I miss Ledley. Some games we’re so rampant going forward that he is barely needed at the back, but on days like yesterday we cry out for someone to hold things together and be in the right place – as well as dealing with any aerial bullying meted out by opposition forwards. The lack of a commander-in-chief at the back was notable in the first half in which Spurs players competed earnestly with each other to be the most obliging to our hosts. To a collectively disbelieving shaking of heads amongst the faithful, our heroes stepped aside and ushered in the Bolton players through the gaping holes in defence, then tried all manner of cute passes and dribbles inside their own area.Credit to Bolton, whose play (slick on the floor as well as threatening in the air) probably merited more than their one first half goal, but our lot merrily shooting round after round at their own feet really didn’t help. One first half moment in particular sent an involuntary shiver down the spine, as Bolton’s Gardner skipped his way towards our goal, while Jenas, Kranjcar and even Palacios made such dainty, half-hearted challenges that Tinkerbell herself would have blushed. For an elongated spell in the first half it looked like a return to the not-so-distant days of Francis, Gross et al, as we switched from four-four-two to sixes and sevens, with a powder-puff midfield in front of an uncertain defence, and everyone working assiduously to throw in unforced errors whenever possible.
We really ought to have been spanked out of sight by half-time, but somehow went in level. It may have been wildly against the run of play, but it was a dapper goal when it came, Kranjcar showing good technique with the finish. Thereafter I expected us to win it. While it would be an exaggeration to describe the game as one of two halves, we were certainly much improved going forward after the interval, albeit still an accident waiting to happen at the back. We made the best of the chances in the second half but it was one of those days when every attack launched by either side looked like it might result in a goal.
”Not One Of His Better Days…”
Nobody covered themselves in glory, but Assou-Ekotto was guilty of a particularly egregious mistake for the second Bolton goal, attempting to clear the danger through the dubious medium of psychokinesis, rather than the infinitely more reliable method of charging to the ball and thumping it clear. Davies duly shoved him out of the way and we were losing again.
Crouch had a couple of glorious late chances, one in particular where he brought the ball down, took a touch, took another touch, made a cup of team and pored over a crossword before eventually shooting wide. The sight of Hudd looking to dictate play from central defence is always encouraging, vastly preferable to the aimless thwack favoured by most other centre-backs, but he still does not fill me with confidence as a centre-back, while Bassong was caught daydreaming more than once.
And The Positives
Glenn Hoddle is the latest Spurs great to be featured in the forthcoming book Spurs’ Cult Heroes, and you are invited to share your memories of him here. As ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the featured players: Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jurgen Klinsmann here