December 5, 2013
Dejagah’s goal – Dawson steps into midfield and miscues a pass to Paulinho, who loses the ball to Parker. Via Kačaniklić, Fulham find Berbatov, who releases Dejagah with a perfectly-weighted pass, and he finishes well.
Dawson has the ball in space at the back.
The reason that Dawson plays so many long balls is that he’s not comfortable in possession. Where our other centre-backs are all happy to carry the ball forward, Dawson isn’t. Instead, he distributes generally by laying the ball into Sandro, by shifting it to his centre-back partner, or by going long. Here, he attempts to step into midfield.
He panics, and plays a poor pass into Paulinho. Paulinho tries to protect the ball, but Parker presses him and gets a foot in, finding Kačaniklić.
Kačaniklić instantly lays off to Berbatov, who holds the ball up, turns…
…and sprays a wonderful pass wide to Dejagah. Here, it is useful to look at the animated GIF at the top of this article. Focus on Vertonghen. He has pushed up into a very advanced position – on halfway – with Dejagah far more narrow. When Fulham win the ball back, there are two or three seconds where Vertonghen is still stood on halfway, and Dejagah realises that he has an opportunity to fill the space.
By the time Vertonghen realises that Dejagah’s going to get the ball, it’s too late. The winger manages to control the ball on the stretch…
…and finishes well across Lloris from just inside the box.
Not pretty from Spurs, and Dawson again is culpable. He has had a poor run of games, and is only retaining his place due to the ongoing injury issues with Danny Rose. This was also one of Vertonghen’s worst games for Spurs, and his form at left-back is a major concern. There must be a temptation for AVB to switch Vertonghen back to centre-back, and bring in Fryers or Naughton at left-back.
On the plus side, Spurs created several good chances in this match, and had Paulinho, Lamela, and Defoe taken their presentable opportunities, we’d have been well clear. We have to start being more clinical – Lennon and Soldado missed good chances against United, meaning that we relied on long-range goals, and the same was true here.
December 1, 2013
I took a break from analysing goals conceded last week. I’m sure you won’t hold it against me.
Rooney’s first goal – Dembele loses the ball in midfield and Jones whips in a cross, which Walker fails to clear. It falls perfectly for Rooney to finish.
Unfortunately I’m relying on highlights to create these stills, as I didn’t record the match. Just before this, Mousa Dembele – otherwise much-improved today – dallied on the ball and lost possession. Here we see Jones with the ball on the right shortly after United had won the ball back.
Vertonghen is taken away by Valencia’s dummy run, meaning Jones has a bit of room to put a cross in, with Dembele struggling to get close.
The cross is relatively harmless, but Walker gets into a real pickle. His body shape is all wrong to clear; he should be striking this upfield first time with his left foot, or even getting side on and putting it out for a corner or throw-in if he’s determined to use his right, but instead he is taken by surprise and awkwardly prods it into the six-yard box.
Rooney is on hand to finish from close range – he doesn’t pass up opportunities like this.
Rooney’s second goal – Lloris comes to meet a through-ball from Rooney, but fails to get a hand to the ball, instead catching Welbeck’s trailing leg. Rooney smashes the resultant penalty right down the middle.
Rooney cuts inside and is aware of Welbeck’s movement ahead of him.
He plays a slide-rule pass for Welbeck to chase into the channel – he’s going away from goal, but Lloris has a decision to make: does he stay on his line, or try to sweep up.
It soon becomes clear that Welbeck will meet the ball first, but Lloris is committed.
He misses Welbeck’s front foot, but the forward’s back foot clips Lloris’ hand – whether he leaves it hanging deliberately to make contact or not, it’s difficult to tell – either way, there’s contact, and Lloris has missed the ball, so the referee has little choice but to award a penalty.
Rooney waits for Lloris to dive and slams the penalty down the middle of the goal.
November 10, 2013
Remy’s goal – After Spurs had twice surrendered possession, and then regained it, Chiricheș plays Paulinho into trouble, the Brazilian fails to keep the ball, and Yoan Gouffran slips a pass through to Loic Remy, who takes it round Brad Friedel and slots it home.
Dembele twice loses the ball, but Spurs regain possession, and Chiricheș attempts to find Paulinho. The pass is loose, and as Paulinho lets it run across his body, Gouffran moves in quickly to compete.
Paulinho stretches to retrieve the ball, and Gouffran is able to anticipate and get a foot in.
He makes a strong challenge, and wins the ball from Paulinho. Paulinho could do a lot more to retain possession – his challenge is weak.
