Everton 0 Spurs 0
Wasn’t a great game, was it? Started well, dropped off the pace, Everton had the better of a dour second half. Happy with the point in the end. All pales into insignificance with Wilson Palacios absence from the squad due to devastating family reasons.
I don’t particularly feel the necessity to analyse the performance in microscopic detail or read too much into Harry’s tactics and lack of early substitution(s). We have a side that has been in fairly decent nick recently. We are far from being a soft touch (excluding the issues experienced at Ewood and OT), and lacking keys players at Goodison we played well enough to come away with a point.
Ok, Harry doesn’t always seem to react to how a game is or might develop. Sometimes you need to think ahead and change formations/player positions. It’s a weakness, more so because we don’t have the quality in depth to dominate games on the strength of the starting line-up. But even the strongest sides sometimes need aid from their manager to change things, and mix it up a little.
But complaints aside, what else do we expect when lining up in a 3-5-2 formation? We did get a point out of it. Even if we didn’t appear to ‘go for the win’ which is something we tend to do often at Goodison Park and with Fulham trouncing Villa, we should have been more on the offensive, especially in the second half. Which is where the ‘why didn’t Harry change it?’ question crops up.
But then this was against a side who have been top 6 for most of the season, with three of our top players missing. In the pouring rain. In a game that was far from great.
Sorry, I just can’t be that critical. Regardless of all the Lets Finish 7th fanfare. It was a crap match, with several players under-performing. Not that much any manager can do when the standard of the game is lacking quality.
Our forward line is not sparkling. JD is back from injury and is doing just fine (shame the season ends in two games) but is not at his sharpish best. Keane isn’t his usual self and hasn’t been for a while but isn’t half as bad as he looks. People tend to dwell on the hands in the air moaning than some of the more gritty work he does. But a forward should be forward more often than not rather than playing from midfield. Can I tell my deeper than Linda Lovelace joke again?
As for Pav forever struggling to start a game and Bent out injured – it’s not a perfect unit. We haven’t done badly recently, so once everyone is in tip-top shape and competing things will improve tenfold. More on this in a second or two.
Our midfield had no panther or greased lightning. Luka had a quiet afternoon. Sure, a substitution would have possibly given us something different (obviously) far earlier than when Roman came on in the 81st minute as Everton were controlling the game and looked the more likely to score. But it’s all well and good to sit here in hindsight and suggest that, I don’t know, bringing on Bentley or the youngster Rose or maybe even Campbell might have made a significant difference. I equally might have backfired. People need to relax on the knee-jerk that Harry doesn’t make tactical changes when required to help change the course of the game.
Had we shifted back to a 4-4-2 and made two changes there is no guarantee it would have made a difference. Same goes had we started the game with 4-4-2. I’m not disputing Harry has to be more pro-active, but this is just a single 90 minutes. Had, for example, Defoe scored we’d be revealing in Redknapp’s genius. I know he's been guilty before, but again, it's something I prefer to place aside until the start of next season, post-transfer window.
If we want to step up, there are fundamentals that need fixing.
The balance has to be redefined a little. Spoke about this in the Conundrum series. It’s either going to be a left-winger with Modric moving to central midfield or we buy a more dominating box to box player to replace the inconsistent Jenas.
Far too much running before walking. We have some good players at Tottenham. We have one or two who are great. We need to consolidate and improve on some key positions. This is nothing new. Been here before plenty of times. We should have bought the right type of players last summer, and failed to do so which resulted with the departure of Ramos. Harry has the perfect opportunity to spend wisely as there is no need to overhaul the squad.
We need botox. Not plastic surgery.
Great to see Bale back and playing well today. Huddlestone struggled. Hutton needs the fresh start a new season will bring. Hope to have Aaron, Benoit and Wilson back for the City game.
We are 8th. Above West Ham. Which should keep the people that worry about that sort of stuff content.