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« Talk amongst yourselves | Main | Like being punched in the face by God »

It's on the way

So'ton 1 Spurs 2

Feels like I'm writing up the same match report and analysis for every game at the moment. Comfortable, slick first half followed by an uncomfortable ugly second. Or vice versa. Or bit of both mixed in.

We destroyed them in the first half, yet we were not comparable in the second. That's Tottenham, making you work for it on and off the pitch. Whether it was thanks to tired legs that we spent the second half sitting back and inviting Southampton on - this remains to be seen how often it's repeated post-Europa League. Full pelt pressing followed by unavoidable downtime is a good tactic, only if we take our chances. A two goal lead is not quite enough. Leadership not always evident on the pitch to ease up on the tempo and claim some composure. There are methods of pacing ones self that does not always follow with the 'survival' tactic of just dropping back and hoping we don't concede. There's an instinctive missing ingredient, something in there to balance things out. Then again maybe it's as simple as having Dembele back in the thick of it. Bolster the midfield. Still, there has to be some admittance that in some games you'll surrender possession because the home side finally decide to wake up.

For want of better finishing (JD and one of those days or is that any given day?) we might have gone in at half time so far ahead that it would not have mattered what level of performance was displayed second half. Instead, we wasted chances and Southampton we're able to find a way back into the game. This led to all sorts of last ditch defensive heroics including yet another ridiculous slice of action from Sandro that saw him rise to block-deflect a torpedo off his head. You'd imagine if the world was ever in perilous danger from a monster meteorite, they'd send Sandro up into space to stop it.

Much like the WBA game from earlier this season (and patches and pockets of other matches) we've not buried the opposition and instead find ourselves time and again having to fight them off with the shovel. We have to boss games with complete conviction and leave our opponents eating dirt in a shallow grave. Easier said than done. I'd worry about our prospects for the season if we don't have a solid style by the 20th game mark. For the moment, you can't dispute the points accumulated and the manner in which they're being won. It's that second level of performance we're waiting for, that 90 minutes of pulling a side apart and blowing them away.

Instead we go from fluidity to the frenzy, with heavy reliance (this past weekend) on old man Gallas to steady the ship. No mistakes from him this week. Sandro an equal colossus, with his feet as well as his head. It's that same format of reactive football we have to endure thanks to, I'm not sure what. Why is there such a monumental difference in the two halves? Is it mental or tactical? Or simply down to that aforementioned opening blistering forty-five and those weary shattered legs thanks to the Euro hangover? Southampton upped the tempo, they were more urgent with their pressing. We just sat back and soaked it up. Perhaps because that's all that remained in the tank.

Goal one. Tom Huddlestone sends the ball in with a delightful dink for Bale who curls his header into the corner. Doesn't celebrate by celebrating subtly. Is there actually a difference? Next memorable moment was him taking his shirt off post-match. Goal two, Dempsey there to make sure it goes in after another superb Lennon run and a far too delicate finish by Defoe (trickled towards goal) which was cleared off the line. Rodriguez with the So'ton goal after a brilliant save and then cometh the second half of torment. Positives? That first half of wonderful overlapping and pace, ooh, we'd be salivating at the scoreline if we kept it up.

Couple of nice touches; Villas-Boas dedicating the win to football administrator Alex Carroll (following the death of his mother), the players throwing their shirts into the crowd at the end (AVB covering the cost) and for comic relief two Spurs fans tugging at Brad Friedel's shirt, waiting for the other to let go first. Laughed when the 'winner' offered the loser money. Classy.

Post-match musings?

The one thing that stands out for me when I stare at the Premier League table is the number nine. That's the amount of games played so far this season. Muscles being flexed, gentle jogs with the odd sprint. Still feels so early in the season yet give or take another five to ten games and the table will truly begin to take shape. We still can't report conclusively on Andre Villas-Boas as this Spurs team remains a team in progress. We've yet to dazzle White Hart Lane and aside from perhaps one game, we've yet to boss a match convincingly. We remain better away from home where we find exploitation of space so much easier to embrace. That missing creative craft in the games in N17 is an area that will be imperative for us to find to remain anchored to a top four position. That foot on ball away from home also essential to take the sting out of the hosts.

