Everton 2 Spurs 1
Losing. Don't much like it.
So, I guess that’s what you call a blip, right? At least I’m hoping it’s a blip. We look tired out there, right? Or is that not a valid enough excuse? Having said that, I did say in my match preview that I hoped we didn’t tinker too much with selection. You sort of half wished we did in hindsight, but then again looking at the way Niko Kranjčar performed when he came on for Bale you just have to accept that the tank was empty and playing 'the reserves' might not have made much difference.
Credit to Everton for having a go. Although don't whisper that to Bale who was kicked all over the shop. If they had a decent forward they’d have been comfortable. Then again had Crouch timed his run (by basically turning around and walking into an onside position, then turning around to face the goal, then walking forwards) he’d have latched on and scored a legitimate goal just before the break. And had the ball not got stuck under vdV's foot he might have also smashed it home. And if my auntie had...blah.
The opener for the Toffees, decent shot, but just seemed a cheap and easy way to go one – nil down. Hadn't even finished making my cup of tea and we're 1-0 down. Ominous start, broken up with some wonderful Modric play and Crouch yet again assisting for vdV (6 assists for 11 of his goals apparently, but let's not shout about it because it's not really enough). Second half was a mess of nothingness. Everton going all Catalan, Seamus Coleman (quality little player) with a headed goal for the points. Bale off with an injury prior to that. Ah, what can I say? It was frustrating.
Its ironic how all my pre-match comments have come back to bite and mock me as I sit in the corner shaking uncontrollably, slowly moving back and forth.
"You can't always play well. Secret is to still win when you don't"
"We are still susceptible to those blips thanks mainly to some inconsistency to the back-line and the lack of obvious stone cold conviction up front"
"Because statistics aside, pound for pound, we should be containing and beating them"
"Although it's not an imperative end of days must win, it's most defiantly an opportunity to continue with the momentum, when you consider that other clubs might drop points this evening"
"I'll take another three points. Swagger or no swagger. If it's good enough for United, it's good enough for me"
Ho hum. Could have done with some swagger afterall.
Yes, we are a snarling elegant beast, but on Wednesday night, one with a thorn in our paw. I know Harry will get some stick for not changing it. Perhaps Wilson on to break up play, aid with possessions percentages to allow more time on the ball for Luka. Midfield was weak in mind and heart. Went pear-shaped at the end with the non-existent width. Even Keane came on for probably his last ever game. Can we just forget everything that happened after his Liverpool move and just remember all that happened before? A nod, in his direction, for the goals he scored for the club. Good luck Keano. He'll probably score against us but not celebrate. The rascal.
In addition, at times, defending looked like we were up against Neo in The Matrix. And BAE needs to lose the afro. OptaJoe might be able to confirm - have we won any games when his hair has not been braided? Having said that, Hansen was still ridiculously harsh on Match of the Day, critical of Benoit to the point of the left-back getting his own footage of flatulence as we witnessed highlights of his below par performance. He played poorly. It happens. Do all the other games not count then? Or just the ones Hansen watches and deems him as being useless?
Moving on again...
The loss, this wasn’t down to complacency. Wasn’t even an awful performance, abject and deserving of rotten fruit. It was lacklustre. Don’t fret mind, this isn’t ‘typical Tottenham throwing away another chance’. This was tired Tottenham with perhaps a tad too much naivety in the way we shaped up tactically. On full pelt, going to Goodison and running at them with acres of space - I’d place a wager on us. On tired legs, bit silly. Everton had far more of the ball and more conviction. They zipped and zinged about the place and you sort of knew how it was all going to end.
Still, one thing we can take out of the game is that once more it illustrated that we can tie ourselves down to the one dimension when the man up top doesn’t tick all the necessary boxes for the ilk of forward we need. Although having said that, fans are split on what exactly that ilk is. Although I’m hoping the only two people that matter are more than aware of what they need to do between now and the closure of the transfer window to resolve the eternal conundrum.
Other thoughts on the game (already sort of touched upon) is the amount of hacking/fouling little Azza and beast Bale are subjected too. Which is to be expected, so no violins. Bale is already attempting to subtly hint to the officials it just ain't fair but remaining on the ground for a bit longer than necessary. Although in the end, he had to limp off. So, I refer you back to something I stated years back. We need to sometimes...oh God, I can't believe I'm going to say this again, but we need to be a bit Roy Keanesque. Not saying we should bark and complain all the time but we need to be smart and canny about how we go about our business - especially when we are jaded and getting battered. Just a thought.
Another thought is that having been complimentary on Jenas in recent weeks (I was not alone on this so shut up) he's only gone and done his usual disappearing man stint. Fit him with a sat nav so we can have some controlled and composed movement and direction in midfield. What's that? Ooh, you are twisting my arm there Mr Parker, stop it, stop it...okay...go on then.
So that's that.
Random facts and bits that were tweeted post match that might make you feel better or more likely ram home that gut wrenching disappointment (having seen City, Arsenal draw – Wolves beat Chelsea) are as follows:
First defeat/nil points since November
No one around us won
That’s basically it. Rest period coming up with the cup game against Charlton, so hopefully we re-energise in time for the small matter of Manchester United visiting us at the Lane. After that we play Newcastle, Blackburn, Bolton, Sunderland, Blackpool and then Arsenal (ignoring CL duties) then Wolves, West Ham, Wigan, Stoke and then Man City.
The dirty dozen. There’s another four games that follow our trip to Eastlands, but I reckon by the time we work through the above, it will be done and dusted.
In our favour. Obviously.
Spooky recommends...All-conquering Englishman spurs his way across Europe
Having blagged his way into a Barcelona FC press conference...
"My fantasy interview was cut short by someone entering the room talking on a mobile phone. I turned to see who it was and couldn’t believe my eyes. Xavi, all 5’7” of him (he’s a littl’un) was standing beside me having a chat to someone, probably his girlfriend, telling her he would be home for dinner soon and could she make sure there were a few San Miguels in the fridge. He glanced at me with a look that said,
“Who the **** are you?” and I nodded a greeting his way. He then looked down at the cockerel on my chest and sighed the kind of sigh that I knew meant, “If only they would put in a bid for me. I would love to play for Spurs one day.”
He finished his conversation and left me alone once again."