With apologies for the tardiness – this missive is penned from a NYC-to-DC coach, as the all-action holiday in America continues.
Thus began the glorious new era. Designed with a view to travelling to the San Siro and such places, and chastened by the Young Boys plastic pitch experience, ‘Arry unveiled his brand spanking new and eagerly-awaited 4-4-1-1 away formation, and I found myself anticipating it in the same excited manner with which I used to look forward to the launch of a new away kit, as a nipper.
Back in 1991 it was a yellow Umbro number with jagged blue flashes on one shoulder and the shorts. In September 2010 it was 4-4-1-1, with Rafael van der Vaart in the hole behind the front-man; Modders and Bale working the left; Lennon wide right; and Sergeant Wilson and Hudd providing a central buffer for the defence. On paper it looks awesome, in Championship Manager it probably would work a treat, and for 20 minutes or so on Saturday it seemed a grand idea, but by the full-time whistle our heroes were hanging on in far from convincing manner, and it was apparent that this wondrous innovation required some tweaking.
Homework for This Week
The return of the walking wounded, coupled with improved fitness amongst the newbies, will probably improve matters, but neither manager nor players ought to be short of things to practise in the coming days. Messrs VDV and Gallas would probably benefit from a few shuttle runs and a bleep test, but the former at least showed, sporadically, that he will be a rather tasty addition to the White Hart Lane cast list. Our glorious leader has been licking his lips at the prospect of VDV and Modders getting better acquainted, and it is not difficult to see why, but that particular best-laid plan went fairly swiftly agley on Saturday. As Modders hit the deck and departed stage left, the signal was given and the Bell of Doom duly rung at AANP Towers. Mercifully however the prognosis is not too serious.
Modric’s departure did not help, but in general the midfield made dashed hard work of things. When a greying, pot-bellied Hudd gathers around the grandchildren several decades hence and tells them tales of his glory days in the Tottenham midfield, the September 2010 game away to West Brom is unlikely to figure too prominently in his rich tapestry. With all around him eagerly charging forward he seemed a little uncomfortable with his role alongside the Sergeant, of buffering the back-four.Palacios meanwhile is diligently continuing his fall from grace, with another performance of questionable quality. His arrival some 18 months ago, and the six months of glorious tenacity that followed, seemed a lifetime away on Saturday. Grumblings of discontent will presumably be increasing in volume around the streets of N17, and the name of Sandro more frequently thrown into conversation. Disappointing stuff too from young Aaron Lennon, while the new-look defence will also need to rehearse their lines a little better and poor old Pav beavered away without much joy in the lone striker role.
Must Do Better Chaps…
A draw away to West Brom is not quite disastrous, but if this is the prototype for Champions League away days then by golly our heroes need to sharpen up their act. One point from two eminently winnable games suggests that much elbow-grease will be required (not to mention a striker capable of leading the line on his own in a 4-5-1) if the glories of last season are to be replicated.
Sincere thanks to SiberiaSpur for providing the info that enabled me to watch the soccer out here…