We're having to dig deep at times and make do without the likes of Dembele, BAE, Adebayor, Kaboul and Parker. VB citing lack of depth 'for all the competitions we want to do well in'. Because that's what we want. We want to challenge. It's the best way to build momentum. We'll have to hope some of those players are back as we look towards November as the fixtures creeping up could prove to be the impetus to see those sprints turn into a forceful run as we gear up for a marathon.

Wigan at home next, much like our gaffer has stated, it's a must win in terms of preparing for what follows. NK Maribor at the Lane and some squad rotation but almost certainly a must win if we wish to see ourselves progress to the next stage. Then it gets real. It's on the way. The month of heart in mouth.

City away.
Woolwich away.
Lazio away (Europa rest-bite).
West Ham home.
Liverpool home.

A defining part of the season as we head towards the festive period. One that will require an uplift of intensity especially at Eastlands and the Emirates. At the moment (famous last words) there still appears to be no change to the past couple of seasons in that nobody at this stage looks to be a class apart. Although granted, the money of City and the experience of Utd always allows them to pull away when it matters. Chelsea offensively remain a massive threat and the more games played the better Hazard, Mata and Oscar get. Arsenal have a variety of questions marks littered over them, much like we do.

For the moment, we continue to look at the return of Dembele. Try to work out what when exactly Adebayor will be ready to play football before he's lost to the Africa Cup of Nations. And look towards to our coach for clarity on the goalkeeping situation. A situation that for many doesn't actually exist and for some remains mystery. Before you know it, the January transfer window will be open and the same tired story arcs will be talked to death.

The season doesn't quite feel it's truly started, but it's about to.

Reader Comments (39)

As usual good post Spooky.
Is it me or does anyone else notice, when AVB brings on Jake Livermore on to defend a lead we seem to end up under a lot of pressure and let in goals.
Not sure why, whether it is AVB'S tactics or Jake making us weaker in the middle. But over all we are at least fighting even under pressure, which is a good thing to see in our team. Glad to see Tommy and Kyle improve greatly in this game.
Onwards and upwards when Dembele and Kaboom are back to give the squad added strength.

Oct 29, 2012 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterkoko61

Worth waiting for.

Problem is, the more we continue playing like that (great in one half, rubbish in the other) every team will feel that they have a chance against us.

I really want AVB to succeed but, in all honesty, he is messing with the club with regards to this Friedel/Lloris nonsense. We paid over £10 million pounds for a talented goalkeeper who we had been scouting for over 4 years. We only brought in Friedel as a stop-gap, Harry-kind-of-signing, to give competition to Gomes. Friedel will definitely retire next year. Did we actually throw away £10m just to ruin the career of a young goalkeeper (who's made it to be No.1 for his country at age 25). I don't get it. Some fools argue that he is too weak to play in the rough and physical premier league but some of the best keepers (Cech and Hart) are no giants either. And if that is the case, why did we buy him in the first place? AVB is wrong. He declared Friedel to be No.1 before he even had a chance to see Lloris in training - and though Friedel keeps conceding in each and every game, he refuses to give Lloris a chance. I'm disappointed. That is not what I expected from him.

Something is also brewing with Ade. He is not injured. There is tension in the camp.

I blamed Livermore for always ruining our game when he comes on but - I think he is only but a victim of AVB's poor defensive tactics. When we have a lead, AVB lets the team fall back and invites the opposition to attack. He uses Livermore's introduction to signal this change in strategy which opposition managers usually seize upon - making poor Livermore seem like the catalyst for the poor performance. He wasn't this 'hopeless' last season.

Oct 29, 2012 at 10:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterRonnie

I don't see anything wrong with the friedel lloris situation, brad knows the premier league way better than lloris, aside from being an english as a first language speaker. while brad hasn't been incredible this year he is still an important player. easing lloris into the side is not a bad option. if hugo can't understand that he needs to grow up. the press in france are making entirely too big of a deal out of this BS.

