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« The minority report | Main | Solidification please »

Tottenham beat Tottenham to beat QPR

Okay, so first things first, my preview versus what actually played out. Worth doing just to mug myself off a little and remind myself that when things look really straight forward on paper it’s best to remember that the opposition can always perform better than expected. QPR might have had it bad in some early performances this season but proved they could organise themselves to worthy competency (with the draw against Chelsea).

via @TheloniousFilth

I keep waiting for us to step it up with delicious delight and tick all the boxes. I got it wrong the other week. It seems there is a monkey on our back, one that nests at the Lane. Think King Kong cradling the East Stand. Any which way to get rid of it and then perhaps my preview promises and hopes will play out with less pressure and more expressiveness going forward.


Preview statements in bold.


QPR. At home.

> Hey, I got this right. Move aside Nostradamus.

Is there really anything more to say than to find a happy medium between the dominant Reading performance and the cohesive one against Lazio and win in bullish, aggressive fashion? Anything more, aside from:

> Ever since that opening first half against WBA it seems we’re struggling to awake from a nightmare and when we think we’re awake, it turns out to be one of those awakening experiences. You know the type. You get out of bed, wash your face, make a cuppa and stick the radio on only to then wake up for real and realise you have to go through all that again. Except when you do you don’t because you wake up in bed again. More about the tactics in a moment but in terms of matters of the head, there’s a problem. Not enough application or bravery. The strategy, it’s not apparent. So either something is losing itself in translation or our boys in Lilywhite are experiencing stage fright thanks to an impatient and difficult to please audience.

One holding midfielder, not two.

> One. Because without Parker and Livermore there‘s only Sandro. We’re also at home so we have to show intent. The line-up saw Bale slot into left-back (old skool) with Gallas returning at centre-back and Dempsey in midfield. I said before half-time I’d have preferred Caulker at centre-back with Vertonghen at LB and Bale attempting to capture some form on the left flank. That switch happened at half-time. For the best as we looked unlikely to make a breakthrough before then.

Score an early goal.

> Some opportunities early on. QPR forcing Friedel to save twice. Sigurdsson feeding Defoe. Zamora and Hoillet enjoying their afternoon. Faurlin impressive. As the game progressed so did Rangers. Closer and closer to making the break through. No pace or tempo from us. Possession not always clean and fairly redundant because nothing was made of it. Visitors happier on the break, hosts not asking Cesar to dirty his gloves. 33 mins on the clock and its 1-0 to them. Friedel edging closer to the bench when failing to move off his line quickly. Then again, not sure who was meant to be moving quickly in the build up. The pass was superb, our defenders not quite playing the offside. Vert on a different wave length to the rest around him. Zamora smiling the outcome.

So early on, no evidence of that press, hassle and push ethic of the previous two games. Our midfield ominous.

Then get another before half-time. At a push a third.

> Not only did I miss the dart board with this, I hit the landlord in the face with my aim.

If not a third before half-time, score it within ten minutes of the second half starting.

> Well, we did score after 15 minutes into the second half. Well actually, they did, for us. But we scored ourselves a minute after that. Hedonistic scenes. Open bus parade. DVD. Levy stripping off his shirt and tie in the stands and screaming ‘Come at me bro, come at me!’.

Kill the game, kill it dead. If they park the bus, slap 'em with a parking ticket then hot wire the sonofab*tch and clamp it on the touchlines. It's our back yard, don't allow them to dictate and force us to react in a way not becoming to our preparation. Control equates to tempo which results with initiative. They need to be adapting to us. Our home, our rules. Their struggle.

