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Thread: Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Hull City
06-10-2008, 09:34 AM #1
96 years. 96 bleedin' years! Its no wonder I've been saying I've never seen anything this bad..... its been 96 years since we last had a start to the season as bad as this. Every week it gets worse. Another couple of winless performances and we'll be looking at having set a new record for the worst start ever to a league campaign.
All is not well at Tottenham Hotspur. That is plain to see. After ten games in all competition we have only two wins - neither of which has come in the Premier League. The last three games in the top flight have ended with a scoreline of "Tottenahm Hotspur nil". And still we remain rooted to the foot of the table. Its bloody October! What the hell is going on?!
The statistics make for truly shocking reading.
My ire at yesterday's performance, though, is not directed at the players. Not the referee - although let's face facts..... Rob Styles is possibly the worst referee I've seen. As I read somewhere recently, there comes a point when a referee has to be stopped from apologising because he is in fact an apology for a referee. But I digress. My ire is not even directed towards the management - although my thoughts on their tactical ineptness for much of the season so far are well documented.
No, my ire at yesterday's performance is squarely directed at Messrs Levy and Comolli. The twin pillars of senior management at White Hart Lane who should be held accountable sooner rather than later. And Comolli in particular.
What was all too evident yesterday was the total lack of killer instinct up front. A few times now I've said we've been toothless in attack. What was served up yesterday only helped to reinforce that.
While there were plenty of areas in which the performance could have been improved, this was a far more capable and determined effort than seen at any other time this season. The total lack of goal scoring ability up front meant that we left having been humbled by Hull.
The line-up for yesterday's match was more balanced than we've seen for a long while - well, since Thursday in Krakow anyway, but you get where I'm coming from. Bale and Gunther in the full back positions, King dropped (no surprises there) with Corluka filling in..... Jenas and Zokora in the middle, Lennon starting on the right, Modric also in the starting eleven, and Campbell partnering Pavlyuchenko.
Teams coming out on a wet day at White Hart Lane
Some semblance of a decent formation there. The details were slightly different. Rather than seeing Modric lining-up as a left winger we once again had Campbell out wide with Modric tucked just inside, leaving Pavlyuchenko alone up front. Hadn't worked too well on Thursday, but maybe they'd have worked on it since?
Decent turnout from the Hull fans
The pitch was slick thanks to the downpour for hours and hours beforehand. How I didn't get soaked through on the way to the game was beyond belief.
The start was promising, but within five minutes Hull had carved out a great opportunity with Geovanni coasting into the box, slipping past Woodgate and firing over the bar when he really should have hit the target. Redemption came soon after though. What I thought was a dodgy free-kick, awarded for a tackle from behind that clearly won the ball, and we were a goal down with less than ten minutes on the clock.
Gomes spent an age lining-up the wall, but in the end he could only remain fixed to his spot on the line as Geovanni curled the most precise and exquisite free kick into the top corner. No doubt there will be plenty of people questioning the keeper's positioning, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. The only way to keep that out would be to have two keepers. The positioning was so good that the goal has to count as one of the best free kicks of the season. Top drawer.
So we were behind again. Something that is becoming worryingly common this season. At least this time we had near enough a full game to try to come to terms with it.
Not long after we had a free kick of our own and Bale struck it superbly but the Hull keeper managed to get the faintest of touches on it to turn the ball onto the crossbar and over for a corner. Should be taking lessons from that lad Geovanni.....
Later in the half a slight scramble in the box and Woodgate lashed at it, saw it deflected off a Hull defender, and onto the post and out.
There were other chances also, but as you'll probably have guessed through the lack of description, certainly not as memorable as those I've already pointed out!
Something gave me the feeling that this was going to be "one of those days". Of course, when you're sitting in the top ten with a decent start to the season, "one of those days" is something you can take with a pinch of salt. In our current predicament, "one of those days" means the desperation ratchets up another notch.
There was plenty of endeavour in the middle of the pitch. Finally the midfield was playing roughly where it should rather than sitting on top of our own back four, and it meant that we comfortably won stacks of possession and had the opportunity to craft from either wing.
Hull, of course, had more chances than I've described. Well organised and committed, they could've easily doubled their lead when a neat move on the edge of our box culminated in an ex-Spur, Dean Marney (I still remember his thunderbolt against Everton one New Year's Day) twisting and getting a shot off that came back off the upright and rolled to safety.
Sadly for us, with one up front there was little cutting edge. Pavlyuchenko had disappointed and was replaced with ten minutes of the half to go. Evidently for an injury. One would hope so for the lack of quality in his contribution yesterday would have merited the substitution in its own right.
A goal down at half time there was clearly plenty more to do. With the second half ticking away the decision was taken to go more attacking, withdrawing Gunther to throw on Bentley. Who would play at right back now we wondered? Zokora? Jenas? Nah. Natural choice..... Bentley! Bizarre!
Strangely it was an OKish move. Hull's attacking down the wings had not really tested the full backs all that much so placing Bentley and Lennon the right to try pushing on even further came off OK. And finally, finally Bentley managed some quality delivery. With his first real swing of the right peg he caused problems for the Hull defence, but the lack of sharpness up front did for us yet again.