Oct 29, 2012 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered Commentermikey s

I'm not too bothered about performances at this stage in the season, results will do me. The fact that we are 4th in the league without Kaboul, benny, ade, Scotty and Dembele (last 2 games) is impressive. I imagine the camp will be buzzing around Xmas when we should have all most all our players back. Only minor issue I have with VB is with Lloris, the time has come. I was all for keeping brad but I think Lloris has showed enough to warrens a start and Brad has looked shakey at times but I appreciate overall he has done well. Should be 3 points against Wigan and if the gooners lose to UTD we could be 5 points clear. Coys

Oct 29, 2012 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterLuke

Ronnie, I think he brings Livermore on when Huddlestone starts to get tired and the midfield gets over run. Anyway, we won away from home, without a number of our players available. People just expect to win every match, there aren't any teams that are easy in the epl. If Man u, chelsea and city can lose to teams like that, so can we. I like to look at the development, not the little issues in the team, but how we address those issues over time. I like to look at the good points, like how we managed to still win a game when the opposition had just scored and were pressing us hard with their chins up and the crowd behind them, only needing one goal to equalise. These are more important things to note, just moaning about who gets to play instead of how well the ones that do play, is unnecessary negative questioning. Don't let the press put problems into your head! There will always be disappointed players cos there will always be players that hardly ever play and those that play all the time, no-matter how much you rotate.

Oct 29, 2012 at 11:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMy Heart Is White

When we have to hang on to a narrow lead in the last 20 minutes, I'd like AVB to try something a bit more imaginative than just sending on Livermore to try and close the game out.
I actually think Livermore is a decent player, I recall his best game for us was against Everton last season where he didn't put a foot wrong, but he needs to learn not to give away so many cheap free-kicks.

AVB did the right thing in recent games where he sent on Dawson in the closing stages, to go 5 at the back. He should have done just that in the games against WBA and Norwich, and we probably would have been at least 2 points better off if he had done. So AVB seems to have become a little more pragmatic in that sense.

Maybe when Huddlestone is showing signs of fatigue on the hour mark, AVB could have put Vertonghen into central midfield and sent Naughton on at left-back. Vertonghen is probably the best option to play that midfield role, he's a total footballer, calm in possession and he's also a leader.

Norwich away next, some players need a rest so I'd like to see youngsters like Smith, Townsend and Naughton get starts. Though the player I'd really like to see get a chance in this game is Alex Pritchard.

Great blog, Spooky.

Oct 29, 2012 at 11:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterLebowski

When is the expected return date for Dembele, Parker, and Kaboul? We need these guys going into the December features.

Oct 29, 2012 at 11:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterIaG

Fact: 9 games in; We are sitting were we belong, - in top 4 !
With a New Management Team, New System still being worked on, - injuries to 4-5 players, we should be over the moon with our current position ! As far as style of play is concerned: It is only a matter of time ( and a few more additions ) that we will see improvement in that regard... Remember this is a long term project, - therfore allow me for the uptenth time to repeat the all necesarry mantra: Patience/Keep the faith... Glory just around the corner !

Oct 29, 2012 at 11:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterAllan

To answer my question I found this website:

Dembele: Return Nov 3
BAE: Return Nov 3
Kaboul: Return Dec 27th
Parker: No Return Date

Oct 30, 2012 at 12:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterIaG

Spooky, I think a few important points are being missed here.
Firstly, we have an injury crisis at LB. One simple change has patched it up. Compare to last season, we had a similar situation at RM and the manager may as well have dropped a cluster bomb on the pitch and said to the players `play in the positions you land on`. At that time, we slid from nailed on third to fourth. This time around we have climbed to fourth.
Sunday`s result was as revolutionary as the win at OT, in the sense that for the past god knows how many seasons we wouldn`t have won it and would be stumbling around thinking if we`d won on Sunday we`d be 4th. We are fourth and we haven`t even started rolling yet.
Brad v Hugo. Brad is vital at the moment - physical presence and experience in organising a defence is priceless whilst we have a makeshift back 4. I`m convinced that when Vert is back in the centre the `high line` will be employed and Lloris will be between the sticks, playing to his strengths.
Finally, cliche time. It seems there is truly no easy game in the prem these days. Without analysing the stats, it feels like the top teams are regularly challenged in scraping single goal wins. Anyone who has a genuine interest in football will know that Soton were promoted last season playing attacking football and have continued in that style this season. We were good in the first half, but they were distinctly off colour and only came to the table in the second half. Typical Soton performance, impressive but struggle to score goals.
Let`s hope we don`t pick up more injuries before Moussa and BAE return, then we can really judge the team and the coach.
Norwich away? Won`t be easy they are difficult to beat, but we need to win that game.

