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West Brom 0-1 Spurs: Four Tottenham Observations

1. Not The Abysmal Showing I’d Been Promised

A confession of sorts to begin with, as it’s generally best to air these things at the outset – I did not view the game live, so by the time the telly-box re-ran the binge in its entirety I was already well aware of the outcome.

The reports I received gave the impression that it was one of those catastrophic affairs, in which the undead roam the streets, cars and buildings are set alight and humanity is generally going to pot. I braced myself accordingly, poured a more generous than normal dram of the good stuff and settled in.

And was pleasantly surprised. I hesitate to say it, as one prefers not to incur the wrath of one’s public, but I thought we started fairly healthily. Admittedly every set-piece swung into our area caused absurd levels of panic, but those were pretty rare as we cunningly hogged possession. Moreover this was not one of those turgid affairs in which the ball is monotonously shuttled sideways, and all and sundry stick rigidly to their place of dwelling, offering no movement.

Au contraire, there was decent movement and the ball was accordingly shoved around pretty nippily, as well as the usual work-rate that ensured we tended to win back the ball before most of the dignitaries had registered that it had gone. Toby was back in the fold, and wasted little time in pinging his diagonals, while the back-three allowed both Vertonghen to sneak into midfield and the wing-backs to set up camp well over halfway.

We made some respectable chances too – both Kane and Lamela were clean through, and Wanyama’s effort drew a save. Frankly, had I not been oddly blessed with the benefit of hindsight I would have suggested that while no classic, we seemed to be peddling our wares in honest fashion.

2. Short Corners

I appreciate that our Glorious Leader would have taken one look at the opposition teamsheet and decided that the aerial route was strictly for extreme circumstances only, but nevertheless the relentless barrage of comically inept short-corner routines that we delivered throughout did rather make one scratch the head.

There was one glorious throwback to the Anderton-Sheringham era, when Eriksen swept in a low corner and Kane swung a boot at the near post.

That aside one received the impression that precisely nobody involved in these little scenes had remembered their lines. It was questionable whether any of them had been rehearsed at all, as nobody seemed quite sure what was supposed to happen, and between two or three men in lilywhite they contrived to oversee an elaborate process of funnelling the ball back towards halfway, or allowing the ball to trickle apologetically out of play. A little more training ground time appears in order.

3. Toby and Danny Rose

Why these two were suddenly included yesterday, having been pretty unsubtly sidelined for months, is anyone’s guess.

Maybe Poch is keen to remind potential suitors of their value? Maybe he would like to see them sharpen up ahead of the World Cup? Maybe he simply puts all the squad numbers in a hat and picks them out at random?

Whatever the rationale, it was nice to see the pair back in lilywhite. Toby slotted in like he had never been away, and seemed to inspire Davinson Sanchez to similarly great heights. That said, the caveat should be added that this serenity applied only to open play, for set-pieces were an entirely different kettle of fish, with none of our lot looking remotely comfortable when peering upwards at the West Brom aerial barrage.

Danny Rose had a marvellous joust with the West Brom right-back Nyom, winning some and losing some but competing throughout like his life depended on it, which is not something that has ever been said of Ben Davies in the entirety of human history.

Rose’s push-and-shove with Nyom, who stood around two feet taller and three stone heavier, was possibly the highlight of the entire game, and although by the letter of the law Rose might have seen red for raising hand to face, the delayed and dramatic dive that followed from Nyom was good, wholesome comedy.

As with Kyle Walker back in yesteryear, Rose seems to be the sort of bean who cares deeply about his personal duels, and has more than a sprinkling of robustness in his DNA. Not the sort of character upon whom Spurs has traditionally built its reputation, and we will be weaker for his likely departure. Even if he did make quite the pig’s ear of his attempted clearance for the West Brom goal.

4. Lucas Moura’s Cameo

One presumes that next season Lucas Moura will be upgraded from Special Guest Star to Main Cast, because glimpses of him have been pretty fleeting since his January arrival, but generally worth the wait.

Yesterday was no exception, as he put his head down and made a beeline straight for the heart of the West Brom defence every time he received possession, drawing fouls and generally prompting our hosts to run scurry around in a bit of a tizz.

While Son, Lamela and Dele all have quick, jinking feet, none have Lucas’ capacity to run with the ball at pace. It nearly did the trick yesterday, despite limited air-time, and it would be good to see the young egg play a more prominent role in things when next season rumbles around.

Like what you read? AANP’s own book, Spurs’ Cult Heroes is pretty reasonably priced on Amazon…

7 Responses

  1. Poloman Says:

    Brilliant article and right on the nail, particularly the observations regarding our inability to defend the corners and dead balls (as has been the case for many years) and the exciting but all too short contribution that Lucas Moura brings to the party. Hope the lads aren’t imploding at the sight of the finishing line again.

  2. Charles Crawford Says:

    I note that your headline has Tottenham winning 1-0. Not quite how I remember it.

    Key error: delaying the subs too late AGAIN. Why not give Moura a solid 30 mins as his twinkling feet were more likely to create havoc than anyone else’s?

    By playing three at the back there was a pseudo gain in width but Eriksen/Dele had to drop deeper and the full-backs did not do much. Son or Moura from from the start better.

    One point from 6 v W Brom and Brighton? Hard not to see top 4 at risk…

  3. Overcspurs Says:

    Just didn’t understand team selection were based on what criteria? The more lethal Moura was behind the slow wobbling Lamela! Charity for not wanting to be the West Brom hangman,as we will blow away the following opponents?

  4. Houstonyid Says:

    Lamela was the main culprit of all the sideways nonsense – I agree Son or Moura would have been better starters. On a lighter note, watching Fazio lumber around for Roma this week reminded one of how far we’ve come

  5. AANP Says:

    Poloman: Many thanks, very kind of you.

    Mr Crawford: A touch of the sunstroke in penning the title of this one I’m afraid, mea culpa (obviously, it was hardly anyone else’s culpa). Agree on the delayed subs too.

    Overcspurs & Houstonyid: Yes it does rather make me wonder what goes on in training, Lamela presumably channels his inner Pele, Moura his inner Sissoko?

  6. Pez Says:

    This was one of those days when nothing quite cliced into place, Kane was woefully off for, again, Lamela missed a sitter and everything for Tottenham was a little out of kilter. Eriksen seemed to be playing to deep, Alli was taken off(not quite sure why)Son as a sub had noimpact on the game at all and Moura was brought in far too late to change things fro the good. Worse yet was that Vertonghen looked to have picked up a late injury, and thusly we stumbled from sideways domination of a game so frustratingly irritating to watch to a late goal defeat that thusly curtailed our efforts of a top four finish agonisingly onwards, what a desperate mess we have become these final few games.

  7. AANP Says:

    Yes, the Vertonghen knock is worrying, but chin up sir, we still have this in our own hands

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