Hello. My name is Spooky and I am not a knee-jerker.
However, I am concerned.
Not 'last season was a fluke, we're going to finish 7th this year, all our players are sh*t, especially the sh*t ones, Harry doesn't have a clue' concerned. Just a little bit concerned. In fact, not that much, not really, mainly because if one lesson was learnt last season it was - believe, at all times, just believe.
I have complete faith in both our management and our squad.
Starting slowly, well, it's a common trait for several teams. It's just that, what with us losing a player a game (even when we - THFC - are not actually playing), you start to scratch your head about the lack of settlement with consistency, flow of play and tactics. It's all out of sorts and disjointed at the moment. And yes, I do prefer this ilk of crisis to ones of previous seasons when we would lose all the time (although technically back then it wasn't a crisis it was just standard form).
We usually lose at the Hawthorns, but just because we didn't doesn't make it acceptable that we failed to win. Perhaps if Modric hadn't have gone off. But still, not a one man team, are we? The point is, we conquered one level last term, we have plenty more to conquer this time round if we wish to stick around in 4th. Early days, but my money is on this season being practically identical to last in terms of how many clubs have their eyes on that 4th spot and how many can genuinely challenge for it.
If we wish to continue on forwards, we can't keep stuttering. Fact is, we have a chance to build on last time out, and possibly even make it a more comfortable experience (my heart, my poor weak heart, will surely give way if we have to do the same as 2010).
So, 1-1 away.
It's by no means disastrous, is it? The injuries however are not good, obviously, because after last season I would have hoped we had some luck and thus been able to select from a full strength squad for league and CL. But that's fantasy. Everyone always has an injury or two to deal with. Gutting two of ours came by the way of International duty, and a third thanks to plenty of kicks to Modric that saw him go off (thankfully no fracture, travelling to Germany with CL squad). He was triffic for us on Saturday.
We do have depth. But tinkering and mixing it up is having adversed effects, mainly because Harry can't settle on what is best and isn't helped by our run of bad luck with crocked players. It also has a fair bit to do with the first leg of the CL qualifier that saw us crashing back down to earth. And the fact we got a certain Dutchman on the cheap. No complaints there, but Harry has to fit him in quickly (perhaps fit in others around him quickly).
My concern is that we are making it difficult for ourselves, struggling to ignite and spark our season with some of that ye olde Tottingham magic. It's there. Just no bunny rabbit out of the hat. But please, do not head to the bathroom with a toaster. It's not quite David Copperfield, but then it's not exactly Tommy Copper either. Had Bale scored on Saturday, we'd be saying, good old Spurs, winning away without playing well, that's the sign of a proper side that is.
Why am I even entertaining the negatives and knee-jerks? Because I know a couple of you need the therapy. And I probably need some too.
Brilliant first half v City at the Lane. Couldn't quite find the net. The aforementioned Young Boys spanking away and recovery along with brushing past them in the return leg. Sandwiched in-between the Young Boys (what?) was a gritty ugly 2-1 away win at Stoke. Then we had the Wigan home defeat, which was just one of those days that we tend to have under Harry. A blip. Which we experienced last season, but still found the guile to correct and make up for them as the season flew past.
It's been erratic. Nothing more, nothing less.
Anything below amazing would be, considering the way we ended last season. But such is expectancy. We know what this team can do, so we are right to feel aggrieved that they are currently not producing the goods with swagger and swashbuckle. But no need to head-butt the panic button.
So, the WBA game. Decent first half, up until the mess (from our perspective) of an equaliser which saw Gallas ghosted and the rest of our defence do little as they watched the ball bundled over, cancelling out the Modric opener. We kept the ball well, carved out a few moves. Lost the impetus when Modric went off. Don't agree he's injury prone. Do agree he gets kicked a lot. Leave him along, ffs. He's only little! Ref, where's the protection?! vdV put in a good shift I thought, all things considering, debut away. 4-5-1, not quite working, mainly because Pav seemed lost up there on his own. He was playing right?
More stuff I noticed/thought about post-match:
CC in goal saved us in the second half. Some quite desperate/wonderful saves to keep us holding onto the point. But I'd rather have the Brazilian mentalist Gomes back between the sticks.
Defending wasn't Kingesque. Struggled with set-pieces. Gallas? Off the pace. Mugged for the goal, but then we played like mugs in our attempt to defend it.
Lennon is struggling with his form. Perhaps we need a fit Bentley to give Azza a psychological kick up the head. I don't buy all this 'he's been found out' BS. It's a lull, not been bright since his return from injury. He'll get there.
WBA were dirty (ooh small team bullied us, so unfair), and thought Webb was lenient/blind on a few occasions, and yes, Modric did seem to be kicked an awful lot. Have I mentioned that yet already?
Pav offered not a lot. The fact he started and Keane didn't says all you need to know about what Harry thinks about Robbie. If Robbie comes good, no doubt we'll get the same sound-bites we heard when Bentley re-discovered his form (although that didn't quite work out long term any ways).
Wilson Palacios needs to be given extended time off to sort out his head. I don't agree that we over-rated him based on his early performances and that those decent games masked all his average games. Some of us are saying this. The thing, with his brother, clearly screwed him up (would screw anyone up) and he has not been the same since. He has lost his composure. Not that he was a beautiful studs on ball type of player before, but he was Gandalfesque with his 'You shall not pass' ethic in centre midfield, biting ankles and such. He is the definition of 'all over the shop' currently. Fast-track Sandro please.
vdV showed plenty of class and has quite obviously settled in quickly with the squad and did not look out of sorts at all. Good range of passing, vision and technical abilities. No shocker there. Not too bright on pace, but then we knew that. Don't agree with the suggestion that he has no work rate or physical presence (I need to stop reading message boards). He was all over the pitch. But do agree that if we don't get our forward conundrum sorted out, we won't be using him to full effect. Can't wait for a WHL showing. Bit more freedom to sex it up, and hopefully over the next few weeks he'll blossom with the mechanics of the EPL.
Tactics. The formation died when Modric went off. Huddlestone disappeared and lacked any control over the midfield. I'm still content he was given the captaincy over Gallas. Didn't work, but still content. Moddle is vital. But let's have some reminiscent of structure please when we have to change it because of a departure.
I just don't like Bale at left-back, even though I knew he'd start there. I'm sure Harry, I know Harry is astute enough to see what did and didn't work. And what with all these injuries, bare bones and tings, we might find ourselves having to take advantage of the misfortune and settling down with the key players we have available in key positions, without tinkering. That's if we manage to avoid any further losses. We'll muddle through, but will prefer to Moddle through.
So where does the spark come from?
Plenty of candidates. Just hope it happens mid-week then at home to Wolves. Because, may God have mercy on Glory Glory and all the other Spurs message boards and blogs if we don't win at the Lane next weekend. Perhaps the slow start is simply nerves what with the CL just up ahead for us. If we are getting distracted by Europe, then we might as well call time on our EPL top 4 challenge right now.
Focus, Spurs, focus. Momentum. Build it up. Then turn it on.
Concerned? Nah. Just impatient. COYS.