Analysis of the goal conceded against Chelsea (28/9)

John Terry’s goal – After Vertonghen concedes a free kick, Mata delivers a teasing in-swinger, which Terry guides into the corner.

Blame me. I think I cursed Vertonghen. I tweeted at the end of the first half that he was playing the best defensive game I’d ever seen from him in a Spurs shirt – in the second he was far less impressive, and seemed to really struggle with Torres’ movement.

He conceded a free-kick when lunging in on Ramires – a challenge for which he might have seen red, as he was technically denying a goal-scoring opportunity, since the Brazilian had a clear run on goal had he not been brought down. Mata took the resulting free kick…



As Mata prepares to take the kick, Ivanovic is grappling with Dembele. I’m not sure if it’s a deliberate ploy, but essentially Ivanovic pushes Dembele deep and this causes Terry to be onside. Dembele has to be stronger and hold the line here.


Dawson steps up to play Terry off, not seeing that Dembele has been pushed back. Vertonghen can now see Terry, who has made a break in front of him.


In stepping up briefly, Dawson has cost himself a yard.


Due to Vertonghen being static, Dembele being pushed back and Dawson p up, Terry ends up having a free header.


Terry has time and space to guide his header into the corner unchallenged.


A very scruffy goal from a Spurs perspective, with mistakes from Vertonghen (initial foul, and then not reacting to Terry’s run), Dembele (not standing his ground, and therefore playing Terry onside) and Dawson (being out of kilter with Dembele, costing himself a yard).

This goal was coming, though, and I was a little disappointed with AVB’s use of substitutions this week, unlike last week against Cardiff.  Mata’s introduction made a huge difference for Chelsea, and Dembele and Paulinho just failed to get close enough to him. Paulinho is good defensively, but was caught between being the link man in between Dembele and the number 10 (Eriksen and then Holtby), whereas Dembele is much better with the ball than without it.

Despite Dembele protecting the ball and using it mostly intelligently when he had it, for me I’d have withdrawn him after 55 minutes and brought on Sandro to deal with the threat that Mata was constantly posing. Alternatively, AVB could have taken off Paulinho and given up a little of the forward thrust that the Brazilian offered. Either way, we needed to do *something* about Mata, who was absolutely bossing the second half whilst Chelsea had eleven men.

