The Blog that's not always wrong.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Dust to Dust: Athens to Athens.



A real tragedy for the boy Euripides, injured in training

The JimmyG2 Column

Europa Cup: Thursday. First Act of a potential Greek Tragedy.

Panathinaikos.

If ever there was a team begging to be put out of their misery Pana were it. Did we queue up excitedly vying with each other to deliver the 'coup de grace'? We did not. We were abject, lacklustre, lifeless, prosaic, uninspired, leaden and muted and my Collins Essential Thesaurus goes on for a whole lot longer than that but you get the gist.

Whatever gloss AVB puts on it: early stages, unbeaten in Europe, good away point, all to play for, blah blah blah, this performance was beyond poor. It was billed as an important game and we put out a strong team, unnecessarily strong if you have one eye on Villa on Sunday.

But we played as if we didn't care and didn't want it even as Dempsey was talking about winning the whole damn thing. We played as if we had won it before we got on the pitch. We had been told that they were a club in crises, captain sacked, abysmal performances and results so far this season. We thought that we just needed to Pass Go and collect the three points.

Now we probably need three 'Get out of Jail Free' cards to progress. We gave them more hope the longer it went on and at about the dreaded ten minutes to go mark they scored. A neat goal which both Dawson and Caulker and possibly Lloris were at fault for. But we should have been out of sight by then.Where have I read that phrase before?

Dawson had crowned his captaincy with a near post header from a Huddleston free kick, Bale had a shot well saved, a Huddleston screamer was pushed away by the keeper, Dempsey went close with a free kick but after that I'm struggling for positives in a game which we virtually dominated from the kick off especially in the first half.

When I say dominated I mean had more possession but we very slowly didn't do anything with the ball.. Vertonghen put in a shift but didn't play that well. Even Loris who made a couple of impressive catches, fumbled another couple and was completely in the dark about the intentions of Walker and Dawson on a couple of occasions.

AVB must take some of the blame for the lack of motivation and I would like to have seen Townsend start and perhaps Smith. He couldn't have done worse than Walker who has not impressed in attack or defence very often this season.

Dembele went missing, Sigurdsson was ineffective, Dempsey was almost as peripheral as Defoe who didn't have a shot on goal. Lennon flickered briefly early on and Bale though he made a couple of good runs lost interest again as the game went on.

Just as AVB and Spurs were emerging blinking into the light, up to fifth, unbeaten even now in eight games, this performance casts a shadow over the season which only a clear win at home to Aston Villa on Sunday will dispel.

The players looked tired before they even started so what condition they will be in for Sunday is anybody's guess. With any luck Adebayor will make an appearance and demonstrate how to keep the ball, a skill we sorely lack at the moment.Dawson supposedly on his best behaviour forgot himself and launched three or four aimless screamers early on.

Now I'm not one to make a mountain out of a mole-hill, well not a big mountain anyway but it's not as if this is a one off. We have played well only in short patches in games this season. A good half against Newcastle, a brilliant half against Man Utd but not a consistent whole match performance. And dropping points to late goal is becoming a nasty habit.

This time we kept up the good stuff for about three minutes at a time during the first half. Worrying signs if your not wearing your AVB tinted glasses which I might have inadvertently put on earlier in the week. Now Athens  will not prove to be  the graveyard of our hopes for the season, we are on the up even without key players like Kaboul, Parker, Adebayor and Benny.

But the win against Man.Utd.will be wasted if we don't take the points on Sunday at The Lane. But therein lies another molehill. Playing at home seems to tighten us up and until Thursday we were playing with more freedom away from the boo-boys.

I'm sure it will all be OK, won't it|? I'm just a natural born worrier.

Jimmy's Video Spot. ( Sorry about the quality but the best available)
Good near post header from Dawson from a Huddleston free kick.
Nicely weighted pass for their goal but Caulker thinks about cutting it out; Dawson thinks about bringing him down and Lloris thinks about coming a bit further out. 


10 comments:

IKnowAlanGilzean said...

To be fair Defoe had two shots on goal, one was handballed aaway by a defender in the first couple of mins and one was blazed over the bar after taking Dempsey's through ball well. He also set up Hudd for his sweet half voley. But yeah he and the others were lacklustre on the night.

Mind, we almost could have sleepwalked the win, only a superb pass and good finish undid us, not that we deserved much more for our lethargy.

Why of why can't games last 45 (or 25) mins and we get to choose which 45. Seems the way to go.

After a big win last weekend the pressure is on at home to Villa, now. You're right Jimmy we are struggling at home and so much freeeeeeeeeeeeer away, or were.

I'm tense now.

Anonymous said...

Yikes. Overly negative are we not. Yes, not a good performance but it was not bad either.we do miss modric, and the cutting edge up front, but for me the glass is still half full

JimmyG2 said...

IKnowAlanGilzean.
Yes I should have mentioned the penalty. Later in the game we probably would have got it.
I don't count shots in row Z as 'shots on goal'

First ANON.
At The Musings we don't believe in calling a shovel an implement for soil removal. It was awful and Modric is in Madrid and ain't coming back.
The glass is half empty.

JimmyG2 said...

First Anon.
Mind you half a loaf is better than no bread as they say.

IKnowAlanGilzean said...

I was geting a little desperate in totting up our chaaaaaaaaaaances I admit.

Ed Moloney said...

is that half a booh i hear coming from your tent, jimmy?

JimmyG2 said...

Ed Moloney.
Booing is indiscriminate, childish and ineffective and undermines the whole concept of being a supporter.
On Musings we apply an intelligent, critical laser beam of scrutiny to specific problems and performances in order to better understand how we might improve.
Nor are Greg and I are wandering Nomads living under canvas.

JimmyG2 said...

Make that ' Nor are Greg and I wandering Nomads living under canvas'

Ed Moloney said...

still, sounded like half a booh!

Ed Moloney said...

and i am talking, of course, about metaphorical booh's, or half-booh's, as i am sure you understood, jimmy. no booh's or half-booh's yesterday mind you, although i wish they would put these matters to bed more quickly.

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