February 4, 2010
A really exciting game last night – it had a bit of everything, and it was a pleasure to watch. That said, I’m sure I’m not the only Spurs fan that thought “not again” when Luciano Becchio put Leeds level. We’d missed so many chances by that point, and it did make me think back to the first game, where we’d done just the same. Thankfully, Defoe found his shooting boots in the second half.
On the stroke of half-time, Leeds get a corner. It’s reasonably well defended, but it comes back out to Snodgrass. We seem to have plenty of bodies in the box.
Crouch wins the header against Beckford.
The ball comes straight out to Brondby. He intelligently lobs a ball back into the box. Notice Crouch, now with two Leeds players behind him.
As the ball comes in, Crouch looks favourite to win it.
But he doesn’t judge the flight, whereas Beckford does; he spins Crouch and does well to get an awkward shot on target. Gomes doesn’t deal with the shot particularly well, but it’s difficult to blame him – it’s not a tricky height, and it’s a reaction stop. This is where he needs help from his defenders. Crouch, Jenas, Corlula, Bassong and Dawson are all stood watching this situation unfold.
Becchio anticipates his opportunity, and the only Spurs player to react is Dawson. Bassong is actually initially best-placed to deal with the situation, but in the 3/4 seconds that pass between Brondby feeding the ball back in, and Becchio steering it in, Bassong stands still.
Looking from the other angle, you can see just how caught on their heels our players are – as the ball comes out from Gomes, Becchio has gone from being in line with our defenders, to being in a prime position.
I have had concerns about Bassong’s natural defensive awareness for some time. He just doesn’t seem to enjoy the art of defending – he doesn’t like to get close to players, he doesn’t put his body on the line, and he doesn’t anticipate situations. Jenas, Corluka and Crouch are not entirely blameless in this situation, but the ball certainly fell into Bassong’s “zone”, and I think Gomes will be unhappy that he didn’t back him up.