One of these days, watching Tottenham will be the death of me. They’ll score early and dominate, but then instead of scoring a second against submissive fatted calves bred specifically for the slaughter, they’ll spend the final hour earnestly faffing. I shall chew my nails, squirm and curse; and then swear and kick people; and finally become so wound up by the faffing that my heart will pop and I’ll keel over.It was another good win – some lovely, swift, counter-attacking, coupled with a solid defence, with the enforced reorganisation handled with minimum fuss. But my goodness it would have been so much more pleasant and sedate if we could have scored a second. That would have taken the game by the hand, dressed it in its pyjamas, read it a bedtime story and put it safely to bed. Instead it all became a tad nervy as the clock ticked down. Opposition more inspired than Newcastle might have made us pay.
Lack of Presence in Attack
I have a gnawing sense that we lack a real potent presence in attack. For all the possession, and some delicious one-touch build-up play, we regularly seemed to have only one man in the opposition area. It’s breeding a tendency to try to walk the ball into the net, and play increasingly intricate and precise short-passes around a crowded area. It’s good football, and against the largely impotent Geordies ‘twas sufficient – but a real beast of a man in attack might give a cutting-edge, and make life harder for defenders.
I’m starting to wonder whether Keane has developed a twinkle in his eye for one of our midfielders, as he’s been dropping deeper and deeper in recent games, doing most of his work in the area well behind the striker and generally spending more time than is healthy around the midfield. It’s usually good work – full of energy and awareness, but he rarely seems to be in the penalty area. To be honest I struggle to remember the last time he actually had a shot.
Bent just lacks the confidence – or maybe arrogance – in front of goal to lead the line, in a Shearer or Drogba-esque way. Bent has speed and strength, but rather than boss and bully defenders he seems inclined to keep them informed at all times of his whereabouts, and politely request permission to go running around their patch. This is lovely for any girl who wants to take him home to meet her parents, but rather less useful in the cut-throat trades of line-leading and net-bulging. Start shoving defenders out of the way man, and snarl and spit and demand their lunch-money.
Defoe does at least look willing to shoot when he gets the ball, but at three feet four does not exactly have the physical presence to scatter defenders and hold up the ball. Nice to see him back though.
A Truly Astonishing Admission
I can barely believe that I’m typing this, nor can the winged pig looking on, aghast, at my window, but in a way I missed Jenas today. Seasoned All-Action-No-Plotters will no doubt be scratching their heads and checking for naughty substances in my blood stream at reading this, for I’ve rarely disguised my exasperation at the man. However, a player’s stock often rises when he is absent, and with our midfielders seemingly waiting for parental permission before entering the opposition area, I did guiltily wonder if Jenas would have made a difference. It’s what he does (get into the oppo area), rather than how he does it (mis-hit his shot).
Palacios, understandably, and Hudd, less forgivably, preferred to loiter 5-10 yards outside the area and ping in the occasional long-range thunderbolts. Awesome technique, for sure. However, when we countered at break-neck speed it would have helped to have had someone arriving Jenas-like in the area to support Bent, especially with Keane ditching the day-job to give his top chat to Modric or whomever.
I had been dreading the visit of Obafemi Martins all season. As I’ve previously noted, I remember Emile Heskey,
about 10-15 years ago, when at Leicester, just bulldozing straight through the middle of our defence and walloping the ball into the net. When Martins entered the fray I feared a similar performance, especially with no Ledley around to calm my fraying nerves. He may not be the most refined, but Martins duly set about bludgeoning defenders aside, in a manner that probably had Darren Bent running for the hills in horror. Mercifully, the bull-in-a-china-shop routine extended to his rather erratic shooting. When the transfer window re-opens, would Martins provide an answer to our lack of presence in attack? Not necessarily, but I wouldn’t mind buying him just so that he never plays against us again.Elsewhere on The Pitch
The Hudd was generously given the freedom of White Hart Lane by the Newcastle midfield. He duly enjoyed himself, with a range of passing so sumptuous that on listening carefully I discerned that it was accompanied by the dulcet tones of angelic choruses, as if ordained by some celestial authority. This was all very wonderful, but I suspect we’ll barely notice him against Man Utd at Old Trafford next week. Still, right man for the occasion today.
It’s taken a while – the best part of a season in fact – but I have finally held up my hands, raided the AANP coffers and paid up for membership to the Assou-Ekotto fan club. I shall still eagerly monitor the Gabriel Henize rumours, but the Braided One is looking better and better each week.
