Carling Cup Semi-Final
Spurs 4 Burnley 1
Only Spurs can infuriate me this much. Woeful first half of football. Bale and Bentley were tragically bad and the team as a whole, shit. I'm not going to take a thing away from Burnley. They played tidy football, broke well and took their goal (gift) with confidence. The first half consisted of us playing what I like to call zombie football. I'm not talking about the fast moving Rage virus zombies from 28 Days Later or the Dawn of the Dead remake. There was nothing agile about our display. I'm talking about the zombies from the George A. Romero original. Slow us fuck. And unlike the zombies in that classic film, we lacked any kind of menace when in possession. It was, yes you've guessed it, inept®.
I can never figure out how the minds of Tottenham players work. If this was Arsenal at home, we'd be 100 miles per hour from the off. Instead, we allowed a Championship side (a good one at that) to dictate. It wasn't anything spectacular mind. They made one or two chances, but you could see they were not a real threat if....if we stepped up a gear. But as the half dragged on, the worse we got.
I don't want to start pointing my finger at Bentley again, but he was having a nightmare of a game. Much like most of his appearances for us. Everyone was lethargic and sleepy, and mis-hit passes and crosses (even Lennon was struggling) but Bentley was particularly bad. And Bale looked utterly lost.
There are two decent, very decent, players in there somewhere but it looks like it's going take a while to get them to smile and play well. If you need an irreverent back-heel flick, Bentleys your man, but anything that requires simplicity, no chance. Bale was a nervous mess.
Its all about confidence. There was a point in the first half that Bale could have taken the ball on and run into the penalty area. He didn't. That split second decision resulted in him playing the ball sideways. No belief there at the minute, because if he took it on and fucked it up, he'll get more moans and groans from the crowd, and too much thinking about the negatives eats away at players. Which is why Bentley is deep into Paul Robinson territory at the minute.
The way Eagles run through the two of them to set up Burnley's opener was embarrassingly easy.
Off went Bentley at half-time and on came Jamie O'Hara. Now Jamie will never be world-class. Or even good enough to play for the England first team. But he has bite and determination, even if he needs a couple of touches to control the ball. He gets stuck in. And thanks to the switch and the half-time bollocking, Spurs stepped it up. Why the overpaid gits couldn't muster this tempo in the first half is anyone's guess.
You're at home. Against opposition from a lower league. In a semi-final. FUCKING WELL SHOW US THE GULF IN CLASS. Ok, so they knocked out second-string Fulham, Arsenal and Chelsea sides. And they play pretty football. But be a sodding professional about it.
Incoming Jamie corner. Dawson meets it with his head. 1-1. Perfect script-writing. Livened up the fans a little. To be fair, we are never any good at home against lower-league opposition when it comes to singing/chanting. First half, our lack of noise shadowed the teams performance. Second half, with the change in effort on the pitch, inspired us to stand up and shake off the icicles to sing a song or two.
Five minutes later, Jamie manages to squirm the ball (well its more a case of the keeper allowing it to squirm) under his legs from a volley. 2-1. In the 65th it was 3-1, this time Pav driving the ball home after breezing way too easily past the Burnley defender. Goal in every round from the Russkie. 4-1, and it's practically done and dusted. Own goal this time.
If Zokora had 1% shooting ability he would have made it 5, but this being Zokora, the ball has yet to be retrieved from Glasgow city centre.
I'd say that's us at Wembley, but if Burnley come out all guns blazing and we play as badly as we did in the first half, they have every chance. But somehow, I can't see that happening. Would be daft to fuck it up that badly now.
Gio back on the bench today. Along with Adel and KPB - but none of them had a cameo. Which was a shame. No Ghaly. But expected this. Best to have him on the bench for Sunday and maybe bring him on then. Less of the boo-boys around at away games.
Special mentions: Defoe. Bit surreal to see him back. He has a right good chance to shine now that there is no longer a Berbatov or Keane at the club. Nigh impossible to break that partnership (which was arguably one of the best in the country). I think he'll work well upfront with Pav.
The Burnley fans right next to me in Block 42. Some decent banter going on, although one or two got a tad too serious with the abuse when the score was reversed in our favour. Unlike last year which was against Arsenal and it meant a lot for obvious reasons (failure to get there the season before), tonight I really felt it meant a lot more for the Burnley fans than it did for us. I guess it would considering their stature and lack of recent semi-finals. Our fans were a little casual tonight, along with the players. Thankfully just for the opening 45. I guess the Premiership is priority for all at the minute. January rescue package should see to that.
Anyways, slightly stronger team and more focused performance, and we could have overwhelmed them tonight. Instead, the team did its usual best to worry us silly.
Not good enough at the minute to even consider beating Utd in the final.