsenal at the Emirates; Bale against Milan; the Champions' League in general. But they do not make up for the general mediocrity of our play in the Premiership, the disappointing, not to say awful, showings against the bottom teams and the decline in performance over the last third of the season.

The statistics demonstrate what we all know to be true. One win in twelve in the league and 1 win in 15 in all competitions.More draws than wins at home and the least points against the bottom six than any of the current top six. The fact that we are still in touching distance of 4th shows what a golden opportunity we have wasted this season and which no Champions' League sparkle can make up for.

I would rather we had a couple of competitive seasons in the Premiership, consolidate and rebuild modestly than the flashy glitter of the Cup or European competition. I would rather watch and enjoy good football on a weekly basis with the occasional bright light. In fact I would rather we were more like Arsenal who haven't won anything for years than ourselves at the moment.

And before you start; I am a very, very long term Spurs fan and have no wish to become a Gooner.
But they play football that is good to watch with youngsters central to their team, under a long-standing manager that has his blind spots it is true but who has the consistency of vision that to play well is a preliminary to success. I can think of no better epitaph for a manager or a team and I want some of whatever they're having.

We seem to have replaced 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells by ' Gutted of White Hart Lane'. Captain 'I felt a nudge' Dawson is once again disemboweled and vows to win the next three games. Promises. Promises. He hasn't played that well this season after returning from injury. Playing on the left to accommodate Gallas hasn't helped but his tendency to lunge rather then close down quickly has let him down several times.

In fact there are several players who are playing unfit, or who are not fully recovered this season. Bale certainly and possibly Defoe. Kaboul is not back to his previous form though he may just not be good enough. Gallas too seems to be carrying a knock and Van Der Vaart has never quite shaken off whatever he arrived from Madrid with. Huddelstone probably came back too soon.

Injuries in general might be a mitigating factor for ouir end of season blues but all teams get them and it's the use you make of the squad that is crucial. Kranjcar, or on the Blackpool performance, Rose might have been used to rest Bale. Jenas generally has played well when called upon this season and could have given respite to Van Der Vaart Our bench was dubbed ' the best in the Premiership ' but there has been little evidence to support this theory.

The exception is Sandro who has replaced Palacios whose star has been waning for some time. His partnership with Modric who is my player of the season and the one man I desperately want to keep in the aftermath of not qualifying for Europe at all augers well for the future.

Not to be able to integrate a player of the quality and experience of Van Der Vaart into the team is a serious criticism of the team and management in general. He has that 'Been there, done that' quality that we continually crave but is criticised for being an unsettling influence on the team. His positional indiscipline is down to Harry to correct. 'Play where you are put or don't play at all' should be scribbled on the clip-board alongside his name.

6o seconds on Saturday against a team that invites attack was a snapshot of our season. For twenty minutes after half time with the introduction of Lennon to give us pace and balance we played well. And them mayhem .Gomes who once again had kept us in it after we had failed to take what chances came our way saved a penalty from Adams.

Within a minute he had conceded another by appearing to bring down Taylor Fletcher. Adams made no mistake a second time and we were behind for the several dozenth time this season. But once again, and this a new feature this season, we came back to equalise with a crisp shot from the edge of the area by Defoe. This used to be his party piece but he doesn't seem to get out much any more. We played out another draw our 9th at home this season. Dawson is gutted and I am disgusted and I've never been to Tunbridge Wells.

Kranjcar came on for a ritual 5 mins. Crouch came on for Pavlyuchenko to no good purpose and Blackpool got a point that may save them. Adams had time to stamp on Bale which finishes his season. The referee saw nothing amiss but the review panel might be very interested to have another look at it.

Our failure to take full advantage of our chances and our failure to replace our stuttering strike force over two windows is at the root of our problems. Just look at our goal difference in comparison to our European rivals. Liverpool have just scored five against a Fulham side that humbled us in the Cup. Go figure.

The fixture gods have handed us the chance to beat both our rivals for 4th and 5th but in the light of our recent performances this seems a cruel trick to play. We might beat City tonight to prolong the agony but the idea of repeating the performance at Liverpool seems unlikely. Knowing Spurs we will beat them both and then lose the final game against Birmingham.

Speculation is that we might even qualify for the Europa via the Fair Play table. It seems we are second to Chelsea who already qualify for Europe. What strange tricks the fates are playing. I know some people that would like to see us engineer a couple of sendings off in the final games just to keep our Thursday nights free next season.

I don't agree if only because it might keep Modric at the club if we have some form of European football to offer. It looks as if Suarez knew something that we didn't when he opted for Liverpool.
And was Ekotto right about the pre-match team huddle all along, or does he just have a bad back?
In view of our recent performances it looks like an increasingly pointless gesture.

