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« Observations | Main | Want it »


Spurs 1 Chelsea 1

I’m disappointed. Mainly because I know we are potentially better than Chelsea, at this moment in time. But potentially means very little in real terms especially if the application falls short when it matters.

Okay so we’ve got players missing and we have to adjust our shape and selection accordingly. We’ve been here before. If anything it simply illustrates the necessity to strengthen the side in January. Start of the month rather in the final hour before the window closes. Unless we reschedule all our home fixtures into that hour, we could well see an opportunity wasted to consolidate our position in the top four three. Business has to be concluded early so that we can work through early 2012 without too many dropped points. Otherwise its plan b - digging deep and attempting to wing it (literally).

But the window opening is altogether a different headache and I have to stop referencing it when its not yet relevant.

So when I say potentially I’m referring to how we’ve played this season with out and out wingers swapping sides. But we only had the one and can only speculate and theorise. We struggled, they held the initiaive for most of the game. But still, there is something endearing about an opposition that has so often taunted us on the pitch and in the stands, to come away from White Hart Lane feeling proud of their performance. They looked content, more than content because they thought they could have won the game. As the away side, they had us on the ropes once or twice in the second half. They contained us.

Disappointed I might be, but there was a moral victory in there once more for Spurs. Because we competed. Because we’re competing. Even if it looks like a Manchester title, we're contenders by virtue of being 3rd at Christmas.

It’s all very nice but we need to carve out that opportunity to still somehow win this type of game (even with the standard of performance) and remove ourselves ever so slightly from the subtle patronising of being this plucky new kid on the block trying to impress the older ones.

We should have really dicked Chelsea. We didn’t. We didn’t because, well, I’m uncertain why exactly. In terms of tempo and belief, we did little wrong in the opening twenty minutes. The first genuine rampage forward from Gareth Bale led to a cross and a goal, Adebayor beating Terry to the ball and then beating an uncertain Cech. The goal we conceded was a catalyst. Before that happened, we looked up for it. Focused and with fortitude. Handball aside (in the build up to the equaliser) both BAE and King need to be accountable for failing to pick up Sturridge. Is that a hole in your pocket Ledley? Benny was setting precedence for the rest of the game, out of position, slack and slow. He would add poor distribution to his forgettable evening.

Before it was 1-1, it did look very promising. The movement. The strength and industry of Sandro and Parker. Still, gradually, signs of an ominous type made fleeting appearances. A reminder that this was still Chelsea. A quality opposition with vastly experienced players. Before we gifted them the goal, they did their part to elevate tension just a notch. After the 1-1 we got a tactical schooling. Not quite a spanking, but you have to admit their presence in midfield nullified any creative spark from men in white.

van der Vaart was out there. Somewhere. I’m sure of it. Chelsea patiently retained possession and any attempt to reclaim some of that zesty Spurs football was, was out of our reach. Still, they weren’t dominant. Stats might paint a picture of assault, but most of their chances at goal were missed punches rather than body blows. We were still in it. Felt like the game was untidy. They were not imperious like the previous Chelsea sides we’ve faced. Effective, not so wasteful in possession and a threat from set-pieces. We looked loop-side and lacked cultured intent and at times far too eager.

The lack of confidence, not because of weak mental strength but more to do with the fact that we are so finely tuned to play a certain style that perhaps the reality is that against the very best teams in the Prem, we can't get always get away with some of our adaptive make-overs.

At half-time I knew this game would finish 2-1. To someone. I was wrong, but the way the second half played was most definitely a game where they could have won it and we could have nicked it.

Rafa didn’t appear for the second half. Injury. Which might explain (excuse) his ghost appearance in the first forty five. Harry changed things. He’s got it right recently when he’s had to make tactical swaps. This time, it didn’t quite work. 442 works although I prefer 4411. You just can’t play the latter if Rafa is off the pitch and if you’re replacing him with a certain Russian forward you’ve got more chance of finding a unicorns ball sack in heap of rocking horse ****. Roman does not do much on the field of play so there is zero chance of him working with effect in the space between midfield and attack. Neither forward dropped deep. There was no significant link up play to aid that much needed fluidity.

