December 7, 2009

Should we be unhappy with a draw at Everton?

I preface this by saying that prior to the season starting, the majority of us would have happily accepted a draw at Goodison Park. Whilst we have a good record there, it is undoubtedly a tricky place to go, and David Moyes has assembled a very tough unit. However, when looking at the starting line-up yesterday, and certainly the line-up once Yobo had been replaced by 21-year old Coleman, you have to feel a little disappointed that we couldn‘t take advantage.

For the majority of the game, Spurs were dominant – we had 19 shots, 11 on target, whereas Everton had 15, 6 on target. Our patterns of play tended to be one and two touch, relatively fluid football, with the occasional long ball to Crouch. We broke forward at pace, and with creativity, and looked like a real threat. Everton’s main route was a high ball into the channel, attempting to turn our defenders or, once Saha and Yakubu came on, a high ball directed towards them (they were, admittedly, playing without two of their best creative players, Arteta and Osman).

We carved out some really excellent chances, and we should have been clear. I am disappointed that Defoe hasn’t shown more consistency since the Wigan game; for the third game running, he missed some good opportunities. He was up against a makeshift centre back in Hibbert and, on the whole, he didn’t test him enough in my opinion. Crouch also looked very short of confidence in front of goal, and the one-on-one to make it 3-0 was the one that should have really put us out of sight.

In essence, we only have ourselves to blame for 1. not finishing Everton off, and 2. allowing them back into the game; yes, there were individual errors from the likes of Bale (1st goal in particular) and Palacios and Bassong (2nd goal) – more on these later – but Defoe and Crouch’s misses were as bad as those errors, and so we shouldn’t just be pointing the finger at our defenders.

Many people on forums this morning are criticising a lack of fight/spirit – personally I thought we gave as good as we got. Dawson could easily have been shown a second yellow for the elbow on Fellaini, and AssouEkotto was cutting it fine when shoving away Cahill/Fellaini after the incident where he arguably dragged his studs across Cahill’s head. Frankly, I’d rather see us being more clinical – staying calm and emotionless is just as important as showing fight in my opinion. For example, all three of our Croatians have that quiet calmness, which I think has helped us as a team generally, although clearly you need a good mix of qualities in the squad.

We must also remember the ages of some of the players that have been regulars this year – we have a lot of players that are still young and still learning the game, and we don’t have too many older, experienced heads in the squad. Our players aren’t as experienced as the likes of Chelsea (who incidentally let a lead slip this weekend and missed a penalty too, but actually lost) or United, or even Villa.

Yesterday we ended with the following back-line:

Corluka 23
Dawson 25
Bassong 23
Bale 20

And our starting midfield:

Lennon 22
Huddlestone 22
Palacios 25
Kranjcar 25

These players are as young as the “kids” that certain other teams have, yet don’t seem to get the same breathing space.

I think the point that I’d like to end with is that I see in this team, for the first time in a fair while as a Spurs fan, signs of improving individuals (Lennon, Huddlestone, AssouEkotto), and signs of a team growing together as a unit. We need to be patient with them, allow them time to develop, and accept that 6th or 7th is not a bad finish – I would have taken that before the season started. If we don’t finish in the top 4 or 5 this year, it won’t be the end of the world. We don’t need to go and replace half the team again in the hope that it will push us two places higher up the league next year because, mark my words, we will end up setting ourselves back yet again.

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  • Anonymous says:

    We are all gutted, but shouldn’t be unhappy. The way the team is set up is that we are still reliant on King/Woodgate. When they are injured, we not only miss a quality defender, we miss a captain and experienced head. This gives us the shakiness that we saw last night. I am content that we didn’t lose against Everton and Villa away and played well. Let’s keep it up and beat them on our patch – plus Wolves next game.

  • Windy says:

    Well said, hopefully we’ll come back strong against Wolves – 3 key matches coming up.

  • Anonymous says:

    excellent point, the shoutings of all this top 4 nonsense has got out of control. I’d be delighted with 6th

  • Anonymous says:

    good post…i agree draw away is not bad…but we are all gutted because we should have had all 3points.what hurts is that after throwing away a 2 goal lead and could have been 3 .we were given a reprieve and again threw it away.but im not blaming j.d.he and lennon are our rooney and ronaldo and we are glad we got them..coys.

  • Anonymous says:

    I just wonder why Harry not let Keane out for the penalty…
    He has the count to do that…

  • Anonymous says:

    …well, you cannot bring someone off bench to take penalty – (apart from Penalty shoot-outs of course) – the player has no got used to ball & conditions yet. It HAD to be Defoe – there is no one else on the field who you would trust. Poor penalty, but let’s not forget that he had just played 90 mins of football and had a long delay before kick was taken. Gutted.

  • Anonymous says:

    Bale cost us!! If that 1st goal would never gone in then we would have won! Harry should get rid of that monkey eared twat!

  • Anonymous says:

    …Come on dude. I am tired of people pouncing on defensive mistakes when Crouch, Defoe, Lennon all made mistakes too. Ok, so Bale was badly exposed for first goal, that does not mean that he was responsible for us not winning. It was still 2-1. He played better that BAE that’s for sure. The guy is 20! He is just struggling to live up to price tag. I have a hunch that he will never have enough defensive tenacity for LB role. However Harry thinks that he is 100% LB.

