Sven’s England. They’re the ones to whom we owe royalties for breach of copyright after that second half, now down on record as officially The Worst Ever Attempt To Spend A Second Half Defending A Lead. Sven’s England regularly tried this approach, after scoring first in a crucial game. It actually worked vs Argentina, but then failed abysmally against Brazil, France and Portugal. It’s an unattractive way to win a game and, more trenchantly, typically it just doesn’t work.I’m not sure if it was an official order from the top, or an automatic instinct from the players, but they trotted out in the second half showing absolutely no desire to get over the halfway line. After a bright and breezy first half, with Lennon and Modders respectively bettering their full-backs, we cleansed ourselves of any semblance of attacking intent, and duly set about trying to win in heroic, backs-to-the-wall Alamo style.
That presumably was the theory, but in practice half our team seemed to disappear for 30 mins, only occasionally resurfacing to stumble and tumble around in their own area as Man Utd’s forwards went beserk.
Palacios normally wears underneath his lilywhite a t-shirt emblazoned with a giant “S”. As the designated enforcer in our team, he ought to have been in his element in the second half. Instead, I wondered if the ref had at half-time retrospectively sent him off for that appalling early two-footer, because I’m not sure he was even on the pitch in the latter stages. Rather than enforcing anything the team crumbled like a pack of cards. No plot.
Naturally, there was no shortage of good old-fashioned apoplexy when the penalty was awarded (my instinct on first glance and full speed was that, as the ball ended up in front of Gomes and behind Carrick, it must have been won by the former). However, to attribute the defeat to a dodgy refereeing decision would be to miss the point. Our mentality had been to defend deep and for our lives throughout the second half. To survive, rather than compete. Once that strategy had been adopted, one way or another United goals were a-coming, whether or not the ref helped them out.
In recent weeks we’ve won a clutch of one-nils – but not by camping in our area and desperately trying to repel kitchen sinks being hurled in our direction. We’ve at least tried to attack, and work an opportunity for a game-clinching second, even if we’ve been rather shot-shy and pass-happy.
I’m not suggesting that a reckless, all-guns-blazing, kamikaze attacking mentality would have won the day (although we wouldn’t have fared much worse with such an approach). However, by demonstrating that we were still keen to score more we might have defended further up the field, and caused United some problems of their own – as we did in the first half.
Rare Praise For Bent, Slapped Wrist For Keane – And Normal Service Resumed By JenasBravo Darren Bent. Gosh it feels strange to say it, but after scolding him last week for not showing sufficient aggression in attack, I was rather impressed by the way he took his goal. He showed a willingness to muscle in and compete, against the two best centre-backs in the country. Fortune duly favoured the brave, and he banged home his chance. Given that there wasn’t a man in lilywhite within about five miles of him for most of the game, he did what he could.And yes, that last sentence was indeed an ill-disguised snipe aimed at you, Mr Keane. I caught him red-handed in the midfield yesterday, right next to Jenas, and occasionally deeper than Corluka. I presume the idea was for Keane to drop deep, in order to allow Palacios to pick up Berbatov, or some such tactical gubbins. Whatever. Keane’s a striker, so boot him out of the midfield and let him strike.
I’ve been back on medication this week, after my insane ramblings
last Sunday bemoaning the absence of Jermaine Jenas. Well, you’ll pleased to know that normal service has resumed. With all the fickleness of Danielle Lloyd in a players’ lounge, I now ditch that argument, and instead pick up one of my many “Get Rid of The Boy Jenas” placards.I had complained last week that no other midfielder shows any inclination to attack the penalty area, and that JJ should therefore be sprinkled in gold and given his own halo. However, as was pointed out to me in the interim, for all his willingness to push forward, no other player is quite as capable of slowing down a Tottenham move when in possession. How could I have forgotten? For yesterday, there he was, at it again, gleefully resuming the habit of a lifetime as if he’d never been away. Passes went sideways, backwards, to Man Utd players, out of play – anywhere but forwards. Maybe his sense of direction was thrown by the presence of Keane standing alongside him, some fifty yards from goal.
Another observation from last week was that
our midfielders rarely helped out poor old Bent by getting into the area. When Modric eventually dared to enter the precious eighteen-yard sanctum yesterday, he scored. Hmm. There’s a link there, somewhere, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.Sigh.( And I can assure you, these sighs are better than the foul-mouthed screams I was spitting out yesterday.) If we wanted
a gauge of how far we’ve come, we got it: we have goals in us, against the best, but we still lack experience and a killer instinct. Still a couple of positions that need improving.However, in the final analysis it was just one defeat. Four games left, and seventh is still manageable.
12 replies on “Man Utd 5-2 Spurs: When A Glorious, Backs-to-the-Wall Defensive Operation Goes Wrong”
The crappy decision gave Utd the win
There was no way they were going to score 3 otherwise, let alone 5
Learn about football please.
With the re-introduction of Jenas, I think Huddlestone can safely assume that his future lies elsewhere.
As for who to jettison in the summer, look no further than Jenas and Bent. Replace these two with players who have a spine and skill (respectively), move Modric to the centre, where Keane is currently flapping around and buy a left sided, left footed attacking player and we could have half a chance next season. Failure to do this will see our ‘nearly men’ status extended for yet another season.
