August 29, 2011

Analysis of the goals conceded against Manchester City (28/8)

Follow me on Twitter – @WindyCOYS.

READER ALERT: This may make for painful reading.

Dzeko’s first goalNasri’s one-two with Aguero creates a good angle for the cross, and he delivers a superb ball for Dzeko to prod home.



City regain possession and Toure has the ball, with Corluka pressing.



The ball is moved wide to Nasri – Lennon works hard to get close to him. Modric is too high up the pitch to affect City’s progress – the lack of holding player is vital here.





Nasri carries the ball forward as our players look to get back into a meaningful defensive position.



Nasri finds Kompany and then takes possession back from him. Modric has taken responsibility for Aguero. Dzeko is marked by Assou-Ekotto and Kaboul. Corluka and Dawson are positioned relatively well.



Aguero darts off Modric to play a quick one-two with Nasri. Lennon must surely know what Nasri is going to try to do.



But Nasri’s run in behind Lennon beats him far too easily, and Corluka has not got close enough to be able to show Nasri down the line. Kaboul is goal-side of Dzeko, and seemingly in control.



Nasri whips in a fantastic cross, but Dzeko’s movement is the key. He runs to the near post to meet the ball. It’s not really possible to see this from the picture, but if you watch the video, note Kaboul’s bizarre defending. He doesn’t read the one-two at all, and almost gives up on defending, thinking that the ball is going to go back out towards the edge of the box. This split-second lapse is what allows Dzeko to beat him to the flight of the ball.



Kaboul recovers ground on Dzeko, but not enough to get to the ball first.



Dzeko finishes well, but this is Kaboul of old – a lapse in concentration and essentially a tap-in for a top class striker.

Dzeko’s second goala classic counter-attack from City, who “gang up” down our right. Eventually Nasri finds Dzeko with another excellent cross, and the header is exquisite.



It’s Toure again who starts this move, carrying the ball forward and picking the right pass (as he nearly always does).



Toure slots the ball ahead of our retreating players to David Silva.



Silva drives forward and releases the ball to Nasri.



Nasri faces Corluka up, and has the time to see Dzeko calling for the ball in the box. One striker surrounded by four defenders.



The ball is such that Dawson, Bale and Assou-Ekotto are bypassed, and it is down to Kaboul again to compete with Dzeko one-on-one.



Kaboul doesn’t even get off the ground – it’s awful, flat-footed defending, as he leaves Dzeko to head the ball virtually unchallenged. That said, this is not an easy header – back to goal, and twisting mid-air – but he makes it look easy.

Dzeko’s third goalSpurs fail to re-organise having conceded a corner, and pay the price when Yaya Toure gets round the back to put the ball on a plate for Dzeko.



Defoe heads the ball away but only to Clichy, who immediately squares the ball to Barry.



There is no pressure on the ball, and Spurs are slow to re-organise defensively. Aguero pulls wide ready to receive the ball.



Barry feeds a simple ball to Aguero’s feet – he is one-on-one with Assou-Ekotto, and Yaya Toure has noticed an opportunity.



Yaya Toure cleverly makes an overlapping run, and Modric makes a token gesture to back up Assou-Ekotto. However, the lack of pressure on the ball means that Aguero can just wait for his moment and pop it down the line. Modric points for Assou-Ekotto to go with Yaya, but it is too late. Notice at this point that our defenders have a man each in the box – Corluka has David Silva, Dawson has Dzeko and Kaboul has Lescott (sort of!).



As Yaya charges towards goal, he has options – he can cut the ball back to Lescott, or he can play across the face of goal. David Silva’s movement in the six-yard box has bamboozled Corluka, who has no hope of marking him now. As a result, Dawson is left with two men to mark.



Such is the quality of the pass that it almost doesn’t matter – the best Dawson could manage is to gamble on putting a foot on the ball, which would probably end with a goal anyway.



