Analysis of the goal conceded against Fulham (4/12)

Dejagah’s goal – Dawson steps into midfield and miscues a pass to Paulinho, who loses the ball to Parker. Via Kačaniklić, Fulham find Berbatov, who releases Dejagah with a perfectly-weighted pass, and he finishes well.



Dawson has the ball in space at the back.


The reason that Dawson plays so many long balls is that he’s not comfortable in possession. Where our other centre-backs are all happy to carry the ball forward, Dawson isn’t. Instead, he distributes generally by laying the ball into Sandro, by shifting it to his centre-back partner, or by going long. Here, he attempts to step into midfield.


He panics, and plays a poor pass into Paulinho. Paulinho tries to protect the ball, but Parker presses him and gets a foot in, finding Kačaniklić.


Kačaniklić instantly lays off to Berbatov, who holds the ball up, turns…


…and sprays a wonderful pass wide to Dejagah. Here, it is useful to look at the animated GIF at the top of this article. Focus on Vertonghen. He has pushed up into a very advanced position – on halfway – with Dejagah far more narrow. When Fulham win the ball back, there are two or three seconds where Vertonghen is still stood on halfway, and Dejagah realises that he has an opportunity to fill the space.


By the time Vertonghen realises that Dejagah’s going to get the ball, it’s too late. The winger manages to control the ball on the stretch…


…and finishes well across Lloris from just inside the box.

Not pretty from Spurs, and Dawson again is culpable. He has had a poor run of games, and is only retaining his place due to the ongoing injury issues with Danny Rose. This was also one of Vertonghen’s worst games for Spurs, and his form at left-back is a major concern. There must be a temptation for AVB to switch Vertonghen back to centre-back, and bring in Fryers or Naughton at left-back.

On the plus side, Spurs created several good chances in this match, and had Paulinho, Lamela, and Defoe taken their presentable opportunities, we’d have been well clear. We have to start being more clinical – Lennon and Soldado missed good chances against United, meaning that we relied on long-range goals, and the same was true here.

