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« JD talks Spurs | Main | Sexy beast »

Sexy beast, not so sexy

Newcastle 2 Tottenham 2

It's almost like the footballing Gods read my preview for the game then worked the proceeding ninety or so minutes to play out like a tapestry of mockingness with canned laughter playing at critical moments. In this case both times Newcastle scored. I highlighted (in the preview) that we don't tend to do well up at St James Park. We switch off. It can be calamitous. That wasn't the case on Sunday.

Wasn't so much calamitous. More cataleptic. Yard off the pace for practically the entirety of the first half. The odd moment of progressive movement but mostly on the back foot. In fact no, not on the back foot rather both feet up on the sofa. We didn't get going. Not so much Sexy beast. More sleepy beast.

The intent, well, it can't be constituted as genuine intent if its powder-puff.

The formation, the lacked. Sat thinking we need a goal here. A Newcastle goal. What I got (mockingly bitter-sweet from the Gods) was a penalty for Spurs. Rejoice, yeah? 1-0 at half-time. My head is then full of rhetoric about how 'big teams, they create their own luck, they don't need to play well to win games'.

I then start to think back on the stale first forty-five and wonder why we haven't quite woken up to the concept of perhaps perceiving the game as must-win. But then psychology of this ilk is redundant. You have to be physically losing one nil for the team to wake up. In this case we we're winning one nil by sleeping. Seriously, HELLO? WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?

Before I came to a comforting conclusion, it was 1-1. What now? Pretend like we're losing? Take nothing away from their build up play other than taking it all away. We should have defended far better than that. The word 'casual' popped into my head and I finally had a tag to label that first forty-five with. In that crazy unexplainable fashion that only professional footballers and managers understand we suddenly take shape (pretend like we're losing <-- oh yeah, psychology 101) and poke Newcastle a couple of times in their belly-button, almost flicking out that coloured fluff that lives there. Alas, not quite.

At least the second forty-five had some tempo to it.

What is going on then? Is this Newcastle, a team that's 'okay' nothing special but obviously doing something right and playing well...playing well against us, Spurs...a side that hasn't quite found the pace of the game easy to run alongside too. Or is that harsh? Do we expect too much from our ourselves? Is this simply an off-day? And if an off-day is drawing 2-2 away to an unbeaten that not a good day? Or should the Toon take more credit?

Oh yeah, 2-2. That was the final score. King, we had lost. Walker over-worked. Bale wasn't playing (he wasn't playing right?) and Defoe replaced van der Vaart and promptly scored a belter.


Oh, hindsight, you wonderful thing you, with your frilly knickers and red lipstick. Let's be honest here. We were collectively on a low ebb first half. The intelligent play I expect from Rafa and Ade was all half-arsed and casual (there's that tag again, it's not gone to waste). Perhaps both players were not quite 100%? Although with Rafa I should rephrase; Was Rafa perhaps not 70%?

Possibly being unfair to Newcastle United and their midfield. Might lack obvious quality and depth but they got the job done against us. That's job done enough to stop us from taking it by the scruff of the neck. But then onus on home side. We can't have it all our own way when we play away from the Lane when we expect it.

Also probably unfair on Ade. He looks a class above in terms of movement and possession. I think we might still be two or three games away from actually clicking. We need to cut out the schoolboy thinking when attacking and look for the more measured pass. More often. Happened today a couple of times second half (Parker and Modric). Clickety click soon hopefully.

As for bringing JD on, a player who wanted to prove a point...well that happens all the time. Why didn't he start? Because he wasn't selected. I know, ground-breaking. Would have been lovely to have had Parker and Sandro in the middle also but you just have to deal with it. The formation wasn't great. But nobody would be saying that if Rafa played in Ade and he scored. One match proves nothing. Didn't work on Sunday. Let's just be grateful the substitution did.

What a belter. Then Defoe displayed the more frustrating aspect to his game. Lay the ball off son, lay it off and we'll score again. Selfish strikers, what do they know?

Then another sub breaks our hearts. 2-2, 86 minutes.

Happy with the point when we could have been happy with all the points but then also could have quite easily gone home with nothing more than a souvenir bra from the night out in Newcastle on Saturday.

If this type of performance happens two or three more times, then we can start discussing whether Harry still can't get to grips with having certain players playing in certain positions. I'm sure some of you will point to the right hand side and the fact we have conceded a few via the make-shift flank we have there (get fit Azza).

