Sunday, September 10, 2006

So near, yet so far…

Very few Spurs fans would have expected to go Old Trafford yesterday and actually get something out of the game, but if it wasn’t for a simple error that allowed Giggs to head the only goal of the game, some strange tactical decisions by Big Martin Jol, and a complete lack of luck in front of goal, things could have been much better.

Lets get the goal out of the way. It was a swerving free kick by Ronaldo, but Robbo should have done better. If the sun was in his eyes then he shouldn’t have taken the cap he was wearing at the start off. He should have been able to hold onto the shot – it was hit right at him. Taking the goal out of the game it was a good away performance by Spurs. We had lots of possession, created a few chances and didn’t allow Man Utd to play their usual game. Unfortunately that goal, scored so early, completely ruined the tactical plan, yet we didn’t deviate from it until deep into the second half.

Quite why Big Martin Jol thought Robbie Keane could play up front on his own is something that only he knows. Lets get this straight, The Waddler is a big Robbie fan, but the guy can’t head the ball to save his life, yet Robinson was still booting the ball up to him and he lost out every time. If only we had someone with aerial presence up front – oh wait we did, but Mido was forced to play on the left touchline! Who thought that was a good idea? This is where BMJ needs a good number two next to him, questioning his tactics, playing devils advocate occasionally. Does Chris Houghton do this? Who knows, but it was a poor decision, and one that cost us the match. Playing Davids on the left of midfield is something that fails every time and yet we keep seeing it happening. The news of Lennon’s injury obviously threw the plans into disarray, but playing four central midfielders across the midfield does not make for a pretty sight. Its tough to give Ghaly stick on his debut, but Davids’ distribution is woeful, and really lets him down playing left midfield. He can do a job playing centrally, breaking up the play, and playing short, simple passes, but not wide, where you need to have some creativity.

So what were the positives? Zokora looked excellent – very neat and tidy, with nice passing skills and he can bring the ball forward, which is something we have missed. Chimbonda was superb, getting forward with ease, very strong defensively, and with BAE on the left, Ledley and Daws in the middle, we have a great back four, that will only get better as they get to know each other. A storming performance from Ledders showed what we have missed recently, and Dawson looks a better player along side the Skipper, than he does with Davenport or Gardener. If Defoe’s header had fallen to Mido, or if Van der Saar hadn’t played so well, making great stops from Dawson, King, Mido and Chimbonda efforts we might have got the point we deserved.

So lets all keep our fingers crossed that Lennon’s injury isn’t too bad, that Berbatov is ready to return, and look forward to the start of the UEFA Cup adventure which starts on Thursday.

The Waddler.