Join the conversation

  1. Danny Rose's absence has caused this poor form IMO. AVB's whole system relies on full backs doing a lot of running which is why he fell out with BAE. He should have told BAE he'd play him one half and Rose the other.
    1. From what I understand, BAE was let go for non-football reasons.
      1. I would think their troubles started when AVB expected BAE to be at both end's of the field at the same time. When Spurs have the ball the fullbacks become wingers and Sandro/Capoue drop back to form a back 3. When Spurs lose the ball the fullbacks become fullbacks again. This is exactly how Fulham scored last night......we lost the ball unexpectedly. Verts is moving up. Capoue hasn't arrived to form the back 3.....big hole behind Verts. Walker and Rose give it a good go but it's exhausting work for them. BAE probably got fed up with being yelled at to play an impossible role (by a man who's not a footballer) and yelled back. In rugby they play until they drop and then send on a sub, but they are allowed to use 7 subs.
      2. As a player you have to do as your manager instructs, whether you disagree or not.
      3. This video on Utube is the exact system AVB is coaching. It's all about a slow patient build up. It doesn't work in practice as we've seen, it's too slow. The players are carrying it out very well I think.
  2. I am looking forward to the pairing of Verts and Vlad as centre backs.
    1. Actually I don't think they are an ideal combo - neither really enjoys attacking the ball.
      1. one problem is that kaboul and vert have played together several times and they have been the worst partnership by far, the only saving graces have been that the attack they were facing were pitiful, tsibili for instance. There's a reason vert didn't come into the team until kaboul was injured last year, it seems AVB thinks it's a bad combo too
  3. The other reason Dawson is playing is because the club has made him its captain. I suspect there would be a huge inquest if he was dropped. More politics in my opinion but agree he needs some time on the bench.
    1. Actually, Kaboul is captain.
      1. What are you basing this on? If memory serves, the only time they've both started and Kaboul has captained was against Dinamo Tbilisi, which I thought everyone agreed was to reward Kaboul on his return from injury. Subsequently (the home match against Tromso; away to Manchester City), Dawson has always been captain.
      2. You could be right. Dawson was named club captain, of course, but my understanding was that was only due to Kaboul's injury troubles. He captained us a lot when he was in that great run of form before.
  4. How long will it take for AVB to realise that Dawson is for to slow, not comfortable with the ball and has the turning circle of a canal barge. Stick him on the bench ! Vlad, the Bull and Vert are all superior players who can not only defend but run with the ball as well.
    1. If only we could rely on Kaboul.
      1. Do you mean because of injuries, or quality?
      2. Injuries - when fit, he's our best defender IMO.
    2. I think AVB knew that from day one when he arrived at the club and tried to off load Dawson
  5. i like dawson,he's a warrior but he loses the plot every now and again. it has to stop.
  6. I think the focus on Dawson is a little silly. It's 0-0 with almost an hour gone in a game we desperately want to win – he's trying to inject some urgency into our play. The pass isn't brilliant, but Paulinho is still the favourite to get to it ahead of Parker. Just as for Remy's goal when we played Newcastle, however, he isn't strong enough. If Vertonghen or Chiriches had played the same ball and Paulinho had managed to shield it like he should have, no one would have given it a second thought. The issue should be, in your fifth still, do we seem to be in any danger? And the answer is no, we don't. Dawson has got back in position, we have four men behind the ball and Fulham have three – just about – in front of it. It all looks fairly routine, although that's in part because Vertonghen is out of shot. If I didn't know any better, I'd say Dawson and Sandro were our centre-backs and Chiriches was our left-back. It's a good, compact back line (albeit Daws is still a little high). On that basis, Chiriches should go towards Dejagah, and initially he does, but then for some reason he changes his mind and runs towards goal. Would it have made any difference if he hadn't? Probably not. But the ball comes through his side of the defence, and of those in the defensive line at that point in the game (Walker, Dawson, Sandro, Chiriches), he's the man at fault.
    1. No way is that Paulinho's fault - Dawson slips as he plays the ball, hence it ends up being hopelessly under-hit... Paulinho comes towards the ball, but Parker is way ahead of him and wins it, easily! It's Dawson's slip that causes the problem: love the guy, but he's just not top notch any more...
      1. "Hopelessly" underhit? "Way" ahead of him? Come off it. And did Dawson slip or is he not good enough? Which is it? Or do you think he's become so bad he can't even stand upright anymore?
      2. Just watch the video
    2. I kind of want to agree with you but, for me, the pass puts Paulinho under a lot of pressure and he's not absolute favourite to get it. The Newcastle one was certainly his fault, this one I find hard to pin on him. Agree with you though on the second point that Chiriches could position himself better (although he's unlikely to get there, as you say).
  7. Spot on as usual Windy. Daws bless his heart, is not a top tier defender..his reading of the game has been a notch lower than the good ones, ie king ledders, kompany and lacks pace. He shld be 4th in line, end of.
  8. That's a great GIF, shows the play developing so well. How about that pass from Berba? I really miss watching that guy play every week. What an artist. It's a bad goof from Dawson, but Vertonghen comes off really poorly here. The sooner he can move back to CB where he belongs, the better.
    1. Vert does seem to have really really good or really bad games at left back, and I hope he's back in CB asap. Rose is apparently close to being back but i would suggest a forward thinking left back to replace or compete with him is probably our most important target. Problem is, aside from the obvious shaw and baines who i would imagine were staying put or moving to one of the current CL teams I can't think of one that could reliably fit in from the get go.
    2. Phenomenal ball from Berba!
  9. True Dawson messed up, but is he to blame for their goal, no. It's this bloody high line that's at fault. Just think for a moment. If Vlad and the full backs were further back and it was only Dawson who made that hazy run forward, they may have been able to intercept the threat.
  10. People just seem to want to segue every analysis into AVB bashing, esp the high line. You hear other pundits laud the use of the high line by other teams. Why not just accept that Berba took advantage of the situation to brilliant effect and the goal was taken with aplomb. It also goes to show that we played against a team of some very talented individuals that had lost their way recently. Every time we do something good, some people are eager to bring up reasons to downplay the achievement. As regards BAE, he was at The Cottage. What exactly were the non-footballing matters, Windy?
  11. Must agree that Paulinho should take equal responsibility for the goal. Even if it was a bad pass, he should head to the ball rather than wait for it to come
  12. Tactics work with the right personnel. No use playing the high line if the players cannot adapt or are physically not able to. Barcelona and Bayern play the high line well as they have the right players to play that system. The West ham game was a perfect example of taking advantage to our predictable high line, they knowing that the likes of Dawson and Jan are not quick enough when they beat the offside trap.


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