For now, may as well put this down to a sleepy day at the office and just about getting away with doing as little work as possible without being found out. That cut-throat beastly slap we need to be smacking down on opponents in games is still something we haven't quite worked out. Would have been perfect had we nicked it at 2-1. Had we, this match review would have been a universe apart when in reality, there is very little in comparison. Well, apart from two points.

Onwards. Five games unbeaten. Game in hand. This show IS on the road. Even if we have nine players out injured, and two not fully fit...Shh quiet, hush.

COYS. Love the shirt.


Reader Comments (45)

Until the players are instructed how to close a game out, these type of results will continue to happen. 2 points lost.

Oct 17, 2011 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterTMWNN

Interesting. No, Defoe is a greedy beggar but he can't change those spots. Brown Ale boys played well with confidence they wanted to hold onto their unbeaten record and didn't fear Spurs. Harry is no tactical genius, again the spots. However we seemed as you say uninterested, disengaged and uninterested could it be there are some in our team who don't have a vested interest in our future.... January sales are approaching

Oct 17, 2011 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevTheRev

I sat there dumbfounded at how casual we were throughout the first 70 minutes.
It was almost like Harry forgot to give a teamtalk and they were just looking forward to the possibility of seeing the Toon Tarts in town after the game.

Without a natural RM we look completely open on that side. What's going on with Lennon? At least he tracks back when we don't have the ball.

Last season I'd have happily taken a point at SJP, but this year we needed to get 3.
Will be interesting to see how the other "big" teams get on up there.

Oct 17, 2011 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterWalkerboy

Bale didn't play. Modric didn't play.
I think we did OK with 9 men!!

Oct 17, 2011 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered Commentersinger



additional sad face :(

Oct 17, 2011 at 2:06 PM | Registered Commenterspooky

Keep telling yourselves you're a "big" team whilst the rest of us point and giggle!

Oct 17, 2011 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterUTD111

/\ Random /\

Oct 17, 2011 at 2:15 PM | Registered Commenterspooky

Difficult to watch, that heart in throat feeling that I forgot all about came back with a vengeance. Neutrals were telling me it was a great match, classic prem league match and all that.
I could have really done without the bad stomach though. Our injured must find fitness soon as possible. Defoe does seem to understand offside a wee bit better but as you all have pointed out, he's selfish with that ball. This, at times made mi want to pull mi bleedin' hair out.
Not going to risk jinxing anything by saying we have a relatively easy run ahead of us. At any rate, onward!

Oct 17, 2011 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBimspur

Bale was awful, pretty much not involed and when he was I wished he wasn't!

Livermore is not good enough, just a passenger, as too is Bassong. This just may be the end of the King, we can't keep hoping he can play 20 games a season, we need to move on (also, why does he never looked injured when he is "injured"????)

Another poor performance after the poor showing against Arsenal and awful second half against Wigan, is Harry going to wake up? Or at least wake up the players a little?

P.S. Lennon back asap please with Bale on the left (and only on the left) with Modric in the middle, expecting at least 3 wins from our next 4 games

Oct 17, 2011 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterOssie

Harry must stop using Bale on the right, it's fucking pointless as was shown after 30/40 mins when he swapped back with Modders to the left. Modric was needed in a central role and although I rate Livermore for the future he's a sub for now in my opinion.

Walker was visibly injured when VDV was swapped for Defore and until the goal shortly after I was wondering why the hell Walker was still on the pitch. I guess because we had no back-ups on the bench. Seems ironic that we've gone from having 546735467 right backs to having one. Walker was still hobbling for the rest of the game and may have managed to stop Ameobi had he been fit or if he was replaced with say, Rose.

Tactically we were naive in our lineup I think, but we still scored two so I can't complain too much. I like the look of Newcastle this season, they have some cracking players in Cabaye, Tiote, Ba and Ben Arfa and that Santon will only get better too. It's not a massive surprise they're doing well.

Happy with the point even if we could have got three. It probably would have been three had King stayed on. C'est la vie.

Oct 17, 2011 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterCanada Yid

Have to be content with the result even though we had opportunities to have won comfortably. I agree, it may not have been a great performance but imo the team played ok. The selfishness of our strikers is what pee'd me off the most yesterday. However, a well fought for point so musn't grumble. Rubin Kazan on Thursday and Blackburn at the weekend, let's see what happens then I suppose.

