To be honest, until Clichy slipped in the 89th minute at 4-2, we didn’t look like getting back into the game. After 80 minutes we seemed to accept defeat. Arry’s substitutions seemed daft – chasing the game he took off our most attacking left-sided outlet, Bale. Presumably the idea was to give Lennon’s pace a crack, but still, he could have removed Assou-Ekotto and dropped Bale back into defence, n’est ce pas? Then swapping Bent for Pavluychenko? Two goals behind I’d have thought it would make more sense to increase the number of strikers (we ended up shoving Woodgate into the centre-forward role in injury-time).
However, more positively, Modric now appears to have a definite role. He looks like he knows what is being asked of him – off the ball as well as on it (I noted that he was generally designated to close down l’arse’s deep-lying midfielders). He does look lightweight, but picks a great pass (two essential criteria for a true Tottenham boy) and seems to have some nous playing in between midfield and attack. He and Pav are not yet on the same wavelength, but that will presumably come in time.
Gomes. At what point does a ‘keeper go from having a poor run of form to being a liability? MoTD (yep, got home and watched it) highlighted that having come for and missed the first two corners, he tried again, missed again, and the ball almost embarassedly bobbed into the net. His mistakes occur every match, and are hardly offset by the occasional acrobatic save.
Set-piece defending generally was atrocious, which is perplexing, as we’ve got some big lads back there now.
We seemed to care last night, which could be a wonderful sign that we’ve turned a corner, but is likelier due to the combo of playing under a new manager (can we change our manager ever, say six weeks?) and being psyched for a game against our biggest rivals.
And Arsenal. Ah, my heart bleeds for them, it really does. How could one fail to sympathise after the ostentatious arrogance of their celebrations for their third and fourth goals, finishing one dance routine then beginning another, celebrating not out of joy but out of a desire to be seen, to be noticed, to be photographed. Thierry Henry’s spirit lives long. Yep, heart bleeding over here. A few words of advice – don’t keep trying to score the perfect goal every single time you obtain possession.
It’s been said, both to me personally and on various websites and in various publications today, that Arsenal played much better than us. Just to qualify that – they looked technically superiour and more dangerous when in possession, no doubt, but that misses a fairly crucial element of the concept of “playing football well”. It’s not ballet – you don’t get gold stars for looking pretty. Put the ball in the net guys. Then you’ve played well.