Analysis of the goal conceded against Fulham (17/3)

Berbatov’s goalFulham counter, with Dejagah beating Vertonghen and Dembele, before sliding the ball through to Riether, who crosses for Berbatov to score.


Dejagah, impressive in the second half, turns away from Dembele and Vertonghen, who both commit themselves.


Riether makes a superb supporting run, and Berbatov is on his bike. With Vertonghen having pushed forward, Naughton has left too big a gap between himself and Caulker, and now has a vast amount of ground to make up.


Riether doesn’t even need to take a touch, such is the weight on the pass from Dejagah. He plays the ball across Caulker first time, and Naughton has not managed to make up the ground.


Contrast Berbatov’s finish – a guided, looping effort into the far post – to Defoe’s at the end of the game from a similar position, where he just drilled the ball straight into Schwarzer. So calm, so clinical.


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  1. come back berba, all is forgiven, and fulham you can have the usless other pair for free. pleeeeeese!!!!!!
    1. Wish we'd signed him in the summer.
      1. 0h so do i windy, so do i!!
  2. excellent analysis ya too bad defoe missed
    1. Had two great chances.
  3. Garath Bale didn't score. Now we are beginning to see the, until now, covered cracks we have in our team open up like the starboard side of the titanic. We have had an on fire Bale getting us out of trouble by scoring the goals our strikers cannot. Daniel Levy's decision to save a few quid in January is now going to cost us a Champions League place. I do not wish to hop aboard the anti Daniel Levy bandwagon but, surely we could all see this coming. Garath Bale cannot win all our games for us, nor will he be able to. DL may have a certain ambition, but that ambition is clearly based on unrealistic expectations. How does he intend to fix the striker problem before the end of the season?? He cannot. That ship sailed in January and it won't be around again until the summer. By that time Garath bale will have decided that He has a better chance of winning trophies, playing in the Champions League on a regular basis, and playing in a team that can challenge year in year out, if he goes elsewhere. Where does that put us. Back to the same position we have been in for so long. Sorry but it's the truth.
    1. Just not sure 'the right player' was available, and he saved cash hoping to spend it on better quality players if and when we are in the CL. Bold call, hopefully he'll be justified come May.
      1. laugh - I almost wet myself. bit like saying "I'll take a parachute when I know the wings gonna fall off".
      2. Windy I hope you're correct about that. But this nonsense of £30 m deadline day bids is at best recklessness, at worse it's misleading the fans into thinking they are genuine attempts to sign quality. Remember Rossi and Aguero?? Did DL really think they were going to sign for us, especially then??
      3. i pray for hitler to come back and gas these tight bald bastards
      4. Wow. Please remove your comment kid
    2. I agree Justin; the web has been full of idiots lately writing crap about this team of ours finishing 2nd under this new messiah of a manager that is so much batter than that plonker 'arry who got us to a CL quarter final and regular top 4/5 finishes. BOLLOX. I feel sorry for Verthongen and Lloris as well as Bale for believing that they were joining a CL team, a team that's now gone with the old manager I'm afraid. Say what you like about HR but he got the best out of players who've been crap this season.... Levy you're getting what you deserve right now, the team is sub standard and spent. The latter a word you're probably not too familiar with.
      1. i blame avb aswell having no striker is one thing but having a midfield that cant pass is retarded all teams have seen this and are taking advantage that scott parker is bloody garbage i dont think hes got half a braincell yet hes always around the box. y doesnt avb tell him something???? im starting to feel harry was better
    3. spot on justin, spurs will never in my eyes as long as levy and lewis are in charge of spurs.
      1. spurs will never be great should of said.