You want cheerleaders? I'll take up the role when there is something to cheer. Notice that no manager's heads were called for in the writing of this column.









14 comments:

Chris M. said...

Have to say agree with a lot of what you say. I do sometimes question Harry's tactics especially against so-called lower teams this season. For example, why wasn't Lennon playing from the start and why haven't younger players features this term? Andros Townsend and Danny Rose being good examples. Young hungry for success players who for sure could handle games against the likes of Blackpool at home.

Agreed we've dropped too many points at home this term for sure and yes the lack of goals up front is a prob. Liverpool and Chelsea were the only teams to spend real big money in the window and one was seriously mounting a challenge for the title last week, the other is now favourite to qualify for Europa ahead of us now.

On the subject of Europa, I would like us to qualify for this tournament because basically we need the team to be playing European footie whatever the level and still keeps us in the window for better players. A good run in the CL should equate to at least a semi-final or final in Europa. It has been a season of highs and lows but overall I have to agree our brand of footie this term has not been as exciting as all the experts say.

Anonymous said...

Modric overated.
Pros: Does nice little mazy runs, often to no effect. Nice first touch. Flatters to deceive.
Cons: Loses ball often. Passes go astray.
Can't defend in midfield. Doesn't score enough goals for an offensive midfield player( 2 this season?). Many goals conceded because opposition midfield brush past him. Ineffective and ineffectual. Check the stats. Whoever partners him in midfield does all the defensive graft - because he can't- and one man can't do it all.
Have you heard the story of the Emperor's new clothes?
Sandro and Huddlestone as midfield partnership will make us virtually unbeatable.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely gutted as well, although as a Spurs supporter for nearly 30 years I find myself resigned to the fact that this season we are back to our normal selves. Some great results against the better teams and unable to put the lesser teams to the sword.For me though the one thing that I'm most gutted about is a certain Luis Suarez and the fact we didn't get him.The boy is total class and as good as VDV was when he first arrived he is not a patch on the Uruguayan, his technique, vision and most of all his workrate put him on a different level to our beloved Dutchman. I'm a realist and know that we're not going to finish 4th and for me I would rather we didn't qualify for the Europa league as I believe it's an unwelcome distraction, I'd rather no european football,but the opportunity for a great pre-season to blood in the new players that we desperately need and then to concentrate on nothing else but the league and the Fa Cup.
As a little bit of a footnote how would anybody else feel about a certain Carlo Ancelotti becomingour new manager?

Yaz said...

Yesterday's comment by Harry that Man City predicaments were helped by the unlimited amount of money they spent on players wouldn't do. Spurs had ample opportunities to make that much wanted 4th place their own - the latest of which their defeat to Everton. I agree with the previous poster that our football this season that let us down.
I very rarely call for a manager sacking mainly because I don't really believe that he has that much influence in team's success - there is the quality of players, the money spent, the background staff that advise him and many other variables that come into play. Having said that, the set of players we have at the club are well capable of a much better football that I have only seen on occasions.

Anonymous said...

I am from T Wells and disgusted about our season! Fortunately for our esteemed leader it hasnt affected his TV and media work - on two separate programs Sunday night with a game to prepare for on Tuesday and back in all the papers this morning.

I'm not convinced by Dawson - he's a lovely bloke, sometimes makes some great tackles, very loyal etc. but he is not fast on the turn, not a great bully/motivator/organiser for a captain and lacks that nasty/physical/ruthless streak seen in the likes of Vidic and Terry.

I also worry about the team balance and question Modric's role. I love watching him play most of the time and his ability to receive the ball in tight spaces is among the best out there. The fact is that he neither scores enough nor directly creates enough chances to sit behind a striker or be our main attacking midfielder. Over the course of the last couple of seasons players like Nasri and Fabregas have been much more effective.

Perhaps Modric and VDV are both victims of poor tactics and team organisation, or it is simply that you cant shoehorn Bale, Lennon, Modric, VDV and Hudd into the same midfield.

Its hard to judge players at the moment because none of them is setting the world alight!

jb said...

do you think maybe both the team and harry were thrown by the pressure and stresses of a debut in the CL this year and it seems to have dislodged any consistency in the prem......
inexperience of how to handle the big time maybe
the top 4 seem to do it so well but theyre used to it...........whereas were not!
still all good experience for the future if harry sorts his head out and decides wether he wants to be at spurs or not and then maybe he might learn when to push and when to hold and for christs sake start motivating the players as you did when you first arrived and stop whinging about citys money

Anonymous said...