Still, we battled on. It remained dis-jointed. Luka drifting in from the right. Parker was less influential as per usual. Has his performance level dropped recently? Probably. Expected considering the run in the team he’s had and the results we’ve produced in that time. Sandro at least has given us hefty reassurance that if needed, we can rest Scott. The Brazilian was on fine form. Rough round the edges, but the type of rough you find acceptable. Like beard growth that itches every now and again in discomfort but you keep it because it makes you look good. You know soon enough it will grow nice and thick giving you full facial protection. Whatever we do, let’s please not shave it off.

Chelsea continued with their attempted body blows which at this point would have been knock-out punches. They had the opportunities, Tottenham’s chin presenting itself on more than one occasion. King at the back didn’t (on this evening) equate to the best defending as a unit. Although Ledley did make up for his earlier lapse with smart interceptions and tackles.

With the Christmas fixtures ahead of us and Rafa now joining Lennon on the sidelines, we could make matters worse if Luka retains his drifting in from the flank position. Having been second best for periods of the second half (well, most of it) we could have won the game with some golden moments as we edged towards the final whistle. Three great chances. Wasn’t to be. Chelsea I’m sure will think the same with their efforts. Gallas should have. Sandro was deserving. Adebayor might have lifted the ball higher at pace towards goal (easy for me to say it sitting here typing it).

We didn’t play too well. Shadow of the side we have been this season. But let’s not get too carried away with the negatives. Our opponents were hardly going to roll over for us. So the disappointment of failing to perform to the standard we could have might get bogged down with ‘tiredness’ and ‘injuries’ and ‘lack of genuine key play positional depth’. But as I've citied, its a good (strange) feeling to feel p*ssed off about drawing at home to Chelsea. But that doesn't excuse it, at least that's how the players mindset should be.

As long as the players believe this was a missed opportunity then that’s a good thing. I don’t buy into any of the rhetoric that the likes of Chelsea and others have come through their difficult period. They might have, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve on ours. We’ve failed to win two on the trot. Crisis time. The making of any team is one that grafts their way through a period where obstacles are aplenty. Our ones are self-contained and require us to find that next level. We've not been in such a position before, so there's that to consider too.

How much as the Tottenham supporting psyche changed to feel disappointed? Still, it's just one game. It’s done, we need to move on. Let them celebrate the point whilst we look to make amends for dropping two.

Reader Comments (24)

A fair assessment. Putting Pav on was a gamble that could never pay off against Chelsea. As for strengthening, a centre forward has to be top priority. Longer term we need a young centre back.

Dec 24, 2011 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterChrisD

Chelsea shud hav beaten spurz bt were unlucky......chelsea r da best..

Dec 24, 2011 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterMebor

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah ahah
you are really a funny guy. you know what Your uncle Harry said about the result? He said it was a fair result. You know why? Because he is wise (unlike you) and knew it well that spurs could have lost the match. it is true that you dominated but for the first few minutes. later on it was chelsea and you were lucky to get one point in your home ground. and still you are making proud statements because you are a *u*b*a*s

Dec 24, 2011 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered Commenterl k

Fact is we scored 2 perfectly good goals and their goal would not have happened without the handball.
Irrespective of what else happened the correct score was 2-0 and we would all have been delighted with that.

More points lost to the officials but that is something we just have to learn to deal with

Dec 24, 2011 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterMDCT

Harry has to take most of the blame, sub at half time totally disrupted the balance of the side and then he sat back and watched it all go wrong without thinking to change it with both parker and sandro out on their feet after being over run. He has done fantastic fornus byt there is no excuse for us having no adequate cover for either lennon or bale, he has been manager for 3 now!
Think that was pavs last chance, ade needs to improve his touch and finishing, modric must not be moved from cm at amy cost!

