October 2, 2011

Analysis of the goal conceded against Arsenal (02/10)

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Aaron Ramsey’s goala Song run down the right causes havoc in the Spurs defence, and his cross finds Ramsey in space to finish.


Arsenal sustain some pressure after a corner, and Kaboul heads away after a cross is put deep into our penalty area.


The ball lands at Song’s feet, and with van der Vaart slow to close him down, and no other players having pushed out following the clearance, he takes the opportunity to run down the right hand side.


Van der Vaart is very slow to get across and put pressure on Song, and Walker is holding his position to try to protect the near post. Note the four Arsenal players against three in the middle of our penalty area, where we have failed to re-organise effectively.


Song gets to the byline, having totally evaded van der Vaart and, although Walker is fairly well-positioned, he has plenty of players to aim at. Kaboul has got his positioning wrong, and now has three Arsenal players between him and the ball.


Song’s pass is a good one, and Ramsey’s run to the near post makes it easy for him to finish over Friedel.

Redknapp played a risky game, changing formation from the previous Premier League win at Wigan, where we effectively played a 4-2-3-1, with Parker in deep midfield alongside Sandro, and opting to go with Defoe and Adebayor up front. This left us with a problem of three Arsenal central midfield players against two of ours and, as a result, they dominated possession throughout (62% according to Opta).

Arsenal play with a very high defensive line and, whilst we exploited this on a number of occasions, we could have done so more often had our strikers been able to stay onside. Also, had Sandro started, he would have given us the energy and extra body to allow us to win the ball higher up the pitch, and spring that high line on the counter attack. As it was, Parker and Modric generally had to get back behind the ball as quickly as possible and maintain shape whilst waiting for Arsenal to give the ball away.

Had Arsenal been confident and on top form they may have punished us but, in truth, despite their possession, they barely created any clear cut chances; their only real chance coming when van Persie beat Kaboul on the touchline before finding Gervinho, who steered the ball wide.

At the other end, Arsenal’s sloppy passing and collectively poor defending meant that we had three one-on-ones (Adebayor, Parker, Bale) amongst other good chances (the ball falling to Modric in the box from a corner for example).

I have seen lots of criticism for Rafael van der Vaart, suggesting that his continual drifting from his starting position on the right caused us problems; I must disagree. He scored a goal (having drifted in-field) and was involved in several other key moments and, whilst he didn’t have his best game, his “drifting” for me is a positive. The key issue, though, is that we need to have two defensive midfield players capable of covering in the full-back areas, as is often the case in a 4-2-3-1. In summary – van der Vaart from the right is good, but only with two holding players.

A word on Scott Parker, who I was not overly keen on signing (as I thought he was on the decline) – how wrong I was. I’m still not quite sure how he managed to keep going for the full 90 – he was clearly cramping up, he looked totally dead on his feet (having competed in a 3 vs 2 situation for such a long period), and yet he still made bursts forward. His stats were incredibly impressive – he made the most attempted passes in our team (40), had the highest success rate (88%), made the most tackles (7) and the joint highest interceptions (3). Fantastic performance from him!

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  • Mattspurs says:

    I too was sceptical about Parker but in games like this he is exactly what we needed. Sandro was also outstanding as was Modric.

    VDV isn’t a midfielder, he drifts but also doesn’t track back and Arsenal clearly tried to expose this weakness at the start of the second half- for me it’s a choice between him and Defoe up front alongside Ade (his goals put him ahead of Defoe in my mind).

    Lennon (although injured for this game) gets a lot of stick for a bad final ball but defensively he is very strong and works hard to protect his full back.

    Nice selection problems for Harry to have

  • Anonymous says:

    I wasn’t keen on Parker, I believed all the bollocks from people saying “Harry only wants him because he’s Jamie’s mate” etc. etc.

    How wrong was I?

  • Jill says:

    Still prefer Sandro to Parker – better footballer!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Are spurs fan footballing snobs? Parker is just what we need- a player who really gives 100% for the cause. Who gives a team this nowadays? He was out numbered in midfield & still never gave up. Defoe or VDV upfront for me. In this game it should have been VDV bcos of his goal scoring record vs Ar5ena1. But Defoe has been superb in his attitude and play. If we get VDV fitter then we’d be awesome.

  • JimmyG2 says:

    The mismatch in midfield skewed the whole game until Sandro came oin.
    Harry in retrospect got it wrong but admits himself he thought of changing it at half time and he should have done.
    I was against Parker coming for various reasons , some footballing and some not. But he has established his value at Spurs.
    He is very good defensively but often very slow thinking in attack.
    One great ball inside the full back for Bale was an exception that highlights the rule.
    Van Der vaart the main culprit but not too sure about Walkers positioning to cut out the cross.

  • Jill says:

    And what’s wrong with being a footballing snob? I can give 100% but that doesn’t mean you want me playing!!!! Parker has his worth but ultimately only as a stop gap. Hudd is far more talented and will hopefully fully recover from his ongoing ankle problem. And Sandro could develop into a great player. Parker is useful but limited.

  • Anonymous says:

    Parker is terrible and will have us relegated.
    I know this for a fact because I read it online from so many Spurs fans who are all experts. They know exactly what the club should and should not do better than anyone so surely we must trust the Spurs bloggers.
    The Arsenal goal was due to Rafa towing an invisible caravan. But he did take his goal beautifully and celebrated like a proper yido so I forgive him.

