December 23, 2011

Analysis of the goal conceded against Chelsea (22/12)

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Daniel Sturridge’s goalChelsea take a quick free kick, feed the ball into Drogba, who lays the ball off to Cole. It runs kindly off his arm, and he crosses well for Sturridge to finish at the back post.

Chelsea are wrongly awarded a free kick for a Modric foul in midfield – he takes the ball cleanly, and Webb has a good view of this, so it is surprising that he blows for a foul.

Chelsea take the kick quickly – note Spurs’ 4-5-1 shape, with van der Vaart on the far side, and Walker dashing forward to pick up Mata.

The ball is fed forward to Drogba, who has dropped off Gallas. He could turn, but instead plays a first-time flick to Cole, still tracked by van der Vaart. Notice Walker, who in trying to close Mata, has ended up out of position.

Also at this point, note Assou-Ekotto’s positioning, and Sturridge just starting to make a move in behind him. Assou-Ekotto is positioned quite wide to deal with Sturridge, but he is so intent on watching the ball, that he hasn’t spotted Sturridge making his move.

Van der Vaart goes to ground, probably knowing that he will be out-run by Cole. He dives in with his wrong foot, and only manages to glance the ball upwards towards Cole. The ball does strike Cole’s arm but, as his arm is not in an unnatural position, there is no way that it can be deemed handball, especially as it comes from such close range.

The ball runs really kindly for Cole. Notice King, central, with his arm up appealing for handball (and therefore caught on his heels), and Assou-Ekotto, who has rather embarrassingly afforded Sturridge yards and yards.

Sturridge is left with an easy tap-in at the back post.

Really poor defending from Spurs, but it was a poor free-kick award (so we lost possession when we should not have done), and Cole got a stroke of luck with the way the ball ran kindly for him. Still, Gallas standing off Drogba, van der Vaart going to ground with his wrong foot, Walker charging up-field and committing himself, King wasting time appealing when the game is still going on, and Assou-Ekotto’s criminal ball-watching is a pretty ugly combination.

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December 12, 2011

Analysis of the goals conceded against Stoke City (11/12)

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Etherington’s first goala deflected Shotton cross loops up, and is helped on by Walters. Crouch controls it (with the help of his hand!), and squeezes the ball back across goal for Etherington to stab home.

Spurs clear the ball from a long throw-in, but Adebayor plays a one-two with Modric, and tries to dribble out with Stoke players converging around him.

He could turn back and play it safe, but he tries to press on, and eventually loses the ball.

Stoke get it wide, and work a two against one, with Shotton eventually getting clear.

Assou-Ekotto makes up ground well, and is able to half-block the cross, causing it to loop up into the air.

The ball is in the air for around three seconds and, personally, I think that Friedel should be coming to punch this away. Instead he leaves it for Gallas to battle it out with Walters – a battle that he struggled with all game.

Walters inevitably wins the flick on, and a better striker than Crouch, who has somehow ghosted into space over Kaboul’s shoulder, would volley this home first time.

 

Instead,he awkwardly controls it on his arm, before Gallas gets a foot in and pushes him wide of goal.

In fairness to Crouch, he does well to keep the ball alive, and he squeezes it back across goal.

Kaboul and Walker between them should be able to clear this, but Etherington anticipates well.

He gets to the bounce of the ball before both of them, and prods the ball in.

Etherington’s second goala Shotton long throw is helped on by Walters, and Etherington is again on hand to finish.

As Shotton prepares to take the throw-in,Spurs have ten players in the penalty area, against Stoke’s City’s four (with three just outside). The eventual goal-scorer, Etherington, is close to the edge of the box, between Modric and Bale.

As the ball is in the air, Walters gets up early (he has that Kevin Davies-like ability to hang), and Etherington makes his move towards the back post, anticipating a flick-on.

Parker has his eye on Etherington, and backs away to mark him.


Walters wins the header, and Parker just doesn’t get close enough to Etherington to stop the ball dropping to him. The finish is quite fortuitous – he hits it into the ground, and it loops up over Friedel.

Overall, the first half was pretty poor from Spurs, but had the first goal been disallowed for handball, we would have gone in at 1-0. Redknapp was very pro-active at half-time, making two substitutions, and moving from a 4-4-1-1 to a 3-5-2. It worked well, with the team creating a number of excellent goal-scoring opportunities and good situations. On another day, the referee would have given us three penalties (the one we got, the hauling down of Kaboul, the handball on the line), and there could easily have been two red cards for Stoke as well – Woodgate committed a second bookable offence on the edge of the penalty area in the first half, and handball on the line is a red card offence too.

These kind of games will always happen, and I think it’s important not to get too down-heated – the team battled back well in the second half, and did enough to get something from the game. Redknapp also deserves praise. I have long-criticised him for his lack of pro-active substitutions and tactical changes, but he made some bold moves yesterday. Bale had a stunning second half, and Modric/van der Vaart schemed behind the two forwards, with Adebayor frequently pulling over to the left and causing havoc with his good close control.

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December 1, 2011

Analysis of the goals conceded against PAOK Salonika (30/11)

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Salpingidiss goalGallas loses the ball in central midfield and when the ball is played into the box, it’s headed home by the unmarked forward after Bassong had stepped up.

Gallas tries to bring the ball out from the back but gets in a muddle and, rather than turning back, tries to cut inside a player… unfortunately his touch is heavy and he is dispossessed.

The ball is played forward down the left channel and, as Gallas charges back, there are two men running towards the box, with Rose caught out and trying to make up ground.

The winger backs Corluka into the box, before looking up and seeing Salpingidis in the centre, with Rose having tucked in a bit, and Bassong in front of him.

Bassong takes a stride forward as the ball is delivered – is he, bizarrely, trying to play the striker offside?! Either way, it leaves the eventual scorer totally unmarked, with Rose having one eye on the runner behind him. Gomes doesn’t even make a despairing dive – he just stands and watches as the ball finds the corner of the net. A very ugly goal from our point of view.

Athanasiadis’ goala good pass inside Corluka has the full-back treading water, and Bassong’s man gets a yard on him to finish as the ball is slid across.

As Livermore and Kane attempt to press the ball, it is played forward between Gallas and Corluka.

Corluka’s lack of acceleration on the turn shows (even more so than usual, possibly as he is coming back from an injury), as the winger gets to the ball before him despite him having a clear head-start.

As the ball is played across the face, Bassong hasn’t marked his man tightly – if you actually watch the video, Athanasiadis is trying to play on the shoulder, and Bassong never really gets to grips with him as the move unfolds.

As a result, he is left unmarked to slide in…

…and prod the ball beyond Gomes and into the corner.

Spurs’ back four were at sixes and sevens for the majority of the first half, with all four caught out on a number of occasions. It is understandable to an extent that they might be rusty after injury/irregular appearances, but such basic mistakes were quite concerning.

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