Spurs match reports

Arsenal 3-0 Spurs: The Ghost of Gary Doherty

There would be something quintessentially Spurs about doing all the hard work and then gifting away the game on a plate, through one moment of madness.”

And sure enough…


It’s easy to forget that honours were fairly even in the early stages, as misplaced pass was matched by misplaced pass in a midfield absolutely jam-packed with bodies. While presumably not much of a spectacle to the neutral, we at least appeared relatively well organised. When called upon Gomes made a save that seemed to defy belief (it was suggested by one esteemed chum that Cudicini would not even have bothered trying to save it). It was not setting the world alight, but the game-plan was working.Thereafter however, all the worst elements of Tottenham Hotspur FC came to the fore. Once upon a time a balding, ginger loon patrolled our defence, permanently liable to produce something like an over-the-shoulder-volleyed-own-goal without warning; and yesterday was like revisiting the days of Gross, Francis and Gary Doherty, as madness infected half a dozen in lilywhite, each of whom could barely wait to give the self-destruct button a good old thump.

Schoolboy defending? Complete absence of off-the-ball movement? Early resort to the long-ball? Lack of passion, effort, fight? Truly, this was the Tottenham of old.

Schoolboy Defending

First goal: Eminently preventable. Sloppy defending in allowing the cross; Ledley of all people was second best when it arrived; and a touch disappointing for Gomes to be beaten on his near post.

Second goal: Where to start? Plain careless from Sergeant Wilson, while Hudd ought to be subjected to a public thrashing for simply chickening out of a challenge. And Ledley, Ledley, Ledley. Flying in was reckless at best, with further errors compounding an unusually shoddy display. I suppose in ten years he’s entitled to one bad game. Credit to Fabregas for taking it well, but no team with top-four aspirations ought to just melt away like that in the face of a one-man attack.

Third goal: Oh for goodness’ sake…

There could have easily have been others too, Gomes saving twice from Eduardo, as our back-four dubiously experimented with the world’s most ramshackle offside trap.

Complete Lack of Off-The-Ball Movement


We had plenty of possession, but whichever of our players found the ball at his feet would be offered precious few options, and as a result we were treated to the unholy sight of…

Early Resort To The Long-Ball


Lack of Passion, Effort, Fight


Moreover, if you don’t mind me banging a far older drum, these guys are paid shed-loads for their 90 minutes of work once or twice a week, so I demand to see them bust a gut each time they play, no matter what the score.

Patience Runs Out For Tow of AANP’s Favourite Sons

For what it’s worth, yesterday was also the straw that broke this camel’s back. The last vestige of patience has snapped at AANP Towers.

Jenas at least worked hard, but all the effort in the world does not mask the guy’s limitations as a central midfielder. And I can’t even be bothered to find a nice polite euphemism to describe Hudd’s performance. These two are simply not good enough if we want to challenge the top four (I suspect many will be tempted to tar the Barba-less Keane with this brush too). If we want to make the top six, beating the average Premiership fare en route, these chaps will do the job just fine. Our fixture-list in the coming months suggests presents a stretch of winnable games, and I suspect that Jenas and Hudd will trot out some decent performances in that time.

However, against Man Utd, Chelski and l’Arse they are not good enough. As long as they remain our first choices in central midfield, we will remain second-best against these teams.










ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the players to be featured in forthcoming book Spurs’ Cult Heroes: Dave Mackay here, Cliff Jones here, Glenn Hoddle here, Chris Waddle here, Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jurgen Klinsmann hereY


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Spurs match reports

Spurs 2-1 Manchester City: Just What Did ‘Arry Tell Them At Half-Time?

With the season all but wrapped up, preparations are well under way for the AANP End of Season Awards. ‘Twas good of ‘Arry then, to produce a late contender for the Worst Half-Time Team-Talk of the Season gong, because whatever he said between 3.45 and 4.00pm yesterday, brought about a pretty stunning regression.I’ve often wondered what is said behind closed doors in the changing room – whether there is hardcore tactical sophistication from ‘Arry, or something rather cruder. I can certainly picture Robbie Keane shouting and pointing, Bentley relentlessly preening himself, Pav not understanding a word, and so on – but the style and content of ‘Arry’s pearls of wisdom intrigues me.

Whatever he said, one presumes that he didn’t actually instruct them to lose the plot and treat the ball like a hot potato, but nevertheless things just panned out that way in the second half. We somehow muddled through, but it was slightly a botched job, more like the heist in Reservoir Dogs rather than the flawless break-and-enter style jobs Tom Cruise delivers in the Mission Impossible films.

First Half Positives 

Good movement and fluency all round in that first half, Gomes a virtual spectator, and we could well have gone into the break with more than a one goal advantage. If we have learnt anything in 2009 it’s that we really ought to turn periods of superiority into more than one goal, but at least in yesterday’s first half the lack of further goals was not for want of trying.

The deployment of Robbie Keane on the left had us scratching our heads prior to kick-off, and was neither an unqualified success nor an unmitigated disaster. Messrs Bale and Bentley would probably have felt a little aggrieved to have seen the teamsheet, but such is life at the Lane these days, with Keane bizarrely undroppable, and indeed unsubstituteable, if such a word exists. The question of how to accommodate both him and Defoe is simmering away nicely, in time for the start of season 09/10.

Defoe himself looked sharp and lively. This was particularly welcome, as in recent weeks a lot of excellent build-up play has been frustratingly negated by a vague impotence amongst the strikers, and a consequent habit of rather over-passing in the final third. No such problems yesterday (in the first half at least), as there was a most welcome willingness all round to have a pop, led by Defoe.

The Weekly Jenas Rant 

The most reasonable explanation seems to me to be a lack of awareness of what’s going on around him. Whereas the Hudd or Modric will have a good idea of where they want to send the ball before they even receive it, Jenas seems amazed every time it comes near him. There follows the obligatory three or four touches as he acquaints himself with its dimensions and mechanics. Crucially, he then has to have a look up and around to see what else is going on, and just doesn’t have the vision to pick out anyone who isn’t immediately in his line of sight. The end result generally tends to be the same – turn around and knock it backwards (unless he starts daydreaming and gets caught in possession).

His propensity for the thoroughly un-creative backwards pass was particularly highlighted yesterday by its juxtaposition with Stephen Ireland in the opposition’s colours, a player whose instinct on receiving the ball is always to play a forward pass. A Lennon-Palacios-Ireland-Modric midfield would have me positively drooling with excitement. (See, I told you this would be a little more constructive than my usual Jenas-rant.)

Eggs is Eggs

Anyway, apologies for the digression. The second half implosion complicated things, but eggs is eggs and a win is a win.

The overall sense was that there are one or two areas to be addressed, but that we are in good shape for next season. An understudy for Palacios, a better version of Jenas, a target-man, a solution the Keane-Defoe problem – these are tweaks and adjustments rather than a full-blown overhaul. A gentle makeover, rather than cosmetic surgery. (Although knowing Spurs, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Redknapp sacked, Modric sold and two new right-wingers bought over the summer).

Seventh place is still manageable in theory, but unlikely. Opinion is neatly split straight down the middle on this. The absence of midweek games has coincided with a settled team, regular Ledley and hugely impressive form. A Europe-free season next time really ought to see us comfortably in the top six, and perhaps even pushing for fourth. On the other hand, I have loved our European nights, and our squad is probably big enough to cope. (Unlike Fulham’s, I’d suggest – a tenner on Fulham to go down next season?)

It’s likely to be academic. In the meantime, a generous ovation to the team from AANP Towers, for the white-hot home form. Bravo chaps.