Swansea 1 Spurs 1
Not the best of days. Jaded, fragmented and lacked shaped, more so when Harry changed it up with the two substitutions in the second half which only served to invite more pressure from the home side. Two points dropped? Well no, not really. It was a point gained considering how much of the possession we gave up in the second half. The hosts were the better team.
The thing with mentality is our players should ask themselves why it failed today, why were we not at the races? Ask then put right next game and next time we’re away to a tricky side that might cause us a few problems. What I mean is, if there was a casual aspect to our play and if we held back in the early exchanges then there has to be a collective reason for it. Don't think it was anything more than the aforementioned jadedness.
Personally, I don’t buy into complacency or believing our own hype. Doubt very much we went there believing we’d just need to turn up to win. We just lacked that spark and all things considered, if we’re going to have an off day away from home then a point might as well be acceptable. Swansea had all the right in the world to attack us. Sadly we could only produce pockets of possession and could not get a handle on the midfield. Don’t underplay the fact that it only takes one or two players in the team to be just a little off balance in terms of performance level for that to have a knock-on effect.
Lack of rotation? Sure, that’s a reason, an obvious one. Perhaps because we haven’t quite defined our plan b we rely too much on a particular style of play which means rotation can have a detrimental effect on the side thanks to a lack of like-to-like replacements in the squad. We’ve played and won without key players before, but perhaps we’ve over-stretched a little and it’s caught up on us.
Still, if its fatigue we have an opportunity to be clever with selections in January (in our home matches) and capitalise on what looks to be an inviting fixture list. Also, it points towards the necessity for activity in the transfer window because we’ve still got a fair few games to get through and there is nothing more frustrating than losing out on something because we lack cover and then having to cite that as an excuse. When we were down to the bare bones last time, we somehow managed to finish fourth. It’s different today because we’re in a better position as a team and expectancy is on us to keep up the positive results.
One worrying aspect that remains concerns the players we do have, the fringe players, and which will perhaps (finally) be sold on as there is little chance of us signing someone when we’re not shifting others out. When you start looking at the semantics, it can turn into a nervous game of patience with varying arcs dependent on other clubs and the business they seek to do.
In the past this usually means nothing happens until the final week or day (if that). As I said back in the summer we need to be decisive. We don’t need a massive overhaul. Just consolidation in key areas. If the politics of management and other off the field dramatics play a part in Levy’s decision making, then it gets messy. The side and its immediate future has to take precedence. Long term questions can be answered in the summer of 2012 (i.e. new goalkeeper). The messy bit for Levy is the decision that might need to be made regarding a new forward. Not just the element of risk if Adebayor gets injured. It’s the conundrum of whether we need to look to bring someone in this January and how that might affect the potential signing of the Man City loanee.
Considering we didn’t splash out £20M+ for a La Liga or South American player and opted for a loan deal you might find yourself agreeing that Levy is playing a waiting game.
As for the game; It was high tempo – end to end at times. Very ominous towards the end. You just knew they would equalise and it was deserved even if I would have accepted the 1-0 in our favour (obviously). Perhaps better goal-keeping would have seen us steal all three points. I guess it’s a thin line. Hold on and win and we’d have lauded the performance of grit when not playing too well. We drew and thus, we’re disappointed in the two points dropped from a winning position. But in each case, the performance is identical. Just an instinctive reaction or reflex (or lack of) makes the difference. Either way, we did not lose the game. Consistency and work ethic is part of that mentality we’ve built up, which means the old skool capitulation disorder is no more. We know how to compete.
I could not care less about other results. Let them worry about us rather than us rely on them slipping up.
It was untidy. The substitutions did not influence the game in our favour (they aided the opposition). The impact of losing both Rafa and Parker (who is in dire need of a rest) was pretty much as subtle as a brick in the face. We failed to adapt and appeared reactive to the play, with Sandro doing his best to defend everything. Reason enough to rest Parker and allow Sandro to fly solo. Kaboul also impressed again and Rafa (with the goal) worked hard for the team before going off.
When presented with opportunities we did not make the most of them. Adebayor not great with his first touch and only needs to be offside once more this season to equal Defoe's all-time record. Too many lethargic performances. Should work in our favour though. A reminder we have to work harder and Harry has to be careful as to avoid that rather obvious excuse in the making burn-out. In the grand scheme of things, our festive tally was a decent one what with the games played away from North London.
Special mention for Gareth. Stop it and cut it out of your game. As for his positioning, Harry should have instructed him to anchor himself a little to the flank rather than free-roam centrally where he appeared to have little impact. These things take time to work themselves out, so no need for a knee-jerk.
39 points from the last 48 points available. Third in the Prem. I’m content. I’m ecstatic to be honest. Sure, I’m hungry for more and we should not get into the habit of accepting second best but we still have to be realistic. We continue to evolve and the most vital aspect is to retain that consistency and momentum we’ve built up.
And if you are inclined to show interest in what is going on elsewhere, it’s apparent that everyone is beatable at the minute. Nobody is quite the same force they once was. The Prem continues to flux in its state of transition. I wouldn’t go as far as suggesting four or five teams are level-pegged – but the difference is hardly insurmountable.
We need to quickly nail down how best to rest/rotate and rejuvenate when we hit a lull and still retain our style of play or adapt accordingly for damage limitation.
It’s been a cracking season, one that I hardly imagined when we got tonked 5-1 at home and then lost (as per usual) up at Old Trafford. We’ve been exceptional without always being spectacular, but we’ve embraced our traditions and have continued to add new traits to our tenacity. We’re playing fantastic football at times and have players others envy. It’s hardly a shabby position to be in so do more than enjoy it. Wear your heart on your sleeve. Always.
We are Tottenham. All hail the arrival of 2012.
Love the shirt.