> QPR did not park the bus. They all arrived on motorbikes whilst we struggled on dainty roller-skates to keep up. There was no ownership of playing at home. We seem to be up against ourselves foremost, the opposition just take advantage of it. But we did improve in the second half. Having Bale in midfield helped more so than being lost not really knowing his role as a left-back. There was a little more urgency if lacking that confident conditioned cohesiveness of say the Lazio game. Inventiveness was also a struggle to introduce. But chances were finally being crafted. Heads did not drop. An own goal followed by a counter. Caulker with a looped header and Faurlin netting past his own keeper via his shoulder. Then Vergonghen breaking, releasing Bale, shot saved onto the bar and Defoe lapping it up. Lady Luck not just in attendance, but pouting her lips and licking them. The minx.

via @barryslater

Take the sting out of the game if necessary in the latter stages. No need to witness the last 20 minutes consisting of nervous dispositional football. Solidification please.

> No forceful take down of the match happened, we didn’t force a stranglehold to the point where you could perhaps sit up and say ‘we got this’. But we still had chances and could have made it three. Huddlestone and Townsend subbed on. Clint Hill another pick out player for them. Kudos to Defoe who has limitations but has still managed to score four goals in five games (and assist one).

First half wasn’t great at all, second half there was something resembling a team. Lennon worked extremely hard. Caulker impressing again. Vertonghen outstanding, more so for an utterly epic challenge proving (much like King did against Robben) that you can celebrate a defenders tackle (easy there tiger) as emphatically as you would a strikers goal.

Sigurdsson has still not found a rhythm to his game. Hoping that happens soon.

Belief. On the pitch, in the stands.

> King Kong has fallen. I’m hoping the players relax a little now but this is entirely dependent on the atmosphere inside the stadium which is now defined as defeatist before a ball has even been kicked. I’ll leave this alone until later. Said I wouldn’t bang on about a minority but it seems said minority is influencing the majority and as a consequence - silence is defeating.

Home win.

> What was required we got. Lucky win? Sure. Wasn’t pretty. Wasn’t a blueprint but I’m hoping I’m right and we can now shrug off the mental anchor that held the players back. But the learning curve is just that. We are not continuing from before, from last season. We are trying to start over. There is no legacy left. Best to ignore the fallacy and look to the future. It’s risky but it’s also brave, so onwards with Villa-Boas, who looked magnificent celebrating in the pouring rain.

QPR deserve plenty of credit. They won’t quite believe the result. Their game plan was not to sit back exclusively but to seek the counter and the initiative. They had moments where they could so easily have killed the game dead for us.

Interestingly, AVB says he wanted to give QPR the initiative in the first half so we could counter them. Didn't quite work out. Not sure it can if Bale is stuck at left-back.

Positivity in blog comment sections and pubs the world over.

> Steady now. You’ll end up waking up in bed and all the above was just a dream. Even with a slice of luck to aid us - we had to show some spirit and move on from the WBA and Norwich results. We did just that, which is why we can afford a smile or two. So smile. Or just pinch yourself.


Reader Comments (22)

We signed the boy from Amsterdam you know you know
We might score goals from corners now yido yido
And if a gooner tries to pass he'll put the w****r on his arse
Jan vertonghen TOTTENHAMS number 5
Na na na na na na na na nana nana etc -

Come on people lets make this happen it's gotta b better than jan jan super jan ????

Sep 24, 2012 at 8:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterCoys1882

Closest I have ever been to 1st....

Sigardson needs to step up but were starting to look a bit good

Sep 24, 2012 at 9:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterStevo

My prediction for the game against Utd is that we'll click, play them off the park, but ultimately lose by 2 or 3 goals. I really hate this fixture.

Sep 24, 2012 at 9:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterPP

at least we won, but my goodness we gave them acres and acres of space, i was shocked to see how little pressing we did on QPR, something that we are actually quite good at over the recent was non existent on sunday.

if we play like we did against QPR in 90% of the remaining fixtures we will get slaughtered.

Sep 24, 2012 at 9:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterzak

It's no coincidence that improved results have followed after the fans told the players their performances weren't good enough

A lesson lost on the cheer no matter what brigade

Sep 24, 2012 at 10:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Smith

Why does Spooky and lots of the posters on here - know more about tactics and what works than the manager? I think Caulker has to play for a number of reasons but principally that he can cause damage from set pieces. How many chances do we have against Lazio from set pieces and either Bale couldnt get it over the wall or nobody getting on the end.