Join the conversation

  1. Sandro - probably should have started, definitely should have been brought on after about 10 minutes of the second half when it was obvious that the introduction of Mata had given Cheatski the edge. AVB was comprehensively out thought by Mourinho as the match developed.
    1. I would agree about Sandro, and was surprised he didn't start. Mourinho may have out-thought AVB as the game progressed, but that does suggest that AVB's core tactics are extremely effective, and he won't be up against a Mournho of the game every week. @ The OP: a good analysis. You are right to be disappointed that Dembélé was bullied backwards, but by the time Terry got close to the cross I thought Ivanovic (who seems to get rid of loads of dodgy sh*t every time I see him - the neew Vidic?) had gone beyond being physical with Mousa and was actually fouling him. Spurs-tinted specs, maybe - but that was how it looked to me.
      1. Potentially mate, but why didn't Mousa go to ground or even appeal?
    2. I totally agree - whilst Dembele did well on an individual basis, I can't help but feel that Sandro would have been better for the team.
  2. Had to be Paulinho who came off for Sandro, Dembele was excellent, Man of the Match in my view (and BT sports). Probably his best game for us since early last season. To be fair to AVB it was a difficult decision though - we outplayed them with ease in the first half, and he must have hoped we could adapt to their new shape with the players we had. When Chelsea have their full midfield out and come at you like they did in the second half its difficult for any team to deal with, and Sandro may not have made any difference. Remember the same game last season had a very similar pattern and we lost 4-2, so this is clearly progress
    1. I do take your point about MD playing well but I think the Sandro/Paulinho combo is a better blend of skill sets.
  3. Agree with Dan here. We're still looking very good this season, though this was a bit of a reality check (certainly in the second half). I'm sure most of us were thinking 'bring Sandro on to sit on Mata (literally, if necessary)', but we don't know if it would have worked. I do wonder - it's all well and good having Sandro, Paulinho, Dembele on the pitch breaking up play and winning back possession - but what good would it be if you couldn't do anything with it? My suggestion would have been to put Sandro on and have him totally man-mark Mata out of the game. But this guy is so good, can you ask a player to do that? You don't see teams trying to man-mark Messi or Ronaldo out of the game. With direct regards to the goal, I think you're a tad harsh on Vertonghen. His foul was needed to break up the attack (and a red would have been _really_ harsh), after the ball had bounced around midfield with several of our players getting sucked in, failing to tackle or shield the ball. If your midfield is totally failing you, sometimes that can force you into a tackle you don't want to make. The thing with Dembele - why doesn't he just let his player go - they'll be offside... Away from the goal, really impressed with Townsend. His running with the ball really put pressure on Chelsea while also taking it off our back four & midfield. It looks like he's been coached to shoot less, but that's obvious. The bit that makes me happy is that he seems to have taken it on board and changed his game. A young guy with talent who's able to learn? Here's hoping he can go all the way. Oh, and Walker was solid again. This guy was overrated in the first year and underrated since then. I don't have stats, but from my watching he consistently prevents crosses coming in, and also walks away with the ball rather than hoofing it out. These are the marks of top full backs.
    1. That Vertonghen tackle was rash, though, wasn't it? And Ramires *would* have had a clear run. Agreed, Dembele had to either let his man go, go to ground, or stand firm. He did none of these.
  4. The warning signs were there at the end of the first half when Oscar shot straight at the goalkeeper. I think AVB was trying to continue attacking and bringing on Sandro early in the second may have worried him into thinking that he was admitting defeat. However, I agree that Sandro needed to come on to stop us being lacerated through the middle; an alternative would have been an earlier substitutiion of Holtby for Eriksen as he provides a lot of energy and more defensive cover than Eriksen. People have also wondered about Chadli being brought on, but I think that was to provide cover on the left as we were being targeted in that area, thereby stretching play across the field and increasing space in the middle. Sweetsman
    1. Agree with all except the Chadli comment as he initially came on on the right, which was a bizarre move.
  5. Just confirms what I thought when watching MOTD, half the Chelsea team offside! 1-0 to Spurs!
    1. Dembele was playing them all on sadly.
  6. Cannot believe your blaming any Spurs when it's plain that Dembele was being knocked off balance by a foul push. It was a tactic that CFC always use. It's known as cheating and referees haven't learned to watch for it.
    1. There was certainly some pushing, borderline foul. If he felt he was being man handled he should have gone to ground or at least appealed IMO.
  7. What i don't understand is this is Kaboul damage for good or just having muscle problems with a long injury. The reasn i ask this hes 6ft4 our best header and hes not picked i wantde this defense because of Terry Walker Dawson Kaboul Vert. When Chadli and Capoue played we had loads of height Chadli 6ft2 Capoue 6ft2. We just bought Chiriches 6ft who is bad at corners judging by is you tube scouting action facts. I watched him play against Turkey and Yilmash scored a header mugging Chiriches and is team mate. So why have we bought another weak center half in the heading stake.
