August 18, 2010
Having looked so strong, and so assured against Manchester City on Saturday, Spurs turned in a nightmare of a defensive performance against Young Boys last night, primarily due to being overrun in the middle of midfield (which is where all the goals came from).
Young Boys had an extra man (owing to their 4-2-3-1 formation), but then so did Manchester City on Saturday. There were two main reasons for Spurs’ failure this time round: 1. an inability to keep the ball, 2. an inability to keep an organised defensive shape.
Lulic’s opener was quite a lucky goal in many ways, but it had been coming, even at only 4 minutes in.
Doubai picked up a loose ball, and drove at Giovani.
Not only did Giovani not do much to stop Doubai, he had nobody to pass him on to as Palacios was slow to come out to him.
Doubai shoots from distance – there is clearly a player in an offside position. The ball strikes the offside player, and the flag should go up. It doesn’t, and the ball ricochets to Lulic.
Lulic makes no mistake with his finish, which is crisp and into the bottom corner.
12 minutes on the clock, and it goes from bad to worse.
Pavlyuchenko surrenders possession cheaply. Doubai intercepts and runs from deep in his own half.
Doubai continues to carry the ball forward, and our players seem unsure of what to do.
Instead of attempting to restrict his options, whilst jockeying, Palacios makes the decision to go to ground. He may make a bit of contact with the ball, but if anything it steers it further into the path of Bienvenu. Note the positioning of the Spurs defence – Dawson is the deepest, but still at least 5 yards higher up the pitch than I would expect against a quick counter-attacking side.
Dawson is caught horrendously flat-footed. He should have dropped off further but, instead, he is totally outstripped by Bienvenu, who has a clear run on goal.
He calmly steers the ball passed Gomes.
Costanzo picks up the ball in a ridiculous amount of space – not a Spurs player pushing up to restrict him, and Defoe’s token effort to close is virtually pointless.
He carries the ball forward and sees an opportunity to thread a through-ball to Hochstrasser, who is alive to the situation.
It’s a very well-weighted pass, but Bassong really shouldn’t be letting his man in beyond him. His positioning has meant that he hasn’t got a chance, but he isn’t helped by his lack of reading of the pass – he initially moves towards it.
Hochstrasser powers the finish, but I’m sure Gomes will be disappointed to be beaten at his near post.
A nightmare first half for Spurs with the midfield totally overrun, and the defence flat-footed and sloppy positionally. Assou–Ekotto struggled (especially as he was given a questionable yellow very early on) as Young Boys looked to get two against one on their right, and Corluka had no support from Giovani on our right.
Redknapp should have opted for a 4-5-1/4-2-3-1 for this match, or at least asked one of the strikers to play a more withdrawn role (as Defoe occasionally did at the end of last season). Still, we managed to get out of the first leg with a good chance of still qualifying for the Champions League proper, and hopefully the match will act as a wake-up call to the manager and players.