Analysis of the goals conceded against Wigan Athletic (27/4) plus some tactical points

Emerson Boyce’s goalBoyce gets up above Vertonghen and powers a header into the corner of the net.


Vertonghen is marking the eventual scorer, Boyce, whilst, once again, we have decided not to have a player on the back post.


Boyce leaps well whereas Vertonghen doesn’t – he has a habit of being a little flat-footed when defending set pieces.


Had we had a player on the post, he would likely have been able to clear this.

Callum McManaman’s goalMcCarthy picks out McManaman who steps inside Naughton and lashes in an unstoppable strike which swerves late to take it beyond Lloris.


Wigan begin to work the ball around the box early in the second half, with Kone dropping off Dawson and finding McCarthy. Naughton has tucked round on the cover at this point, because McArthur has found himself on the penalty spot, behind Vertonghen. Our three midfield players, Parker, Huddlestone, and Holtby are all very close to one another with none tracking McCarthur – this would be fine if one had stuck with McCarthy, who instead picks the ball up in space.


As McCarthy receives the ball, Naughton suddenly realises that he has a problem – he now effectively has given himself two men to mark. Holtby tries to get to McCarthy in time, but he just has too much room – he is too good a player to be allowed this much time and space.


He zips an excellent pass into McManaman’s feet and, whilst his first touch loops away from him, Naughton can’t get there in time because he’s had to make up so much ground.


What happens next from Naughton isn’t great – McManaman is primarily right-footed, but Naughton lets him skip inside on to his left far too easily.


He ends up in quite a bit of space, with Naughton over-committed.


This screen-grab doesn’t do Lloris any favours but, in truth, it swerved late and was hit with such venom that it is very difficult to blame the goalkeeper.


I am a huge fan of the 4-3-3 system, particularly as I think it can best utilise our current squad. For example, we can easily accommodate Huddlestone who currently looks incapable of playing as part of a ‘2’ in central midfield. However, with Huddlestone playing the deepest-lying role, there is no room for Parker in this formation. He is not efficient enough on the ball or swift enough in his decision-making to play as the water-carrier, and not intelligent enough in the final third to play as the most offensive midfielder. I felt his selection hindered us – whereas Dembele, Holtby and Huddlestone seems to be an ideal blend. Of course we weren’t helped by Dembele’s injury – fingers crossed it is nothing serious – which also later restricted any tactical changes.

Secondly, the 4-3-3 relies on width from the full backs, as discussed on The Fighting Cock podcast this week. This made the selection of Kyle Naughton even more baffling, as he instantly narrows the pitch when he cuts back on to his right foot. Personally I think that Assou-Ekotto at his worst is far more suited to this team than Naughton at his very best, but what do I know? On the plus side, Walker on the opposite flank was one of our best performers, and will seemingly flourish in 4-3-3.

Thirdly, we missed Adebayor. Whilst he didn’t have the best of games against City last week, his presence can occupy defenders and create space for our other attacking talents. He also drops deep and wide to receive the ball, whilst other players break forward – giving us a platform to build from. Defoe’s the opposite of this – he mostly plays on the shoulder and doesn’t tend to involve himself in build-up play, as his 19 touches yesterday will testify (by far the lowest of any player who completed 90 minutes). Defoe is an ideal impact sub, but we need Adebayor back ASAP if we are to prosper in our remaining matches.

22/04/13 Arsenal U21s 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur U21s, Underhill. #1882thfc

This isn’t my typical report because it wasn’t a typical evening – no notebook and pen for me tonight. Just my lungs, and great company.

Jonathan Miles (20)
Ryan Fredericks (20) Grant Hall (21) Zeki Fryers (20) Jack Barthram (19)
Giancarlo Gallifuoco (19)
Nabil Bentaleb (18) Tom Carroll (20)
Ken McEvoy (18) Shaq Coulthirst (18) Cristian Ceballas (20)

Jake Nicholson (20) for Nabil Bentaleb, 67.
Laste Dombaxe (17) for Giancarlo Gallifuoco, 80.

Unused subs: Lawrence Vigouroux (19), Darren McQueen (17)

Just two months ago, we beat Arsenal 4-2 at Hotspur Way. Interestingly, our side tonight featured just four of the same players in the starting eleven – due to injury, loan, etc.

