No more buffer
Wolves 3 Spurs 3
The whole point of Challenge Spurs and the five outlined games was to allow ourselves a buffer; extra points to go that extra mile that could cushion any potential slip-ups against more meaty opposition. Six goals shipped and one point gained from Blackpool and Wolves away pretty much removes any hope that this run-in journey will be anything other than ‘the hard way’. We are pretty much left with no other objective than to win all our remaining home games and not lose to Man City or Chelsea away. In fact I’d go as far as suggesting that we need to avoid defeat at Stamford Bridge and beat City at Eastlands (again). Seems like an age ago we battered them in the opening 45 at the Lane. Seems that to finish top 4 you don’t need to be better than one of your rivals. You just need to be less inconsistent than them when it comes to not winning when you’re expected to. Which probably makes you better by definition of points accumulated. You know what I mean, so I'll move on.
As a spectacle, the 3-3 was superb. Deano, no doubt, will have looked down from the heavens and applauded. I think we could have done with him in defence more so than Wolves.
The game felt as it played out like one of those types of ‘We’ll try to score more than you’ games. I think it illustrated that we are still growing up as a team and that we are still very much susceptible to naivety and attitude adjustment (in this case attitude being offkey).
Could we not go to both Blackpool and Wolves away and bully them? Boss the midfield, frustrate their pluckiness and generally pick ‘em off with the ilk of professionalism and maturity that tends to be saved for our European games? Can we not juggle the two, not just in selection but in how we set ourselves to compete? Or is this a harsh assessment considering none of the ‘top sides’ have won at Wolves? Although Chelsea dispatched Blackpool last night. Hence the loss of the buffer, because had we won at Blackpool – well, you do the maths. Onwards again, we always play better when our backs are up against the wall. For the moment the underdog label fits us best. It’s all pretty much clear now that we have to tighten up and not be left feeling regretful thanks to our own mismanagement of handling the opposition. Down to the wire, hold onto your hats.
Some musings on the game:
The pitch – awful. Cut up like an emo kid on you tube.
JD brace – I’d like to think I could take credit for some kind of cosmic blogosphere influence for Defoe finally exploding into life. Alas more likely to be the Jimmy Greaves goals tape Clive Allen shared with Defoe about a month ago (perhaps it was on VHS and JD only got his hands on a video this past week). Regardless, two instinctive efforts drenched in self-confidence. When you don’t think and you hit you score.
Pav’s lash – Another sweet effort. Who cares about the deflection? The power of the shot made it unstopptable. Bit surreal having the two of them (our forwards) score in the same game.
Hutton – I gave him the benefit of the doubt the other week in the lead up to the game. Mainly because if he stood at right-back then Gallas would play as CB. All he proved, once more, is that he’s not very good. Not very good at all. Clumsy, always out of position and seems to think that if he gallops forward it will look good and mask his defensive frailties. There’s a half decent player in there, somewhere. You’d probably need Leonardo DiCaprio to infiltrate Hutton’s dream state and plant an inception.
Wasteful in front of goal – We could have had it wrapped up. How many times did you think that during the match? Unlucky with the woodwork (JD) and unlucky with the angle (Bale). So close yet so far and yet still so close.
Gomes – Our mad Brazilian is all over the place at the moment. Just not in the right place. 1st goal and 3rd goal and the disallowed goal. It does not inspire confidence, although he’ll probably play a blinder against Milan and all will be forgiven.
Our defending – No shape or cohesion. Is this part of the failure to attitude adjust? Players thinking of Wednesday night, not focusing on the task in front of them, day dreaming about the one ahead?
Formation – Niko on the left, Modric in the middle. That would have worked, no? Luka out on the left is so two years ago. It’s wasteful. But then Harry will say the selection was necessary because of the missing players. Not sure why Niko was benched considering his recent form.
Sandro – Loving him. He’s finding his feet now after struggling initially with the pace. Give this guy two more years and he'll be a beast.
Lennon and Bale – Great to have Gareth back. Full pelt against Milan please. The role reversal between the two was apparently to aid Hutton out on the right hand side. Didn’t quite work. Could Azza have not pushed their left-back back and thus both players take their positions on their natural sides? Harry?
Chris Coleman – Bring back Andy Gray.
We were second best at times and made some right royal fudge ups. We almost got away with it but yet still allowed Wolves to come at us in the final few minutes. Naive. You can’t afford to be this sloppy and expect to get away with it. It was probably a good point in the end in terms of how we performed. Utd, Chelsea and City have all lost there – so I guess in some ways it was a good point. But then again perhaps not.
We are still not out of it. I refused to accept it last season and it’s still well within our grasp. Let’s hope Corluka and Kaboul are back soon. And that Huddlestone plays a part at some point in the run-in.
Challenge Spurs round up - 7 pts from a possible 15, only 3 left to grab, potential tally: 10 pts. 5 pts potentially lost. Still, the run-in sees us play City, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Destiny sits purring on our lap.