Another thought is who is the defence coach and how do other teams always seem to be able to create many chances from headers. cant this be practised?

Sep 24, 2012 at 10:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterbridgendspurs

"Interestingly, AVB says he wanted to give QPR the initiative in the first half so we could counter them."

And there was me thinking they were just better than us.

Just goes to show how very little we fans actually know about the game.
We can boo all we want, but in reality we haven't got a bloody clue.
It was AVB's masterplan all along.
Maybe the fans need to keep up the regular shows of displeasure, just in case the opposition start to cotton on the tactics.

Credit to AVB though with the old 4-4-2 switcheroo thing. Our second goal was viscerally thrilling. Credit also to the ref who waved play-on during that sequence too. Counter-attacking football at its very finest.

Sep 24, 2012 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered Commenter.


1) My hope is that AVB knows Caulker is awesome and just wants to introduce him slowly. If he actually thinks Gallas is better on the pitch, then I don't know what to think!
2) Are the opposition letting Gallas have the ball now? If he doesn't have a simple pass he runs up the pitch and either hands over possession or just loses the ball.
3) Sig/Demps are still settling.
4) Vert - what a signing
5) Bale at left-back with AVB's style should be perfect. Our fullbacks play like wingbacks anyway, so he wouldn't be playing that differently to before, but should have more space to run from and into.
6) Bale really can't defend. Ok, so that's the downside - he got the wrong side, didn't track back, looked a bit lost.
7) Defoe - I love the guy, and am happy this is a sport where shorter players can excel - but we need someone bigger who can hold the ball up. Maybe away where we play more on the break he's perfect - but at home, no way.
8) The opposition know they can just float any crosses/corners/free-kicks onto the 6-yard line and Friedel won't come for it. I feel for our centre-backs - the one advantage they have is that the goalie can come out and use his hands to claim, but we don't have that.
9) Walker really has problems with high balls. He needs some help there.

To come away with a win is really lucky for us - AVB will hopefully have learned some big lessons from that first 45.

Sep 24, 2012 at 10:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrSpang

Overall we have been playing shit, but we are eighth. Where will we be if we stop playing shit?

Sep 24, 2012 at 10:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeregrine St Claire

John Smith, if only us mugs who don't boo Tottenham had known. It's your booing that won the game! So simple, and yet us idiots couldn't see it. Thank you, John, and all those who boo our team and call AVB crap. Without you brave souls, we'd surely not have won 7 points in our last 3 games.

A new manager and new team needing some time to settle? Unforgivable! Clearly, without your boos, they would never progress. You seem to hate people who are happy to make an atmosphere no matter what. Pretty pathetic, really.

Sep 24, 2012 at 11:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterSLR

I think it's interesting that our only clean sheet of the season so far has been with Lloris in goal.

Sep 25, 2012 at 12:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterEddy

I think it's gonna be a good few months before we have a clearer picture on AVB'S reign.
Maybe AVB will continually alternate between 4-2-3-1 & 4-4-2 in order to drag the opposition out of shape. This may increase our success rate in changing games that are not going for us (like QPR at home). If my memory serves me correct we have a nasty habit of falling flat when facing what we deem to be lesser opposition in the league.
The potential problem here is that shape changing, until so routine it becomes a natural process, will cause great discombobulation with the team's fluidity thus increasing the prickly atmospheric pressure at home games as fans continually fail to recognise familiar signs of comfort in patterns of play.
4-4-2 is now our plan b it used to be our only plan, the relief of recognition from all involved on Saturday when the team implemented plan b was clear. It resulted in us winning the game.
If we had played 4-4-2 in all games so far this season would we have gaurenteed victory against QPR? We have a trip to OT on sat? If we had played 4-4-2 all season would we change it for the man ure game? Surely before we can confidentally pack the midfield and create opportunities to win a formation needs to be worked on before hand so there is some kind of familiarity with those involved as to the pattern of play. I don't believe this can be done on only a training pitch. It has to be worked on in other games... Games like QPR at home.
I'm expecting to lose on Saturday but I'm hoping AVB has a plan and the experience will be one that helps us win there under AVB in the not to distant future. If we get spanked there is a small chance I will start to miss Harry's 4-4-2 & pay em top dollar philosophy... Maybe that and paying the players' top wages is the only way of success (which basically means football is all about who the chairman is).