      2. We must be realistic about spending money. However, surely we could have afforded the reported £20 m for Damaio. Or we could have tried for Negredo or the other Spanish chap we were supposedly looking at. The problem is that we are constantly linked to every player under the sun but, we never seem to get them. There is a pattern though. Vertongen: £7 m. Bought. Holtby: £1.5m. Bought. Dembelle: Under 10m I think. Bought. Now we get to the issue: Moutinho: reported £20m odd. Couldn't get him in time. Damaio: £20m odd. Couldn't get him for whatever reason, I can't remember. Any player costing more than £10 - £15m seems to create problems. Is Levy so intransigent in his negotiations that he would rather lose out on a player than pay what a club is asking? I do think he is a touch immovable object at times, even if I do sort of understand the need to run the club on a sound financial basis. Another problem, one that is oft seen in the comments throughout the blogs and such, is that we do appear to leave things just a little late to allow for failure. As I see it, Vertongen was done early so why not the other reported attempts to sign the big name players? I'm not one for conspiracy theories but I do sometimes get the feeling that DL tries to sign these players knowing that the complicated nature of their ownership; Damaio, etc etc etc, will result in time running out, thereby looking as if he is trying to get the players but for reasons beyond his control etc etc etc, he was unable to complete the deal in time. As I said "conspiracy Theories" and all that. This business of leaving it to the last minute to try and sign what are clearly not only quality players, but ones which it is obvious to all, except DL of course, that we are in dire need off, has not for the first time, had an impact on our season. It was a fear that if Gareth Bale didn’t score we would begin to lose games. Well Wednesday and today has gone a long way to answer that. The strikers we have are clearly not up to the job. Everyone knew that, so why the Fu#k did we not get a striker in January? I honestly do not feel it is right to blame AVB for the fact that Daniel Levy is averse to spending large amounts of money, even when the lack of expenditure is going to cost us more money in the long run. I think he has been duped by Levy into taking the job with promises that he will be given the resources to compete at the highest level. AVB is no idiot. Why take a job where so much is expected without first believing that he will actually be given the opportunity to succeed. By that I mean he is not going to take on a job where he knows he can never compete due to financial restraints. No! This is a problem created by Daniel Levy. The time has surely come where we either accept we are never going to be genuine contenders, not only for Champions League qualification, but for domestic silverware also. Or, that Daniel Levy gets the chequebook out and backs AVB to allow him to do the job I believe he is quite capable of. I can accept the fact that we do not have the money to contend. I cannot accept being lied to about the ambition of the club’s owners. Finally. Are we going to be a growing ground for talented players just to sell them for a profit? Or are we going to keep players like Gareth Bale at the club? To keep players of his calibre, the club must at least try to match his ambition. If we continue to quibble over a few pounds, we are going to continue to lose out on the top players. The result of that will be the genuine quality players we do have will always have one foot out the door.
  4. Windy, is there anyway that you can justify AVB's choice to play a back 5 today? And by sacrificing one of the defenders at half time, surely the worst decision was to replace Dawson who had not played midweek and is the leader that we clearly lacked out there today. As you've just quoted from AVB, tired minds indeed. He has had a shocker this week with his selections. The international break will be a welcome one.
    1. It was a 4-2-3-1 with BAE playing wide left - didn't like it myself. I'd have played Bale there and Holtby behind Adebayor (and Carroll instead of Parker). Unfortunately Dawson tweaked a hamstring.
      1. There has to be a reason AVB isn't playing Holtby more - and I would go with him being young and people already getting on his back for not being our savior (after a great first couple of appearances). Sometimes, we have to sacrifice the short term for the long term. Having said that, I'd rather see Carroll for Parker in this game and the next ones. Not even sure this would solve our lack of width, though.