Dec 24, 2011 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterOssie

I think we are all a little disappointed however if you look at the whole game then a draw was fair.A&E could have given a penalty away however i do think the Terry blocking of Ade should have resulted in at least a yellow card and a free kick.The list goes on and on as is in a lot of games.We could have won it at the end with lots of chances however chelski had most of the chanes in the second half before that and in the end they all just about evened out.Putting Pav on was a gamble and i think looking back maybe it was the wrong one.Perhaps putting on Charlie at right back and pushing Walker into midfield might have worked.That would have let Luka play in the advanced role and perhaps this is something for the Norwich game.With Lennon and Rafa out why not try it.

Dec 24, 2011 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterdavy41

I just want to mention that most of us can see we are not the same team without our two flying wingers down either flank, if the King is fit then he and Gallas should be our central defensive pair,put the loose cannonboul in at right back and push Walker up to right midfield by doing this we retain our shape and attacking threat with modders and Parker/Sandro central..... if any one can get this message over to our leader it would be greatly appreciated. COYS !

Dec 24, 2011 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterBobby

With regard to Chelsea's goal, I beg to differ. King's job was definitely not to mark Sturridge. His task was to cut out a very well placed cross, which because he hesitated, appealing for handball, he missed the opportunity to get to. It would still have been a difficult job. Ekotto's task was far easier, but as on so many occasions he went to sleep, and was still miles away from the man he was supposed to be marking when the ball hit the net. King's error was understandable in the particular circumstances. Ekotto's error was neither understandable nor forgivable. For all his qualities, which are many, Ekotto shows time and again that as a left back he is unreliable. Roll on January.

Dec 24, 2011 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn White

Yep, 3 points taken away from us in the last few games with disallowed goals. Very unfortunate....

Dec 24, 2011 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterTim

Hats off, it was a fantastic game of football. Chances flowed at both ends, and had it not been for Ramires' missed header, and later EBJT's block on the line, either side could have snatched the three points. The priority for the January window, as many have already stated, is to acquire a centre-forward who actually runs around a bit and has a better first touch than a tractor fresh from the Soviet Union. As for all the illiterate Chelsea gloryhunters on here, please go back to polishing your 'Torres 9' posters and looking enviously at the even richer Manchester City, you're really not wanted here. Or anywhere, for that matter.

Dec 24, 2011 at 10:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterDubaiSpur

Oh, and a winger might be necessary too, plus a centre-back if we can shift Bassong. Overall, if we do acquire someone like Amauri or Remy, two rumoured targets, plus Hoilett and perhaps Vertonghen, while shifting the likes of Kranjcar, Bassong, Dos Santos and Pav, I'd call it business well done and would be extremely confident about our prospects of a top-four finish, barring any mega-money signings that the likes of Chelski make.

Dec 24, 2011 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterDubaiSpur

l k - you're three 'has' short from making yourself feel better than I do.

Not disputing it wasn't a fair result. You have regrets, guess do we.

Dec 24, 2011 at 10:12 AM | Registered Commenterspooky

Fair play Spooky... through your rose tinted glasses I guess this is a fair assessment of the game... I guess if I wrote one it would be equally skewed also.

Anyhoo... have a good xmas.


Dec 24, 2011 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterChaosInCalm

The formation was all wrong. We tried to play a 4-4-2, when the line-up was crying out for a 4-2-3-1. Yes, we looked good for the first 15 minutes, but that was only because Chelsea hadn't got hold of the ball until then. As soon as they broke forward for the first time, our formation looked a shambles and they looked dangerous.

Had Parker and Sandro just sat in front of the back four, feeding Modders, Bale and VDV, and also allowing Walker and A&E to bomb forward, we would've looked a lot more solid defensively. As it was, we left gaping holes all over the pitch, and Chelsea exploited this.

Disappointed too. Mainly in Harry. He needs to get our players disciplined.