Oct 30, 2012 at 1:04 AM | Unregistered Commentermoe

I have heard it all before. We are in transition. We have injuries. We suffered Jet Lag after playing mid week. This was compounded by the changing of the clocks on Sat. night. Someone has died and the cats pregnant.

In the first half we were comfortable, very comfortable. I made a cup of tea during the break and looked forward to a goal fest after the break. Did I get it? No we played like frightened rabbits caught in the headlamps of the all conquering juggernaut that is Southampton FC. And AVB says he was delighted with the way we played!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Remember WBA, Norwich, and Man U. As soon as a team puts pressure on us we retreat. We don't know how to respond. We sit back and let the other side walk all over us.

We can't put in a 90 minute shift. We are either good in the first half or the second, but never in both. In fact the only game where we put in a decent shift in both halves was against Chelsea, which we lost by simply gifting them 3 of their 4 goals.

Where was Bale in the second half? Once he was the most feared winger in the PL. But now he is not playing as well as Lennon who appears to have found a new lease of life.

Why take off JD and bring on Sig. when we need a third goal?

We stumbled over the line, like a drunken sailor against QPR, Man. U and now Southampton. We cracked under pressure and dropped 4 points against WBA and Norwich, yet we have managed to be in fourth place. How?

If we play like that after a Europa game I agree with HR that it is a competition to get out of. No money, and they risk of tiredness and injuries.

I don't like AVB, didn't want him, and can only conclude from the way we are playing that he has some fiendishly clever Iberian, Fu Man Chu type plot up his sleeve that is known only to him and not to the players. If he was happy with the way we played on Sunday I can only conclude that he has a Cunning Plan that he borrowed from Baldrick.

Oct 30, 2012 at 3:06 AM | Unregistered Commenterkingdom of sod

@Kingdom of Sod.

I have no doubt that you love Tottenham Football Club.
My issue with you is how you express that Love!
For many a year, week after week you come on here and only express your negative views/vibes.( That is you right )
Even if we play well, - you will always try to find something negative.
You do not like AVB (Again, that is your right!) God forbid if one of our players have an off day, - or in Bales case an off 2nd half, - you immediately get on his case !

In your world, - nothing but 90 minutes of Glory Football is acceptable!
As I have tried to explain you in vain; -Every team in the PL has earned their right to be there... There is NO easy games, - every team have the ability to beat eachother on any given day. Not a single team in PL has been able to play 90 minutes full throttle this year, - yet you demand that our beloved club do just that, everytime we play !

Chill dont be so gloomy, - The Future is Bright.....
I truly believe that AVB and our Team is going to surprise, - even you, - come the end of season !
Keep the faith, - Glory is just around the corner.

Oct 30, 2012 at 4:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterAllan

@Allan - Agreed with you totally, AVB needs time to get the team (when all are fit) to gel.

Oct 30, 2012 at 6:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterSingspur

@Allan & Singspur.

I part quote from Danny Blanchflower, "The game is about glory. Its about doing things in style, with a flourish, and going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom".

We used to do a bit of that under HR culminating with the 5-0 over Newcastle. But this season we have not done it once. I have said several times that we appear to be playing in a straight jacket. The players are not showing the flair that they did in the past. Bale is not playing anywhere near the standard he did in the past 2 seasons.

If anyone was happy with the 2nd. half against Man. U and Southampton then they are very easy to please. The only 2 games where we were not in a great deal of trouble was Reading and Villa. Every other game we have played we have been in trouble when pressed.

If you go to your local restaurant, year in, year out and get good food you are happy. But once they start serving up half cooked meals you get a bit annoyed.

We are getting half a game out of the team, and have done so for all of this season. Even back in the 70's 80's 90's when we did not have a top class squad we only rarely played as badly as we have done most of this season. The reason that we are in 4th spot is down to the natural ability of the players. It is certainly nothing to do with the tactics.