Cruel luck for Dawson, having waited so long for a starting-place, but his injury opened the door for Hutton. He certainly impressed going forward, but sterner defensive tests probably await in the future. The Corluka-Hutton battle for right-back will make interesting viewing in future weeks. Personally I lean towards the Scot as a partner for Lennon on the right.
Modric – legend.
Palacios – legend.
Three more points, and well-deserved. Bravo lads, yet again. I maintain that if there is constructive criticism to be levelled it is that a second goal in such games will ensure a rather pleasanter finale, but all told this was a comfortable and well-deserved win.
22 replies on “Spurs 1-0 Newcastle: Lamenting The Absence of Jenas (No, Really)”
Great article. 🙂
awesome article it has everything 🙂
I personally feel that the whole ‘Keane playing far to deep’ issue will be sorted when (IF) we purchase a left winger. Keane is obviously playing where Modric is meant to and with that is sacrificing his goalscoring prowess which at the moment is a shame. Come next season Modric will play in the hole and Keane will be upfront partnered by (Fill in gap). Hutton is a far better rightback than Corluka and will make the position his own next season. Also agree completely on Benoit he has been incredible all season and is my player of the season.COYS
Great write up. Made me laugh and nod my head in earnest agreement in just about equal measure.
I think you havent been drinking but you should have gone to specksavers , huddlestone whas given space my arse he made space with is awsome passing somthing missing at wembley in a dour game give me tom s shooting and passing any day . Its the only way to beat energy teams is to have somone with hudds passing wate till he has defoe and keane and lennon to pick out . the hudds a scud missile with palacios to do his grafting it leaves tom to pick the runs we could have scored atleast 4 except for blockes from bassong and saves from harper .
I have to disagree, I think the defensive-minded Corluka is a more natural partner for Lennon (while Hutton works better with Bentley), though I would be happy for Hutton to fill in when Corluka is in the middle or injured. Huddlestone did well today but Newcastle are a poor team that gave us far too much space, so I would expect JJ to return alongside Palacios (and hopefully King too) for the Utd game. I’m also worried about our inability to kill off games, Bent will score goals (11 in the league so far in fact) given the chances yet somehow we’re not creating enough clear-cut chances despite domination in midfield. We have to be more direct and urgent in our play rather than overelaborate around the box.
Great article. I for one would love us to sign Martins and ditch Bent, unfair maybe as he has scored 16 this season, but I think Martins is a better option. I agree we lacked that attacking guile of Jenas. It seems to me our midfield options are good and it must be difficult to make the choice as at times palacios, hudlestone and Jenas have been very good. It would be good if we could play all three, with Modric and Lennon would make a great midfield. But one has to miss out unfortunately. I also agree that Hutton was good when he came on. For me Corluka makes too many mistakes. Next season is looking good and I don’t think there needs to many if any additions.
excellent article tells it how it is.
Lack the attacking guile of JJ?? Am I reading this right?? Thudd ran the show today and cept for a couple of good saves would have scored a scorcher and you lot are going on about Jenas that useless twat for 9 out of 10 games for years, he misses one match, his relief wins MOM and you miss Jenas…….are you gooners in disguise?? And then to say that we need a big striker up front to lob the ball to as soon as poss cos what? we are passing it TOOO much?? you lot are talking out of your arses abd dont know what your saying!!! Its what weve been doing for years and have got exactly NOWHERE doing it.. numpties!!!!
Keane is a Spurs legend, but ……. he was nowhere to be seen vs Newcastle. He looks uncomfortable over the ball, there’s always arms flailing all over the show, and he invariably ends up on his arse screaming at the ref for help! The way he’s playing now, I can see why he never made an impression at ‘Pool. Pav & Defoe please.
Fabulous article dude… thoroughly enjoyable.
Alas I feel that Berba is the missing piece in the puzzle, that or Kanoute….Well why not?… Everyone else has joined the reunion
Ooh.. can I have some of that naughty substance you took, i need to write articles like this for my site..:-)
The best article i’ve ever read! Simply Brilliant.
If there is justice and fairness left in this world, Jenas and Bent will keep off our lovely team on Saturday. We need to defeat Berbatov’s ‘dream’ team just to rub it in. Pav-Defoe, Pal-Thudd, King-Woody, Man U 0 – 3 Spurs!!!
Good comments, especially re Hud and JJ I think Hud missed his chance to cement a place for the future at this time but bcause of age difference we should perseverve with him over JJ.