The performance

A game of two halves. Spurs dominated in the first half, with Bentaleb and Carroll dictating things in the middle – their quick one and two touch passing proving fruitful. They were given useful protection from the physically strong Gallifuoco, which allowed them extra freedom. Both wingers looked genuinely threatening, switching sides with regularity and troubling both Meade and Jenkinson, the Arsenal full backs. Ceballos and Coulthirst missed terrific chances to put us ahead after good approach play. A two or three goal lead at half time would not have flattered us.

Spurs took the lead at the very start of the second half, with McEvoy getting the better of Jenkinson and providing a cross for Bentaleb to open the scoring. I expected us to go on and win comfortably. From there,  however, Arsenal took a foothold and largely dominated. Spurs were incredibly resilient, with Hall putting in a fine display, and Fryers having a solid game at centre back (which is not his favoured position), but Arsenal were wasteful in front of goal. In truth, it could have been 3-3. It wasn’t all Arsenal, though – Coulthirst hit a vicious half-volley which was well saved, and then hit the post with a curling effort, and Ceballos missed a fantastic chance from within the 6 yard box after yet more good play from McEvoy.

NB: It was nice to see Jake Nicholson return after 15 months out – he came on for Bentaleb and looked composed in the middle of midfield.

The atmosphere / ethos of 1882

I’ve seen some bizarre criticisms of 1882, and what it is trying to achieve – it is accused of trying to segregate/differentiate groups of fans or of thinking too highly of itself – that’s nonsense. It’s about having fun. It’s about fans taking ownership of football matches, and getting the maximum from supporting their team. It is an antidote to the sense of entitlement that we’ve seen at White Hart Lane and football in general.

1882 is all the fun parts of tribalism – the loyalty, the unrelenting support regardless of what is happening on the pitch, and the feeling of being a part of something. Several hundred people all wanting the same thing.

A fabulous variety of songs, full-on singing for 90 minutes, light-hearted banter with the home crowd, and a happy-go-lucky outlook that just isn’t seen regularly at Premier League games.

Worth noting that the players loved it – they all came over to us at the end to show their appreciation – some were dancing and singing, and all were applauding us, as we were them. A fantastic time had by all.

Shoes off if you love Tottenham.


Analysis of the goal conceded against Manchester City (21/4)

Samir Nasri’s goalTevez drags Vertonghen out wide, beats him, and finds Milner, who bursts between Parker and Assou-Ekotto. His intelligent cut back is volleyed goal-wards by Nasri, and beats Walker on the line.



Manchester City break for the first time in the game, and Tevez finds himself one-on-one with Vertonghen. Parker begins to cover round – Assou-Ekotto is up-field after supporting an attack (Spurs relied on the width of the full backs throughout this game, so I have no issue with this).


Tevez attempts to drive past Vertonghen…


…but Vertonghen does a good job of using his strength to force Tevez wide.


However, having got him right where he wants him, Vertonghen commits himself and tries to win the ball.


Tevez is one of the strongest forwards around – he holds Vertonghen off, nips round him, and has the awareness to play a terrific reverse pass.


Whilst Vertonghen is holding Tevez up, Assou-Ekotto has tracked back (albeit slowly), and has followed Milner. Parker is attempting to back Vertonghen up, but hasn’t got his angles right…


Milner runs off Assou-Ekotto, into Parker’s zone. Parker is neither positioned well enough to stop the pass or on his toes enough to go with Milner. Assou-Ekotto stops tracking Milner – presumably passing him on to Parker, but apparently with no communication.


As a result, Milner gets clear…


…he drives closer to goal, before cutting a precise pass back – note the horrendous marking from Spurs, notably Walker being left with two men over at the back post. Perhaps Lennon would usually have been there supporting him, such is his defensive work-rate.



Nasri cushions his volley well (considering it’s at an awkward height), guiding it into the corner beyond Walker, who has dropped back on to the line.

