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Man Utd 3-1 Spurs: ‘Arry’s Team Selection Gets The Hindsight Treatment

Watching a game on a pub’s big screen I typically squint to make out the match clock in the top left-hand corner, a sure sign that my eyes are failing me. My hindsight however, remains 20-20, thus allowing me to tut and cluck all weekend about the wisdom – or lack thereof – of shuffling the winning pack in order to accommodate the returning Sergeant Wilson. Shamelessly glossing over the fact that AANP could not decide beforehand whether the restoration of Palacios would have been a good or bad idea, it is fairly easy to conclude that neither that change nor the shunting of Assou-Ekotto to right-back was a roaring success.BAE – An Odd Fish

I don’t think anyone is quite sure what goes on in BAE’s head, but I get the impression that the little voices generally tell him to do some pretty sinister stuff. As such, I’m vaguely relieved that on Saturday he only went as far as the crude hack that resulted in a penalty, for that glazed expression suggests he might one day try something a darned sight scarier…

It was not his most auspicious day. He offered precious little attacking support for Bentley; and could hardly be described as “watertight” when carrying out his defensive duties. His doings at right-back are not helped by the fact has he has appears never to have been introduced to his own right foot, but whichever his preferred pedal, there was no excusing the recklessness of his penalty area foul.

After the limited success of Walker, Kaboul and now BAE as ad hoc right-backs, the worrying thought occurs to me that ‘Arry might even try Jenas in that position next. Someone slap some deep heat onto Corluka’s injury, and pronto.

Sergeant Wilson’s Off-Day 

However, it is only right to note that maintaining the status quo – of a Hudd-Modders central midfield and Kaboul at right-back – would by no means have guaranteed a better result at Old Trafford. The result indicates that ‘Arry’s gamble failed, but it was an understandable move.

Palacios’ performance may have elicited a few embarrassed coughs, but elsewhere there was better news as familiar faces returned to the fray…

Ledley’s Golden Minute

Our wondrous captain was awesome again, producing one particularly golden minute, midway through the second half. It ended with his headed goal, but began with, of all things, a casual drop of the shoulder on his own six-yard box, to completely wrong-foot Berbatov and shepherd the ball back to safety. I worship the ground upon which Ledley walks, the nightclubs out of which he stumbles and the vacuum in his knee that is bereft of cartilage.

Lennon and Bale – The Time is Nigh

I cannot quite bring myself to worship Aaron Lennon’s shaved eyebrow with similar fervour, but it was jolly good to see it and its owner once again. Lennon did not really have a chance to rev up and disappear past John O’ Shea in a puff of smoke, but his arrival and the subsequent reorganisation in midfield seemed to give the team a better attacking shape. His chums in lilywhite poked and probed for a chance to set him racing away towards the byline; United duly trotted men over to snuff out the threat; so we switched play to the left, for Gareth Bale to have a gallop. Nothing came of it on this occasion, but it was a glimpse of The Land of Milk and Honey. Keep those two fit, and all hell could break loose down the flanks.

Elsewhere On The Pitch 

Whatever the misgivings about the team selection and outcome, this is hardly the time for an over-reaction. Defeat away to Man Utd is far from disastrous, and in fact having somehow got to half-time on level terms, and then dragged it back to one-all with 10 minutes to go, we may well have gone on to pinch all three points.

Six points from l’Arse, Chelski and Man Utd remains a jolly impressive haul, and those two wins may yet prove to be season-defining. The showers at AANP Towers have been working overtime to wash off the general uncleanliness that came with cheering on l’Arse for 90 minutes yesterday, and while my back was turned Villa and Liverpool managed to pop up into view again, but the net result of this weekend is that fourth place is still in our hands. According to the AANP abacus, avoiding defeat to City and winning the other two would do the trick.

 

Gary Mabbutt will be signing copies of AANP book Spurs’ Cult Heroes for the masses atWaterstones Walthamstow – Saturday 8 May, 1pmSpurs’ Cult Heroes

, is now available in the Spurs shop, all good bookshops and online (at Tottenhamhotspur.com, as well as WHSmith, Amazon , Tesco, Waterstones and Play).  

