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The morning after the night before Spurs review.

Posted on January 05, 2014 by Tony

Firstly, even though I wished for something totally different, congratulations must go to Arsenal for a thoroughly deserved victory, they held all the aces throughout the match and even though their second goal came from an error even a schoolboy would cringe at, in truth there was only ever likely to be one winner.

After a decent run in the League and that great result at Old Trafford, Tim Sherwood and his staff, the players and supporters of Tottenham were brought crashing to earth. I wouldn’t say that any individual Tottenham player had a nightmare performance, Bentaleb showed again that he has got something about him and could be a fantastic player in the not too distant future, Dembele never gave up and pushed all the way and all the others had their moments, but when all is said and done it is hard to suggest that any of them won or dominated their battles against their opponents.

Some have argued that Tim Sherwood’s predecessor was too regimented and set in his ways, he preferred five men in midfield, inverted wingers and to play the high-line and all of that might be true, but perhaps Sherwood is also guilty himself of such obstinacy with what he believes is the way to play! When it as clear as the nose on your face that Arsenal will play five in midfield, all moving and passing at incredible speed, and when you play that opponent in the form of the lives surely it is a crime not to try to combat their strengths first and foremost rather than play into their hands. He left the imposing French international Etienne Capoue sat on the bench and chose the youngster Bentaleb ahead of him, which although strange wasn’t so bad a decision, it probably had little effect on matters, yesterday called for what was the obvious and that was a five man match up in midfield and somebody with real pace and a desire to help his defence on our left, Eriksen was not and never will be that man as his strengths are centrally.

Looking at the stats, yet again Tottenham managed to dominate possession against a team normally associated with that side of any game, which suggests that Tottenham have the players to do the job if they are set up and play the right way against not only Arsenal but almost any other team. Yesterday they had just two really decent chances, the first for Eriksen which actually came from a ricochet rather than great build up and the second when Adebayor controlled in front of goal and slipped.

Now I am no expert as apart from coaching a youth team I have no professional coaching badges, but until we find a coach willing to modify his team and tactics to counteract the opposition in any given game we are never going to make the step up to the next level, perhaps Sherwood might be that coach once he has a bigger compliment of players to choose from and they are off the treatment table and back on the training ground. In order to do so he has to rid himself of this obsession with playing two strikers no matter what, there will be times and teams faced when it will bring great rewards but on other occasions it will seem like the team is still playing in the dark ages, like yesterday.

There is also this ridiculous obsession with playing Adebayor no matter what, he has built him up so much that he has made a rod for his own back, can he now leave him out of the team when the set up demands it, or withdraw him from the game when it clearly isn’t working, like yesterday? Sherwood it seems is pandering to playing two forwards, a 4 4 2 or a slightly modified version with two strikers chosen, playing both Adebayor because of his ego and Soldado because of his fee, he has hung his hat on playing the youngsters, a good thing but must be for the good of the team in selected matches as well as the future of the club and player.

I always felt that choosing Sherwood was a massive gamble but since his involvement he has made some strides, he has realised that there is the need for defensive midfielders in an attacking team, he has ensured that the two forwards chosen drop deep to link with their midfield, although yesterday all it did was weaken the midfield, which was a player short, and take away the object of having two strikers in the box to feed off attacking momentum. We keep hearing this expression “square pegs in round holes” and found ourselves with Eriksen on the left and two “strikers” in midfield, all good players but not playing to their strengths and not for what they were purchased for.

Even Harry Redknapp, the epitome of 4 4 2, modified his thinking and had the option of 4 4 1 1 once he had VDV in the squad, there were times when he went with three at the back to chase a result, yesterday Sherwood took off Soldado and threw on Chadli while switching Eriksen centrally, perhaps how he should have started the game, although Arsenal had the game won by then it did result in more advanced positions for the team and control of the game, I would also question whether he took off the correct striker as apart from that one moment in the centre of goal was there any other occasion when Adebayor threatened in an advanced position?

