Typical Spurs. As soon as half time hit that thought came into my head like it always does: "Gosh I don't hope Spurs come out flat in the second half." To be honest, it is rare that we put together 2 really solid halves of Champions League level football. Today we saw how a team can hurt itself even if the run of bad play is only a few minutes here and there. In the Champions League all it takes is one mistake, however tiny it may seem, for a team to regain hope and find footing in the match. Today Spurs made enough small mistakes that eventually added up into something bigger. Multiple players were responsible.
Cudicini- Carlo post-accident has been pretty worrisome thus far. People will point to the first goal as his biggest mistake today. The bigger issue was the apparent lack of communication between him and the defense on that play. Obviously you can never be sure exactly what is being said down their, but King being a step late in getting to Almeida might very well have something to do with a lack of a shout from Carlo. These are mistakes a vetern kepper shouldn't be making, even if he is the backup. Seeing Carlo these last few outings reminds me just how valuable Gomes is to our side.
Corluka- Marin very well might have had a case for man of the match tonight. He absolutely terrorized Tottenham tonight, Corluka specifically. We all recognize Charlie's lack of pace. Tonight it was exposed. He did reasonably well I thought except for the attack on his pace. The goal that Marin did score wasn't even his fault. In general a pretty standard Charlie performance
Kaboul- Kaboul was our best defender tonight, in my opinion. He was aggressive and maintained good position throughout the match. He made a few mistakes in possession but for the most part played a mistake free game. It's really nice to see squad players step up and fill in for the injured. Kaboul did well.
King- King made a mistake on that first goal, I think. He was certain partly at fault, not completely, but somewhat. Otherwise the defending was relatively good. Nobody closed on the Marin goal but it is hard to tell whose fault that was exactly. It's just nice having Ledley available for our big matches. Having your captain on the pitch is of great importance. Let's hope, in a time of many injuries, Ledley stays as healthy as possible
Assou-Ekotto- There seemed to be mixed opinion of BAE's play, and for good reason. He made some bad mistakes, but he also started many good attacks. His ball up to Bale on the first goal was quite nice. He also made a nice run late to earn a free kick. Mentally, though, it's obvious that Benoit is not always there. The worst part is that these mental lapses are really coming back to hurt the side. His mishit clearance set up the throw in that led to the first Bremen goal. It seems that you just have to take the good with the bad in this case because, unless you move Bale back, there is little cover at this position.
Lennon- Aaron is having trouble finding his form right now. To his credit, though, teams aren't making it easy for him. Bremen seemingly always had him blanketed with multiple defenders. The times that he did get a chance to run Lennon regularly won corners for Tottenham. Overall, however, it would be safe to classify his performance as sub-par.
Huddlestone- Spurs got the passing they needed from people other than Huddlestone. Neither of the goals were set up by him. However, he does the little things that really help the side. His is physical, smart, and rarely makes mistakes. He got turned once in defense but was otherwise solid. I was disgusted to see Kaboul taking free kicks ahead of Hudd. We must realize what a weapon Tommy's right foot is and use it appropriately.
Jenas- At half time I was unimpressed by Jenas. After watching the second half, though, his impact on the game was noticeable. He did a good job of getting box to box and maintained a cool head the entire game for the most part. Jermaine still gives the ball away too much but he showed today, at least in part, why Harry has kept him around.
Bale- Probably the best player on the pitch today. Bale did was he always does. He constantly made good runs and produced good finals balls. His crosses are so good, in fact, that even the other team can't help but put them in. It's really frustrating to watch Bale whip in such great balls and see Crouch and Keane not get a touch on them. All we can ask of Gareth is to keep going as he is.
Van Der Vaart- VDV was all over the place in his time on the pitch. He tracked back exceptionally well. His most notable contribution came in the form of the cross that he played perfectly to Crouch for Spurs' second goal. Then, just as it seemed he was getting going, he picks up a knock and has to come of. This just seems to be the wave of bad luck Spurs are riding at the time. Hopefully it's nothing serious because today showed just how badly we need him in the line up.
Crouch- Peter Crouch's Champions League goal record. That really is all that needs to be said. Crouch consistently scores important goals when the time comes for them. He was a nuisance today for the Bremen defense and, in my estimation, will continue to terrorize teams in Europe. Defenders simply can't deal with his combination of height and hold up ability. Both were on full display today.
Keane, though he played an entire half, was all but absent from the game and Palacios did a fine job in his time on the pitch. Perhaps his new role on this team will come as a substitute. That remains to be seen.
Either way it needs to be concluded that the way Spurs' played in the second half today is simply unacceptable. The one thing we CANNOT do is give away possession for no reason. You can't ask a defense to play on their heels for 20 minutes straight and expect everything will work out. Our midfielders have to do a better job of controlling the game. We need to shake this moneky off our back that doesn't allow us to maintain leads. I can't remember the last time we held onto an early lead through to victory.
Second, we HAVE to take our good chances. There were another 3 or 4 opportunities that had to be put away. I understand that this is easier said than done but, given our current injury crisis, we can't afford to be missing golden chances to get on the score board.
All in all you can't be unhappy with a point away in the Champions League, but I am not going to sit here and pretend that I am happy either. I'm just sick of watching this team play well and not come away with 3 points. Eventually, if we plan to stay where we are, we are going to need to figure out this issue.