Youth/loan update – April 2013

I have periodically updated on the U18s, U21s and loan players throughout the season, and it’s time for another. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to get to many of the games this year, attending only a handful. However, the detail on the official site has greatly improved, and we also have the fantastic resource that is Ray Lo to be thankful for. Ray’s reports are available here on the superb Spurs Odyssey: U18 index


FA Premier Academy League
Sat 12 Jan (at Little Heath, Romford) West Ham U18s 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur U18s

McQueen Dombaxe Ogilvie Ward
Winks Lesniak Bentaleb
Sonupe Akindayini Miller

Zapata-Caicedo for Sonupe, 59.
McEneff for Winks, 75.

FA Youth Cup 4th Round
Tue 22 Jan (at Upton Park) West Ham U18s 2-5 Tottenham Hotspur U18s
Scorers: Michael-Percil, Coulthirst, McEvoy (2), Ward

McQueen Veljkovic Ogilvie Ward
Onomah Dombaxe Bentaleb
Michael-Percil Coulthirst McEvoy

Winks for Onomah, 50.
Akindayini for Michael-Percil, 81.
Lesniak for Dombaxe, 85.

FA Premier Academy League
Sat 02 Feb (at Hotspur Way) Tottenham Hotspur U18s 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers U18s
Scorer: Bentaleb (pen)

Ward Ball Dombaxe Ogilvie
Bentaleb Winks Lameiras
Michael-Percil Coulthirst McEvoy

Oduwa for Michael-Percil, 58.
Akindayini for McEvoy, 77.

Unused subs: Priestley, Sonupe, McEneff.

FA Premier Academy League
Sat 09 Feb (at Hotspur Way) Tottenham Hotspur U18s 5-1 Sunderland U18s
Scorers: Ball, Akindayini (2), Coulthirst, Michael-Percil

A McQueen Ball Dombaxe Ward
Bentaleb Lameiras Onomah
Michael-Percil Coulthirst Akindayini

Pritchard for Onomah, 64.
Georgiou for Michael-Percil, 71.

FA Youth Cup 5th Round
Fri 15 Feb (at White Hart Lane) Tottenham Hotspur U18s 4-8 Bolton Wanderers U18s
Scorers: Coulthirst (2), McEvoy, Lameiras (pen)

A McQueen Ball Dombaxe Ward
Bentaleb Lameiras Onomah
Michael-Percil Coulthirst Akindayini

J Pritchard for Onomah, 64.
Georgiou for Michael-Pericl, 71.

FA Premier Academy League
Sat 16 Feb (at Hotspur Way) Tottenham Hotspur U18s 4-0 West Bromwich Albion U18s
Scorers: Zapata-Caceido (3), Oduwa

Cambell-Young Ball McEneff Vincent-Young
Lesniak Winks
Sonupe Oduwa Zapata-Caicedo

Georgiou for Oduwa, 63.
D McQueen for Sonupe, 69.
Amos for Winks, 73.

Unused subs: Priestley, Bush.

FA Premier Academy League
Sat 23 Feb (at Stoke training ground) Stoke City U18s 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur U18s
Scorers: Oduwa, Lameiras

Campbell-Young A McQueen Ogilvie Vincent-Young
Lesniak McEneff J Pritchard
Sonupe Oduwa Akindayini

Lameiras for Pritchard, 58.
Michael-Percil for Sonupe, 63.
D McQueen for Akindayini, 68.

FA Premier Academy League
Sat 02 Mar (at Hotspur Way) Tottenham Hotspur U18s 3-0 West Ham United U18s
Scorers: Oduwa, Lameiras, D McQueen

A McQueen Ball McEneff Ogilvie
Lameiras Lesniak Winks
Sonupe Akindayini Oduwa

Michael-Percil for Sonupe, 16.
Miller for Michael-Percil, 59.
D McQueen for Akindayini, 75.

FA Premier Academy League
Sat 09 Mar (at Wolves training ground) Wolverhampton Wanderers U18s 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur U18s 
Scorers: Ball, Lameiras

McEneff Ball Dombaxe Ogilvie
Lesniak Winks Onomah Lameiras
Oduwa Akindayini

Zapata-Caicedo for Oduwa, 57.
Michael-Percil for Onomah, 69.
Vincent-Young for Lameiras, 75.

