The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Never mind the quality

Not quite our immaculate selves against Sunderland.
The JimmyG2 Column

Nobody could accuse Harry of being a dedicated follower of fashion. No rip-arsed jeans for Mr. Redknapp. On Sunday though he was forced to have a closer inspection of the wardrobe. He decided to go with both belt and braces in midfield and his favourite 'Ledley' cashmere overcoat in case the weather at The Lane turned nasty.

However we notched up another win to banish that nasty Stoke dressing down. Not quite reduced to the Oxfam bargain rail, but without Kaboul, Bale and for the main part Lennon we were forced into a mismatched sort of attire which in the end turned out a more than  adequate 'ensemble du jour'. With the addition of a Russian fur hat and a Brazilian poncho the natives of Sunderland were more than impressed.

Silky smooth it wasn't for the main part. But most of the creases got ironed out after we scored. More rough and edgy corduroy than sheer nylon. Now universally pundit wide referred to as the 'entertainers' we eventually got changed into our party gear but the loss of Bale from the starting line up and Lennon before the half hour mark reduced us to slightly unfamiliar clobber.

'Never mind the quality feel the width' as they used to say in tailoring circles when the goods were not quite up to expectations. The deployment of Parker and Sandro leads to an inevitable sacrifice of designer flamboyance with Modric marooned on the wing and struggling to influence play as much as usual.

However, Van Der Vaart, ignoring whatever tactical limitations Harry had imposed, saw a gap and stepped boldly into it. He was brilliant; setting up Pavlyuchenko for an efficiently taken winner, Adebayor for a poorly executed one on one which led eventually to Modric blazing over an open goal from ten yards. He prodded and probed and sprayed passes with abandon. And he stayed around for almost the whole game.

Both full backs stepped up into the overlapping role as the game progressed but Ekotto's final ball ranged from mediocre to dreadful. Walker was more successful by linking up with others rather than trying to do it all on his own. Against Chelsea in the absence of our flying wing-men, overlapping fullbacks might be the answer, or set Townsend on to at least threaten some pace.

Ledley played and we inevitably won once again although Gallas seemed to do most of his work for him and had his best game for some time. Should we have kept Ledley for Chelsea? Getting the three points seems to justify playing him and there is no reason why he is inevitably ruled out for Thursday. Kaboul will be back from suspension in any case. Good strategic thinking by Harry. 'A bird, or three,in the hand' as they say.

Perhaps it was fortunate that we were at home at that it was 'only' Sunderland and though Martin O'Neil might well do something with them it is very early days. We were unsettled by the enforced changes and neither Parker and Sandro are quite at the cutting edge at the moment. More steam iron than cutting out shears.

My question is, would you take a point against Chelsea right now? It's more a mustn't lose occasion and I certainly won't be putting my shirt, tie and waistcoat on the outcome. A draw will preserve our position, two points ahead and our game in hand. And we have a 5 point advantage over Arsenal and Liverpool and the aforesaid GIH. We will still be third at Xmas for the first time, well, in a long time. Does anybody know?

Of course it would be better to win it, we all know that, and I'm sure we might. But let's play the percentages. You don't wear your best smutter to clear out the garage.. I'm not even suggesting playing for a draw, a scenario for which we don't seem to have the necessary equipment. I'd take the point right now if offered but I'm still looking forward to the game.

Interestingly we are top of the Fair Play league at the moment and Chelsea are bottom. If only it were true that cheats never prosper. But we are better equipped these days to hold our own in any sort of midfield battle.We may have to consider alterations for Thursday

The reputation we have for having a formidable squad looks a little threadbare at times but we are not quite open to the charge of the Emporer's new clothes. So not quite a tale of rags to riches this week but we were forced to cut our coat according to the cloth left to us by injuries and a suspension.

No Burlington Berty from Bow then but we cut a decent figure on the High Road in the end and three points is three points. And what do points mean boys? Exactly.

Chelsea Scare.
Terry injured in training. 'Out for Thursday' denied. The way he has played against us lately I'm not sure I wouldn't prefer him on the pitch in any case.

This week's video:
Man of the hour, and the one we all hate to love Roman Pavlyuychenko features this week
He sure can strike the ball. Excellent authentic Russian musical background.


Anonymous said...

One plus was, just as with Stoke, the team dug deep and this time were not deprived of points. They may at times be silky smooth, but as everyone points out the top teams manage to grind out wins when things are not going well. This is a new and very welcome trait for Spurs.

TMWNN said...

VdV is the key that opens locked doors, but our finishing has got to improve soon.

Anonymous said...

"Only Sunderland". It's nice to see you give us some credit...sheesh! What is it about teams in the top 6?

If things don't go your way it's always down to you and you alone isn't it? For a lot of the game Sunderland were more than in with a shout and I honestly feel a little hard done by not coming away from White Hart Lane without a point (It's rare to hear fans of top 6 teams whistling for the full-time whistle at home).

For all your skill and quality in midfield and attack, I thought you looked very nervous and distinctly average. Points were there for the taking and had we had a striker who could put the ball in the net I feel it would have been a completely different story. Thankfully that will be addressed next month.

Anonymous said...

Good write-up.

The reaction on many Spurs message boards to Harry's substitution of Lennon with Pav has been disgusting IMO. I was at the Lane on Sunday and the groans from the crowd whenever Pav failed to control the ball (quite frequently I will admit) can't have helped his confidence and therefore isn't really helping the team.

At the end of the day, that Pav strike won the game for us and was in sharp contrast to the finishing of Modric and Sandro when presented with simpler opportunities. It was a very well taken and beautifully conceived goal. Pav has scored some very important goals for us and, while I won't be sorry to see him or Defoe replaced with something better, the attitude of many so-called Spurs fans, who only want to moan at every opportunity, makes me heartily sick.

IKnowAlanGilzean said...

Heh! Enjoyed that Jimmy, I was chuckling away :)

A rare outing for Berlington Berty at no. 30 (Sandro) but the signs in that second half are there for all to see. He can be a monster in there.

Van de Vaart, just brilliant. What a range of passing: long, short, diagonal, backwards, forwards, slide rule, clever reverses, simple ones, difficult ones, outrageous ones, no one size fits all for this maestro.

Pleased for Pavlyuchenko, and Spurs. Big win after Stoke.

JimmyG2 said...

Sunderland supporter.
I said 'only' Sunderland to indicate that I was not intending to show disrespect.
We were nervous for a while because the old Spurs still lurks in the background.
You have the basis of a decent team and I am sure that MO will get you up the table.
Agree with your analysis: yuou need a decent striker but they ain't cheap.

Van Der Vaart.
second name on the teamsheet for me after Luka.

Have always been a Pav. man and with more love and regular outings he might have been immense.
But you have to take him 'warts and all'
His movement is good but largely unremarked by fans wjho concentrate on his weakness, control.

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