His main deficiiency was switching off after passing the ball. He should be watching videos of the best distributing mid fielder in the PL if not Europe IE Carrick. Always and I mean always in space.
Comparisons with with Hoddle Don,t be silly
Good article. Well played all round except for Bent. I have never seen anyone purposely hide behind defenders (if you don’t believe me, watch the man and not the ball next time around). Yes, he may bundle in the occasional but given that he doesn’t create his goals, doesn’t have the vision to assist, can’t hold up the ball, can’t win headers, he is a REAL liability. With nothing to offer in attack, no wonder the ball keeps coming back to put pressure on our defenders!!! Get rid!
Good article – my 4ps worth.
Corluka’s distribution when he was at right back left something to be desired. If Dawson is out for sometime that could be a problem – he has my sympathy as he always give the max.
Also, has anyone else noticed that, although the Hudd strikes the ball incredibly well his shots are often high. This trajectory is fine when he is firing the ball from one side of the pitch to the other but he needs to keep the ball down when shooting. Then, if the keeper can get to them there may well be rebounds for Bent / Defoe / Keane to finish. The man has the all attributes to become an England player (apart from pace) and Capello was watching yesterday – I wonder if he will give hem a go. In the early eighties Ossie would win the ball for Hoddle to distribute – there are shades of that with Palacios and Huddlestone.
Finally – Gomes is proving to be a top man – I hope he is given an assist for my Fantasy football team!
Funny how when everyone could see that we needed a DFM player they were on about Tottenham (read Jenas) ‘flattering to decieve’ – we were all fancy this and that but without any result. What we needed was someone who could just get the job done rather than worrying about how it looked etc…
Bent scores more goals than anyone else in the team, and is in the top goal scorers in the Premiership (best leauge in the world etc)…but it seems that people would be happier with a player who looks more threatening and scores less goals!?
Give the man a song and blow some sunshine up his arse. If he can score when he’s being knocked every game by his own fans, maybe a little support would ge us the extra goals we want…you never know, it might make him play with a little more of the arrogence people seem to admire!
Sam-i-am – can’t win headers? Honestly…
Very nicely written. Good on yer.
Think you’re missing a couple of nuances of our current play, though. Keane HAS to drop deep as we are playing 2 deeper central players and asking Lennon and Modric to get forward. Essentially a 4-2-3-1. But with flexibility, of course (hence Modders picking the ball up as almost Libero at times, Lennon appearing on the left touchline, Keane getting beyond Bent, etc).
Also, as was mentioned above Hutton’s forward drives mean he’ll be much better with a Bentley in front of him. Charlie, however, has been magic at RB, so suspect he’ll get the lions share of games there.
In both cases, signing a Left Winger (which we probably will) won’t change much.
I too see it more as a 4-2-3-1.
4 steps to top 4:
1. Buy a left footed attacking midfielder.
2. Drop Keane and move Modric into the middle.
3. Buy a real target man.
4. Buy another DM to partner Palacios.
Class write-up (as per usual). I reckon we could do with a player of the ilk of Berbatov. Not lazy mind, but someone who fancies themselves but has the quality to actually match their ego. I honestly believe Harry doesn’t have to do that much in the summer transfer window. We have a more than decent squad that simply needs tweaking in key areas.
Replace Bent with a top class striker.
Bring in an under-study for Palacios.
I’d start there.
As for Jenas, I reckon if he was on the pitch yesterday we would have scored more than the single goal. It’s a cliche – and one that is shared with most Spurs fans – but we love to be critical of JJ, and yet, like you said, if he isn’t playing we suddenly lack that bit extra. More so since Wilson signed.
Good article but cannot agree about Jenas. Yes, he might have got into their box once or twice but the reason that Spurs attacked so well and pressurised Newcastle so much was largely due to the absence of Jenas’s multitude of completely pointless backwards and sideways passes. The difference, yesterday, was that the midfield passing was always trying to attack. JJ demnds the ball but does nothing useful with it. I’ve been watching Spurs since the mid-60’s and I’d say that he’s most probably the poorest regular midfielder we have ever had. he just happens to have a long stride and a fair amount of stamina, so gets to, or near, the ball a lot.
I’m with you on the Keane situation; he definitely seems keen on a deeper role these days. It’s only natural he’d be looking for some companionship, though, after being giving the cold shoulder at the ‘pool. He just wants to be loved that boy.
Thanks for the add on the side bar. Very decent of you.