Monday, November 13, 2006

The Ballad of Reading Goals

If Spurs took a step forward by beating Chelsea last weekend then they took two back yesterday by putting in a dire performance against Reading. It was a display completely lacking in desire and in many ways the polar opposite of the game against the Champions.

Spurs took to the field with an air of superiority about them, almost as if they knew they were better than Reading, so simply had to turn up in order to win. This attitude wasn’t helped then when we went one-nil up through a Robbie Keane penalty in the first half, as Spurs continued to coast. Reading on the other hand played like we did last week, forever chomping at our heels, chasing balls and getting stuck in. Spurs never play well against teams that do that to us, and as a result the passing went badly awry as every player was closed down before they even received the ball. When they equalised Spurs just went to pieces and conceded an abysmal second goal from a corner that gets worse every time you see it.

For all three goals Paul Robinson looks culpable, with the first and third seemingly going under his outstretched hand. That looks like a technical issue, as he can clearly dive far enough, but somehow can’t get his hand to the ball. For the second, whilst there were people not marking or concentrating everywhere, a goalkeeper should claim any cross in the six yard box and Robinson was rooted to his line when the corner came in.

9 games in 28 days is lot to ask, and unbeaten runs end sooner or later but it was a poor performance and there can’t be any excuses. Only Keane and to a lesser extent Jenas looked like they cared, and were the only two really putting a shift in. YP Lee had a terrible game, and Hossam Ghaly and Didier Zokora were also woeful, looking completely shocked when they weren’t given time to control the ball by Reading. It was a very quiet team that was picked, with no real aggressors on the field without Chimbonda or even a Davids, and that didn’t help when the chips were down after their equaliser. It seems strange to heap so much importance on a right back, but you couldn’t imagine any of the goals being scored with Chimbonda on the field, in particular the second one. The third was a result of Spurs going with 3 at the back so doesn’t really count in the analysis. The fact is though we missed his aggression which rubs off on the rest of the team, and that highlights some gaps in our squad.

It’s Blackburn away next up which won’t be easy, and let’s hope Spurs take it a little more seriously than they did yesterday. Oscar Wilde once wrote that “In Reading gaol by Reading town, there is a pit of shame” and you would hope that Spurs sat in that pit yesterday and had a long hard look at themselves.

The Waddler.