Oct 17, 2011 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered Commenteraspurusual

VDV and Bale need to be benched. Parker is definitely not an upgrade on Palacios. So far, I am more impressed with the style of play in the Europa league, compared to the dross dished up in our premier league performances.

Oct 17, 2011 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterHigh on THfC

A draw at Newcastle is fine. No need to over-dissect every match. What is crucial--and where we've dropped points in the past--are matches like the ones coming up. It's a must to get as many points as possible from the likes of Blackburn, QPR, Bolton, Fulham, etc. Those will, looking back on the course of all 38 matches, be the ones that truly determine the season.

Oct 17, 2011 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

I don't mind not winning. If we'd won, we'd be 4th....and probably crumble under the pressure of trying to stay there. know it's true!

Oct 17, 2011 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohnnyB

Reading this and some of the comments reminds me of a certain delusional ToonArmy of yester-year. Thought they were nailed-on top 4 material and when we lost or drew against 'lesser' clubs it was just a blip that our natural superiority would ensure would see us through to our rightful permanent top four spot. ...Yeah us and the other 'big' clubs would just roll over the minnows of the premier league and continue our CL adventures unassailable in our lofty membership of the European elite!.....Then we got relegated and reality hit like a steam-train. You are not rightfully a top 4 club certain North London neighbours are also finding this out at the moment! Some clubs buy their top 4 status for the rest of us it has to be earned!

Oct 17, 2011 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered Commentergeordieboy

We can try and analysing why we drew this game but the simple truth was i told you on Saturday on this very site. Newcastle are one of the fittest clubs in the premiership we played the extra man too combat this and played into there energized feet. The man of the match was Tiote who at times played at the back in the middle and upfront all at once my wife and Daughter thought he was one of a triplets. The slimmer faster Oberton looked ready for the 2012 Olympics chasing Bale Taylor was so hyped up he admitted it was a penaltys in a vacant look with an even more vacant Tiote in the after match interview. Homer Simpson was so full of adrenalin he passed to the refs assistant even the once laboured Ameobi looked like a new version of the old Ameobi very muscular, So my rant is this Newcastle cost a lot less than our squad on paper one of our players would pay for there entire team so how do they run 7 klm more than we do and does this mean Modric is right and our training is substandard or is Newcastle's not real . The reason i say this is because the latest scandal too hit Football was five Mexicans who failed drug tests later blamed on contaminated meat by sepps Fifa this just like his corruption scandal has opened a can of worms because anyone caught will blame it on the food chain. So until Football stops policing themselves we will have too except Newcastle and Norwich are the fittest teams in the premiership and Harry needs some Mexican meat to up our Tempo or we will all have no fucking heart beat left.

Oct 17, 2011 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterdavspurs

We need to get a real defender. Without KIng or someone of his class, we will NEVER make the top four.
Is Corluka injured? Whenever you have to play an AM on the wing, you should have a good experienced full back behind him. Kyle Walker is a good young RB, but we will not achieve anything playing him behind VDV or Modric. We shd be playing a Corluka behind such AMs. When Lennon gets back (a proper winger with good attacking and defensive qualities, then we can play Walker. I believe Corluka and Kranjcar are injured, in that case we should have started with this back line:
Kaboul Bassong King BAE

Anyway, we played well for a good while and only lost because Ameobi was just incredible in his cameo, I dont think he did one thing wrong and his goal gave them a cocaine high. Don't be selfish next time, Defoe, you already had one - share the wealth, small man!

Oct 17, 2011 at 5:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterNochman

I think that was why Harry started with BALE on the right (to work with Walker), with Modric on the left - but that was limiting Bales attacking powers, so he switched them back. We should have stuck with it.

Oct 17, 2011 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterNochman

Geordieboy - who said we deserve anything? We are aiming to be top four again. Sorry for being ambitious there lad. But come on now, we have quality in our squad. Perhaps a more tactically astute manager would drill home these type of tricky away games and turn them into three points that make the world of difference.

Perhaps your unbeaten run has gone to your head. Delusions hey?

Oct 17, 2011 at 5:20 PM | Registered Commenterspooky

This season United drew at Stoke, City drew at Fulham, and Sunderland lost at Arsenal.
Spurs also will drop points this season and in games we think we should not too. Providing we get back to winning ways letting a lead slip at Newcastle is not going to define our season. It is whether we can win 3 or 4 games out of every 5 or 6 games over the whole season that will do that. Sorry for the traveling faithful though that we couldn't win with them stuck up in the gods trying to see the pitch. To change the subject a little someone tell me we are going to sell Pav on January 3rd and bring in a cover lone striker with the proceeds on January 4th please.

