Posted by: Martin Douglas Hendry | February 28, 2010

Harry Doesn’t Want Us To Win?!

time to defend a lead for 40 minutes. triffic or tragic?

Sorry I’ve been away for so long, my life is becoming very busy in the end season, (Typical eh?) Here’s a piece I’ve written for Tottenham Blog though! Will be looking to post more soon.

In relation to the sensationalist title, of course he does. But sometimes you can’t help but feel that he might be going the wrong way about it. Read below!

Tottenham 2 Everton 1 – A Win That Could Have Been So Much More?

‘A game of two halves!’; It’s a little bit of a cliché.

But that’s exactly what it was, much to my dismay and that of many Spurs fans. The first half was something special, completely in control of the game and a symphony being composed before our very eyes by our Croatian triad along with Huddlestone and Bale. In the first twenty minutes of the game we found ourselves in complete control with 70% of the possession, and moreover it was both creative and dangerous.

Gareth Bale on the left hand side has blossomed into a fully fledged assist machine, who on the break, more or less offers an extra man in the final third and often due to his pace, one less defender.  It’s safe to say that we won’t be seeing Benoit for a while. Bale himself, (much like the highly revered Lennon), offers a direct running ingredient that complements our fluid play up top by offering a variety in the tempo that we can operate going forwards. Without him or Lennon we can find ourselves bogged down a bit, looking for that pass when we’re unable to beat the man.

The pressure exerted by all this world class football was surely going to tell, and it was 10 minutes in that a characteristically sightful ball to Defoe from Huddlestone, resulted in a shot/cross that found the ever charismatic Pavlyuchenko waiting to slide the ball past Howard. A goal that was certainly deserved, and it didn’t stop there.

We continued to maintain control of the game for the whole of the first half to the extent where the second goal, (a majestic collaboration between Corluka, Kranjcar and Modric), didn’t seem out of place what so ever in our play. I think the finish itself would go someway into clarifying Modric’s shooting style, whilst he rarely powers the ball, after today it can certainly be said that he has an eye for placement; surely has to be a shout for goal of the month!

A couple more chances in the quarter of an hour following would have flared up some rarely seen bloodlust in the Spurs fan waiting for a couple more goals heading into the second half, to seal what would be a great week.

The second half was somewhat of a different story and it all seemed to go downhill upon the introduction of Kaboul for Huddlestone who took a worrying knock after one of his trademark drives on goal. At this point, we were still two goals up, and as such had a choice between the addition of Gudjohnsen as an attacking midfield element and Kaboul in a more defensive approach. The decision was made to ‘lock up’ the midfield with the introduction of Kaboul, who whilst sharing the same physical presence as Huddlestone, his natural intelligence on the football pitch is a shade of the young Englishman’s.

As such he found himself unable to really find the same positions as Huddlestone, let alone fire balls around the pitch as Tom would do. A much better proposition would have been to bring Corluka into the midfield to take Huddlestone’s place and place Kaboul at right back, as surely that would have been a more consistent decision. Sniping apart, at this point we found ourselves on the back foot, as cracks started to appear in a Palacios’ link up play, and the strength of the midfield in holding back the likes of Pienaar and the newly introduced Donovan.

Ironically, Kaboul’s introduction may have unsettled the team so much that they lost concentration enough to concede a goal immediately, as a scramble in the box, along with a deadly error from Gomes, (one of many ‘clangers’ today), resulted in a goal smuggled over the line by Yakubu.

It’s safe to say that the telepathy between Kaboul and Palacios hasn’t quite been established yet either as many passes were waywardly intercepted from the midfield pair, faltering our build up play and leaving our strikers isolated. Bale however still found himself racing forwards offering a few morsels for the home fans to enjoy.

Special mention goes to the ever-reliable Michael Dawson, who completely outshined Bassong today, who was average. We managed to take the game, but only just after an extended 6 minutes of stoppage time and it’s safe to say that games that end in ‘squeeky bum time’, are not exactly a fan’s favourite.

What irks me personally is that single decision to opt to defend for forty minutes, a two goal lead against a team that had taken that from us in the away leg earlier in the season. It must be hard to develop a winning mentality when you find yourself with 10 men behind the ball on tenterhooks for half the game. It’s enough to force players to sue the management for mental damages!

The only time you see the ‘Top Four™*’, take this style of play, is generally in the last few minutes of a game, and it’s hard thing to take as a fan, seeing your team turn from Barcelona to Stoke with a single substitution. The addition of Gudjohnsen for Defoe did go so far in replenishing my faith in Harry’s will to keep hold of the ball.

But then the Crouch man cometh.

We’ll take a win against Everton any day of the week, don’t get me wrong. But Harry I feel should have some food for thought, in the difference between winning games charismatically or inviting European quality teams upon you for extended lengths of time. I’m just saying.

Fulham next in the Cup, and Pavlyuchenko to solidify his place up top with a few more in the onion bag, here’s hoping that Huddlestone’s injury is only a twinge.

*Top Four is a trademark of BSKYB



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