Sep 25, 2012 at 1:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterBazmundo

The psychological battle being played out by us spurs fans is most interesting also. Who will blink first... I bet all posters have had a moan at some stage... I moan about my wife and children also... But don't dare anyone else.
Anger is a natural emotion. Personally I was angrier than usual when we were losing to QPR. I said things I regret in the heat of the moment. It lasted outwardly for a good 2mins. I may have insulted our leader I can't really remember what i was saying... It was like a form of tourettes, I said things i didn't believe nor wanted to say, one example was a plea to bring back Christian Gross and for that I'm sorry. I didn't and won't boo in union with others coz that would feel like a protest and I have nothing to protest. I think that the change is necessary, I'm not sold on AVB yet but I think I'm starting to like him. Overall I'm still a bit frightened by the future.

Sep 25, 2012 at 1:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterBazmundo

Lazio won the tactical battle. They came for a draw and got it. QPR came to win and very nearly did so. Playing Bale at LB was to deny the team one of its cutting options during the first half. Vert. should have been there from the start as we had both Daws. and Caulker on the bench. Vert. showed he was very capable in 2nd. half. Brad. saved us for the 3rd. PL game, at home, in a row. QPR obligingly scored for us. They never went away and could so easily have got a draw out of the game, or even won it. Now I hear that a Director of Football has been approved by both DL & AVB. Whats the point if DL insists on haggling over the last penny on the last day of the Transfer Window? Having a D of F does not guarantee a loosening of the purse strings.
With the squad we have, one of the better ones in the PL, why are we playing so badly? We don't look convincing. We have played 13% of our games already and look highly suspect AT HOME. Two home draws in winnable games. We fall over the line in the 3rd. one. And against Reading, who had just been promoted, not played for a month, they had us scrambling around for the first 10 - 15 mins of the second half and then scored in the last few minutes.
AVB has placed a priority on winning the Europa League. Why? Traveling and game time will tire out the players, plus the risk of unwanted injuries, for no real financial return. It is surely an ideal competition to give the fringe players valuable game time. If we can't break Lazio down at home, how are we going to do it away?
Yes I know we have lost players, new ones arrived who must be bedded in, we have injuries, we are in transition, but every other club in the PL has these self same problems. These are not acceptable excuses.
As you can gather I am not a "happie chappie", but in all honesty I have seen nothing to inspire me with with optimism so far this season. But I suppose wins against Carlisle, Man U and Panathiniacos will improve my mood. But I am not holding my breath.

Sep 25, 2012 at 3:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterkingdom of sod

@ Bazmundo

I agree with your point that there should not only be one system/way of playing, but in fact several systems and they should be employed according to which team we are up against. Also your point that systems can only be practiced up to a certain point on the training field, - is indeed true, as it is in proper game time we will be able to see the pro and cons of such systems. This of course means, - that there will be setbacks while we fine tune " The Engine " !

We are a Team, with a new Manager/Players, - in other words, - work in progress ! Patience is the keyword here !

Sep 25, 2012 at 3:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterAllan

w****r !? Really?

Nathan Byrne to Crawley Town! OMG!! There goes Levy again. Limiting our options and tying the coaches hands.It seems that Levy and AVB don't want us to win any games! Obviously in the pay of Old Whisky Face...

...speaking of whom...did you see the shambolic refereeing at Liverpool? If Alex can do that to refs at Merseyside, what chance are we going to have in Munchester('sic' for you spell-check Nazis). Why Munchester? Because they can Munch my ass, that's why!
(Shhhh...the wife's coming...gotta go...damn ManUre fan....I'll be posting from the couch come Sunday, I garontee!!
It's my Louisiana accent! Back-off...)

