Comment on Norwich 0 Tottenham 2 on Spurscommunity

31 12 2011

http://www.spurscommunity.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?p=2594555#post2594555

Having not watched the first 28 minutes live for relationship reasons, I was surprised when rewatching the match last night in anticipation of similar fare being served up today against Swnasea, that Spurs completely controlled the whole match, not just the last hour of it.  Many Spurscommunity posters had lead me to believe that things were rather even for the first half hour, something that clearly wasn’t the case on watching the game in cold blood. 

In the first half hour we had 8 shots at goal to Norwich’s three.  In fact, Norwich managed to get the ball in our box three times in the first half hour – once every ten minutes – we had 60% of the possession as well, some of it exquisite and Norwich could easily have had Holt sent off and given away a penalty in the first half.  And if Bale’s shot hadn’t been saved by Ruddy it would have been up there for goal of the season, the build up play being superb one-touch team passing.  And what a hat trick it would have presaged.

We played a great game of football today with an excellent result.  A real statement that we could be challenging for the title this season, especially if we do it again against Swansea and the others around us continue to drop points. 





Comment on Tottenham 1 Sunderland 0 on Spurs Community

18 12 2011

http://www.spurscommunity.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?p=2581674&posted=1#post2581674

A hard won win which showed why we just might be title contenders this year, but also why we might just fall short.  However, if anyone still had any doubts that we’ll finish in the top four by the end of the season, today’s performance will have definitely made them think again. 

Rocked by injuries to Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe before the game, two key ingredients in the eleven game unbeaten run, and having to cope with the unjust suspension of our most consistent central defender this season, we were at least able to welcome back club captain Ledley King to the centre of defence. 

The early loss of Aaron Lennon to a hamstring injury and a customary slow start didn’t bode well for kick-starting our Christmas run of games after that travesty of justice that was the loss to Stoke last weekend.  But we kept patient, we kept plugging away, we didn’t lose hope or composure, even when substitute Super Pav made a hash of his first handful of touches of the ball.  Instead of the blistering pace of a winger (neither of whom were on the pitch) or the intricate trickery of Modric or VDV, it was the ball-winning solidity of Sandro and Parker in the middle of the park which kept the spirits up and the shape strong and drove us stubbornly forward until the goal came.  And what a moral boosting goal it was in many respects.  Just after Sunderland had built up a head of steam and fashioned the odd half chance after the break, Parker wins the ball, feeds in Modric who plays it quickly and precisely up to VDV who puts in Pav.  Up until this point Roman’s performance had been nothing short of woeful, but his run off the defender was well-timed and well-angled to give him the space he needed for a precise first time finish across the keeper. 

It was a goal to blow out our chests and to burst Sunderland’s inflating balloon.  They knew they were unlikely to score now, we knew we could play the game out.  Our new found confidence at knocking the ball around to protect a lead was quickly on show, even if Modders really should have put us two up, although Ade gets some blame for not squaring it to him initially.  We held on rather comfortably, unlike Tottenham of old, to demonstrate the new found mental fortitude of this team.  

The win also showed how strong our squad is and how ready everyone is to contribute crucial performances.  Pavlyuchenko was rusty and his weaknesses holding up the ball, a heavy first touch and inability to win headers were exposed on many occasions, but when it really counted his supreme strength won us the game.  Sandro came in and made numerous interceptions and kept the ball moving quickly throughout the game.  And Gallas looked a much better defender alongside King, as do all of our centre halves.

Due to Roman’s goal we didn’t need to resort to 3-5-3 again, but it might serve us well at times in games over the holiday period if Lennon and Bale are out for long.  Let’s hope Andros Townsend can come in and do a job after his sterling performance against Shamrock on Thursday, or Niko Krancjar can provide some width on the right side.  Although the midfield diamond we played second half today will cause problems for most teams and provides one of the most solid midfields around perhaps. 

On to Chelsea on Thursday.  Every game is a big game when you’re trying to qualify for the Champion’s League, let alone win the title, but a positive result today has really set us up for consolidating our place in the top three and looking up North towards Manchester rather than around us at the other London clubs. 