FA Premier Academy League
Sat 23 Mar (at Melwood) Liverpool U18s 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur U18s 
Scorer: Michael-Percil 2

A McQueen Ball McEneff Ward
Lesniak Winks Lamerias
Michael-Percil Oduwa Zapata-Caicedo

Vincent-Young for Winks, 63.
D McQueen for Michael-Percil, 79.
Bush for Lameiras, 84.

FA Premier Academy League
Sat 06 Apr (at Hotspur Way) Tottenham Hotspur U18s 0-0 Liverpool U18s

Walker-Peters A McQueen Ball Ward
McEneff Bush Lameiras
Michael-Percil D McQueen Zapata-Caideco

Miller for Bush, 59.
Walkes for D McQueen, 68.

Unused subs: McGee, Brown.


NextGen Series


NextGen Series
Wed 20 Feb (at  Camp de Loges) Paris St Germain U19s 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur U19s (3-4 on pens)
Scorer: Coulthirst 

Barthram Ball Stewart Ward
Bentaleb Veljkovic Winks
McEvoy Coulthirst Lameiras

Akindayini for Lameiras, 60.
Michael-Percil for McEvoy, 60.
Dombaxe or Bentaleb, 75.
Lesniak for Winks, 75.
McEneff for Veljkovic, 82.

Unused subs: Priestley. Ogilvie

NextGen Series
Wed 20 Mar (at Matchroom Stadium, Brisbane Road) Tottenham Hotspur U19s 3-5 (aet) Sporting Clube de Portugal 
Scorers: Oduwa, Dombaxe (pen), Michael-Percil

Barthram Ball Veljkovic Stewart
Bentaleb Dombaxe Lameiras
Oduwa Coulthirst McEvoy

Lesniak for Lameiras, 64.
Onomah for Bentaleb, 69.
Akindayini for Oduwa, 69.
Michael-Percil for McEvoy, 86.
D McQueen for Stewart, 86.

Unused subs: McEneff, Priestley.



U21 League
14 Jan (at Hotspur Way) Tottenham Hotspur U21s 5-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers U21s
Scorers: Townsend, Carroll, Obika (2), Falque

Fredericks Hall Veljkovic Fryers
Mason Livermore Carroll
Falque Obika Townsend

Unused subs: Coulthirst, Priestley, Stewart, Gallifuoco, Bostock.

U21 League
26 Jan (at Hotspur Way) Tottenham Hotspur U21s 2-2 Southampton U21s
Scorers: Coulthirst, Pritchard

Fredericks Gallifuoco Veljkovic Barthram
Luongo Mason
Ceballos Parrett Pritchard

Byrne for Barthram, 63.
Bostock for Mason, 63.
Stewart for Fredericks, 87.

Unused sub: McGee.

U21 League
04 Feb (at Hotspur Way) Tottenham Hotspur U21s  3-2 West Ham United U21s
Scorers: Obika, Kane, Gallifuoco

Fredericks Gallifuoco Veljkovic Fryers
Luongo Carroll
Ceballos Kane Parrett

Byrne for Fredericks, 36.

Unused subs: Priestley, Bostock, Stewart

U21 League
11 Feb  (at Hotspur Way) Tottenham Hotspur U21s  1-0 Liverpool U21s
Scorer: Obika

Byne Livermore Veljkovic Fryers
Parrett Luongo Carroll
Ceballos Kane Obika

Gallifuoco for Livermore, 64.

Unused subs: McGee, McEvoy, Ball.

U21 League
15 Feb (at Hotspur Way) Tottenham Hotspur U21s 3-1 Manchester United U21s
Scorer: Obika 3

Byrne Livermore Naughton Fryers
Luongo Parrett Carroll
Ceballos Kane Obika

Not used: Voss, Stewart, Gallifuoco, Munns.

U21 League
23 Feb (at Hotspur Way) Tottenham Hotspur U21s 4-2 Arsenal U21s
Scorers: Fryers, Dombaxe, Munns 2

Byrne Gallifuoco Stewart Fryers
Dombaxe Luongo Veljkovic
McEvoy Parrett Munns

Ball for Stewart, 46.
Bentaleb for Veljkovic, 46.
Bush for McEvoy, 74.

Unused subs: Vigouroux, Miller.

