The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

First game as important as the last.


More stable than we've been for years.
But it will be even better when we get the new stadium.


The JimmyG2 Column
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 So, as everyone and his best four legged friend predicted, it's going down to the wire. Whether we can climb over it, or scramble under it, or cut our way through it remains to be seen but we're still on course. Arsenal now have two opportunities to cock it up and we have only one. Clearly advantage to Spurs.

It was the usual Tottenham stuff: late winner; gritty performance; stupid foul and a goal down in under five minutes from a set piece; Adebayor and Dempsey were our best players. No, wait! Adebayor and Dempsey? Wake me up someone I must be dreaming. Best stay asleep Jimmy it's a lot less stressful.

We are unbeaten in seven and defeated only twice in the last 14 games. The last five games have been won or drawn with late goals. And I mean late. Adebayor in the 83rd minute against Stoke to win; Siggy in the 80th minute for the draw at Chelsea; Bale in the 86th minute for the win against Southampton.

Then there was the 90th minute own goal for the draw against Wigan; three goals in 7minutes starting in the 75th minute for the win against City.; Siggy's 87 minute equaliser at home to Everton.. We have won or salvaged games more often this season than we have conceded them late on.

This is a change in attitude from previous seasons and I attribute this to a growing belief in each other and confidence in the manager and by the manager. Belief, confidence and momentum. Add in the magic ingredient Bale and you have a recipe for continuing success.

Even the fans have finally picked up on this. The away support on Sunday was tremendous. I could almost taste it and I'm 1000 miles away at the moment. Since the start of the year we are unbeaten by any of the current top six and have beaten Arsenal and Man. City. In the last 20 games we have averaged 2 points per game.

This was a performance shaped in the deeper recesses of the tactical mind of AVB where only the brave are inclined to wander. It was calm, measured, methodical and controlled. The fans may have been panicking but the players certainly weren't. We played as if we had read the final script in advance.

Even when Adams was sent off we made sure that we controlled the game and didn't over commit or force the pace. Adams was arguably harshly booked for the first but it makes up for all the times he should have been and wasn't. He has a nasty streak that he doesn't bother to hide.

The steadiness of Vertonghen was preferred to the more exotic talents of Ekotto and the unfocused enthusiam of Holby was not required for this one. Everyone except Defoe contributed as the clock ran down and we plotted our way through the eighteen man defensive wall.
 
It succeeded in blocking out Bale for much of the time but with Vertonghen, Walker and occasionally Lennon giving us width we had alternatives. Dempsey contrived an instinctive finish after confusion in the Stoke defence following a penetrating through ball by Parker and an assist for Adebayor's late goal.

Away from home we had 54% possession; 23 shots to their 6; 15 on target to their 3; we had 11 corners to their 2 . The only thing they beat us on was fouls. They had four booked and one sent off. Stats don't always tell the full story but these give a good indication of the shape of the game.

Fans will point to poor performances against Fulham and Wigan and the late goals conceded against Everton and City as the reason for our failure to qualify for CL. if that indeed is how it turns out. But just as crucial were the late goals conceded in the first three games of the season. The first game is no less crucial than the last.

You could argue that this was a good time to play us before we had settled. Newcastle won the opening game with a late Ben Arfa penalty; West Brom got a last minute equaliser in the second game and Norwich got an 85th minute equaliser in the third game.

If you're looking for lost points that's 7 right there. But even apart from the last 5 games we have scored at least 3 other late goals to take points: Dempsey at Old Trafford and Bale against Norwich and at W.Ham.

So it all adds up to a successful and encouraging season whatever happens next weekend. We are a more dogged and a more organised outfit and though the football isn't quite as exciting or cavalier this is a firm basis on which to build. We are more stable than we have been for years.

City, Chelsea and United will all have new managers next season and may find that as unsettling as we have in the past. We should beat Sunderland especially as their best player is back at Spurs for surgery on his wrist.

I think Pardew's tactless remarks about not caring if they lost 4-0 to Arsenal, since retracted, were more a sign of relief at securing Premiership status than a serious indication of a game plan..

But I will be at the head of a very long column of Spurs supporters wending its way to the Houses of Parliament from every corner of the known Universe if Newcastle do not show up properly for their last game of the season.

Match in brief.
Lloris should have saved their goal; Dempsey's early foul was very silly; Lennon came good just in time to be subbed; Ade worked hard again and scored; Dempsey atoned for his foul; Caulker was quietly almost unoticeably efficient; Bale was given little space but like Dawson never gave up.

Parker was better than of late releasing the ball more quickly, but Dembele was still an upgrade; Walker was decent again; Huddlestone was at the centre of everything, presumably by design. His passing was good and his dead ball kicking not. I like to see  Spurs play at a higher pace but AVB clearly knows best.

Back in the driving seat?
Can Wigan do us a favour and put us back in control? I'm not holding my breath but stranger things have happened. Waiting for kick off as we speak. It would be still all down to the last game whatever happens.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Let's hear it for AVB the architect of much that has happened at Spurs this season. Resisted all the pressure on several fronts to recover from a distinctly moderate start to the verge of CL. qualification.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did you enjoy that, Spuddy? It'll feel even worse when we crush Newcastle, and with it dumb spurs fans dreams.

Anonymous said...

Oh well, we have to depend on a team in stripes for a consecutive year running as well as a back-up goalie......
Sweetsman

JimmyG2 said...

First Anon.
Yes I did thank you. It was a good game and there were a couple of moments after half time when it could have gone either way.
I would take only Cazorla from your team, he makes the rest look very ordinary. Fat Lady and all that.

Sweetsman.
Lightening striking twice, surely not.

IKnowAlanGilzean said...

Nice to see the word wending in use.

Not as exciting, but tough as teak the new Spurs.

I'd like us to beat Sunderland and get to 72 points. Whatever else happens, happens. COYS

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