Dec 24, 2011 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterPP

Pav doesn't work, and rarely has except against lower teams holding on for the draw. We had Krank, Rose and Livermore, and could have reinforced midfield, pushing Luka or Krank forward more. We could even have thrust Kaboul in, to break a few heads. Harry must have believed his words about Pav recently, whereas we all thought they were intended to increase his sale price! (and he was wrong) But as you say, we should take the good from this. They are the chasers who are as prone as anyone in the top six to schoolboy howlers. Any team bringing on dysfunctional £50M strikers as sub is not to be feared, as well as some of the geriatrics played at times. Come on illiterate Chelski fans - chew the fat out of that!!! COYS!!!!

Dec 24, 2011 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterTommyHarmer

Spurs played superbly in the first 25 mins. Bale created panic down the left, but I get annoyed by Bale's movement, especially in the second half. When he stays wide, he was so dangerous ,but we as a midfield keep coming inside rather than use the width where Bale and Walker are so dangerous. Where we need to hurt the opposition is on the flanks leaving greater space and room for movement in the middle.

Chelsea created two clear cut headed chances. Well done them. But how about the hand ball my scum Cole before they scored the equaliser. Drogba deserved a goal after bringing the ball down brilliantly before hitting the post. However Gallas missed a golden chance at the near post. Ade scored another onside goal which was again disallowed due to another blind and crap linesmen. Cech tipped brilliantly over from a Sandro deflected shot. Not to mention the jammy injury time goalline clearance by "U know what u are JT". So other than improved second half possession by Chelski, Tottenham still created more genuine chances. Everybody at WHL new we should have gained a victory especially as I had £10 on Spurs winning 2-1 with Ade scoring the first goal.

I'm not disappointed. I am still gutted we didn't win. We are rightly the top London team in the PL, but we do need to use the flanks.

TRANSFERS: Hollett would be a welcome addition on the wings, as Harry obviously isn't going to give Gio or Andros their wings. Andros will go out on loan. January movement Gio, Pav and Bassong out, Cathill and Hollett in. Both would strengthen the team/squad.
CHRISTMAS PRESENTS: I would put in a cheeky £20m offer for Torres. He's warming the bench at Chelski, but at Spurs he would become a THFC legend and would start every game. Harry would give him confidence and his love of goal scoring back, especially as ADe isn't talking contracts until the end of the season. Berba back for £10m could be another option. Or maybe Drogba, Lampard plus £10m for Modric could be negiotated. Come on Levi work your magic!!


Dec 24, 2011 at 10:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterHertspurs

Let's get real at Tottenham. We do not have a team with strength and depth. Harry has a bunch of players on the bench and none of them are capable of 'changing a game'. Kranc, Defoe, Bassong, Pav and even Gomez are all disgruntled players who would go if the right offer came along. No committment. He should have Tom Carroll on the bench as well as Townsend and Cawker. This is the committed face of the future of Tottenham Hotspur. We keep on saying how cool BAE is. He's so cool he doesn't give two fucks whether his team looses or wins. That's not the attitude I want from a Tottenham player. Harry needs to tell a few of these 'freeloaders' to get their fingers out and show the committment of Sandro, Walker, Kaboul, Parker, Rose and even Luka. He will probably use Corluka and move Walker up against Norwich, he might as well send out 10 men.
The falasy is that we have strength in depth. The truth is, we have 11 players or so and a manager who, neither trusts his bench, nor understands the value in introducing his younger players. Instead of sending out his 'young lads' on loan he should be recalling Naughton and Caulker and putting them on the bench. He should then look for buyers for his existing bench,

Dec 24, 2011 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered Commentercookiebun

Agree with John White, A&E has his groupie followers, but first and foremost his job is to defend. He had no idea where Sturridge was, and these are huge, basic errors that can be the difference between winning and losing. He's a liability.