I am at a loss to explain why we are only good for half a game. But until we get a run of consistent 90 mins. of football I will continue to complain.

We do have a good squad so why do we play so badly for half a game? Every game?

Oct 30, 2012 at 8:01 AM | Unregistered Commenterkingdom of sod

@Allan @moe and Spooky I agree.

Pos Pld W D L F A GD PTS
4 Tottenham Hotspur 9 5 2 2 17 13 4 17 Nov 2012
5 Tottenham Hotspur 9 6 1 2 18 14 4 19 Nov 2011 (ManShity were on 28 pts and out of sight)

Who’s complaining now? ..(Only the Woolwich?)

I agree the performances are odd, and are confusing for some supporters.
However, unlike last year where we became ridiculously predictable with no plan B.
I see an embryonic plan B in the making.

As Spooky mentioned, this is a Marathon, and as we all well know, it's
how you finish that matters.
In order to survive a European campaign without sacrificing the League
position, you can't go gung-ho for the whole game.
For those Spurs supporters who doubt AVB and the squad, I say, have
faith. Watch this team evolve into something special.

All those Gooner trolls, who soil their pants, throw their
toys out of the cot and revert to posting on Spurs blogs for
entertainment, wait, because that is one game where Spurs will go full out for 90 mins.

Oct 30, 2012 at 8:12 AM | Unregistered Commenterfillar

@Kingdom of Sod

Yes how we loved good old Danny and the way those particular Spurs teams were playing !
But those days have long gone and with it that particular way of playing football.
Nowadays, - in order to get results and points, you gotta be able to sit back and defend a lead.
As I have stated earlier today, - whether you like it or not, - AVB is here long term and it might very well take a full season, - or perhaps two, - before we will see a Tottenham team playing with the flair, we as fans all crave and at the same time being able to defend a lead under pressure !

I suspect that you wont have the patience to let our young Manager complete his job and will be screaming for his head, the very moment some real setbacks are forthcoming ( God Forbid ! ) ; - In anycase, I quess the common denominator of all of us posting here, whether we agree or not, - is our love for Tottenham Football Club !


Oct 30, 2012 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterAllan

Anyone else think Bale in that kit looked like Robocop?

Oct 30, 2012 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterDr Oyvind

The real world.

Winning at St Mary's was on par with our win at Old Traford. Spurs have never scored a goal let alone take 3 points at St Mary's, and so TOTTENHAM made history on Sunday. I did too. It's the first time Ive left that shithole without harbouring murderous thoughts. Normally I'd yomp to the car trying to avoid all life forms. kick my way through the drivers side window, and drive TWOCKLIKE through the New forest hoping to flatten as many rabbits as possible. myxomatosis, I shit it! Werehas Sunday last I found myself chuckling in a pub in Shirley. That's a place look, not a...anyway...

.... It's my opinion that TOTTENHAM have never practiced the acient art of choking a game to preserve a lead. TOTTENHAM just bomb forward. Over the years, bombing forward has provided entertaining football, and not much else. I'd like to see us be able to mix it up, bomb forward, swarm, lock down, score, defend. Maybe, just maybe, we'll get the hang of this new thinking, and maybe, just maybe, it'll be the making of us.


Oct 30, 2012 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterWisky Tom

@ Wisky Tommy

Bomb forward, Swarm, Lock Down, Score, Defend !

That is excactly what will get us to the very top, - Well said !

Oct 30, 2012 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterAllan

Spooky, Wisky Tom & Allan - good scripts.

For me the style and the glory will be further displayed and enjoyed by winning. On too many occasions have I seen the beautiful game played and we have lost or drawn, it leaves me very depressed. As the season moves on we are improving with time and I do think this season will be successful. Tomorrow it's Norwich, both teams will at this stage of the competition rest a few players with the PL being so important, hopefully we will not rest to many as the Qtr final beckons and then Wembley is on the horizon. It's the last cup we have won, so we need to go for it as with all games.