      2. Forgive me for not paying too much attention to our defensive line up in a game like this but it did look like Jan was ahead of Benny more often than not. Ultimately the defence looked a mess the whole game, especially when we were chasing the game after the change and as you point out, Naughton was way too far apart from Caulker and the gap was evident on the left throughout the game as well. I agree that Walker should be dropped/rested but Naughton isn't good enough at the moment. Kaboul's return couldn't come soon enough. Carroll was our best player today which says a lot when he was only on for about 25 minutes. Parker was absolutely dreadful and I don't understand how he is immune from being replaced. It should have been Dembele and Carroll from the start and yes perhaps it's about time that Bale returns to the left and Holtby is used in the 'hole' especially with the severe lack of width available to us at the moment. The two strikers once again offered very little but at least Ade showed a bit willing. Unfortunately he is extremely low on confidence and he's never been a power player that's going to physically force his way into form. The crowd need to stop using him as a scapegoat if he's to get out of this rot. Likewise for Defoe. The opinion is obviously divided by fans but I don't care which one plays as long as their heads are up. Fair enough about Dawson, shame he and Aaron miss out on England. They don't deserve that bad luck. Ultimately, AVB has made two experimental selections in the last week when safer options were available and it has cost us. How much it has cost us remains to be seen but there's a lot of homework he needs to do in the next two weeks because at the moment, I'd settle for a point at Swansea which I shouldn't be.
      3. Agree with lots of that, Dan, you talk a lot of sense. What would your line-up be for Swansea?
      4. Line-up for Swansea. Difficult one. In the three occasions we've played them before, we haven't looked comfortable playing our usual game. Looking at the way we started last season's match at the Liberty, a counter attacking approach could be best. We play better when we're patient which is why we've generally been better away from home. Because of how this opens up crucial space for Defoe, I'd be more inclined to choose him over Adebayor but I think we're more reliant on other players to shine at the moment. If fit, I'd go for the following: Lloris Walker Dawson Vertonghen Assou-Ekotto Lennon Carroll (never going to happen - so just assume Parker) Dembele Sigurdsson Bale Defoe If Lennon's injury is more serious, I would put Bale on the left and I don't know what I'd do on the right because Sigurdsson is not suited to that position. Could have really done with Townsend still around especially after the difference against Swansea earlier in the campaign. Thinking about this I am actually beginning to understand the difficulty that AVB has in this area. Without Lennon, we don't function and we have limited alternatives.
    2. Agree, think he must have had some dodgy lasagne. Top 4 will be the usual suspects and I hope to god we don't qulaify for that bloody europa league crap. 6th will suit me nicely, then perhaps levy will realise he needs to bloody well do something - not that anybody decent will want to join a team on the way down.
  5. Looks like Dawson was injured (out of England squad), which explains the substitution. At the end of the day, the difference between the teams was that they had Burbs and we had Defoe. Love Defoe, but he's not going to score the opportunities we need to be fighting for titles. Now, if anyone knows of a Burbs like player who was available in Jan who would have signed for us...
    1. YES.berba himself!!!!
      1. I got the feeling that Berbatov sort of declined to celebrate as he felt embarrassed that he scored for a smaller club in a game that mattered little (in terms of league position) against a team he would've preferred to be playing at now. I reckon Levy declined any potential move for him in the summer because I think it was discussed. His agent surely would've approached our representatives about his availability. Obviously the chairman wasn't willing to sacrifice his own pride.
    2. Levy is slowly but surely grinding this club down to dust. Solvent dust admittedly....
  6. This seems a touch hard on Naughton. I thought he did very well to track Berbatov even as much as he did, since as a right back that's not normally his man. Vertonghen committing so high up the pitch seemed to pull the whole defense out of shape. Caulker getting dragged out of the middle was the biggest problem for me. It looked like Dejagah was covered well enough to keep him from coming in on goal himself, and Caulker was never in a position to get close enough to Dejagah to make a difference on the cross. He ends the play in total no-man's land.
  7. A lot is said about playing badly and winning. We had a few chances and should have won 2-1. However, they fell to Defoe and despite him once saying that he had leant a lot from watching Videos of Jimmy Greaves it appears that he has forgotten it all. We are a more patient team under AVB, but there was little intelligent movement with the front players. Carroll played a lovely pass that JD could have run onto, but instead he was static and Bale came in at an awkward angle. Adebayor had dragged a player wide and one would have hoped that Bale at also dragged a player wide, but there was no movement from Defoe. Why he insists on making it easy for the goalkeeper I don't know.