U21 League
04 Mar (at Telford) Wolverhampton Wanderers U21s 4-3 Tottenham Hotspur U21s 
Scorers: Coulthirst, Munns, Parrett

Fredericks Gallifuoco Veljkovic Byrne
Parrett Luongo Bentaleb
Munns Coulthirst Ceballos

Stewart for Fredericks, 60.
McEvoy for Munns, 70.
Barthram for Gallifuoco, 75.

Unused sub: Priestley.

U21 League
11 Mar (at Hotspur Way) Tottenham Hotspur U21s 4-0 West Bromwich Albion 
Scorer: Munns 2, McEvoy, Coulthirst

Fredericks Fryers Hall Byrne
Bentaleb Huddlestone Carroll
McEvoy Coulthirst Munns

Veljkovic for Huddlestone, 46.
Stewart for Hall, 75.
Gallifuoco for Carroll, 75.

Unused sub: Vigouroux.

U21 League
25 Mar (at The Hawthorns) West Bromwich Albion 0-4 Tottenham Hotspur U21s 
Scorers: Bentaleb 2, Parrett, Ceballos

Fredericks Fryers Hall Byrne
Luongo Huddlestone Bentaleb
McEvoy Parrett Ceballos

Gallifuoco for Byrne, 64.
Dombaxe for Luongo, 64.
Michael-Percil for Parrett, 64.

Unused sub: Vigouroux.

U21 League
01 Apr (at Anfield) Liverpool U21s 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur U21s
Scorers: Ceballos 2, McEvoy

Fredericks Fryers Hall Barthram
Veljkovic Dombaxe Bentaleb
McEvoy Coulthirst Ceballos

Munns for Coulthirst, 60.
Ball for Barthram, 84.
Michael-Percil for Ceballos, 84.

Unused subs: Priestley, Lameiras.

U21 League
08 Apr (at Upton Park) West Ham United U21s 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur U21s 
Scorer: McEvoy

Fredericks Hall Kaboul Fryers
Bentaleb Carroll Veljkovic
Ceballos Coulthirst McEvoy

Dombaxe for Carroll, 46.
Barthram for Kaboul, 61.
Munns for McEvoy, 73.

Unused subs: Priestley, Gallifuoco.

U21 League
15 Apr (at Salford City Stadium) Manchester United U21s 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur U21s 

Fredericks Kaboul Hall Fryers
Veljkovic Dombaxe Bentaleb
McEvoy Coulthirst Ceballos

Barthram for Kaboul, 48.
Gallifuoco for Dombaxe, 61.
Michael-Percil for McEvoy, 66.

Unused sub: Priestley.



Currently we have the following players out on loan:

Bongani Khumalo – PAOK
Danny Rose – Sunderland
Adam Smith – Millwall
Yago Falque – Almeria
Souleymane Coulibaly – Grosseto
Heurelho Gomes – Hoffenheim
Andros Townsend – Queens Park Rangers
Alex Pritchard – Peterborough United
Ryan Mason – FC Lorient
Simon Dawkins – Aston Villa
David Bentley – Blackburn Rovers
Tomislav Gomelt – Espanyol B
Harry Kane – Leicester City
Jon Obika – Charlton Athletic
John Bostock – Toronto
Jon Miles – Dagenham & Redbridge
Kevin Stewart – Crewe Alexandra
Nathan Byrne – Swindon Town
Massimo Luongo – Swindon Town


Bongani Khumalo has had a somewhat mixed time for PAOK since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations. He was a regular starter before he left, but has often found himself on the bench since then. His agent is due in London before the end of the season to discuss his future with Spurs, but I would suggest that it’s almost certain that he will leave in the summer.

Danny Rose continues to impress at Sunderland, and is one of the first names on their teamsheet when fit. His impressive performances have meant that he has also been a regular for the England U21s, and there is much talk that he wil return to Spurs next season as first choice. Thus far, Rose has made 24 starts and  2 sub appearances in all competitions for Sunderland – more than he would have done for Spurs, and for that reason alone this move has to be viewed as a success.

Adam Smith has found himself out of favour lately with Millwall, starting just 4 of their last 12 matches, but has made 24 starts and 2 sub appearances in all competitions this far. Smith will be looking for a Premier League club next season, or could even be kept in-house as rotation for Walker.