  • JOHN ADAM says:

    Good as we are technically and physically, we seem to suffer from some sort of mental weakness costing us many matches and drawing when we should be winning. If we cannot overcome this weakness coupled with inconsistency, we shall find it difficult to finish among the top four.

  • Anonymous says:

    Please Harry sell bale away.. the guy lacks confident.. We had been giving him chances again and again.. Initially i love to to the core to when he first arrive at WHL but now he is the cause of the 2 goals.. first Coleman run pass him as he wasnt there.. Remember coleman is young than him.. that is his only 2nd or 3rd game for the toffees.. the 2nd goal, where is BALE? First he allow coleman to cross in and baines connect the ball (cross shot) to find cahill.. and yet bale was ball watching again..

    BAE is definately way better than bale was.. apart from the free kick that bale took, there is nothing i see good in him.. Although i would really hope that i am wrong cos i like him alot as a player.. PROVE ME WRONG BALE.. if you were to see this msg..

  • Anonymous says:

    its 4 pts lost in 2 games.. we should had won both the games.. against villa and everton.. imagine if we got the 4 pts, we will be only 5 pts off chelsea at the top of the table and 3 pts clear of 4th place arsenal and further 5 pts clear of 5th place.. Come to end of the season, we will regret not scoring the penalty and not finishing off villa..

    But saying all these, i feel happy that we are playing better away than previous year.. 🙂 I am a spurs support since 1991.. that is almost 20 years.. finally i feel pround walking on the streets with SPURS shirt.. Come on you SPURS!!!!

    Bale i really hope u will improve.. seeing u makes me disappointed..

  • Anonymous says:

    Lets get one thing straight here unless we are going to bring our kids back then forget sixth.We have bean there and we will be lucky if we keep our good players in January with five teams lurking and three others with ambitions to join us .BIRMINGHAM ASTON VILLA SUNDERLAND .January will be a game of upset the players and if we are not placed in the top four then we will be raided even more.

  • Anonymous says:

    It is narrowminded to blame Bale. We were winning 0-2. Coleman was running down the wing constantly after our second. Kranjcar was invisible, Defoe or Crouch never came across to close him down. Bale was exposed by a lack of support from Kranjcar. Rednapp must accept the blame for not replacing Kranjcar sooner as it was obvious that Kranjcar was unable to fulfill his defensive duties. Bale had a yellow card & was in danger of a red if he mistimed another tackle. Who was marking Saha when the cross came in? NOBODY! When a striker runs towards the front post someone has to go with him, in this case it should have been Bassong. The defoe penalty was so poor, the less said the better. Crouch had a couple of great oppertunities which he could not even get on target. Palacios also gave the ball away too often & also gave too many free kicks to Everton. The manager made mistakes & the players made mistakes. IT HAPPENS! Supporters also make mistakes by blaming 1 individual for the mistakes of many. Looking for a scapegoat is a sign of weakness. The reason Man U & Chelsea will finish above us is that their managers have great tactical awareness & their players are very experienced. We cannot compete with them but we have a team that can compete with the rest.There is a lot of competition this season for 3rd & 4th & i hope we can do it. Nothing will be decided i feel until the last game of the season. Lets win together, draw together & loose together & keep the faith! COME ON YOU SPURS!

  • Anonymous says:

    mental strength big time problem comes from the manager ?????

  • Anonymous says:

    Exactly! Mental strength is cemented by the Manager & the coaching staff or not as the case may be. At a crucial point in the game, winning 0-2 & Coleman (a rookie no less) running down the wing without a challenge until he reached Bale who was already on a yellow card. We could all see the problem but the manager did not(i presume) until it was too late. B.A.K & Bale are both good full backs but do not have a player on the left side of midfield who can defend. Modric is great on the attack & so is Kranjcar but they are not strong defenders. BAK has improved a lot because he plays regular first team football but he will leave soon for the African nations cup. Bale needs a run at left back to gain confidence but we still need someone on the left side of midfield who can defend as well as attack. Also Bassong will leave for Africa so the Incredible Hudd may have to return to central defence. Modric could return to midfield with Palacios playing the Hudd role. Many bigger problems to be solved come January but at least we have a squad which has a degree of flexibility. So the puzzle is for the manager & his staff to solve. The great managers find the solutions, lets hope Harry prooves to be one of those. He can start by showing belief in the fringe players something he has only done in the media. The place to do it is on the training ground & then on the field of play. All hands on deck will be needed come January & Feb when injuries seem to spiral & the pressure of the run-in looks. TO DO IS TO DARE or TO DARE IS TO DO! Who cares, LETS BELIEVE our players can do it & that the manager & his staff can gel them with a resolve to defend as a team before the hard slog of 2010 rolls in. We need to be stronger in the head with a coolness to match. 3rd & 4th are up for grabs. ARE WE UP FOR IT! I believe we can do it apart from Chelsea & Man U nobody is consistant. We have to try 100% COME ON YOU SPURS!

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