    1. AVB seems very reluctant to pair kaboul with vertonghen, and to be fair to him in the very few games they have started they have been very poor, the tbisili game was a good example, although we kept a clean sheet it was only down to inept attacking and the tisbli highlight reel, if there is one, shows a comedy of errors on the defensive pair's part. I have no doubt that with extended training and in matches against weaker opponents they can work together, but right now, right at this moment absolutely not, the match against the georgians is the only game both have started and niether been subbed uninjured
    2. I think Kaboul is struggling for sharpness but I agree we could do with him getting fit ASAP.
      1. Every week Kaboul doesn't play, his magical powers grow stronger. Sadly, I can't see him being anything but a disappointing when he does get back! But then, I'm a pessimist - by which I mean a Spurs fan...
  8. I thought the same as "I seen it!" - by the look of picture 3 down they are offside. We do need to practice our defending and heading abilities. We are poor and it costs us points so often!!
  9. Watching live, I thought Terry offside, but consoled myself that the camera angle was too acute, when trying to get Mata and Terry in the picture. Whether offside or a foul by Ivanovitch though, it was missed by the ref, who I thought had a terrible game, allowing Chelsea to get away with many fouls in the early part of the game, then booking two of our players for minor indiscretions. It was a signal for Chelsea to up the gamesmanship. The refereeing continued the same until the Torres sending off, which came too late to really address the previous wrongs. Re Vertonghen, the free kick was so far out, we should not blame him for conceding it, and re Sandro, absolutely agree he should have been brought on to counter Mata. Eriksen could have gone earlier, and Paulinho pushed further forward.
    1. Yeah, it's amazing that Chelsea (the manager, the fans) are so uop in arms about the ref. In essence, he sent a player off a little harshly (though there looked like intent in the way he charged so far and jumped so agressively), after he deserved a yellow and a red in the one incident and could have been yellowed on several other occasions. I, too, saw the start of the match like this: he seemed to let Chelsea off with everything and then gave two very soft yellows against us. Ramirez blasted the ball away, and the let him off with that, he let him off with a word and a free kick for dangerous play with the high boot, and he let him off with a couple of hefty challenges 'before' he booked him. As said above (in answer to Jill), I felt that Ivanovic fouled Dembélé for their goal, regardless of whether any of their players were offside. All-in-all, I cannot believe they are all over the shop moaning about the ref.
  10. Debleme (you can see his head) is playing 3 players on in picture 3. But iof he is being pushed, or nopt strong enough, is a tough call
  11. Dawson was to blame for this. You should not be watching everybody else and where they are when you have your own man to mark. he was supposed to mark terry and just let him run away and score. So many people rate Dawson but I think he is one of our weakest links next to Naughton especially when he plays at left back. Dawson had a terrible game on Saturday and he keeps persisting on smashing these cross field balls where he gets 2 in every 20 he tries. he costs us alot and I believe Kaboul or Chiriches should rather play as I just dont rate dawson at all.
    1. I totally agree with you mate. Dawson is second rate - slow and for his height not good for headers. Chiriches is way way better - a champion for me - fast and almost complete. Maybe suspect with high balls.
    2. We weren't marking man to man so I can't really agree with this. He was nearer Vertonghen's zone than Dawson's when he buried it.
  12. This goal is down to Dawson, 100%, he is ball watching and seems unaware where Terry is even though he is 2 yards away! Terry had a clear run and a free header, shocking! This is not down to tactics or Ivanovic bossing Dembele, but is purely down to Dawson not laying even his little finger on Terry.
    1. Not sure about that - for the reasons outlined in my post. Dawson shouldn't try to play offside, but Vertonghen doesn't even move from his starting position. Not great from either.
  13. Don't know why I bothered coming back to this site, but my friend thought it was insightful. Was he ever wrong!!! I don't know what your problem is with Dembélé, but I really hope he proves you and your football knowledge to be worth as much as monopoly money. Dembélé was man of the match and yet you still want to blame him for the goal when Dawson was wide open and allowed that scumbag Terry to the ball. It was 2 v 1. How can he be at fault for that?!
    1. Hello... why wouldn't you want to visit a site that makes you feel so strongly that you'd leave a comment? Sometimes it's good to read something that you disagree with right? :) I don't have a problem with Dembele - he's a great option for us, but he *is* limited in the final third, and *was* partly responsible for the goal, since he played Terry onside (whether you like it or not). Dawson, as I mentioned before, shouldn’t try to play offside when he can't see Dembele's position, but Vertonghen doesn’t even move from his starting position. Not great from either of those, or Mousa.
      1. The only problem with this site is that it only deals with goals conceded, but thankfully Windy has had little need to say anything of late. Long may this continue. I think this would be helped by Kaboul replacing Dawson.
  14. […] wandered across the six-yard box untracked; that can’t be happening in top-flight football. Chelsea also profited from our poor set piece defending and we’ve yet to score from a set piece ourselves this season despite having won 51 corners […]

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