 

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16 Responses

  1. Spang Says:

    As someone else has mentioned, if we’d have played these last 3 games in reverse order, right now we’d be top ‘o the world. Looking at the table now, I’m amazed anyone thought we could get fourth given that we were expecting 2-3 points from these last 3.

    Lets hope Villa do one next week. Or maybe a draw… I dunno any more!

  2. Prosinecki Says:

    Just be glad you were watching in HD – not 3D….

    ps. ‘ I worship the ground upon which Ledley walks, the nightclubs out of which he stumbles and the vacuum in his knee that is bereft of cartilage.’

    Lovley!

  3. BigBadYid Says:

    An accurate post-mortem. The BAE switch didn’t work, and neither did playing (Boom, Boom, Boom, let me hear you say) BALE at left-back. However, the greatest mistake, in my humble, was moving Modders out of the middle. Luka playing in the middle of the park was, if you ask me, what won us the games against Arsenal and Chelsea. The man is world-class and is wasted playing on the left. If the dream left and right scenario of Bale and Lennon is nigh, then Harry has to make some serious decisions about who plays next to Luka in the middle. Personally, it may be controversial, and it is a tough decision, but I think Wilson has to sit out. Along with two recent home games, I would put the win away at Stoke up there with the best results of our season. Is it coincidence that Wilson missed all of these games? I rate the player and I love the guy. With three games in the final week Wilson will have his game-time, but Modrci has to sit in the middle, especially against City. That was Harry’s biggest mistake against ManUre.

  4. Barry Fabbilow Says:

    He shouldn’t have let Hutton go without cover.

  5. Indyfan Says:

    BigBadYid is absolutely correct..Luka belongs in the middle, where he can play the part of midfield general and feed the ball to both wings. I think we could have pulled off a win if Bale had been on the wing and Kaboul or Walker, both of whom have shown promise. Unfortunately Palacios’ reputation as a giant in midfield is totally misplaced – his passing was atrocious, he seemed unaware when Scholes stole the ball from him from behind, and his tackling, as usual, was reckless.

    Hopefully Harry will get it right in the remaining three games.

  6. dean Says:

    bid bad yid your’e on the money mate. I have been saying all season and last season that Mods a CM.He controls the tempo and direction of play like no one else can in the team. Palacious has a great heart and gives all he’s got, but he doesn’t have that much. He is one dimensional. Hopefully Harry has learnt his lesson and Charlie gets fit real soon.

  7. geejay Says:

    If you stumble upon a couple of guys who can boss the midfield against Chelsea and Arsenal then you’ve surely found your best pairing.Harry’s mind works in many strange ways , is almost like he finds such moments as too good to be true.Wether he thought the best way to beat United was to tackle them out of the game I don´t know but I prefer the SPUR’S way, attack and keep attacking.Keeping hold of the ball is a very basic skill and bloody important especially up against the top teams ,the fan’s seem to understand that and most remember vividly Palacias showing us more than once or twice how good he is at that, no good.Harry gives alot of points for enthusiasm and effort and fair enough,just think he needs to revise his points system a bit , putting substance to this effort at the top of the list.Palacias has shown us how to tackle many times and has been a joy to watch almost all the time but no disputing Harry needs to teach him still a few of the basic skills and decipline needed so us fans can stop worrying all the time that he may be a liability in these big games where mistakes are more often than not punished swiftly.Harry must deserve alot of credit for where we are now , just wish so many fans weren’t so often one step ahead of him ,just seem so many saying things that get vindicated later ,only trouble is I can’t figure out if it’s Harry’s genius or Harry’s luck that causes this.

  8. hoddleisgreat Says:

    watching the way spurs played on saturday was exactly how we played at arsenal chelsea or any top team,
    no confidence we played knowing we would get nothing from these games and guess what we got nothing we can beat all these teams at home but not away i fear the game at man city we cant lose that one.