Sep 25, 2012 at 5:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterCaterham7

we won,just.Range of emotions ,typically Tottenham. Carlisle tomorrow,a nice 12 hour round trip to watch the reserves.
Man Utd Sunday ,hours on the M6,peeing with rain and KFC for Sunday lunch followed by Spurs playing bravely and losing to a controversial goal,God I love it!!
Bale at Left back? lets not do that again,gave the impetus to the opposition-4-4-2 all day long at home please.

Sep 25, 2012 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered Commenterbournemouth spur

One of the major positives from Sunday has to be the minimal disruption caused to the lineup regarding the LB situation.
On the face of it, Bale at LB was the logical move - remember he was signed as a LB.
That didn`t work, so one logical change saw an improvement in the second half.
Now think back to last season, if you dare.
Lennon injured - Bale on the right, Luka on the left, Niko.... well an under prepared unfit Niko just running around a bit. Well, walking around a bit.
I recall a few games last season where I spent almost the entire 90 mins shouting `What the fcuk is HE doing THERE!'
Considering our performances thus far, we are not badly placed in the league. Let`s just hope that the improvement continues.
It`s also great to see AVB in dapper threads soaked through, rather than last season`s anoraked figure huddled in the corner of the dugout for the entire 90.

Sep 25, 2012 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered Commentermoe

Great win. The three points matter above all. I wish i hadn't missed this one game. However, reports say Siggy was sub par again, hmm...
I don't think he deserves to start against Man U, from what I've seen of him - the worst of the new bunch.
Well, he must have a good touch in training...

Sep 25, 2012 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterNochman

We signed the boy from Amsterdam you know you know
We might score goals from corners now yido yido
And if a gooner tries to pass he'll put the wanker on his arse
Jan vertonghen TOTTENHAMS number 5
Na na na na na na na na nana nana etc -

This song has to be sung. At last some imagination for the lane terraces. STOP the same old boring songs ie super jan. I was singing that for super gary mabs years ago and my old man was singing that for jimmy greaves!!!! Coys1882 is right.

Sep 25, 2012 at 5:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterL&L productions

Good to see a mixed bag of opinions. It shows we dont really know what to make of AVB just yet.

I am willing to give him the benefit of doubt, because he is willing to give our talented youth a chance, something which seemed to be missing in recent years.

Not sure about using 4231 all the time, when it has been shown we are more effective at 442 given our personnel. We really should kill off games and not revert to a more defensive mode when in front at home, really bizarre...

I noticed that Fridel tends to go low when confronted on a one-to-one situation, which was first obvious when we lost to L'Arse last season and now against QPR. It means the striker / player only needs to lob to score. But I'm being picky. He is great overall.

I worry for Gylfi. He looks ineffective. Perhaps he should play behind two front men.

The future looks bright. I can see players like Caulker, Bale, Lennon, Naughton, Walker, Livermore, Tom Carroll, Harry Kane, Ryan Mason form the backbone of the team for years (notice the common theme?). Not to mention the likes of Coulibaly, Falque, Sandro as well. Unfortunately what really would happen is that some would be sold off, loaned out or not used, but I can only hope.

Sep 25, 2012 at 5:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterFocussed from Singapore

Spooky yet again a brilliant article.
One thing I want more than anything is that you and other blogs start this debate about the atmosphere ,sooner rather than later. Again we stay quiet and let the away team out sing us. FFS we are the mighty hardchore Spurs fans, whats gone wrong, and no this has nothing to do with our play, as this has been creeping into the Lane for a while now.The park lane and East lower corner are meant to be where the noise is, but are too quiet. Are the hardchore Spurs fans been priced out by the prawn sandwhich types, like up in the East upper block D , where I sit and the only ones you can hear urging and shouting at our team are me and a handful of other fans.
Wake up Spurs fans and get behind the team.

Sep 25, 2012 at 8:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterkoko61

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