Spurs 0 Wigan 1
Now that's what I call falling back down to earth with a bump.
Wigan didn't park the bus in front of the goal. They all screamed shotgun and drove it around White Hart Lane. Didn't even bother with seat-belts. Credit to them for their hard work off the ball, closing us down, not allowing us time to stick a foot on the ball and take control of the tempo gauge. They did park up second half. And not because they run of gas. However, shame on us for not having the tenacity to push them off the ball, stick that foot on it, and smash 'em out of N17.
It was made even more so comfortable by our lack of composure. Sloppy, uneasy early play meant confidence to Wigan and not a lot in the way of penetrative football from us. Couple of decent Defoe efforts, but lacklustre in comparison to what we can do. What we know we can do. Champions League hangover? Hate that phrase already. Not something I want to be hearing again this season.
Turned up the pace in the second half, but it was still all a bit stuck at the 60% mark. No swagger. No clean crisp classic Tottenham movement. Shades of last seasons dark moments at the Lane. Basically, on days like this, you tend to get the following head-shaking components:
We start slow
We survive a couple of scares
We fail to take hold of the game
We retain possession
We create some chances, but don't finish them
The game progresses
And continues to progress
But we never truly dictate
And we never actually visibly shift gear
What you have here is break-down of the quintessential Spurs home game non-entity, which results in a long walk home up the high road and Match of the Day removed from your recording schedule.
BAE giving his doubters some evidence of his sometimes dodgy concentration. Off he went at half-time, Niko on, with Pav on for Crouch (Gio on late on for Azza). Possession mostly with us, Wigan just defending, remaining disciplined.
For us, frustration personified. Ominous. You could see what was coming. Because we've seen it before.
How we joked pre-match we'd win comfortable. I guess if we're going to earn distinction on the lessons learnt (lost) from last season by losing again to remind us of our frailties, we may as well get them out of the way early doors because any more misfiring like today and we'll regret it towards the back end of the season when we tally up the points. One mistake at home, that's your lot Spurs. No room for more, k?
We lacked any sort of individual magic, talismanic inspiration or moment of brilliance to get us out of the sleepy performance. You know the sort of thing, when you play below average, but someone out there does something completely out of the blue and out of synch with the rest of the game, to win the points.
How long is Modric out for?
BAE going off and having Bale move back into LB position meant we lost that power going forward, but then he wasn't overly impressing today anyway. No one was.
It's funny how nowadays, when we drop points, its usually because the side don't quite get it together, rather than being abjectly rubbish or outplayed off the park. Ordinary is enough for a hard-working side to get the better of us. Yes I know - it doesn't happen often but that doesn't mean we can't be displeased when we see it play out again. It's easy for the opposition because all they need to do is the same thing all afternoon because we're not going to try anything different to shock/surprise them. Granted we came close, but it was all apologetic©. And this allows them to the opportunity to perhaps steal all points.
Then we enter the final ten minutes of the game. That's when we completely switch off, fall apart. It's getting a bit silly this. I still struggle to see a leader on the pitch. Pre-match huddles are over-rated. Can we not just pretend we're playing Chelsea every week?
78 minutes (Alcaraz). And again on 79 minutes (Gomez). Two massive misses from Wigan. Phews everywhere. Lucky escape you thought to yourself. So we let them have another go. 80 minutes (Rodallega), 0-1 Wigan.
Contrary to popular belief, it still exists.
Couple of chances to equalize (Niko, excellent save, Daws, another superb save), but what does it matter? Banana skin well and truly slipped on.
This is the 4th time (recently) so we are not quite grasping the resolution to this problem. Perhaps it was written in the stars, redemption for Wigan for last seasons humiliation and their nightmare start this term. And for one appearance only, the Tottenham Hotspur Charity (we give to the needy) decided to donate all three points. Bless us.
We had Kaboul at the death, easier to score. So he misses. But no scapegoats, the whole team and Harry need to get to grips once and for all why we stuttered and slumped. And Harry in particular needs to work hard on this. Tactics, they don't win you games, players do. So he says. Well, our players still have a chink in their armour that I'd rather not be seeing. And there's an argument that when the opposition do frustrate you, if you do happen to say, change the formation (and thus tactics) they might not be able to cope, what with the onus on the opposition to stop a renewed and different charge forward.
Losing at home to a side that we should never be dropping points too. We all didn't expect this because it was way too obvious for it to happen. And yet here we are about to knee-jerk (let's not).
Two home games, one point. Let's try not to do this after every CL game please. Because I reckon that's going to be the excuse for this shower of nothingness. It poured the other night against the Young Boys. It dripped today.
Wasted afternoon. Wasted for everyone other than the 60 away supporters who travelled down probably believing they would witness another spanking for their miserable side. Not so miserable today. Ridiculous is football. Champions League? You're 'aving a...I can't even be bothered.
This is not meant to be the way we roll.
We have the players so lets see more of an in-game evolution of 442, to 433. It's going to be a necessary ploy for us in Europe. If a side is parking the bus, or hassling us, or whatever, there has to be a positive change. Harry has got it right before with substitutions, so I can't help thinking that we are still, somewhat, slightly fragile. We appeared to be - as eleven players - one predator that couldn't quite muster up the effort to chase and kill its prey.
I wont knee-jerk because this type of performance will only happen 2 or 3 times a season - but that's potentially nine points lost. So, greedy as I am, I want to see it eradicated from our match-day make-up. Completely.
No point singling out and criticising anyone in particular tbh. It was a collective fudge up. Everyone was low-key, lacked urgency, no game-changer. Under-par all over the pitch.
We have plenty of players to supply one, so let's not be knee-jerking about Hudd or Bale or anyone else. As above, collectively, nobody was on-form today. Simple as that. Shame of course, that nobody was able to lift the team for that moment of inspiration. Because, its what the big teams do, even when they play crap. Not so big today Tottenham.
They got their own tactics spot on. Considering they took all three points in similar fashion to how we lost them last season in the same ilk of depressive defeats. Talking of which...
Wolves, Hull and Stoke and now Wigan
No more. Breaking down these types of teams appears to be our main gripe. Taking all the good things into account, the fact we can beat Arsenal, Chelsea then City with the pressure on (end of last season), but fail when we're favourites to win at home against a side inferior to us proves there's still an issue.
He called it a rare day. And I agree. It's good we can name and shame disappointing games because they don't came around often any more. Let's not forget that. But like I've said already, it's not excusing it because if we want to push on, we can't afford to be baffled too often, especially on our own patch.
Enjoy the bank holiday. Hopefully we'll see some game-changing new signings arrive to help with restoring a smile or two on our frowning faces.
COYS, hugs and stuff.