  9. Roy Singh Says:

    The manner in which the team performed on Saturday, differed to their two previous games. Now who is take blame for their pathetic performance ? The manager, the technical staff or the players themselves ? I admire Man U style of playing – they show consistency. We totally lack that.

  10. Bilal Davis Says:

    Great article! The comments about King and Lennon made me laugh out loud. It’s so easy to judge with hindsight. Whilst Palacios had a poor game I think some of the comments are a little harsh as Palacios does bring balance to our team. He’s the only real out and out defensive midfielder we have and the best one we’ve had in recent years. I also agree with the point that sticking to the winning formula may not have brought us a win. Fergie is a ruthless tactician and if it wasn’t BAE getting skinned, it would have been Kaboul who looked shaky against Chelsea. If someone’s being played out of position, the best teams (usually) exploit this. At the end of the day, Spurs made a contest of it and I was proud that we’d battled so well and nearly nicked the draw. The fans were great too.

  11. SPURSSINCE82 Says:

    Don’t care what it look’s like…Harry =mediocrity. I thought the penny had dropped
    and that through several displays even Arsenal fans could see our best 11. I have
    bemoaned and chanted Harrys name this season ,but he is a serial offender of uncertainty and this translates 2 the players. He went up their with fans in toe , with our fists dipped and our chin raised. Who on earth would change a winning side playing the way we did…answer Pompey’s finest. Ps Defoe is sh** always been a percentage guy (irrespective of my spursness) If Crouch so much as spits at another journo I will kick a whole through my f**** telly . All three of them are very lucky to be associated with our club. me and my drunk unpaid mates called all the subs and team shape (Simply the winning one) 30 mins before being made (except Giraffe)Harry is a blind old opportunist whos opportunities have slipped through his old stubborn fingers again. Gud over anything other than a devilish defoe and nods gud and Pav make us look like a spurs side from yester year . Wilson in over …oh ive had enough.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    COYS

  12. Ted Says:

    Some of these comments make no sense at all.

    This ‘dont change a winning side’ thing is just a pundits cliche.

    Were we really supposed to leave out King because he didn’t play against chelsea?

    If Lennon were 100% should you still start with Bentley ?

    Was anyone screaming that Danny Rose didn’t start against chelsea?

    Actually a managers ability is judged over a full season – and we are on course for our best ever Premiership season.

    So if you want to slate or replace the manager you need more than a cliche to do it.

  13. JimmyG2 Says:

    Modric started off as too small for the Premiership, then he was a good player but not in centre midfield. Now he is the centre mid we’ve always wanted.
    Similarly Palacios. He started out as the new Dave Mackay and the player we’ve been waiting for. Now he’s gone from the best thing since sliced bread to stale and now he’s toast
    Ditto hoodoo Bale who’s a shoo in for England except he’s Welsh.
    Ditto Gomes.
    Have some perspective boys.

  14. BigBadYid Says:

    JimmyG2, mate, I don’t think anyone is calling Wilson toast, I’m certainly not. But the fact is ‘Arry’s got a serious selection headache; assume Lennon and Bale are your right and left, you’ve got three players going for two positions and, if you ask me, Luka has to take one of them. You’re left with Wilson and Thudd competing for the final central midfield spot. It’s a seriously tough choice, perhaps Thudd needs to have a rest, I don’t really know what the answer is. I do think, however, that Modric looks genuine class in the middle. I don’t buy the argument that you need to be big to play centre mid – Xavi and Iniesta manage perfectly well as far as I can see.
    Longer-term, 5 in midfield might be the answer. For now, there’s a decision to make, and for me it means Wilson missing out.

  15. hoddleisgreat Says:

    well 3 games left how many points do you think we need to secure 4th spot

  16. phil Says:

    Gomes

    Kaboul King Dawson Assou-Ekoto

    Huddlestone Palacios

    Lennon Modric Bale

    Defoe

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