THFC: Infuriating the soul since 1882
I remember back in the 2006 season when rather than take the ball into the corner of the opposite end and waste away some precious dying seconds in our favour, we opted to attack. Not long after, the opposition scored with practically the final touch of the game. I guess being a Spurs fan we tend to have the uncanny ability to see into the future. Hands up if you knew, just knew Leeds would score a second?
I'm not going to blame Bale by the way, he's been superb - if still very much inexperienced in other areas. As a generalisation, the team + manager should carry the weight of disappoint as one. We just didn't work as a balance unit and far too many individuals under-performed over the course of the game.
Credit to Leeds for never letting their heads go down, but fuck me, where was the stamp of quality, the killing of the game that would see out the final moments? Twenty five minutes of football is not enough to win any game. And as much as this was a great Cup tie for the neutral and an exceptional one in the stands, out on the field (for the home support) it's nothing more than further evidence that something needs tweaking. More than one thing in fact.
So, no stamp of quality when it mattered. Well, the one, being the Roman goal which was expertly taken in both build up and finish. But overall, what we got was some of that wonderful irony only Tottenham can do. Dawson, brilliant tackle. No no no, I'm not talking post-match in the showers. I'm talking about the tackle on the pitch that came before the clumsy one that gave Leeds a last second escape - scored by Beckford who displayed more belief in one spot kick that Defoe has managed in his last three. That olde self-destruct button head-butted. Would you believe it.
I don't care for the magic of the FA Cup. Fact is, they're League One. And the tragic truth is that for all our efforts on goal we made scoring more difficult than trying to seduce a nun. It's a trend. It's a problem. And if you want to be all critical and depressive you might argue that we are declining in form. Degrading. It's not a massive problem, not a crisis. Not yet. But those doubts that hark back to the need to improve squad depth are calling out again. Practically screaming. Once more - not enough leadership.
Let's break this down:
Proper old skool innit? Police dogs growling, horses charging down the Park Lane. Scuffles here there and everywhere. Not that I'm condoning this sort of behaviour. It gave the evening a bit of an edge. Shame our players couldn't match the tenacity on the field. Although I did laugh when I read today over at Glory Glory that someone saw a chair fly past them (Block 53 I think) just after Defoe's pen miss.
There were moments when the gulf in class between the two sides was evident. Especially the opening 20 mins or so. Counts for nothing when you don't stick 'em away. 19 shots, 17 on target across the whole 96 minutes. We are fast becoming masters of denying our own destiny. Open the door, walk through it. Don't close your eyes, spin around and then run and hope you make it through.
Danny Rose didn't make too much of an impact out on the wing, but he's a kid. Whether he turns out to be a bit special like that other one we plucked from Leeds remains to be seen. One thing is for certain, we need width in our team. We sort of got it. But it was in no way the same type of intensity Lennon provides.
The midfield failed to inspire. Yet another limp Jenas performance. All heart not brain. Remind you of someone? He's just not very good. And he's became the poster boy for the boo-boys for all that's wrong with our team. Then again, he's always been the poster boy for mediocrity which on occasion spikes towards something above average. He's a good lad, but has no decisive application when it matters. Cat's have nine lives. JJ has got through around two hundred so far.
Defoe and Crouch were quiet, not really doing enough damage in the final third. Defoe and his penalties, how tiresome is this becoming? Obvious again he'd not score. You can read it in his face. Lacks the eye of the tiger. Can someone else not have a go? Also thought he was a bit slow at times.
Everyone else was okay. Hutton looked tasty at times getting forward. Nothing outstanding from anyone. The lack of end product the main gripe. As ever. Bale, for all his required need to improve defensively, continues to impress offensively.
Leeds displayed grit and Beckford got into tasty positions. We've sort of gone off the boil a little at the back. Their equaliser was shambolic from our perspective.
Memo to Redknapp: Tweaking, not tinkering please guv. Get the engine room sorted, the tempo set and the best players (in form) in their proper positions.
Deserves a start. Okay, I'm not going into a knee-jerk about it but he came on, run into decent positions, had a decent touch or two and scored a goal from a great passage of play (nice step over dude). Worked hard off the ball too. He's hardly had a sniff this season. Considering the 'form' of our other three strikers, we've got little to lose. Well, other than a few more million off his prospective transfer fee. Nice celebration from the Russian. I think he might have smiled.
Summed up with Keane coming on to play on the wing/midfield. It doesn't work. Although time-wasting shouldn't be a necessity against League One opposition, considering we got ourselves 2-1 up, we should have killed the game. Possession wise or with the aforementioned 'taking the ball into the corner' trick.
The replay, next round
It's gonna be tasty. And they will came at us like men possessed. Powder-puff ethics will have no place in their cauldron of hate. It's going to be massive test of character. Do we have the testicular fortitude? Do we ever?
No negative tactics please Harry.
Love to see how we line-up, but I'm guessing Palacios will start this time round. The tempo will no doubt be relentless, the noise crucifying. Gonna be some away day. Bolton await in the next round for who dares. I know 4th is perceived as more important than silverware - in the long run - but it's been way way too long since we got to a proper cup final.
Plucky kids gave it a go, bless 'em, but it's no shame for them to be knocked out because it was only a yoof team comprising of kids. Guess there's always the risk when you play so many kids. How did Theo play?
Anyone catch any of the tv coverage? Jesus wept, what commentary. How many 'marching on togethers' did you hear? Yes we get it. You're covering the football so you want an upset. No need for you to wet your panties every 5 minutes.
We welcomed Leeds into the game simply because we failed to capitalise and bury them out of sight. Confidence drops a little, theirs improves enough to cause doubt and concern. We need to dig deep and re-discover the lost mojo because if things continue to fester, we're going to find ourselves in trouble.
We never make it easy for ourselves. Which is why supporting this club is so great. Even if your football soul is dragged through the mire half the time.
Massive game v Fulham. Lose that and we are officially in crisis. I suspect the first 'sack the board' flag to be waved in the following game.