Spurs match reports

West Ham 1-1 Spurs: Two Tottenham Talking Points

1. Winger to Winger

It only took eight months, but with Our Glorious Leader reasoning that right-footed chaps on the right and left-footed chaps on the left might be a ruse with something about it, within five minutes we had drawn blood.

Bentancur, Bissouma and Maddison as a midfield three might have attracted a murmur or two of respectful query, having possibly a little too mich of the neat and tidy, on an evening on which I imagined more of a need for blood and thunder, but as it turned out in the opening exchanges the trio were keen to showcase their very best. They simply passed their way around the other lot, and lilywhite eyes about the place promptly lit up.

Young Herr Werner was the early recipient of their impressive output, and here was where Ange’s masterplan really kicked in. He’s mumbled a few times about the value of one winger finishing a cross from t’other winger, but with someone like Kulusevski skulking about on the right one just had to sigh a long-suffering one and let the imagination do the rest.

Yesterday, however, was different. In Brennan Johnson we have a cove with the standard distribution of strengths and weaknesses; but crucially, in the former category falls the inclination to scurry into the penalty area towards the far post and have a nosey about the place. Why Kulusevski can never motivate himself to do this too is an odd one. Seems an easy win to me. Either the cross from afar never arrives, in which case no real harm done; or it does arrive, in which case one can lick the lips and treat oneself to one of the simpler moments of glory.

Anyway, Kulusevski may not be in the market for the all-you-can-eat buffet, strange chap, but young Johnson has demonstrated a few times this season an eagerness to be first in the queue. Last night, once Werner had taken possession on the right, Johnson was bobbing about the penalty area with all the childlike excitement of one about to be let loose in a sweetshop.

Werner’s cross was sufficient, and Johnson, having the presence of mind to rearrange his feet – a skill that ought not to be underrated when observing the troubles Sonny had in controlling the watered ball all night – was able to pop the treasured orb the requisite yard or two into the empty net.

A highly promising start we can all agree, and I saw no need to ration the stuff. If Werner and Johnson had spent the rest of the night squaring the ball across the goal for the other to tap in, I’d have applauded long into the night. In fairness, Johnson seemed game, and actually appeared set on repeating the routine every time he got hold of the ball – possibly overdoing it, the loveable young rascal – but out on the right Werner’s wings were strangely clipped, and he instead seemed content to keep to himself for the rest of the evening.

His prerogative I suppose, but it didn’t really benefit the cause, what? And irritatingly, with West Ham pulling back into the penalty area every man, woman and child, we struggled to find any other routes to goal.

2. Defending Corners

This being a school night, and AANP being a man of all sorts of solemn oaths and promises these days, there are but two bullet points on the agenda. This business of corners, however, and specifically the wild and petrified horror with which our entire collective greet them, is one worthy of a bit of contemplation and debate.

For a start, someone at base camp ought to sit the players down and explain to them clearly and slowly that when we concede a corner, what is subsequently lobbed into the area is not some sort of laser-guided missile but still the same old toy that they’ve so merrily been knocking around amongst themselves all game.

Which is to say that any one of the troupe would be perfectly within their rights to extend their frame and try to stick a head on it. Such behaviour, the instruction ought to continue, is allowed, and in fact heartily encouraged. Whether or not such quiet and soothing instruction would do the trick is debatable, but it strikes me as worth trying.

I’m also rather perturbed by the positional approach adopted by our lot. ‘Zonal’ I suppose one would call it. The priority appears to be adopt a spot of turf and dashed well stick to it, no matter where the opposition blighters scuttle off to. One admires their discipline of course. Come hell or high water, our heroes will not be moved. But if a West Ham body positions himself a yard in front of one of our lot, one would think that common sense might kick in, and they’d consider it the sort of exceptional circumstance in which a spot of deviation would be just the thing.

On top of which, young Vicario still fails to instil any confidence in these situations. Mightily accomplished in the art of shot-stopping, and supremely confident in passing out from the back, he withers and shrivels once the ball is placed on the corner quadrant, routinely finding himself bullied by great lumbering opposition oafs, and flapping at the incoming cross with all the timidity of a newborn foal. I was rather shocked when right at the death last night he actually emerged from the crowd to make decent contact on an incoming corner, and fist it beyond the area.

It was maddening stuff, because corners (and our mistakes) aside West Ham offered nothing going forward, yet each corner they were awarded felt like a moment of impending doom. Nor is it the first time we’ve had to sit through this rot, and one can bet every last penny that there will be more of it to come. One doubts that the personnel will change too drastically from one game to the next, or even from this season into next, which means that somehow or other the current lot will have to magic up some solutions, and pronto.

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7 replies on “West Ham 1-1 Spurs: Two Tottenham Talking Points”

Apart from his assist Werner was dismal. Mix it up a bit and have Son on the left with Richi in the centre.

Bissouma really good. Romero a monster.

Conceding from corners is annoying. Not banging in more goals against teams who park the bus is far more annoying ??

I know what counts is what we do, not what the others don’t, but I see Villa are home to Brentford on Saturday. If the bees could snaffle a point that would help, wouldn’t it? Although, come to think of it we,d probably blow it against Forest. C,est la vie.

Big Ange, when quizzed about the absence of a setpiece coach amongst his backroom staff, replied with something along the lines of us using our open play philosophy to handle corners and freekicks, which I believe is a very baffling thing to say. There is simply no sense in approaching dead balls and live balls in the same manner. They’re a world apart! And the evidence is the 10 setpiece goals we’ve conceded so far, and the severely few amount of times we’ve stuck one in the net.
Hopes upon hopes he changes his mind.

Would like to understand a bit better what exactly he means by using our open play philosophy to handle set-pieces, what that looks like in literal terms. A rummy old response either way.

Werner is a real problem for me. Last week they showed a stat at halftime; Werner had run 4.9km and old man Andros Townsend had run 5.9km. Surely something is not right there. Against WHU there was a wide camera angle shot when Johnson had the ball on the right wing with a few mates close by, with Werner shown absolutely static on the left hand edge of the box – disinterestedly observing the play rather than thinking about how he can be part of it (my intuition running wild). In any case I don’t like him, I had originally hoped he would return to the EPL triumphant like other Chelsea rejects Salah & KVB but we got the dud. If he is available for 15m at the end of the season he looks a bargain but my fear is that he halts the progress of Yago Santiago, the U-21 number 11 – check the clip on the website a a cheeky nutmeg in the FA Youth Cup 2/4 final against Villa. That’s the sort of player we want to see more of.

I’m not a Timo fan either, even it’s £15m I do hope we don’t waste it on the dud – he’s that price for a reason.

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