Dzeko is left with a tap-in, and Corluka’s weak marking is highlighted by where he ends up compared to David Silva!

Aguero’s goalNasri finds Aguero, who is one-on-one with Dawson. He drops his shoulder, beats Dawson, and then beats Friedel too.



Aguero drops deep to help keep possession, and lays the ball off to Nasri.



He spins Dawson, and Nasri sees that he has an opportunity to catch us on the break yet again.



The pass is superbly weighted, and means that Aguero is one-on-one with Dawson.



Aguero teases Dawson – he shows him the ball…



…and then drops his shoulder and beats him on the outside.



He gets his shot away before Dawson can make a challenge. It is difficult to attribute too much blame here – Dawson is simply beaten by a far better player.



But Friedel makes it easy for Aguero – he doesn’t stand up or make himself particularly big, and Aguero’s finish doesn’t need to be anything special. It’s just toe-poked over him.

Dzeko’s fourth goalAfter some patient approach play, City suddenly burst into life, and Dzeko plays a give-and-go with Barry before smashing an unbeatable shot into the top corner.



Dzeko receives the ball in midfield, and his first touch lets him down a little – the ball gets away from him.



This slip tempts Assou-Ekotto into the challenge, but Dzeko is stronger and beats him.



Dzeko progresses forward and looks to find Gareth Barry.



It’s an intelligent piece of play from Barry, who tees the ball up perfectly for Dzeko.



And he lets fly, smashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner of Friedel’s net – no chance for the goalkeeper this time.

A hugely disappointing result but, as many other bloggers have pointed out, the game was essentially lost before kick off. Redknapp’s team selection was bizarre, with no holding players selected in a game where City were deploying three of the finest attacking midfield players in the Premier League. Nasri, Silva and Aguero were afforded a ridiculous amount of space between our defence and midfield, and were able to supply Dzeko with ease.

In response, Spurs were toothless in front of goal, with Bale and Crouch missing good chances. Crouch put in a fairly typical shift – unable to lead the line effectively, and bullied by Man City’s strong centre-backs. Defoe came on and added a little bit more purpose, but the game was over at that point.

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  • SpursSimon says:

    Great as usual Windy – yes a bit depressing, and there is not a lot of individual blame that can be placed.
    Although for me Dawson was taken apart too easily on 4, letting player beat you “the long way round” is not good for him

  • Fatfish says:

    Superb analysis Windy.

    I don’t think it would have made any difference, but I thought the referee’s position on the first may have affected Lennon trying to recover as he was partially blocking his run.

  • Windy says:

    SpursSimon – totally take the point on Dawson. As I said, I personally think he was just beaten by a technically superior player who has a real low centre of gravity and better acceleration. Made Dawson look silly really! Sure he’ll do it to plenty of other CBs this season too.

    Fatfish – cheers! I think that’s a fair comment but for me Lennon let himself down a bit. He’s normally quite decent defensively.

  • Anonymous says:

    Excellent analysis Windy. The starting lineup was suicide, i’m not a Redknapp fan, but surely he is not that naive.

    This in my opinion was a set up by Redknapp to send a ‘message’ to our chairman.

  • Topol says:

    Should get the sack for that. No manager should set up side to lose. Livermore isn’t greatbut showed heart. Nobody looked fit to me

  • Dawson is no longer capable of being captain. He seems to lack command over the squad when we most need it. Not to take away from City as their side was excellent (as they should be for all that money spent), but to allow them to come to the Lane and score 5 goals is inexcusable… whoever the opponent may be.

    There was no leadership on the pitch. That showed against United as well. Even if we were to lose as miserably as we did, I would still hope that our captain has the ability to rally the troops even if the situation was as demoralizing as the other day.

  • MarkSpurs says:

    To be honest the only players we had available who could be considered holding midfielders were Hudd and Livermore.

    We conceded 3 after Hudd came on and Livermore did alright but I really don’t think he’d have made a difference, although he showed more effort than anyone else had when he came on.