Oct 30, 2012 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered Commentercdm

Moe - didn't set out to underplay the win. I guess I'm trying to remain just grounded. Very much aware we're winning with key players out injured and other key players out of position.

Doesn't feel like this Spurs side will truly get going until its full strength and we finally ignite at home.

Also City and Woolwich away might be epic moments.

Oct 30, 2012 at 10:32 AM | Registered Commenterspooky

Pos Team Pld W D L F A GD PTS
4 Tottenham Hotspur 9 5 2 2 17 13 4 17 Nov 2012
5 Tottenham Hotspur 9 6 1 2 18 14 4 19 Nov 2011
(ManShity were on 28 pts and out of sight)

Who’s complaining now? ..(Only the Woolwich?)

I agree the performances are odd, and are confusing for some supporters.
However, unlike last year where we became ridiculously predictable with no
plan B.
I see an embryonic plan B in the making.

As Spooky mentioned, this is a Marathon, and as we all well know, it's
how you finish that matters.
In order to survive a European campaign without sacrificing the League
position, you can't go gung-ho for the whole game, every game.
For those Spurs supporters who doubt AVB and the squad, I say have
faith. Watch this team evolve into something special.

As for those Gooner trolls, who soil their pants, throw their
toys out of the cot and revert to posting on Spurs blogs for
entertainment, wait, that is one game when Spurs will play full out for 90mins.


Oct 30, 2012 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered Commenterfillar


Oct 30, 2012 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterDeadly

@Wisky Tom

I agree with you. But it must be done for 90 mins. Not just half a game.

We surrendered the second half against WBA, Norwich, QPR, Man. U, and Southampton.

Our best performance was against Chelsea, for a 90 min. commitment. This was despite us giving them 3 goals.

At times there has been something akin to panic in the defence. Against QPR, Man. U and now Southampton I feel we were lucky to get all 3 points from these games.

If every player adheres to your philosophy then Spurs are in for great things. But I am beginning to doubt the physical toughness of a player or two, and question if they are up for the fight.

Oct 30, 2012 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterkingdom of sod

@ kingdom
No one is disagreeing with your assessment of our half performance's. I also am not yet convinced by avb and agree with many if your concerns. However he is our manager now so We should get behind the team and support them give them the encouragement to put in those glory performance's.

You make some good points but you dislike of avb comes through strong and makes your comments sound counter bitter.

Its like those so called supporters that seem to forget redscnapps record As manager just because they don't like be critical but give credit where its due to.

One things for sure I would not have appointed avb but now I hope he proves me wrong and goes on to be he most successful manager in our history.


Oct 30, 2012 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered Commenterfrontwheeler

Sod makes an interesting point that we've yet to truly swagger it up but that is because of the way AVB is attempting to instil his methodology onto the players, which perhaps means more sacrifice to start off with before its more expressive. We hope. Well, I hope.

Under Redknapp we had plenty of the swashbuckle and people rightly tagged us with playing the best/most attractive football - but it was not always functional and successful where it mattered most. Perhaps the issue will always be Redknapp and his lack of true defining tactical know-how. If had the clout of one or two other footballing minds we might have overcome those weakness.

AVB's style is different and it's fledgling.

Remember how under Redknapp we had plenty of games where the football was pretty much soulless and diabolical. There has to be a balance. Better to be playing within our selves and winning and then progressing to that next level than not really having an answer to the questions being posed.

Oct 30, 2012 at 11:33 AM | Registered Commenterspooky

You`ve misjudged the mood. Those issues you raised aren`t being used as excuses for anything, the point is look despite all those things we`re still winning and in 4th - with better to come.
Compare to last season when a number of excuses were rolled out one after another.
The redkrapp out brigade were just that - redkrapp out. I don`t recall anyone saying we must have AVB. I can only speak for myself here, but I have fallen for him as he demonstrates passion for the club and has given us something I cannot recall ever seeing before - winning in adversity.
Look at Wisky Tom - he has clearly been won over this season. I love the TWOC reference - for how many years have we been TWOC`d out of points? Payback time is sweet, so long as we start performing properly soon.
Wisky Tom`s southampton is my norwich, so I don`t care how we win there so long as we win!

Oct 30, 2012 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered Commentermoe

Sorry for boring everyone with the double post.

