The Match Reports are already all too familiar in tone this season. I can't remember the last time I've seen a sequence of six matches in the league without a win to show for it. So bad a start is this, in fact, that I gather you have to go back 53 years (count 'em, fifty-three!) for a worse start to a season.
This is truly shocking.
On a sun-bathed day on the south coast we capitulated to another defeat meaning that a massive sixteen points have now been dropped. Granted, coming to Fratton Park tends not to be that easy - last season aside when their form at home was awful - but another defeat just serves to raise the level of depression and desperation even more.
I went along with my mate Andy who is a Pompey fan. Yes, I snuck him in to the away end. What a terrible supporter I am. We reminisced before the game about last season's foray in December when Berbatov had slotted in to give us a single goal victory. The most memorable thing from that day had been how perishingly cold it was. So much so that I felt frozen to the core for the next three days and ended up taking a good long time off work over Christmas and New Year! No such weather today with sunshine and blue skies.
Sadly, the result wasn't anything like as good for us as the weather.
Sunshine at the end of September - but Fratton Park is still crap!
In footballing terms Andy and I agreed that we were pretty much as good as Portsmouth throughout. Across both halves, and particularly the second, we saw a lot more the ball, but the Premier League is a harsh environment. A penalty and some sharpness up front and you come away with a two goal defeat against a side that's shipped ten without reply in a week.
In previous seasons you'd have put up with a 2-0 defeat as a one-off against Portsmouth away. Now and then you come to expect it. You have an off day and it just doesn't come off. Even happens to the likes of ManUre and Arsehole once in a while..... But this season, with five games already gone and only two points on the board, any minor positives that you could take from the game are simply washed away.
The fact of the matter is that having sold three top quality Premier League strikers since this time last year, we are toothless up front. Where Berbatov and Keane created a good many chances themselves and were only too willing to drop deep to pick up and start attacks, the current front line can't. Certainly they don't have the capacity to create chances for themselves in the same manner, even if Pavlyuchenko spent large parts of the game from about twenty minutes in having to drop back to pick the ball up.
The problem is exacerbated by playing a solitary man at the top of the pitch, particularly when there isn't sufficient support for him from midfield. That, coupled with the unexpctedly shabby footballing skills of our midfield who seem unable to create chances for the target men, make watching Spurs at the moment a very poor experience.
Tactically there are still many questions to be answered. BAE coupled with Gillberto on the left wing was an awful selection. The former is going some way towards proving why I never believed he was any better than Lee. The latter was utter garbage.
It was from that wing that the Portsmouth goal came in the first half, even if it did end up being tucked away from the spot. Having escaped from one Portsmouth attack we totally failed to clear on that wing, gave away a needless free kick from which Jenas inexplicably handled for a blatant penalty, and Defoe slotted coolly past Gomes, even though the keeper went the right way.
Defoe scores from the spot
Defoe was given a tremendous reception by the Spurs travelling contingent. There's no doubt he has a place carved out in our memories and he refused to celebrate the goal.
Between them, Defoe and Crouch caused us a few issues at the back with Defoe buzzing around as he used to in his time at The Lane, and Crouch winning plenty of flicks in the air. Defoe actually could have given Portsmouth the lead much earlier but was flagged offside early on.
Sadly, our front line of Pavlyuchenko on his own, followed by Bent - on his own - weren't able to conjure anything up.
And therein lies another bizarre Ramos tactical selection. By the time Bent was brought on to replace Pavlyuchenko we were two down. From a position of dominating possession and having had a penalty appeal of our own turned down, we contrived to concede another as Gomes parried a stinging shot and Crouch reacted fastest to nod in from maybe six yards. The Lennon penalty appeal was a justified one. So much so that I reckon the ref knew the ball had been handled but gestured that - in snooker terms - object and cue ball were too close to each other for it to merit a penalty.
So, at two down, what do you do? Throw everything forward in the hope that you can sneak one and create sufficient pressure to maybe get something out of the game? Flood the midfield and forward line? Go full on for any kind of positive result?
Yeah. That's what I'd do.
No. You haul off one of your forwards who has just about started to get into the game - volleying high from close range and heading wide - and replace him with another.
Brilliant move. The travelling support made their feelings well known. "You don't know what you're doing".
Reminded me of Graham Taylor pulling Gary Lineker off against Sweden and replacing him with one of the donkeys from up the road.....
At two down we became quite limp. Having dominated possession and created a few chances it was game over. We had a few half chances. The couple for Pav already mentioned, an O'Hara free-kick that went just high and wide, Lennon firing past the far post, and Bent with two howlers heading wide and firing well wide.
This was a better performance than for a long time. Corluka looked much better on this outing at right back than his last. Composed and very capable. Zokora, when he decided to run, was menacing. Lennon, after his introduction, delivered the pace that had been lacking on the wings. Gomes, Woody and even Dawson had reasonable if unininspirational games.
Bentley, on the other hand, is fast becoming the biggest waste of money in Tottenham Hotspur history. He is awful. Never bought for his pace or his ability to beat players - he clearly can't - his delivery is a complete and utter shambles. For £15m you should be delivering nine times out of ten to within a foot or two of where your target man is. He is hopeless. The question is almost becoming IF he will regain his form, not when.
My comments about a few players having been not too bad, and this being a better performance than for a while, should not be misconstrued. There is nothing positive to come from this game. Like I said earlier, had we slumped to this result after putting - say - ten points on the board, it would, perhaps, be understandable (if not acceptable). You could put up with a toothless display once in ten games knowing you'd be back to knocking the ball into the back of the net at the next outing. But that's not the way it is this season. While we may not have been as shocking today as we were against Villa and Wigan, that is an irrelevance. We are a laughing stock and there is nothing positive about that.
Its not where the supporters - and I dare say, the management - expected to be. The travelling contingent were as vocal as ever. For the last ten - maybe more - minutes of the game the chants of "We are Tottenham" rang out without any stops. It was a last forlorn effort to raise the team, and an indication that no matter how bad things get, the support is still there.
At the moment it feels as though the good times are anywhere but around the corner.
And finally, this fella has the right idea..... this is what you should do on a September Sunday in the sun. Not watch Spurs lose 2-0 at Fratton Park!