Harry accommodates players at the expense of a balanced team. Example: VDV.
Not the sign of a 'great' manager.
Spends too long bigging-up the opposition.
To passive on the touchline and in interviews.
Examples: not angry enough about the bale tackle. "Bale's done his ankle." NO he didn't - Adams done his ankle!
Not angry enough about the linesman against Chelsea.
Half-asleep in his chair in the last 10 mins of the the Blackpool game. He looked resigned to defeat. Show some passion, Harry.
Not the signs of a 'great' manager.

10 May 2011 09:12

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I have generally been disappointed by the football that I have seen at the Lane this season. When Harry came in, his main criticism was that the team was unbalanced, but it seems just as unbalanced now. So what progress have we really made. We finished 5th two seasons running under Jol and so a 4th and a (likely) 6th doesn't seem to be a sign of great progress.

I am also getting tired of the continual moaning by Harry about how hard it is to get into the top four. Of course it is hard and if we had all the money that City and Chelsea have then we could expect it no matter who our manager was. The fact is, we don't and so we need a manager who understands that a good team is better than the sum of its parts and knows how to get the absolute maximum out of his players. Let's face it, Blackpool have been reasonably competitive in this league, as have the likes of West Brom and Fulham. West Ham, with a better squad on paper are at the bottom.

I don't see Harry as representing the future of the club and so, although he has done a great job, I wouldn't allow him to take things any further. He hasn't really improved our squad since his arrival, and has already spent a lot of money that we have little chance of seeing a return on. If David Moyes is available, I would jump at the chance. A manager with a winning mentality, who has done an amazing job over the medium term with limited resources and who gets his share of wins against the bigger clubs. Sounds perfect for where we are at the moment to me.

Anonymous said...

you've nobody to blame but yourself for having too high expectations. We over achieved last year and this year in europe has been a bonus but now we have found our level, 5th/6th, will the odd challenge for a top 4 spot or a cup every few seasons. This is what tottenham are and have been for 50 years so why you expect any more is as delluded as it is pathetic.

IKnowAlanGilzean said...

A curate's egg of a season. It's not the 6th place I mind so much, it's the slow, stodgy tapering off of a richly promising season since what late Feb at Blackpool?

Anonymous 10 May 2011 10:14. That's one of the the saddest (almost bitter) comments I've ever read about Spurs. It may carry some truth in it, but I hope I never succumb to such defeatism or stop pushing Spurs to reach for the stars. Football's about joy and dreams, Spurs doubly so. All together now...

Oh the whistle blows
the cockerel crows
and now we're in the game
it's up to you you lilywhites
to play the Tottenham way

there are many teams of many towns
and some are great and small
but the famous Tottenham Hotspur
are the greatest of them all
lalalala

Come on we all feel better now, don't we?

3 wins and we can still do it :))

galvin was god said...

I have the details on a scrap of paper if needed but the stats tell us gomes has cost us a total of 12 points this season. what the stats don't tell us is these points were squandered out of sheer stupidity rather than any lack of ability. so lets keep it simple (not for the first time) : we need a new goalkeeper.

JimmyG2 said...

Anon 7:52
Don't agree at all obviously.
His strike rate is poor and his tackling is average agreed.
But his quality on the ball, his ability to receive in tight places and accelerate out of trouble; the lovely outside of the right foot curved pass which should be framed.
He passes and moves in the Spurs tradition and will play with any team-mate up for game.

If only I believed that any combination of players would make us 'unbeatable'.
First name on the sheet for me.

IIknowAlanGilzean.
Nice try but it isn't working. Sorry.

Anon 8:03
There isn't a managerial vacancy at the moment but Ancelloti would be a step up in class when the time comes.
I'm not a fan of Harry's but feel he should get at least another season.It's not only about the manager.
Wages, signings, injuries all play a big part.

Anonymous said...

Modric: All that lovely stuff with no end product. Watch how many times he loses the ball in the middle of the park and where it ends up - unless (recently) Sandros tidies up the rickit. Hoping those two get to play together on a regular basis (Huddlestone/Sandros).
I said "virtually" unbeatable.
Gomez - your stats didn't say how many points he saved us.

Galvin Was God said...

its irrelevant how many points gomes saved us. it doesn't work that way. its his job to stick out a paw/tentacle and pull off blinding saves, thats why he turned professional and is paid the top rate for his services. what I can't tolerate is his sudden and frequent transformation into an idiot novice that has destroyed our season and put us where we are today. The outfield players deserved better from him, and so did we, the supporters. end of, it hath made me mad.

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