  8. Tom Carroll was awesome when he came on. Brilliant incisive passing and a class dribble around two players. Much better player than Dembele and Sigurddson. Bale did not pass the ball today which screwed up the way the team was playing.
    1. I thought Carroll was tidy - not easy for him having to come on with the pressure to create, so some passes went astray, but he did better than the other midfielders, as you say.
  9. Have you noticed how we keep on blaming the players this season? Defoe, Walker, BAE, Adebayor, Parker, Friedel etc. Correct me if I'm wrong but last season several of those players were magnificent. Could it be the coach/tactics? Could our lofty position in the PL in recent weeks actually have been down to Bale and not avb? Of course levy has hardly helped. Food for thought.
    1. allwhitemark, i make you right about where we are in the league, it's thanks to bale, but as to the players you named that were magnificent, last season they also started to fall away with about ten games to go.
      1. It's a balancing act, some players are not going to liked as much by other managers. Aaron Lennon, Dembele and Vertonghen's good season's are arguably down to AVB's style of management.
      2. Yeah but how much of that deterioration late-on was due to the press speculation about losing Harry Rednapp to the England job - that's the big unknown compared to this season.
      3. Dembele and Verthongen would have been just as good last season, that's not down to avb. Actually has Dembele really been THAT good?
    2. Hugely missing Modric methinks too.
  10. I've been saying for a while now, why tom Carroll doesn't play is beyond me, he's a great little player, and I'm sure Andros Townsend could of down a job in the squad.
    1. Totally agree and been saying the same myself. Really wanted him to be better integrated by this point so he could be starting games like today's.
  11. DEFOE ADE BAE WALKER PARKER LENNON DAWSON BALE,SANDRO were in the team last year, so the side is hardly much changed.
    1. Some of the names are the same, but by heck has the team approach changed, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Right now I'm seriously worried. I really can't understand why levy doesn't want CL football for our club? We were so close, just needed a marquee signing or two.
      1. Easier said than done.
  12. It was 4 - 4 - 2 with at least 4 players out of position: Jan (left back - he admits he only likes centre back) Gylfi(right mid - he's left footed AVB) BAE at left mid (the mind boggles) and Bale up front. Dawson comes off injured and we bring on...Dempsey. I feel sorry for AVB with regards to the squad players at his disposal, but at least the bloke should use what he has got in their best positions. No Lennon and that throws half the team out of sync. Fulham packed the centre of the pitch so Dembelee and Bale had no space - Fulham knew they could do that becuase we lacked pace/threat from the flanks. Could have put Walker at right mid, Gylfi or Bale left mid and we would have had more options wide to get in behind them.
    1. Gylfi is right footed, surely. He takes set pieces with his right, at least, and seems to favour it (to me).
      1. Sigurdsson is right footed. I think the poster meant that he more suited to the left side because of how he delivers the ball. An in-swinging style.
  13. AVB has had the problem of 'no Lennon'. He's chosen a couple of very weird solutions. Why hasn't he just swopped Holtby for Lennon. Play Holtby in the middle, Bale and Siggy wide. Leave the rest as was. Too many players out of position.
    1. Yep, just like the inter match. Is now really the time to experiment? We've got good players out on loan, plus players like Tom Carrol that could have got us through that inter match.
    2. Holtby doesn't look anywhere near ready for PL starts to me - he's mostly been poor when he has played. Shame, as I was *so* excited by his debut. Slow integration is probably for the best.
  14. Champions league, never again, champions league, never again lalalala lalalala lalalala lalalala
  15. I think you can put some of the recent performances down to tiredness and one or two mitigating factors - i know we've been able to rotate some players, but the loss to Inter was mainly due to playing a second choice back line, even old man Gallas got a game. We were very unlucky against Liverpool, and in centre mid, without Dembele who is covering for Lennon further forward, Parker is knackered, and when Livermore comes in I'm afraid he isn't quite the level needed. This break now will do a lot of good.
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