Oct 17, 2011 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered Commentercoys

For the record - I quite like the Toon this year.

Oct 17, 2011 at 5:46 PM | Registered Commenterspooky

not at all spooky....quite the opposite really. We we're brought down to earth with a massive crash when we were deluded geordies remember? But it was quite cathartic and I believe most of us have learned a thing or two as a result. We are ambitious as are you chaps at spuds , but we've had so many knock-backs that I don't think we will believe anything until we've got our hot little paws on the handles of a trophy!

Oct 17, 2011 at 6:10 PM | Unregistered Commentergeordieboy

Yup current form says we should panic at drawing at an unbeaten team so far ... 13 out of the last 15 available.... Ship ahoy !!!!! Come on !!!!

Oct 17, 2011 at 6:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterHighgatespur

Why is everyone so surprised when the predictable and obvious happens.
It was always going to be a draw and we are happy with that surely.
We played poorly and nearly won.
Mark of a good team what!
ThoughtTiote was hot.
Hot Totty, no?

Oct 17, 2011 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmyG2

"Harry is no tactical genius"

@Canada Yid
"Tactically we were naive in our lineup, i think"

Forgive me but could you explain the reason for your comment and be specific? I want to know how and what you think our setup should have been.

The "our TACTICS were not on" comments should always come with good reasoning and solutions. Otherwise it's just criticizing for the sake of criticism. Furthermore, if you believe you have the right idea of what the team should be, please share that tactical knowledge with your fellow fans.

Oct 17, 2011 at 6:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterNochman

Taking nothing away from the Toons, if we showed half the passion they had, we would of held onto our lead.
What gets me time and time again is Harry's tactics, or rather foolish tactics. My anger is why not keep it simple, and keep a winning formula, and if you have to make changes, then change like for like, or players like Rose who can play on either wing, and Modders should stay in the middle as he dictates the game from there .
I suppose in the end I was happy with the draw as we were lucky not to concede from the onslaught and the collucini miss.

Oct 17, 2011 at 6:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterkoko61

Geordie - general mood up there with the Pardew appointment and the Cockney Mafia? Considering all I heard pre-season was you had no forward line, you've done more than alright thus far. Jan window targets?

Oct 17, 2011 at 6:55 PM | Registered Commenterspooky

So, the legal action dropped - best news yet ? North London is ours ...

Oct 17, 2011 at 7:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterHighgatespur

I think Mr Redknapp threw two points away. When is he ever going to learn that a) a left-footer on the right wing, who won't use his right foot, just doesn't work, and b) it's better to play fit players.

Our play was ponderous in the first half because we had no pace in attack:
i) Ade did not sprint once (hamstring)
ii) Bale cannot use his pace on the right wing
iii) VdV is slower than Defoe.

We did not make the subs we needed:
i)Bale was injured while on the right. Apart from two decent runs in the second half, he did not try to get into the box and made no tackles. If fit, he could have latched onto some right-wing crosses which passed everybody, but made no effort to.

ii) Walker was struggling for much of the second half.
iii) VdV was completely ineffective

We had Rose on the bench, who could have subbed for Bale or Walker.
We could even have put Townsend on for Bale.

We were overrun because three of our players were struggling in the second half. Three out of 11 is far too many.

Oct 17, 2011 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterLawrie

Am I the only Spurs fan out there that thought we actually did ok? It was always going to tough - they're fit and extremely well organised and were always going to press and get in our faces. We coped well and without that touch of naivety that saw us pressing for a third, we would have closed the game out and snuck out of the bear pit with a classic away win. Thought Livermore was impressive - he's getting better every game.

Onwards and upwards!

Oct 17, 2011 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterthecolonel

@Nochman...I agree with your comments about tactics.

A good example often stated is that we have to have a right-sided MF to protect the RB and that implies that if we play 2 holding MF's then there have to be 2 wingers among the front 4.

If you look at City who always play with 2 holding MF's, they do not have dedicated wide men. Silva normally is notionally on the RW but he turns-up everywhere. The same can be said for the others in the front 4. They rend to go where they can overload the opposition defence or chase back to help their own defence by crowding the player with the ball. They also seem to be much fitter than our lads and play at a high tempo for stretches of the game, focusing on ball retention and movement off the ball.