We saw glimpses of the Spurs swagger in the first half.

They should work on retaining possession though. The second half was I feel, an exercise in saving energy, but this can be done by keeping the ball.
Possession of the ball is the best way of upsetting the opposition rhythm. We are sometimes inpatient and instead of the simple pass, even if its back,(Modric and VdV were very good at) they try something that has no second phase, so goes very quickly wrong and the team have to retreat. Combine this with exasperating long kicks from Brad direct to the opposition midfield.
We end up in this cycle of “desperate defensive shovel swinging”..(loved that Spooky).

@KoS I know exactly what you want to see.

For many years my mantra was: Win or lose as long as we do it in style.
A good season was: Beat the scum twice and win the FA Cup.

But it’s been decades since we’ve been able to sustain a consistency that allows us to fight for the title. This has to be our goal.
To remain an economically viable club, we have to develop our younger players through the academy system and ease them into the team.
We needed a Coach that can make that possible.
If the first team is playing a different style to the U21’s, this is difficult.
Having watched the NextGen teams, I am full of hope for the future of our beloved club.

Oct 30, 2012 at 1:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterfillar

It's true that the Jekyll and Hyde performances have been baffling. Perhaps it's the fatigue from playing in Europe... but the more the players get conditioned towards playing twice a week things can only get better. However we must not forget to rotate, and rotate different people each time. This helps those on the bench, and allows the ever-presents time to rest. Dont want a repeat with Niko, whose talents were wasted last season.

For instance:-

1) The situation between Hugo and Brad is not a issue. We need both to be match fit. Hugo will take over eventually.

2) Walker is a growing concern. Not good defensively. Getting caught out many times. He needs competition for his place. I think we got rid of Corluka too quickly. Isnt there someone from the youth squad that could step up? Would Naughton be suitable?

3) The striking situation is also odd. Defoe wastes a lot of chances. I dont know what's the situation with Adebayor but it doesn't look good. Why not give the younger talent a chance? Coulibaly, Falque even Mason?

4) Gylfi is also a mystery. He looked good when with Swansea but so far nothing spectacular, and that was even against the bottom three! Perhaps he needs competition, like from Tom Carroll?

5) Huddlestone must improve his passing and tackling. The assist notwithstanding, he seems to have deteriorated this season.

6) I like to see players like Livermore and Townsend be given the same chances as Caulker. Perhaps Bale or Lennon could be rested for Townsend. Similarly Livermore for Sandro. Give them valuable playing time.

7) Gallas is somewhat okay for now, but would like to see Dawson get some playing time, if only to prevent Dawson from rustiness and to allow Gallas (or even Vertonghen on occasion) a bit of rest.

The idea is not to give them occasional playing time, but to start some league games against comparatively weaker teams. If we are going to compete on all four fronts, we will need a squad who are all fully conditioned.

Oct 30, 2012 at 6:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterFocussed from Singapore

For me, if we continue in this disjointed manner, eventually our luck will turn and we will lose matches rather than win/draw by the skin-of-our-teeth.

If that happens, the better players will want out and the current "transition" will be a never ending mirage.

We needed higher calibre players than Dempsey and Sigurdsson to be recruited in the last window but no Levy had to make a profit.

AVB has been operating with one hand tied behind his back. No proper pre-season and lack of quality recruitment to replace key players from last season. I think he has done well, if a little lucky, but without better quality players we cannot expect anything this season, although we can hope.

Levy went through a similar cycle with Harry, big apparent spend early on, reducing to drip-feed, reducing to sell-before-we-buy when we were at a crucial stage of development. Unless he gets his Ar*e in gear (very unlikely) I think we will struggle as the season progresses through no fault of AVB.

Oct 30, 2012 at 6:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveK

Kingdom of Sod.

I hate to point out the obvious, but 'our best performance against Chelsea' got us what?' At the risk of repeating myself, a Chelsea fan found himself on one of my courses that day. He had no idea I was TOTTENHAM (until I blacked-out). He sat there snivelling about how Chelsea were being overrun. don't get me wrong. I'm not a masochist. I'd much prefer to just watch TOTTENHAM annihilate, crush and destroy, but, what-I -think-i'm-seeing, is a winning mentality slowly being introduced into our footballing psyche.