Comment on Stoke 2 Spurs 1 on Spurs Community

11 12 2011

http://www.spurscommunity.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=81476&page=3

For all of the genius that was Harry switching to 3-5-2 at halftime, I really think he missed a trick not starting with Sandro instead of VDV. Reason being we have started games slowly recently and Stoke were always going to come out all guns blazing and trying to rough us up. It was imperative we start solidly and not give away an early goal. To score twice here was always going to be difficult, even without an atrocious referee, so we needed to be strong and solid defensively for the first half. Surely playing Sandro and Parker together in front of the back four with Modric being much more adept at linking them and the widemen to Ade that VDV would have given us a much more solid platform from which to beat both Stoke and the referee. I hope the referee gets suspended for at least as long as Younes will. 

We had to lose at some point and losing away to Stoke is something league champions can easily do, so no need to overdo the pessimism, and the second half performance showed the mental attitude that this year’s team has shown before, we just didn’t have the luck today in any shape or form and took too long to get going in the first half.

Update:

Originally Posted by Sarsipius View Post
On another note the pitch looked awful which I’m sure the groundsmen are very proud of. Something that lumpy prevents slick passing and doesn’t affect the headers and volleys game that Stoke pride themselves on.

The amazing thing isn’t the state of the pitch, but the size of it. The aesthetically hideous refusing-to-fade lines of the previous pitch size served to remind us throughout the game that Stoke were at liberty to shrink the pitch to suit their rugby football. 

When neither the surface nor the officiating team are giving you the space to express your obvious footballing advantage over the opposition what hope is there?






Comment on West Brom 1 Spurs 3 on Spurs Community

27 11 2011

http://www.spurscommunity.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=80986&page=5

Before the game I was so excited because I saw this match as a real litmus test of how much better we are this season than in the last few. We hadn’t beaten West Brom in our last four attempts and it was always going to be a tough game and I could see myself trying to be content with a point if that was all we came away with. 

When I saw Luka wasn’t playing (even though I love Sandro) it obviously became even tougher. When we let the first goal in and it was clear that Younes was blipping and the SAS combo in midfield was taking it’s time to gel I also thought back to last season and thought this might be one of those days. It actually occurred to me at one point before the equaliser when we were being bossed about a little a bit and the crowd was massively in the game that perhaps we were on our way to our third defeat of the season and it may even be another heavy one. 

But what happened. This season’s Spurs started to play. We had some possession, slowed their momentum and eeked out some chances. We had some luck. Not the penalty decision, but the result of the miss. It was an awful penalty, but it didn’t matter. And suddenly it was clear that the most likely result was a come from behind ninth victory in ten and a virtual second place in the table. 

As David has said, SAS and Harry worked out a more effective way for them to play together (was it just my love for Sandro that made me think he was very harshly booked?). Lennon really got into the game and needled away at West Brom’s confidence on the back of winning the pen. And Jermain and Ade started to feel their way into a partnership, playing each other into space with some sublime touches.

While it wasn’t a foregone conclusion by any means, we had the experience of Fulham and Blackburn to give us the confidence to keep plugging away until the second goal came. 

And how Jermain took his chance. He is a different player to last season, it’s plain for all to see. Last year he was begging for a run in the team to help him restore his confidence after injury. This year shows it’s not so much about playing as who you play with. Ade makes both VDV and JD look better players. He’s not perfect by a long chalk (I doubt he’d make Peter Crouch look a better player and some of his shooting yesterday was Crouch-esque in its flimsiness) but he’s created a vast improvement in our striking department which is clearly seen in the amount of goals we’re scoring. 

We were building ourselves up before the game and we lived up to the billing during the game. Last year we’d have lost this game and perhaps some bad luck would have played it’s part. This year luck seems to be going our way. But you make your own luck and the winning mentality of Ade and Scotty as much as their footballing skills combined with Harry’s continued magic weaving and Levy’s incredible masterplan are what makes this team look like the first Tottenham team I can remember EVER watching (i.e. since 1978) that actually has that winning mentality. A great example of this is the football we now play when in the lead. We play a possession football up there with the best of them. We’re taking the ball down the channels and providing options behind to sweep it out to the other flank and repeat the process ad nauseum if we want to. There’s nothing better for the confidence (and Harry’s ticker) than to be able to play that kind of football when you’re winning. It’s been a weakness for a few years now and it’s something Harry has obviously worked on in training. 