He gets his head up quickly, and sees Remy having broken off Chiricheș and running into the centre.
Friedel comes off his line, but his starting position is so deep that he’s unable to reach the ball before Remy, who nips past him.
Once he’s round him, it’s just a case of sliding the ball into the empty net.
In hindsight, this was a bit of a smash and grab from Newcastle, but they had a real purple patch in the first half where they created some good opportunities, and Friedel had to make several saves. The second half was a different story; Spurs played well, but just couldn’t find a finish. Eriksen, Vertonghen and Paulinho all fluffed good opportunities, as Krul put in a man of the match performance.
The signs were better from Spurs, though, as they created more opportunities than in any other Premier League match so far. For me, Eriksen could have done more over the 90 minutes – his 71% pass completion (along with his dreadful set pieces) was not good enough, and Lamela must be left wondering what he needs to do to get a start. Likewise Sigurdsson struggled to stamp his authority on the game, whilst Townsend toiled but took on too many ambitious shots.
Sandro and Kaboul both made a real difference in the second half, and will hopefully both be fit enough to start the next match.
November 8, 2013
Isa’s goal – Cadu receives the ball on the edge of the box, shifts it onto his left foot (away from Vertonghen) and has a strike which Friedel parries. The goalkeeper doesn’t push it wide enough, and Isa is there to volley home.
Cadu receives the ball on the edge of the box, and makes a yard of space by shifting it onto his left foot.
Vertonghen allows him enough room to get a shot away.
Isa runs in untracked by Walker, having been played onside by Kaboul and Naughton.
Friedel’s weak parry leaves him prone, but he should still do much better at his near post. Not good defending from any of our players, but it’s particularly poor from Friedel.
October 31, 2013
Friedel’s own goal – Robert Koren and George Boyd link to get Ahmed Elmohamady free down the Hull right, and the Egyptian’s dangerous cross sees Hull players queueing up to finish it. Curtis Davies goes to ground to slot it home, but instead hits it back across goal, where it goes in off the flailing Brad Friedel.
Koren feeds the ball wide to George Boyd. Spurs look relatively well-organised at this point.
Boyd draws Walker in…
… and beats him with a clever flick to set Elmohamady free. Sigurdsson fails to track him.
Elmohamady is one of the best crossers in the Premier League, and puts a very dangerous ball into what Sky refer to as the ‘corridor of uncertainty’. The biggest worry is that Spurs have not got themselves organised – the five against five we had has now become three against one at the back post as Lamela and Dembele have totally switched off.
Davies slides in to finish the cross, but inexplicably directs it back across goal.
Poor old Friedel – his reflexes aren’t what they once were, and the ball rebounds awkwardly off him and into the open goal.
McShane’s goal – Paul McShane gets above Vlad Chiricheș to meet a corner, and powers a header beyond Friedel, who is rooted to his line.
Chiricheș is marking the eventual goal-scorer, McShane, and Spurs generally looked pretty well-organised again.
There’s no significant movement from McShane, but he gets up above Chiricheș. Friedel is absolutely rooted to his line. Given that he had no man near to him restricting his movement, he really should be coming to punch anything in his 6-yard box.
And if he’s not coming to punch or claim the ball, then the least he can do is stop anything within a foot of him – this is pretty much straight at him, but his reflexes aren’t good enough to keep it out. He just palms it into the roof of the net.
Whilst Spurs didn’t play well – although there were patches of domination and good approach-play – it wasn’t as bad a performance as many have made out. We made eight changes to the team, suffered injuries mid-match (Chadli, and Naughton, and Walker seemed to be struggling too) and yet, but for a couple of Friedel errors, we would have won and kept a clean sheet.
I can’t for the life of me understand why Friedel is ahead of Gomes in the pecking order at this point. A lovely man, no doubt, but he hasn’t been a top class goalkeeper for at least two years now, and his reflexes are getting worse by the day. It must be time to bring Gomes back in, or to show some faith in young Jordan Archer when we rest Hugo Lloris.
There were positives last night though:
- Younes Kaboul came through 120 minutes seemingly unscathed, and was one of the better performers on the night.
- Academy graduate Harry Kane showed his quality, and must surely now be ahead of Chadli in the pecking order for the back-up wide left role. With Adebayor still out, I wouldn’t mind seeing him used as the focal point on occasions too. Defoe’s performance last night was particularly abject.
- We won a penalty shoot-out, scoring eight of our nine kicks. Remarkable!
- 1882 was out in force, and a good time was had by all.