Analysis of the goal conceded against Stoke (21/3)
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Cameron Jerome’s goal – Spurs are undone by a Stoke set piece (not for the first time!), as Huth wins a header from a Pennant free-kick, the ball comes off Shawcross, and Jerome is there to finish at the back post.
Pennant’s cross is aimed at Huth, an obvious target. Note how many of Stoke’s “big men” are in the box, and how few players we have defending.
Huth’s header deflects off Shawcross’ shoulder…
As the ball is about to strike Shawcross, note the position of Jerome – number 33.
He continues his run, whilst Bale slows down, leaving him with a tap-in.
Various issues here:
Lack of tall defensive players (Sandro could have started in my opinion).
And, above all, a lack of desire to get the ball clear.
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At some point recently it's broken down, we are switching off and conceding, I would point out that we always did switch off once or twice and not get caught, it's just that the attacks are coming through the midfield a lot more frequently than they did.
In retrospect I would have liked to have seen a lot more tailored rotation for parker and modric, however I do understand that those that would have been rotated (hudd and sandro) haven't been available all through the season, and in a season where the tough games seem to keep coming in clumps it's been costly, Parker seems to have lost that 10% that made him in the first half of the season, with no back up for walker, Rose a left winger for Ekotto (who could well become a decent full back but is still learning) and Dawson/King/Gallas taking turns to be injured we are looking at an overplayed back four.
Lastly, Bale's wandering seems to have left Ekotto more exposed recently, and I've always said Left backs are harder to find than right backs because every team in the world has an attacking right winger. Look back over the last few decades for stand out Left Wingers and you will usually find them in the top two sides. Ergo, left backs tend to face decent opposition the whole time, right backs tend to face left midfielders who themselves are dropping back to accomodate the opposing right winger, having a left winger wander off gives us the worst of all worlds.
Never one to finish down hearted, I would point to Caulker as a marker for things to come, with nelsen gallas and possibly even king near retirement there's going to a place for him soon. Who ever it was that is in charge of getting these youngesters into decent loan moves has definitely made a change for the better that hopefully we will be reaping the rewards from for a long time to come
Cracking stuff as ever, agree with nearly all of your points. I really think Parker's gone off the boil and needs a rest, but it just won't happen because he's such a favourite. With him bound to play all of the Euro Champs games this summer it could be even worse next season!
Bale's wanderings are harmful for the team IMO, for the reason you mention plus others. Redknapp seems to see his drifting as a positive which I find hugely worrying.
Today I hope we set up with a more solid team shape - 4-2-3-1, with vdV, Modric and Bale ahead of Sandro and Parker, playing off hopefully Adebayor, but if not, then it'll have to be Saha.
I did feel we missed the pace of Lennon on the counter, it was rather a shock to see a ball played across goal and the only person to be in a productive situation being the right back, credit to him but asks questions of others.
Horrible to watch us creaking at the moment; take 1 or 2 key players out of our first 11 and our game suffers disproportionately.
Still, Chelsea should be knackered tomorrow (played more than us recently, and are mostly old men), so if we turn up we've got a chance. And as much as he's been our odd man out at times this season, I think VdV could be the man to spark things for us.
Our record at Chelsea is terrible but stranger things have happened - a lot depends on the team selection though, I reckon.
Oh, and I totally agree on your van der Vaart call - if he could hit form it'd be a great bonus.