Unlike last week we did at least begin to throw the kitchen sink at the opposition. While at Fratton Park we capitulated after conceding the second (and maybe would have done the same again yesterday), we kept driving forward in search of an equaliser.
That did give Hull more scope to break, and break they did. Quite likely they could've caught us once or twice, but most memorable for me was - here we go again - the total lack of quality up front.
Dos Santos was thrown on in place of Lennon - not a welcome move given the reaction of the home crowd - but with Campbell still unable to effectively partner Bent in the middle, we simply weren't going to score.
A couple of times Bent showed his pace and acceleration, chasing down what seemed like a lost cause to keep the ball in play or force a corner or throw-in, but where we needed his contribution most, he failed. He shot wide once and lacked the timing in his headers to do what we so desperately needed..... put the ball in the back of the net.
Late on Woodgate was pressed into service as a makeshift centre forward and won a few more headers, but with Hull defending resolutely the opening simply wasn't there.
So at full time as the Hull fans rightfully celebrated another famous win in North London, we were left to pick through the remnants of another defeat at home. Four Premier League matches at White Hart Lane and the statistics says lost three, drawn one, goals for two, goals against five. That makes for sorry reading indeed.
In seasons gone by we'd probably have taken the goals against column in the knowledge that the goals for column would probably read eight, ten, maybe more? Not this term.
Yesterday's performance finally delivered what I'd complained about so much on Thursday - some small improvement over the previous game. In most areas, and particularly midfield, it was far better than the rubbish that's been served up throughout. Not difficult considering how bad its been, but at least there was an improvement.
Of course that counts for nothing if you don't take the points, and yesterday we didn't take the points. A top quality Hull goal did for us, and our complete impotence up front was there for all to see.
Modric finally got into something more closely resembling his stride yesterday, making himself available to receive the ball and pass on quickly. Its stightly worrying to think that he wasn't able to take his time on the ball and create, but if he can position himself correctly to receive (which I think he most certainly can), and if we can provide the outlets for him to offload (which I'm not so convinced about), then he can still come good.
Jenas had a reasonable game. There was more commitment but still a lack of end product. Zokora was OK. Lennon played better when starting yesterday than he had on Thursday, and even Bentley managed to deliver some decent balls.
At the back, while Corluka's pace is totally missing, his composure on the ball is to be applauded. Although the Hull strikers posed a few problems for the centre halves - Woodgate having a more dubious game than for a while - we were acceptably OK at the back.
Where we fell down utterly yesterday..... anybody care to hazard a guess? You know where this is going.....
Where we fell down utterly yesterday was in our inability to score, and for that I place the blame squarely at the feet of Levy and Comolli.
More evident than at any other time this season, our lack of quality in attack meant we came away with nothing. After the game I was so angry that we had let first Defoe, then Keane and finally Berbatov go with no adequate replacements in place. What on Earth were they thinking?
While I am far from convinced about many of the decisions of the management team, I did at least see some small improvement. A major question on my mind after yesterday's performance (leaving aside the usual stuff about how long has Ramos got) was that even if we continue to demonstrate small improvements in defence and midfield (as we did yesterday), what use will it be if we are toothless up front?
There is little evidence to suggest that any combination of Bent, Pavlyuchenko and Campbell will net even twenty between them before the January window opens. We already have the admission that two of the three are too similar to play together. So where are our goals going to come from?
Put simply I just can't see where they will come from.
So amidst all the complaints I can put the way of the players and the management (and believe me, there are plenty), and even Rob Styles (who denied us what looked a solid penalty - third game running), for the lack of quality in attack I place the blame at the feet of our board.
Messrs Levy and Comolli, take a bow.
Last edited by funster; 06-10-2008 at 09:42 AM.
07-10-2008, 07:05 AM #2
Indeed, I agree. Spurs lack firepower. If Berbatov was still at lane, it would probably be a different story, but he isn't. On the other hand if you are lacking firepower, why play with one striker only. Doesn't matter if they are too similar, put some pressure on opposition defence with numbers if nothing else. Ramos is strange to me.
07-10-2008, 10:54 AM #3
I honestly dont think we miss Berbatov at all, its Keane we miss with his creative nature and constant drive all the time, then his goals too. If you have someone like keane in your squad you only need some one thats cleaver enough to be able to find the net next to him.
Looking back now im sure they wouldnt have sold defoe if they had known that Keane and Berba would walk out, and i for one would have stopped keane from going until the end of his contract. Especailly at the time when we were building to become a bigger club
07-10-2008, 12:04 PM #4
Keane and Berbs were the perfect partnership. He was the mobile, hard working striker, who could still set up a nice pass or a clinical finish. Berbatov was the tall target-man who could hold the ball up or trap it on his first touch and shoot.
I agree with you funster. We should have simply said no to Keane leaving. We would have stayed, and been immense because he stll liked us, just like the Gareth barry saga. Berbs was a lost cause IMO. we have 0 strikers!
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07-10-2008, 06:56 PM #5