  • Anonymous says:

    I really cant agree that Sandro is a better ‘footballer’ than Parker. I dont see how someone can say this either. Parker never gives the ball away, holds it when he’s in trouble rather than hoofing it, has a great pass on him and works his socks off.
    I’m not saying Sandro isnt good – far from it, but Parkers reading of the game is superb, as Harry say’s he is a ‘proper footballer’

  • Anonymous says:

    Jill, go back to watching netball. Hudd is slow like a dump truck. Takes him half an hour to turn and react. Parkers a much better partner for Modders in the middle and also great with Sandro. As for all the excitement about Walker. Thank goodness he scored the goal to redeem himself because he didn’t have clue what to do defensively with the Arsenal goal,. Just froze up and looked clueless. However saying that he still had a very good game offensively but has all to learn at the other end.

  • Jill says:

    Good to know the intelligence of those that resort to sexism as their best hope of winning an argument. Have you seen Huddlestone’s passing and the opportunities he creates? His mobility was also much improved before his ankle injury. He has talent way beyond most English players who can run and run but give them the ball…..

  • I was telling my mates during the match that Sandro needed to come on; we desperately needed more muscle / intimidating factor. He and Parker were excellent, although I feel Sandro can work on his runs a bit more.

    Modric didn’t have a great game overall. There were moments where he displayed his brilliance, but I hold him to a very high standard which I didn’t see yesterday. Still glad he’s a Spur though!

    COYS!

  • Windy says:

    Mattspurs – nice comment! So you think stick with the 4-4-2 where possible?

    Anon @ 11:27 – many of us were. He’s been fantastic so far!

    Jill – I like both. I think both are huge players for us!

    Anon @ 11:44 – I agree that Defoe’s attitude is good, but I don’t think the quality of his play is up there with our best players. A level below IMO.

    JimmyG2 – That’s interesting, I hadn’t seen Harry’s comments. What did he say about the potential HT sub?

    Jill – I personally think that overall Parker is a far better player than Huddlestone.

    Anon @ 13:49 – Wasn’t it a superb finish?

    Anon @ 15:32 – I think Sandro and Parker are actually quite similar in terms of playing possession football. They’ll do well together IMO.

    Anon @ 15:43 – I really disagree, I thought Walker did fine for the goal and was let down by defenders in the box, and someone not pushing out after the initial clearance to press Song.

  • Windy says:

    elwehbi@ibleedhotspur – I agree on all points! Must be Modric’s lowest pass completion of the season at 76% – 7th best in our team.

  • JimmyG2 says:

    Post match Sky interview

    ‘Thicken it up’
    A new phrase for the coaching manual.
    If he had we might not have conceded the goal.
    But who knows?

  • Anonymous says:

    I’m not sure if people have been watching Lady Penelope’s estimable butler, but the Parker I’ve been watching has been very impressive. I think that with him and Sandro in tandem the defence is spared many headaches. Do people agree that Kaboul has been improving steadily and should start ahead of Dawson? Also, is Corluka a better bet defensively against quality left wingers than Walker at present (eg Chelsea)?
    I have to admit to being surprised that Defoe has been improving his positional sense with respect to offside, although he could not have got worse. I would also pick Dos Santos ahead of Lennon.
    Our next run of games could put us well into the top four mix or even top three, perhaps even pulling away from the rest by Xmas.
    Sweetsman

  • Windy says:

    Jimmy – great stuff. Good to hear him acknowledging the 3 vs 2 issue. Really good interview!

    Sweetsman – Agree on Sandro/Parker. Think we’ll be incredibly solid with those two. Re: Kaboul – he’s doing well (as I thought he was last year). Dawson, though, has the leadership qualities that have him ahead of Younes IMO. Not sure on GDS vs Lennon… I still think Giovani needs to learn to work harder.

  • bonse says:

    The Parker/Sandro combination looks great to me, but so does modric plus other. When it comes down to it I personally don’t think we need to play both defensive midfielders in every game, games like Arsenal where they sit on the line of the back four yes, but ones that sit back in their own half?

    I hate to sound like a mid nineties keegan, but horses for courses. Thing I like most about Parker is whenever a defender has pushed forward he is in their place immediately

    Just a point on Hudd’s mobility, it was something I was accused of a lot, I used to play next to someone much smaller and lighter than I was, everyone used to complain I was too slow, where I was taking two strides to cover a distance wee john was taking 3 but even I had to admit on replays he looked much faster yet in a straight line sprint i left him standing. The thought recurred to me when invited to play warcraft with my young nephew, an avid player, I made a Taurus a big bull creature with a huge hammer which i was laughed at for because they are much slower than all the others, he made a small goblin because they are much faster. After many fruitless attempts to convince me otherwise he sadly admitted that they probably run at the same speed, this hasnt convinced him to ever play a big lumbering taurus because he still feels the world is moving slower for it. Probably sommat psychothingamy in that.

  • Windy says:

    Bonse – very interesting! I’ve had similar conversations with people about Corluka. His legs move slowly, but he covers ground well because of his big stride – as a result, he is nowhere near as slow as most seem to think, although admittedly he lacks acceleration.

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