Oh dear. Going down all guns blazing, with seventeen shots on target and against a goalkeeper possessed by the spirit of Jennings is one thing; being outplayed by a side in the relegation zone is another. We actually started relatively well, with some slick passing all round, and Bentley looking a good bet for general mischief on the right. Unbelievably, that was as good as it got – once the goal went in we promptly ran out of ideas, and could probably have played all night and into the wee small hours without scoring.While surreptitiously glancing over the shoulder of the chap next to me on my morning commute, I noticed in his newspaper a quote from our glorious leader that, with regard to what is going wrong at the Lane, it was “Difficult to put your finger on it.” How encouraging. I blinking well hope that behind closed doors ‘Arry is able to put an entire grubby paw on it, diagnose it, solve it and ensure it never rears its ugly head again. The man’s remit, as I understand, extends beyond merely picking 11 of the blighters 30 minutes before kick-off each week. Heaven help us if he genuinely is out of ideas. While we probably cannot get much worse, it is quite feasible that we could maintain this standard of shoddiness for a few weeks more.
Before switching off for the evening and watching on cluelessly, ‘Arry made five changes, including the two debutants. Kaboul has apparently come on leaps and bounds as a central defender since he last appeared in lilywhite a few years back, but whether this be truth or cruel hoax remains unknown, as he was curiously shunted into the team at right-back. Every inch the square peg in a round hole, he showed plenty of energy and willing, none of which masked a chronic tendency to give the ball away.
Gudjohnsen I imagine will eventually come good in a Spurs shirt. With his back to goal approach, tendency to drop deep and penchant for an eye-of-the-needle pass there is much of the Sheringham about him – but unfortunately last night this similarity also extended to his mobility and energy. His vision and astute little passes created a couple of early openings, and once he and his new chums are singing from the same hymn-sheet some wondrousness ought to ensue, but at the moment he looks rather off the pace. If Gudjohensen is to play, our midfielders will need to learn to bust a gut in support of Defoe upfront. Although Kranjcar and Jenas each made one charge into the Wolves area in the early stages of proceedings last night, by and large Defoe was left isolated.
Could the silver lining to yesterday’s nightmare be a less than entirely fond farewell to everyone’s favourite scapegoat? Offered a drink in the last-chance saloon, Jermaine Jenas eschewed a shot of vodka or neat whisky, and opted for a saucer of milk. His half-time withdrawal hinted that ‘Arry might have run out of patience. Or so I would like to think. After one encouraging attacking burst in the opening stages last night, he quickly reverted to type, alternating between ineffective and useless (note his failure to track Jones into the area for the Wolves goal, and a particularly fairy-like shake of the leg when Wolves’ Guedioura went galloping straight through the centre and into our area). While Bale, Bentley, Kranjcar and Pav typically show themselves to be capable – and occasionally excel – at Premiership level, Jenas is repeatedly poor.
However, Jenas was by no means the only man to turn in a woeful performance last night. There was huff and puff to varying degrees all over the pitch, but precious little intelligence or passion. While the pitch looked in places like a vegetable patch it hardly excuses the relentless stream of misplaced passes from our heroes, who would do well to note the dozen or so passes Wolves strung together in scoring their goal. Bentley began brightly but faded like the rest of them; Bale worked his way into some promising positions; Daws, while imperious as ever in the air, made another clumsy penalty area challenge. To suggest that the game might have panned out differently had Kranjcar buried his early chance is fair enough; but whether he scored or missed we still ought to have hammered away at Wolves until they caved.
Still In The Hunt
Naturally, lusty choruses of disapproval are ringing out from all quarters, and indeed, if we maintain this form we can expect a quite serene descent into the lower reaches of the table. However, at present we remain just one point off fourth – level on games with Liverpool and two games ahead of Man City, with a dozen left to play. It is still a handy position in which to be – we are by no means out of the race for fourth. If we can wipe the slate clean and hit some sort of form – and pronto – there is every chance we will remain in the hunt for fourth until May. The return of Lennon will undoubtedly help to this end, but even without him we ought to have enough to beat the likes of Wolves.
And as ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the players to be featured in Spurs’ Cult Heroes: Danny Blanchflower here, Dave Mackay here, Cliff Jones here, Martin Chivers here, Alan Gilzean here, Pat Jennings here, Cyril Knowles here, Steve Perryman here, Glenn Hoddle here, Chris Waddle here, Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jürgen Klinsmann here, David Ginola here, Paul Gascoigne here