With curses duly bestowed to the interweb for breaking yesterday, preventing this from being a more timely posting…true villain of the piece as… Vertonghen! Except that that is not a particularly fashionable line of social media punditry to adopt, so dedicated truth-hounds that we are, an even closer inspection reveals that Vertonghen only had to make his challenge because possession was conceded when Daws chugged forward and mis-controlled straight to a Basel player, who played his pass into the gap vacated, leaving Vertonghen to cover. Which means that the actual villain of the piece can be unmasked as… Dawson! But that really would not be cricket, because the blighter was… what’s the phrase we used to use for Sol Campbell before we learnt to hate…? Colossus! Dawson was a colossus, becoming increasingly colossus-esque with each passing minute, so no blame there. (Apart from several madcap lunges in the first-half over which Basel forwards nonchalantly skipped.) And besides, going back to the red card, if one were to don the monocle and look closely at the replay it appears that Vertonghen did actually nick the ball. So perhaps it ought not to have been a red card, which means that the villain, inevitably, is… the ref! On top of which, the corner from which Basel scored their second mighty well looked like it should not have been awarded, having touched a home player last. Which points to the real villain being… the extra official who semi-squats on the goal-line and intensely stares at the action three yards away from him before looking up at the ref with a blank expression! Oh dash it all, let’s just blame Adebayor, it’s far easier.
I suppose Adebayor most conveniently matches the e-fit of “Dastardly Scapegoat” that was issued almost as soon as the deed was done on Thursday night – and he certainly made a complete pig’s ear of the penalty, but in the occasional moments of sanguinity that have interrupted the otherwise non-stop grump at AANP Towers since then, it has seemed reasonable to attribute both praise and opprobrium where appropriate.
In which spirit – yes, ‘twas a wretched penalty, but rather than hanging on for penalties with last-ditch blocks, cramping limbs and a couple of players appearing to need chest compression before they could get back on their feet, we might have continued with that momentum we gained after our second goal, and gone into extra-time on the front-foot with a realistic chance of scoring a third – and potentially decisive – away goal. That we lost this momentum is nothing to do with Adebayor, but due to the sending-off… which means that in the finest tradition of Scooby-Doo we can unmask the
Elsewhere On The Pitch
Frankly there is little inclination around these parts to do much else than sift half-heartedly through the wreckage and zip up a few body-bags, rather like in the post-climax scene in Terminator. Or indeed Alien 3. As against Everton last weekend there was a fair amount of controlled possession, but a distinct dearth of By-Jiminy-That-Has-Carved-Them-Open incisive passing from our lot. The ball was regularly shipped sideways, but with right-footers on the left flank and no natural right winger on the right (try babbling that after a few good bourbons), crosses into the box were at a premium. Which was rather a shame, as we looked to have the beating of them in the air. Dembele was a little off-kilter, but by golly Messrs Dempsey, Sigurdsson and Holtby pounded the treadmill, and Carroll made some useful little contributions, albeit without exactly bossing things. Whether or not Hudd might have become an influential midfield figure in extra-time we will never know, the re-jig forcing him back into defence, and ‘tis a blinking shame, because having created our second there was just a suspicion that he might have grown in influence.
Oh well. If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly. Except this being Spurs, it were done in excruciatingly long-drawn out and agonising fashion, with the not entirely salubrious side-effects of sapping the beans out of half of our squad and occasionally costing us Sunday points. All things considered however, I am actually rather glad for this season’s European jaunt, for as a long-term exercise it has its benefits (familiarity with the AVB way; experience gained of how to handle these nights; some impressive never-say-die Henry V stuff) and the nights themselves have thrown up more enjoyment than when done by the ‘Arry drill. Just an opinion, I hardly expect universal concurrence. days off then. Use them well.
3 replies on “Basel 2-2 Spurs: The True Villain Of The Piece Unmasked…”
Anyone over there saying ‘Mind The Gap’ anymore…..?
Didn’t think so.
Last year was funny – this year is f***ing pant-wetting hilarious!
Point 1. Regardless of the regularity with which we push the last-quarter-of-the-season self destruct button, (and there is an outside chance we might break free of that shackle some season soon) this doesn’t alter the fact of the Goon’s slow but steady decline into Premier/Champions league irrelevance – so if you bother to read this “love from N5” it might be worth pointing out that you’re presumed victory is at best Pyrrhic (look it up on the internet if you don’t know what that means)
Point 2. For those of us that were there on Thursday it was brill – the team were fantastic. Talking to Basel fans after the game they were absolutely convinced we were going to win (and generally thought we deserved it) and said our fans were unbelievable.
Point 3. I mostly agree with the comments of the author with a few points I would like to add. Tom Carroll had a superb effect when he came on – he has terrific potential and looks so much more like creating than the hard working, but limited, Parker. He really can be our new Modric (did someone mention Lionel M***i) and I would have liked him and Holtby to be our penalty takers in the early stages of the shootout to keep us in the tie. Clint Dempsey knows where the net is, but as a team we sometimes struggle to know where he is – he makes his goal scoring runs from a forward midfield position (hate to say this, but rather like Lampard at Chelski)and we need to adapt better to that. Gylfi is far more effective cutting in from the left and had an immense game(hence why the “versus Fulham experimental team” with him on the right was such a disaster). Holtby has a fantastic engine and no shortage of skill. Daws was caught out of position and made a poor pass which forced Jan to make a decision (probably the wrong one) – but a lot of that was down to the fact that we were pushing up and looking for the winner. I’m pretty sure that we would have won had we remained with 11. Adebayor had a decent game but needs to score more goals from outside the 6 yard box. Naughton seems daunted by playing for a big club and I worry for him in the long term. Brad did ok in what is probably his last game for us, and I think we could do worse than find him a place in the coaching line-up. Thank God Walker’s back. We miss Sandro, and Dembele has gone off the boil lately – if we’re honest his performances in the second half of the season have not matched those in the first half. My man-of-the-match for his overall work rate and gutsy performance – Clint Dempsey
Point 4. If fortune favours the brave then by definition it frowns upon the cowardly. Look at last season we choked when we has so many chances to put 3rd place to bed – even up to the penultimate game of the season at Villa Park where Harry seemed so delighted with a point. Please, please, please AVB give it all barrels, charge for the guns and go down fighting, saying we gave it all we had. Don’t make the mistake of Pleat(’87), Jol(’07) and Redknapp(’12). If we have to take 5th then do so in the knowledge that we couldn’t have given any more. Six more performances like we had at St Jakob’s Park the other night and we might actually have a good summer holiday – you never know!
“some impressive never-say-die Henry V stuff”– Agree but by everyone except Adebayor.I would forgive him his lack of scoring if he would put in the effort the rest of the team do each game.Most condemn him for his poor workrate,it has really been detrimental to our games all season.