Yesterday, Arsenal and Wigan 2nd half our CM's hardly ever got forward to support the attack, and when they did yesterday we scored 2 goals. Other than those 2 moments and the first 10 minutes we looked completely disjointed to me and let the opposition dictate the game.

Personally, I do not think our players are conditioned and fit enough to compete with the top clubs, or even Newcastle on yesterday's evidence. True some had had International matches but the high incidence of injuries that we suffer also seems to point to problems behind the scenes.

Coupled to this, does the team understand the they have any tactics? For me it was difficult to discerne any yesterday, or in the previous 2 games but when Bale performs like he did and VDV puts up his shield of invisibility and amazing open goal misses (great penalty fair enough) is it any wonder?

Oct 17, 2011 at 9:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveK

SPOOKY:....general mood is positive and upbeat, but expecting the sky to fall at any minute! The bedsheet brigade are licking their wounds waiting for the wheels to come off for Ashley, but have 'warmed' to Pardew. Targets for January is a couple of new defenders CH & RB or LB as Santon [ seems to be comfortable on either flank.A striker would be nice but I personally think we have enough to see us through to next year given that January windows tend to see you paying over the odds for panic buys, and we've got a good few youngsters showing promise. All in all we're fairly happy, although we've got the 2 manchester clubs plus the russkies to play one after the other in Nov so could see a confidence crisis if Pard's isn't able to nurse them through the inevitable/probable hammerings!

Oct 18, 2011 at 12:12 AM | Unregistered Commentergeordieboy

@Nochman I'm not sure what you want me to say that I haven't already mate. Tactically, we are weaker with Bale on the right flank, he hasn't done one thing on the right side of midfield (after several chances) to prove that he is worth playing there. Tactically, we are weaker with Modric on the wing as he crafts and dictates better in the middle and tends to drift inside and leave the wing open. Tactically, Walker should have come off when he got clattered, he was hobbling, slowed down and could have made the interception that led to Ameobi's goal otherwise.

It was a tough call for Harry, the starting lineup I mean, injuries had forced his hand into that formation I guess, however, I would have started the following from what we had available...

Walker Kaboul King BAE
VDV Parker Modric Bale
Defoe Adebayor

Perhaps I would substitue VDV for someone else there on the right wing, GDS, Rose or even Falque maybe. It's a tough one while Azza is out. Tiote closed us down well, the game was crying out for Sandro on our side and we were noticeably worse when King went off.

Defoe for VDV was not the right sub to make at that time, but then he scored and put those thoughts to bed. I can't help feeling that had the Walker got swapped and the back four were changed that we may have held on to our lead.

Is that tactical enough for you? If not well, I guess you'd better ask Harry.

Oct 18, 2011 at 3:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterCanada Yid

"I can't help feeling that had the Walker got swapped and the back four were changed that we may have held on to our lead."
Interesting thought and I can't argue in theory but who exactly would you have brought in to change the back four? it's not like we have a lot of options back there right now.

Oct 18, 2011 at 5:53 AM | Unregistered Commenternycyid

Pav was an absolute beast out there.

Oct 18, 2011 at 6:46 AM | Unregistered Commenterbig sky spur

"we've got the 2 manchester clubs plus the russkies to play one after the other in Nov"

Do us a favour please. Three favours :)

Oct 18, 2011 at 11:44 AM | Registered Commenterspooky

Goes without saying that we are leading the injury table again. Why do we have so many injuries? Do we need to sack our physio(s)?

Oct 18, 2011 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered Commenternycyid

@ High on THfC "Parker is definitely not an upgrade on Palacios"
WTF !? I think you're high on something else !

Before the match I would've taken a point but I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed after being a goal up twice. Anyway, still unbeaten in 5, onwards & upwards .... COYS

Oct 18, 2011 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterSussex Spur

@nycyid it's tough because there were no natural successors on the bench.

Maybe bring on Rose? Or maybe push Livermore back, Kaboul out to the right and bring on GDS?

It would have been a makeshift move whatever it was but persisting with an injured player isn't the greatest idea, surely?