Moe's not wrong either when he refers to my altered mindset - It may come as a surprise to anyone reading this, but I didn't take Redknapps axeing to well, in fact I was what they call 'at sixes & sevens'. Confused, I'd wander the streets of Bournemouth with my Medical Emergency Card: - My name is Wisky, I suffer. If found please gently push in the direction of Westbourne, after removing any sticks I may have accrued. Ta.

This was until I got 'The Gonk Effect'' It's a bit like the 'London blitz effect' but without all the 'agrhh me leg, me fucking leg, where's me, ugh.....' - He's a gonner Mrs, oh well, fancy pale ale and a sing song?'. What can I do but love my club, in the only way I know best. Big um up, and believe. Are we really the pride of London? Really? You fcuking bet we are, we're TOTTENHAM super TOTTENHAM, and always will be, even in a transitional period in which we sit 4th.


Oct 30, 2012 at 8:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterWisky Tom

I think I'm gonna cry...

Oct 31, 2012 at 3:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterCaterham7

4th with only one fit (motivated?) striker , a new LB that became an instant hero just after making the massive step up from a easier league , no EPL player of the year 2010-2011 , Young player of the year 2011-2012 out of shape , Dempsey and Siggi far of form and our midfield metronome missing for a few weeks, Gallas showing his age, Tommy coming back from very far and Caulker having to step up and still suffering a bit.

So apart from Sandro and Verts , the other players have been a bit hit and miss due to numerous valid reasons. And we are still 4th and more importantly are pretty hard to break down even with a makeshift defence.

How in the hell can that be bad ?

Come on people , some perspective please

Oct 31, 2012 at 9:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterBelgian Spur

I do not want to pose this question, but if Spurs were 4-0 down to the mighty Reading, would the result have been the same?
Credit where credit is due, but that was some turnaround and key to it all was BELIEF. Every player in every team should
remember this game. Can you 'believe' that a number of gooner fans left at half time!

Oct 31, 2012 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered Commenter4Mullery

well said Belgian Spur. Well said

Oct 31, 2012 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterscalytomato

@ Kingdom of Sod

I fully understand your frustrations, but try stepping back and see a wider view.
AVB is a young manager who has tasted success, regardless of where, he knows what it takes to be a champion. AVB is now applying his method/tactics at Spurs. We won't be seeing too much of our traditional " gung ho" football, but what you will see is a team that will get results. AVB will adapt his tactics to whatever is required in each half of a game. If we are winning in the 1st half, you will probably see the team play deeper and try to employ counter attacking football in the 2nd half. If we are losing 1st half, you will see a more attacking formation 2nd half. It"s not about pummelling teams for 90 mins, getting the result is what counts, this is the method that champions employ.
It is my belief that AVB is not interested in getting 4th, I feel he wants the" title" and he"s going for it. He is playing the team to gain enough points to be in a position, come March/April, to challenge for the title. We as Tottenham fans are not used to this mindset of becoming champions, AVB is, have faith. COYS

Oct 31, 2012 at 4:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterHigh on THfC

High on THFC, you're a genius!!! My sentiments exactly. How I'm praying it comes off.!!

Oct 31, 2012 at 4:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterscalytomato

High on THFC
Spot on, we all want to be winners playing super football.
However, we need to break the code of being winners first, then work on the rest.
I cannot honestly remember the last time the team that were English champions were compelling viewing. Citeh certainly were not that last season.
I am old enough to remember when Spurs fans` attitude was rather see em lose a 5-4 thriller than win a 1-0 bore.
But the CL has changed all that. We need to scramble and struggle to qualify for the thing, otherwise the old foe will continue to qualify every season and we will be light years behind. We need to avoid that.

Oct 31, 2012 at 8:04 PM | Unregistered Commentermoe

Winning without Dembele in any game is massive, tbh. A player like that is key to the whole team.

As for the Hudd criticism, its valid, but he had a whole season out: what did you expect? (or to put it another way, how is wilshere doing?)

Oct 31, 2012 at 10:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterJC

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