On the subject of Keane, and after just 3 poor games on the trot, it might be too premature to write him off, but I believe he’s damaged goods. Another year older and without that Bulgarian cunt alongside him, his recent form has been shocking and, for me, that money would have been better off spent elsewhere. His captaincy will also become an issue if, as expected, a left sided player is brought in this summer.
It’s obvious to me we’re playing 4-5-1 at the moment with Keane given a free role in the hole. Make no mistake, that’s definitely where Modric should be playing and although credit should be given to the team for making this currently slightly imbalanced formation work, it’s still far from ideal.
I’d like to see the team built around Modric. Buy another strong and aggressive midfielder to partner Palacios (Jenas is neither aggressive enough nor goal grabbing enough) to act as Modric’s bodyguards. Buy a left footed attacker with an eye for goal for the left and buy an all singing and all dancing number 9.
Do it Redknapp, please.
4th place my arse – what are you on about? Pride of London? well technically I suppose we are as we’ve lost only once this season to a london based club, that being Fulham away. Also considering the loss to Man Utd was the first time we have lost to a team in the ‘sky-four’ your comment seems quite ridiculous.
We’re not the only club to hark on about our history and your right it doesn’t mean anything anymore but that doesn’t need to stop fans being proud of the heritage of their chosen club.
We cannot hide the fact that we hav had a poor season and yes the other clubs from London are above us but considering some of these clubs have had their best premiership season and we’ve had a damn well awful one I think some perspective is required. It’s easy to say “next year is our year” and it gets said quite regularly around WHL but we’ll see and hopefully next year will be the year Tottenham show their worth.
If you loose 5 – 2 after leading 2-0 its tough to blame one decision. However, that said, it did have an effect.
As the second half started my view was – lets get through the first quarter of an hour unscathed and then start again for the next quarter – etc. Every period survided will add to belief. And so that decision did have a bearing.
However it cost Spurs points on the game that were not anticpated anyway so the question is, “What was learned from the way the second half went?” Simply put it is a question of belief. Spurs were still frightened of letting in one goal that would open the folldgates. Sir Alex F. knew it, they Spurs team knew it, we all knew it and to turn that lack of belief around is now the task of Happy Harry.
Spurs have an ethos of playing good football but, they have to believe in it for 90 minutes. That first half was good, as were the perfomances against Newcastle and the first 80 mins at Blackburn. The question is, can HH and his cohorts convice the team they are that good enough to compete with the elite? If he can then we can look forward some good times.
I would love to make some comments on how teams thrive on confidence and that in turn leads to goals but that would need another 100 lines – and I was never any good at lines.
You can allways tell west spam fans if we had won they would still be under the rocks like those nastie crabs . We did somthing nobody has done since 1988 had a two goal lead before half time at old trafford theatre of dogy results .That whas the problem fergie asked is tired troops that played on wednesday to play faster said wane when he got asked did fergie give the hair dryer treatment does man utd have energy in there changing rooms .Harry should get some the speed roony played at reminded me why we should have won the world cup with is mate gerrard playing with the same energy cant wait for 2012 .Thats if they dont ban this speed fergie has or is it allready banned , no fergie wouldent have players taking stuff or running from testers would he like ferdinand and stam . Then why is he objecting to the new drug laws that athleates have to except nocking on the players doors and nowing were you are it seem utds form went up a notch when they left these shores in the world club games and it doesent help when ronaldo who uptill this game became the incredible sulk flung his shirt thta high utd score again before it came down is body shape looked like dwane chambers .
Get rid of Jenas, you must be joking. He is one of thise players you realise how good he is more so when he is not in the team. I thought he had a good game against Utd, like most for 45 minutes as I did Keane. How can some people say he is finished, don’t people realise our record since he came back. He pulls everything together and Modric has looked even better since Keane came back. Withe one or 2 additions, and I would keep all the strikers we have at the moment, we can push on and challenge Villa, Everton and Man City for the 5th spot.
Challenge for 5th spot? With the money we’ve spent 5th should be seen as our minimum target. With an average player like Jenas in the centre of midfield we’ve got no hope of doing any better than that. Jenas is the best partner for Palacios right now, but he’s the best of a bad bunch.
Like I said, it’s too early to write Keane off, but in my opinion, it’ll be mostly down hill for him from now on and unless we play with a straight 4-4-2 (which leaves no space for Modric), apart from cover, I don’t see where he fits in.
Bloody West Ham fans get everywhere, they are so obsessed by Spurs it must keep them awake at night. They just can’t accept how other fans and the media view Spurs as a much bigger club than west Ham. When harry came to Spurs the media said that this was the biggest club he had been at and i had to smile to myself because i could just imagine the hammers fans blowing their top over that. I remember before a spurs west ham game a coupleof years ago they interviewd a hammers fan outside upton park and he said “i don’t care if we do go down, as long as we beat spurs” that just sums up their obsession. Next they will be telling us the world cup in 1966, oh i forgot they do that to.
That was a horrible decision. Last week Messi was fouled in the box againt Bayern Munich and got booked, he had his jaw nearly broken and no action was taken. And he gives a penalty for a perfectly good challange by the, up till then, excellent Gomes! And he is supposed to officiate the F.A. Cup final?! God help England if this is the best refree they have to offer!
A rational assessment as ever.
I think you’re right about Jenas. With Palacios anchoring the midfield, he has licence to bomb forward and join in the attack. He rarely does though.
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