Long may the winning mentality and the winning streak continue. I believe we can challenge at least one of the Manchester’s (the other may need some Tevez-inspired imploding in order to help us) and it’s blatantly obvious from the way the team is playing the game that so do the players, the manager and the chairman. I love them all.





Comment on Fulham 1 Tottenham 3 on Spurs Community

6 11 2011

Fulham 1 Tottenham 3

What an excellent win. This season really is shaping up promisingly. 

I’m not convinced Fulham did play better than us. They played better than us in midfield, no doubt about it. And the majority of the game was played in midfield so it looked like they played better than us. They also had more possession than us, also giving the impression they played better than us. But going back to David’s halftime scoreline, they had more quantity than us, but we had the quality. 

We defended well almost throughout the game (Ledley’s header into the back of Younes for their goal apart) – physical, athletic, reading the game well, clearing our lines effectively and a goalkeeper on the top of his game (except for his fumble before Luka’s goaline clearance). Fulham didn’t. 

We attacked very effectively, almost all our chances were on target and we scored from about half of them. Clincal as you like. Fulham weren’t, misssing a host of chances. 

We clearly won two phases out of three of the game – we played better than them and deserved to win. 

And it’s wins like this one and the last one that really show an improvement on last season. An improvement at the back, mostly due to Ledley’s imperial and much more consistent presence. And an improvement up front, mostly due to Ade’s physicality and Defoe’s renewed sharpness (VDV continues to be VDV). And these improvements help us to improve mentally as well. Today we knew we would hang on because we’d done it before and recently. And hanging on today will bring a further growth in confidence for the games ahead. 

Well played everyone today, in one way or another. Keep the run going boys, entertaining times ahead.






Comment on Blackburn 1 Tottenham 2 on Spurs Community

23 10 2011

http://www.spurscommunity.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=80065&page=5

A real difference between the result and the performance today and when looking at the table the result is more important, but let’s hope we can continue to grow as a team by learning from the performance. 

We scored two good goals, let in a sloppy one and gave the ball away carelessly far too often to deserve to win the game. Almost everyone was culpable on numerous occasions. Let’s hope Harry can work out the reason why soon so that we can get more fluid and hold onto the ball much better. Was it a lack of running into space to offer an option? Lack of concentration? Brilliant Blackburn pressing? Just one of those days? A combination of all the above?

What was most noticeable for me was the lack of options for the man with the ball coupled with a lack of time on the ball due to Blackburn’s pressing. As the game wore on we seemed to lose confidence in our passing game and just clear our lines as quickly as we could. We were second to everything coming out of our penalty area and this invited Blackburn to put it straight back in there. 

But credit goes to everyone for hanging on in there and coming away with an excellent three points. Things were looking very similar to last week and we could easily have given away an equaliser (although Blackburn simply didn’t have as much composure as Newcastle in the final third). 

Overall, four points from these last two away games is an excellent return and other results (so far) today are looking good for our challenge for fourth turning into a challenge for third or even second. With Sandro back to full strength we will definitely improve our ball retention and hopefully make for less nerve-wracking finishes and hopefully the centre of defence and centre forwards will grow in confidence as the goals and points keep coming. Good times.





Comment on Newcastle 2 Tottenham 2 on Spurs Community

16 10 2011

http://www.spurscommunity.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?p=2520682#post2520682

Game of two halves entertainment wise. A game we should have won but looked more likely to lose once they equalised. Unfortunately, going back to my original post on the team selection, we’d have one this game comfortably with Sandro in midfield rather than Jake, who was out of his depth today. 

Think this game shows we’re better than last year’s team and are right in the fight for fourth, or maybe even third, but a team with pretensions to challenge for the championship would have taken this game. 

What do we lack? We need even more of a cutting edge (I suggest Defoe should be starting ahead of VDV), a stronger midfield (Sandro) and better defending as a team (Livermore and then BAE were at fault for the goals) and when we have our first team out we’ll have all of these. Let’s get some people fit, although worrying that Walker, Bale and Modric all got knocked about today.