Here we are early in the New Year and we only have a cup and a top four position to play for and that is all pretty similar to many of the last six or so seasons, even though we supporters believe we have our best squad ever, even if we no longer have a few stars like Bale, Modric, VDV and King, yet the target remains singular. top four, an exit from Europe is probably next on the agenda and the reason I say this is because Sherwood bemoaned the squad he had to work with for this tie because of injuries, yet on Friday he informed everybody that Townsend, Defoe and Holtby were back in training and in contention for the game, well where were they?  They were watching from the comfort of their own homes, Capoue bought at great expense to be a central midfielder relegated to the bench for an 18 yr old and the team set up to go for broke.

Let’s all hope Sherwood learns from yesterday as he learned from his first couple of games in charge, let’s hope he is still in charge come the start of next season as that will mean that he has taken the club forward and probably achieved their ambitions for this season, we shall soon see.

On a final note, the ITV panelists sunk to a new low yesterday, as Ledley King demonstrated what an absolute gentleman he is Ian Wright and Roy Keane showed a distinct lack of class by deriding Tottenham and their supporters, of course we should expect nothing less of either of them, Keane a now famous failed coach and hater of prawn sandwiches and Ian Wright seemingly soon to announce his new show “The Walcott and Wrighty Windup”. Another reason that I hope and expect that Arsenal will again end the season with the same to show for it as the last eight seasons.




19 to “The morning after the night before Spurs review.”

  1. Eric says:

    So far Tim has done well in the league but he’s clearly overdoing the 4-4-2,adebayor and the youth thing.Lamela’s bro said he’s fine but Tim said he’s injured,also holtby wasn’t even on the bench.I can’t fathom his obsession with ade n Bentaleb.Let’s hope no matter who he plays we still get top 4

    • Tony says:

      I do rate Bentaleb and he has got a fair bit of aggression to his game which i like, he wasn’t a failure by any means yesterday but the game called for experience especially playing a man light in midfield. Not happy with all this cloak and dagger behind the scenes, what did Adebayor apologise to the squad for, “beaniegate”, Sherwood and Baldini power struggle over chief scout, even more concerning is all the leaks coming from Harry Redknapp over Kane, Defoe, Benni, Carroll and Adebayor, my guess is he and sherwood are as thick as thieves and he might be having a bit more input in things than is good for the club.
      Redknapp threw all the cups by playing kids and weakened teams and since sherwood has come in we are out of League cup and now the FA Cup with little more than a whimper.All eggs in the champions League basket with the biggest squad of quality players we have ever assembled.

  2. Akhil says:

    Leave your manager alone! He’s done a great job. 4th place is still realistic and your ship has been steadied. Dont be too fickle. Arsenal were always gonna win at home. Just support your manager.

    • Tony says:

      4th place was still realistic with the previous coach and we were still in both cups, don’t get me wrong I will support him while he has the job but I still don’t support the decision to appoint him nor the circumstances and he will still be open to criticism just like you all did to Wenger after the Villa game and probably at the end of the season when you end up empty handed again, I might be wrong of course because you have a better team than for a few years but it’s still my opinion to which i’m entitled.

  3. Jide says:

    Great piece Tony. But are we not forgetting a few people with regards to the tactics applied in this match? Did messrs Freund , Ferdinand and Ramsey agree with Sherwood when they had their pre-match meeting and picked the team? I will like to know what their views were.

    Secondly, the match was on Itv Tony, and not Sky. But that does not take away my complete agreement with on the disgraceful behaviour of Wright and Keane. I wonder how Ledley King managed to keep his composure.

    • Tony says:

      You are right forgot the station it was on but never mind the point is still relevant. Our Ledley played with class and acts with class a true great in every sense.

  4. Jide says:

    Thank goodness, West Ham lost 5-0 and Man U has just lost 1-2 to the Swans. That will take most of the pressure off us.

