The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Problems remain for AVB despite Holtby boost.

The Harder they come, the harder they fall.
 One and all.
The JimmyG2 column

 Ah! The magic of the FA cup. A chance for the little guys to step up, earn some cash and glory and strut their stuff on the bigger stage. And how some of them took their chances with Norwich, QPR, Liverpool and Spurs all falling to non Premiership rivals and Chelsea in need of a replay.

 But we can't be distracted from problems closer to home by spending our season laughing at Liverpool.

Spurs were dreadful and played like the passengers on a luxury liner struck down by one of those mystery viral illnesses. It only last week we dined in style at the Captain's table. There was no hint of the iceberg on the horizon that was to spoil our expected unruffled progress into the next round.

It could all have been part of AVB's cunning, positively Redknappesque plan, to force Daniel Levy into buying us a new striker or two and another creative midfielder. With five days to go and counting down this was a pretty desperate throw of the dice Andre but who knows it might just work.

But on today's showing we certainly need something. Defoe who has only scored one in seven anyway was given more time to recover from an injury which is rumoured to be worse than originally announced. The not so young Obika  now 22 who has been around the club for several years eventually came on to demonstrate the extant of our currently limited resources.

With Adebayor away for at least a month then the need for a striker becomes ever more desperate. A £15 million 'swoop' for Negredo from Sevilla is the latest speculation.  He has a better than a 1/2 scoring record at Club and International level recently but may take time to settle.

 But time is the one thing we don't have at this stage of the season. Defoe may recover, Adebayor may return quickly, Negredo may arrive and settle down faster than I fear. At the moment the problems are mounting but when do we admit to a crisis that only money can solve.

Dempsey, despite scoring a glancing header after a rare cameo of magic from Bale, showed that he is not a natural holding centre forward. Obika had a chance of glory to level things late on, put through a fine chip by Benny, but once again a resolute Leed's defence got there first.

Parker, very much a sub Sandro understudy these days, showed some spirit and willingness but had little creative impact. In fact ex- Spur Michael Brown, now 36, offered Parker a glimpse of his future as a purely destructive force in midfield as he picked up his 9th yellow card.

Huddlestone. a mere shadow of his former self, in football terms anyway, was ineffective. I hope he has a get out clause in his 'no haircut until I score' contract. Neither Lennon nor Sigurdsson created much. Bale bucked himself up in the second half and the arrival of Dembele signalled some sort of revival but it was too little, too late.

Moving Benny into midfield was a measure of our desperation as was the substitution of one Kyle for the other with Townsend patiently awaiting his chance on the bench. Leeds were compact and gritty in defence, had limited ambition but took their chances well. Substitute your own word for 'gritty' if you like.

But it was in the central defence and in goal that our weakness was truly exposed. Caulker our great hope for the future and Vertonghen were sloppy in the extreme. A mix-up between Naughton and Caulker allowed Varney a clear run on goal. And Caulker was too easily turned for the second by McCormack.

Friedel, who should have at least presented Varney with a problem to solve by advancing for the first, barely left his goal-line and was easily beaten. Lloris would have been out quickly to force the issue and they obviously work from different coaching manuals. He made two late saves to keep the score respectable but the damage was already done.

The final ignominy was the desperate and amateurish sight of Friedel going up for a last minute Spurs corner and the ball being rolled into our net from his own half by my MOM Diouf, bad boy turned elder statesman. Fortunately the whistle for full time had already gone.

At least we could have let Leeds have their due and concede defeat with some semblance of dignity. We were poor all over the pitch and need to clear our heads quickly for Norwich on Wednesday. Leeds were certainly United and Tottenham were definitely not.

 Bale for his second half performance and Parker for his effort were not so much our best players as our least worse.

At least I have the consolation of being abroad and do not have to face the over the garden fence de-brief and inquest with  Ken my next door neighbour: a lifetime Leed's supporter.  But I expect he'll be lurking close behind the net curtains on my return.

I'm trying desperately to remember how cockily I crowed when the draw was announced. I seem to have forgotten the actual words but I shouldn't think he has and isn't likely to do so for some years. I might have to move.

Signing a couple of players won't completely solve the problems illustrated by the Leeds cup game. We were lacklustre in performance and second best in attitude on Sunday. Dawson and Livermore might have been better choices for this kind of game which are always disasters waiting to happen.

Fortunately the games come thick and fast from now on and within days we can put this behind us. Cue 'concentrate on the league and the UEFA cup with no petty distractions' chatter. But any loss hurts and for this one we can't blame luck or the ref or anybody but ourselves.

  AVB has some work to do with or without new signings. Levy's love of last minute deals came unstuck in the Summer and could well do so again.

Latest rumour: Signing Now Confirmed
Holtby to Spurs in Jan for 1.5 or 1.75 million pounds or Euros, take your pick. A useful signing but perhaps not fully effective until next season. However it doesn't answer the main question of who's going to convert the chances into goals. But it may help placate AVB for the failure to sign Moutinho.

Jimmy's Video Spots.
 Two for the price of one this week. To compensate for the defeat here is the soundtrack from the brilliant Jimmy Cliff film 'The harder they fall'. A lesson there for all the Premiership teams that came a cropper at the weekend. But the goals and our failings need to be faced. Sorry.

Goals first:

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