PP, I think the formation in the first half was 4-2-3-1, and up until they scored, it was working brilliantly; Sandro and Parker providing the steel in the centre, with Bale, Modric and VdV playing in front of them, Adebayor up top. The initial problem for their goal was VdV's lack of pace/fitness. As you say, perhaps one of Sandro or Parker should have kept one eye on that right flank to cover for VdV's lack of defensive ability, but VdV let Cole get round him far too easily. That goal seemed to knock the supreme confidence clean out the team and the fans.

The second half was 4-4-2 and with Modric right and the hapless Russian on the pitch, it was tactical suicide from a manager that should have known better.

I liked that starting formation, but it requires a 100% fit VdV and/or a more disciplined holding player to make up for VdV's unwillingness/inability to get back.

Dec 24, 2011 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterTMWNN

We need to buy a winger with pace so when either Bale or Lennon get injured we have replacements, Hoilett looks as though he could be that man, we also need to ship out Pav and bring in Leandro anything else can wait until the end of season.

Dec 24, 2011 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterCatcher

Disappointed? A little. I predicted a 1-1 draw before the game, as I saw there was a real likelihood of the game unfolding in a similar fashion to Chelsea last season at WHL. Fast out of the traps and then unable to sustain control of the game against a strong Chelssea midfield, leading to an equalizer. Chelsea fully deserved a draw and to be honest shaded the game, especially after the first 25 minutes. The main disappointment has to be the manifestation of yet another example of Harry's tactical naivety against a top team. Replacing the ineffective VDV with an even more listless Russian and inexplicably pushing Modric wide right second half effectively surrendered the midfield to an strong Chelsea unit. Krancjar would have been a much better replacement and could have been instructed to track back right side freeing up Modric to continue in center midfield where he is most effective. We shouldn't delude ourselves regarding the chances to nick the game in the last 5 minutes, or to the Adebayor "goal" that honestly was handball anyway. The fact is we were second best second half against a team that is frankly not as strong as the Chelsea outfits of recent seasons and yet they outplayed us. Tactical ineptitude played a significant role in that eventuality and that is disappointing.

Dec 24, 2011 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered Commentermatt

If Kaboul had been fit and not got injured in the warm-up, then I like to think 'Arry would have put him at right-back and pushed Walker wide right. This, for me, would have been the solution to van der Vaart going off at half-time.

It would have kept Cashley quieter on their left, as he had far too much space second half. It also would have balanced the team better, with Modric, Sandro and Parker central and the pace of Bale and Walker on the wings, and we would then not have been essentially a man light in midfield. Plus, Kaboul's added height would both protect and attack at set plays.

Dec 24, 2011 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered Commenter.

I think to say we were a 'shadow' of ourselves is a bit rough. We were bad at times, good for big parts of it and briefly magical. Should have won, but glad we didn't's that for an indecisive?

Dec 24, 2011 at 6:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterbig sky spur

I agree, 'shadow' was harsh. We're not always going to play at full pelt especially against tough opposition, but we completely lose our shape second half.

Dec 24, 2011 at 11:01 PM | Registered Commenterspooky

It was just a typical Spur's performance this season. Brilliant for 10 minutes, good for 10 minutes, Cr*p for 70 minutes and good for 10 at the end.

Doesn't matter which players are out there, the performance is the same and it depends upon luck and referees' decisions as to whether we win, lose or draw.

That is consistency for you but not of the type that finishes in the top 4 or wins any big prizes. We still do not have a leader on the pitch who can organise and change things when circumstances dictate. Ledley is ok from organising the defensive side, although Cjelsea correctly identified that if he could be isolated against someone with pace then he became the weak link.

Interestingly, Opta Stats show that we were outrun by Chelsea by a big margin and that our top mover was Sandro which explains why Chelsea looked good and Sandro was the most impressive player for us.

As for new blood in January, Levy hasn't the balls to buy-in what is really needed, has been really needed since before the start of last season and will probably still be needed when we don't qualify for 4th.

Dec 26, 2011 at 5:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveK

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