Oct 18, 2011 at 4:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterCanada Yid

@ Canada Yid
that was perfect, thanks

I guess I would have gone with:
Kaboul Bassong King BAE
Walker Parker Modric Bale
VDV Adebayor

Against any good teams: No attacking midfielders in front of Walker, he hasn't worked out the timing of effective cover & press defence yet. It comes with time (see Arsenal goal). GDS on if Walker sucks at RM.
I agree that Bale sucks attacking from the right. But I believe Harry put him there mainly for defensive concerns and I think it was understandable. A big part of the game is matchups, just look at Jonas, he is a perhaps the hardest working winger in the leagues, endless stamina with tricks and good crosses. Bale on that wing probably would have handled him. Otherwise, Walker + KAboul to lock down that right side.

Oct 18, 2011 at 9:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterNochman

@ Canada Yid
that was perfect, thanks

I guess I would have gone with:
Kaboul Bassong King BAE
Walker Parker Modric Bale
VDV Adebayor

Against any good teams: No attacking midfielders in front of Walker, he hasn't worked out the timing of effective cover & press defence yet. It comes with time (see Arsenal goal). GDS on if Walker sucks at RM.
I agree that Bale sucks attacking from the right. But I believe Harry put him there mainly for defensive concerns and I think it was understandable. A big part of the game is matchups, just look at Jonas, he is a perhaps the hardest working winger in the leagues, endless stamina with tricks and good crosses. Bale on that wing probably would have handled him. Otherwise, Walker + KAboul to lock down that right side.

Oct 18, 2011 at 9:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterNochman

why not give Dos Santos a go at right wing - especially with Lennon out and VDV seems to tire after 60 mins?

Oct 19, 2011 at 1:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan

Hi All,

I have a problem with Defoe. I just don't see him as a top class striker and I think the game on Sunday showed us that he is a one trick pony. Head down, kick the ball hard from 30 yards, great goal but unfortuntely Defoe is thicker than the ice berg that sank the titanic. He should of squared the ball in the dying moments as there was an open goal. Why isn't anyone saying anything about this? He is a squad player at best and perosnally I wouldn't have the numty at the club! He can't score pens because itvolves thinking, he can't score one on one's because it involves thinking, he has never learn't the off side rule and capello and sven realised and realise what an average thick striker he is! He cost us 2 points...if he squared the ball and we didnt score fair enough but again he proved himself a selfish useless average player. Get rid of him!

Oct 19, 2011 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris

That team pretty much picked itself with the injuries we had. Even Sandro's return would have left us with the same dilema. The only decision to make was VDV or Defoe.

Were we fell down was the unbalanced nature of the team and the presence of Livermore.

Without Lennon or even Kranjcar we had nothing in front of Walker once again. 2 goals came from the right, as did the one vs Arsenal. Whether it is VDV or Modric, Walker is left exposed in a way that never happens with Lennon.

Contributing to this was Livermore IMO. I thought the idea of 2 CM/DMs was to give the others freedom and not saddle them with too many defensive duties. However, Livermore was often the most advanced of our midfield and I did not witness enough gut-busting by him to get back and cover (NUFC first goal an example). If we were going to have a CM/DM who had licence to get forward we might as well have started with Modric centrally, in his best position, and started someone else out of position on the right (Not VDV as that simply does not work).

Ultimately i think injuries dictated the selection and tactics. Whether or not Livermore was given that licenece to attack by Harry is not known. If he was then tactically it was an error, if not then the lad needs to learn more discipline. Sandro likes to press the ball further up the pitch but he reaaly understands his defensive responsibilities and get back in position quickly...I am sure he would not have let Ba wonder into the box from deep un marked, Livermore did not recognise the danger quickly enough...he still has a lot to learn, but clearly has the skills to get better.

Overall, a draw at NUFC is not the worst result

Oct 19, 2011 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterdevonshirespur

You did seem a little sleepy and casual, though to be fair we made it seem that way by a tigerish midfield performance. Tiote was outstanding in the first half, and it was only in the second period when he started to run out of steam and got his usual booking that Modric was able to come alive.

'Arry's tactics bemused me, I must say. Why on earth was Bale playing on the right? Particularly bizarre given that he was up against Ryan Taylor, a right-footed makeshift right back who's happy with opponents coming inside but looks ragged and terrified if anyone tries to take him on down the outside. A fit Aaron Lennon would have crucified him.

Personally I feel we shaded it but a draw was probably a fair result. Defoe's goal came out of nothing but we were a bit lucky to get away with that Taylor block and Krul save once it was 2-2, just as you were to survive the late onslaught.

Our report here.

Oct 19, 2011 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen

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