January 2, 2012
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Scott Sinclair’s goal – Joe Allen strides forward and finds Rangel. His deflected cross is not held by Friedel, and Scott Sinclair is left with an open goal at the far post.
Sometimes Redknapp goes a little kamikaze in search of a second goal – this time, he tries to hang on to the lead. Spurs drop deeper and deeper and stop pressing in the Swansea half – probably partly because the players no longer have the energy to do so.
As a result, Allen surges forward totally unchallenged, with our players sat off.
Allen slides the ball just beyond the reach of Bale who may have intercepted had he been fresh-legged.
The pass finds Rangel, who is a very similar player to Corluka. Not only does he wear the same shirt number, but he is a talented ball-playing right back, who is not blessed with tremendous pace.
For me, he tricks Assou-Ekotto far too easily with the classic winger trick of taking him inside with his first touch…
…and back out with his second – how many times have we seen Corluka, Walker or even Assou-Ekotto himself use this trick? The cross is sent in low, and despite being a couple of yards away, Assou-Ekotto manages to half block it. This should make it easier to deal with.
Kaboul seems to have had a shout from Friedel, as rather than hack the ball clear with his left foot, he slows down and protects the ball from Graham, ready for the goalkeeper to pounce.
Note at this point that the eventual goal-scorer, Sinclair, is behind Walker in the left wing position, but has a run on Kyle, who has made the assumption that Friedel will gather this.
But unfortunately Friedel has a howler, and doesn’t gather it cleanly. Walker needs to have assumed the worst…
…but instead, he has let Sinclair run alone to the far post, and he has the simple job of tapping home.
No doubt a point was a fair result in this game, as Swansea had a couple of other good chances to score. However, with five minutes to go, I can’t help but feel that we should have clung on. Redknapp’s substitutions were not the best – bringing on Defoe seemed like a logical idea early in the second half, to allow us to keep pressing the Swansea back line and forcing them into errors. However, bringing on Defoe and using him in the right wing-forward position with twenty minutes to go was quite odd – why not just put on a player that was used to playing a similar role? Kranjcar or Pienaar were both available. We stopped keeping the ball, and to me it seemed logical that a player like Kranjcar was needed to calm us in possession.
Ultimately, though, we were cost by Friedel’s first major blunder – his reliability has had a real impact on our team this season, and so I hope that this error does not undo all the confidence-building that his steady performances have achieved.