Yago Falque has made 8 starts and 1 sub appearance for Almeria since joining them in January. My best guess was that he joined them to put himself in the shop window. He’s 23, and has found opportunities difficult to come by at Spurs, so a move back to his home country may be the best way forward for his career.

Souleymane Coulibaly has made 8 appearances, mostly as a substitute for Serie B side Grosseto, who are based close to his former club, Siena. He has yet to get off the mark for them, but the 18-year old will have learned a lot from being in the senior set up for a team of a decent standard, and playing against full-grown men.

Heurelho Gomes’ season has come to an abrupt end, after he suffered a broken hand whilst playing for Hoffenheim. Gomes kept 2 clean sheets in 9 games during his spell, and even wore the captain’s armband. He is hoping for a move away from Tottenham this summer, and has even mentioned a return to PSV.

Andros Townsend has been in superb form in a very poor QPR side. He has been a real bright point for them, often providing their only creative spark. He has mostly played on the right, cutting in, and has clocked up 8 starts, scoring twice, one a sumptuous volley. He has certainly put himself in contention for our first team squad next season.

Alex Pritchard’s spell at Championship club Peterborough United has been unfortunately disrupted by injury, as he picked up a knock on his second substitute appearance which kept him out for two months. He is now back and has made two more substitute appearances, meaning that he has now appeared four times in the Championship – definite career progression.

Ryan Mason’s move to FC Lorient in Ligue 1 really hasn’t worked out. He has been named as a substitute just once and didn’t make it on to the pitch. Rumour has it that Lorient’s chairman arranged the transfer without the manager’s agreement, and the use of Ryan implies that the rumour may have some substance to it. It’s just such a shame because Ryan is a very talented player who I still hold hopes for.

Simon Dawkins’ spell at Aston Villa has led to him making 3 Premier League appearances (from the bench) which has, in some ways, to be viewed as a success. I’m sure that a year ago he didn’t think that he would be a PL player anytime soon.

David Bentley’s return to English football with Blackburn Rovers has not been a happy one. He has made 5 starts and 2 substitute appearances, but in one of his starts he was withdrawn at half time. He hasn’t been involved since the 1st April when he had a somewhat lethargic game against Cardiff City.

Tomislav Gomelt has made a handful of appearances for Espanyol B in Segunda División B, the third tier of Spanish football. He announced himself in style, scoring a last minute winner off the bench in a 2-1 victory over Reus Deportiu. It was a strange choice of clubs for the 18-year old Croatian, which has led many to wonder whether Espanyol are interested in signing him permanently.

Harry Kane was recalled from Norwich and then sent out to Leicester City. He started 5 games, scoring on his second appearance, but has since been a substitute, appearing on 5 more occasions. Not the best season for Harry in all, and he will be looking for improvement next time out.

Jon Obika has become a Charlton Athletic hero after scoring two last minute winners in April. He has made 1 start and 7 substitute appearances, mostly late in games, and so for him to come on and have an impact is impressive.

John Bostock started his first four games for Toronto FC, but has since dropped down to the substitutes bench for the last two games, coming on once.

Jon Miles started two games for Dagenham & Redbridge, before being dropped after a 4-2 defeat to Bristol Rovers. He was then on the bench for the next two, but wasn’t involved this weekend.

Kevin Stewart ha started 3 matches for Crewe Alexandra since joining them at the end of March as the loan window closed. He’s played twice at left back, and once on the left of midfield – a position that I’m not sure he has ever played before. The feedback from Crewe fans has been good – that he has put in mature, composed displays.

Nathan Byrne, Massimo Luongo and Dean Parrett all joined Swindon Town as the loan window closed, although Parrett has already returned to Spurs. He started his first three games for Swindon, but rumours suggested that he had a bust-up with manager Kevin MacDonald after being taken off on 68 minutes on his final appearance. However, the return to Spurs could easily have been seen as scapegoating from their new manager – perhaps he was sending a message to his other players.

Massimo Luongo has started all 6 of the matches that he has been available for, scoring a header from 20 yards in their 4-1 win over Crewe. He has, according to some, been their best player in each of their games since he arrived.

Nathan Byrne came off the bench in his first game and has started each match since. He has played as an attacking left-back (despite being a right-back by trade) and won the member’s suite MotM award in their win against Crewe.