  5. jweru says:

    Lets move on,the best team won,i think we need a quicker striker like be honest iam not convinced with solddado , and lets us not make excusse for our kids they also hard an 18yr old,who was their best player.

    • allardyce says:

      would arsene trade gnabry for bentaleb?

    • Tony says:

      i agree i think we need someone like Aguero or Suarez but where do you find such special players? tottenham do have a player like that his name is Erik Lamela but he is continually referred to as a winger, Ossie Ardiles and the Argentinians see him as someone who plays just off the main striker helping to create and finish. No excuses for Bentaleb as he did not let himself down that was done by sherwood choosing the wrong setup to face an arsenal team that plays the same way no matter what. gnabry was far from their best player and did ok but when 5 against 4 arsenal always had one player over in some advanced position when building play. Tactical error cost us which is the consensus of opinion and is as clear as day in my view and nobody will convince me otherwise.

  6. allardyce says:

    while it can be argued this is the deepest squad we have ever had, the quality doesn’t match the best we have ever had. bale, modric and VDV on the same team was special. we have a cup and a champions league qualification to prove it. while some may fancy our squad over the likes of Arsenal, they have proven they have a champions league quality squad over and over and over again. you would think it just couldn’t be, but it has happened every year. crazy. i want spurs to be like that one day. this derby is fun and all, but lets stop comparing clubs. i just want to enjoy us winning.

  7. BigH says:

    I am sorry but Sherwood got it totally wrong. We did need five in midfield and Capoue should have started with Eriksen on the bench. I dont know what Holtby has done wrong but he wasn’t even on the bench. Woolwich are a pass and move side and you really need to break them up in midfield. We made it too easy for them and let them play. This was a battle and we simply did not have enough steel in midfield to do that. Sherwood needs to learn that having a rigid view about 4-4-2 makes as much sense as AVB’s obsessions. Flexibility is they key and sometimes you do have to change things. Bentaleb looks a quality player, but needed more experienced heads around him. Eriksen looked totally bemused and is not the type of player for a fight. He hopefully will learn, but yesterday we needed battlers and he, yet, is not one of them. I paid ¬£62 for a ticket and all I ask is that we at least put up a fight, but we cannot do that with a lightweight midfield. We should have got Hoddle. Yes I am totally hacked off

    • Tony says:

      When you have the quality of player that we now have we should be able to adjust to any formation and lets face it the squad has been playing a five for 18mths now and it would have been easy to change for this game when needed. We got away with it against united because they are so poor but against what is the league leaders and probably the 3rd best team behind City and Chelsea it was doomed to failure as we have been saying for weeks. I think Sherwood might be a bit like redknapp in that he has his favourites, Ade, Bentaleb,Eriksen are in, Holtby and Capoue are out. sherwood was not interested in playing for a replay this was all or nothing just like the redknapp era. CL or bust let’s hope he learns quickly and brings it home.

  8. Toppy says:

    Wishing arsenal ill luck is like taking drugs for another mans headache. gooners know that they would be lucky to win the league.all they wanna see is improved performance which they have been given this season.if you wish arsenal wins nothing then it wont be suicider if tottenham finishes outside the top 10.

    • Tony says:

      gooners are right not to expect to win the league but I doubt that is actually the case and why should they not expect to they have a decent chance as things stand. even allowing for Sherwoods inexperience i don’t think there is any danger of Spurs finishing outside the top ten, not that it matters, it’s top four or nowhere. don’t take Tottenham supporters wishing arsenal end up with nothing to heart, it is reciprocated by your supporters to us and to be fair Arsenal players and wenger himself are not good examples of losing with dignity or even winning with dignity as wiltshire, walcott and that creepy keeper you have are testimony to, Wenger sees what he wants to see and has often been guilty of losing badly and showing a lack of class to opposing coaches and their staff. sorry if it offends you but that’s the way of it.

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