    Quite simply Man City have bought an exceptional team and I worry this is going to ruin the league or at least turn it into La Liga where it’s impossible to surpass the two teams at the top.

    Hopefully this will act like a wake up call for Levy and he’ll be less stingent with transfers.

  • a_flew says:

    excellent stuff Windy. As depressing as it is to see our defensive frailties highlighted by you every week, I learn a a lot about the game.

    I noticed after Dzeko’s hat-trick goal that Harry was pointing the blame at BAE. My opinion was that BAE had no chance; City had worked to 2 on 1 overlap well. If BAE goes with the runner, it left the ball carrier with time to cross. If he goes to the ball carrier, its an easy pass to the overlapping player. Is there any blame on BAE in this situation, or is it catch22?

  • Anonymous says:

    Agree with the analysis and also thought that Friedel should have done better with the fourth goal, although this goal also exposed Dawson’s lack of pace again. You can’t survive at this level without pace and I would have left Dzeko to Dawson and Aguerro to Kaboul, who handled his pace quite easily. I would also question Friedel’s positioning for the killer second goal. He seemed to drift too far toward the near post and was then left rooted to the spot.Spurs improved when Livermore came on and he surely should have started. In addition, while Defoe got off a couple of good shots, it was his normal hit and hope and both were pretty central and easy for the goalkeeper. Also, he must have been on the pitch for about 15 minutes before he even touched the ball, apart for the poor header to help set up City’s fourth goal.

    Altogether, Harry committed suicide and although we were missing a few players it should have been obvious that we needed to try to contain City and hope for something on the break. Possibly, Walker could have featured instead of Lennon, who has looked poor in our opening two games.

  • Anonymous says:

    Your assessment of the first goal is wrong. When Corluka went after the man Krancjar was behind him in the right back position and should have stayed with Aguero. He didn’t, he came inside and left him unmarked. The first goal would have been prevented had Krancjar stayed where he was.

    Defoe did his usual just shoot at the middle of the goal which seems to fool some supporters, Crouch was his usual liability in front of goal.

    Livermore has had 3 games in a week and is not ready for regular action at this level yet. We all feared the worst when Krancjar was in CM and Kaboul showed again why he should only be a forth choice. 3 injuries and 10 men.

    We have played the teams who will finish 1st and 2nd easily, our league starts now against Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal for 3rd and 4th.

  • Ralph says:

    I think a lot of blame has to be put on Modric for the third goal. It was pathetic how he just waved Toure past.

    It is true that we should have played a holding midfielder, but you can still expect the Modric and Nico to at least attempt to make a challenge and defend.

    The attitude was clearly wrong. And this is inexcusable.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great analysis. Feel I have to agree a little with Anon 11.13. Felt the line up had no spine, ManC are good but we made them look like Barca. We need a few new faces, but I have a feeling that the players that Schnapps want (mainly +30, high wage) do not fit into Levy’s buying strategy. BTW, what do they do at training? Doesn’t seem like they do much tactical work as we were pretty disorganised for long periods yesterday

  • Windy says:

    Anon @ 11:13 – I hope that wasn’t the case (and can’t believe it would be), but others have said the same.

    Topol – I thought Livermore was the obvious choice if Huddlestone/Jenas weren’t fit. Not ideal, but better without the ball than Kranjcar.

    elwehbi@ibleedhotspur – I honestly think it was as simple as letting three superb attacking midfield players run riot against a midfield with no defensive-minded players. Harsh to hang it all on Dawson!

    MarkSpurs – We did conceded three after Huddlestone came on, but we were chasing the game…

    a_flew – I tend to agree with you on the hat-trick goal – was more Modric’s fault for not making a better effort to double up.

    Anon @ 12:22 – Agree with most of what you say, although don’t think Friedel could have done much with the second…

    Anon @ 12:41 – Kranjcar did well to get goal-side of Kompany and then to be fair we recovered our shape. Think it’s a little harsh to blame him.

    Ralph – agree with first goal. Modric and Kranjcar don’t have those instincts – Sandro would have made a huge difference. Really missing that guy!

    Anon @ 13:36 – Totally agree. Tactical issues have always been there under Redknapp but are starting to show more and more frequently. Poor subs vs United, poor selection vs City…

  • bonse says:

    Is this the longest analysis yet? seems painfully so.

    Second game in a row but not the first time in my spurs supporting life that I have been left with the ponder does the first goal precede a collapse, or is the first goal a symptom of one thats already happened.

    I really wanted to play Everton first match, theres not a better time to play them in any season I can remember than day 1, but now with no points, a huge goal defecit and a nasty next few games (including a NLD against a team that now have even more to prove than we do) we could be seeing 8 games in and less than 2 points, morale must take a hammering and that makes winning harder. I fear the fixture list has been unimaginably horrid to us this year.

    On the other hand, adding to Arsenals embarrasment in their apparent weakened state may precipitate a performance against Liverpool that puts them firmly in their new place which could kickstart our season nicely.

    Anyway, thank you as always for the review, high quality commentary as ever

  • Anonymous says:

    I really don’t understand HR’s oft-repeated mantra about only being able to play one way. I thought the most mature performance I have seen from a Spurs team was against AC Milan away. Against the likes of MU and MC, esp in their current form, you have to draw their sting and so prevent them having the freedom of the midfield; frankly, you could have a picnic in the Spurs midfield and not be bothered at all. But no, he had to commit harakiri with our polo mint midfield.
    As regards Dawson, it’s not that he’s slow, it’s that he doesn’t seem to read the game. Kaboul keeps getting moved all over and so can’t develop his game: is he a RB or CB? The main problem is that there is no-one to screen our defence. In the absence of Sandro, Hudd should be told to just patrol in front of the back four and not go into the other half; Livermore could sit further forward with Modric/Krancjar. Bale and Lennon have to provide defensive cover on the wings. The forward(s) should have been told to move the defence around to a)tire them out and b) provide opportunities to attack from midfield. I am not sure that VdV should be in the team at present, unless he’s attacking from midfield; Pav may be a better bet for this role only in that he takes up more intelligent positions that Defoe and Crouch.
    Dawson should not be captain: either Gallas or King should. Parker or Bellamy might be useful if a) they come and b) the other two are not fit.
    We lack an endgame and at present HR’s strategy is blowing up by 60 mins. It’s a crying shame we won’t get Diarra.
    Sweetsman

  • JimmyG2 says:

    I think we were beaten before we started through poor
    tactics, set-up and attitude.
    Second game running we have capitulated.

    Can’t help but think that if Gomes had conceded eight in two games the knives would be out though you don’t blame him for any of the goals.
    Dawson is no better or woirse than we already know but as you say Aguerro will beat many better centre halves this season.

    Transfer window has been a disaster even though there are 18 hrs to go.

  • Windy says:

    bonse – yes 🙁
    I think that’s an excellent question, re: whether it was the first goal that preceeded a collapse. I personally think in the case of the United game, the first goal caused our manager to panic, and his changes lead to a collapse. In the case of Sunday’s game, I’d suggest that we were going to lose from the minute the team was selected so long as their front four woke up.

    Sweetsman – Quite. He says that because it preserves him – we have no doubt played some absolute dross under him, but he wouldn’t recognise that in public, would he?! I totally agree with your assessment of our midfield.

    Re: the forward(s) – Crouch… move a defence around?! This is the biggest problem with him IMO. Totally unable to “occupy” a defence, and create space for otherwise. Adebayor will be a huge upgrade in this respect.

    JimmyG2 – I know what you mean about the goalkeeper, but I genuinely think that the quality of finishing was such that Friedel can only really be blamed for the Aguero goal (and we’ve seen Gomes concede goals similar to that one!).

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