A day to forget, yet worth remembering
I've re-posted the match review of the 1-5 home defeat against City (it's a little further down). I think I knee-jerked a little in places (that's the magic of hindsight) but more of a controlled knee-jerk than all-out effigy burning voodoo doll pinning.
A day to forget, yet in many ways the catalyst for the run that now finds us sitting pretty in 3rd and aspiring for more. We made the necessary additions prior to the transfer window closing which birthed a solid fluent midfield that has been a roaring engine ever since. Perhaps in need of an oil change, but it's incredible how finely tuned you can become when slotting in the right ilk of player(s) into the side (and sometimes struggle when said players are missing).
We still need to consolidate for the remaining games ahead. It's not just about the next game. Momentum is paramount which means its the performance that matters more so than the result (although the latter is still key to truly making a statement of intent).
City are however a far stronger unit of players with extraordinary wealth of depth (ignore Mancini and his complaints). No shame in defeat as long as we're not bending over after handing them the lube. But the very thought of defeat, I'd rather not entertain. Like I said, we have a right to expect something out of the game. I'm sure our players will believe that to be the case too. Especially because of the spanking dished out to us at the Lane.
It's a Galáctico type of game (not in any way as supernova as any given El Clasico). But when comparing both sides, like for like...there's some tasty match-ups and plenty of match-winning talent and show-piece skill on display. And although they excel in certain areas (more so than us) we can arguably go toe-to-toe with them. Up front, they'll have an obvious advantage. But they're missing key players in key areas (Toure and Kompany). I'm hoping we play it on the ground (no requirement for the hoof), push patiently forwards and look to get the ball out to Bale and Lennon with Modric involved as much as possible in the centre. It's going to be bruising in there, shame there's no Sando. Have to hope Parker re-discovers his tempo. I'd rather not think too much about Dawson facing Dzeko and Aguero.
Luka v David in the battle of the influential.
If King plays, we win.
van der Vaart's form and subsequent (hopeful) impact in this game is also imperative - what with us starting Defoe up top, Rafa will have to make sure he moves into forward positions rather than get lost in deeper ones. We have to find ways to pressure Savic.
We have to adapt (no Adebayor) and continue to make do without other key players (although King might yet be the surprise inclusion).
Is this make or break? Of course not. Mainly because I'm not sure what this is meant to make or break. Other than perhaps the morning after headlines. February in it's entirety will make or break. Let's not lose sight of the marathon.
Few are expecting an upset (City's home record testament to that - ten out of ten). So we've got nothing to lose. I mean that. Go for the glory. It's the Tottenham way. Although that might involve plenty of pragmatism, with midfield possession and counter-attacks rather than romantic notions of gallivanting and swashbuckle. Worth noting that in the last two games up there, its been intense and tightly fought. It won't be easy for us. Equally so, for them.
For now, sink your head into your hands and sigh ever so gently if you so wish to remind yourself of the debacle of the 1-5. On (super) Sunday however, hold your head up high and believe. We are Tottenham.
I'm buzzing off the hype. Feet still on ground. I'll only levitate if applicable at the final whistle.
Spurs 1 City 5
Okay, so some perspective. We lined up with no defensive midfielders and started with Peter Crouch upfront and then found ourselves out numbered in the middle and final third quicker than you can say 'tactics'. Once again, there was an element of the disjointed and perhaps even a touch of the stubborn (what with Crouch supposedly on his way to Stoke City yet in the starting line-up - perhaps a message from gaffer to chairman forming yet another twist in their alleged damaged relationship).
Placing aside in-house disagreements, we lined up not only with a team not shaped to contain City but a team that lacked the belief they could do that and anything more. But that's not to say it was a chaotic calamity filled 90 minutes of football. At 2-0, it flattered City some what. After that, they deserved to ruin our afternoon at will and with ease. We let them with no reply of our own. Once more, apologetic.
There is no excuse for losing 5-1 at home. But it was the most passive 5-1 defeat you're likely to witness. City simply picked us off with clinical football. Confident in themselves, each other and their formation and confident in front of goal. Even though they were not completely fluid (expected considering their new players - makes it even more bitter a pill to swallow for us).
They were enjoying their day and their football. How ironic considering at the start of last season it was them containing us whilst we swashbuckled down the flanks and through the middle, with only Hart stopping us from running away with it.
City have grown with the aid of several million pounds and no wage cap. We've stagnated if you take a look at the back end of last season and how we stopped performing. But preparation for this one has hardly been great considering we appear reluctant to compete at the top end of the transfer market. Perhaps because fiscally, we can't. Ambitious targets beyond our reach. Still, you would have hoped for decisive action by chairman and manager. Instead we have suggestions they don't quite see eye to eye and once more, transfers will need to take place in the final couple of days or so.
The visitors have found their groove. We've lost ours.
Again, injuries don't help but if we look weak in key areas pre-match then you'd want admittance from Redknapp that perhaps we need to be shrewd, cunning in our formation and our strategy. Not the Tottenham way. Not what I previewed yesterday. But it looked to me like the manager believed we could perhaps play them and match them pound for pound when the reality was they were far too polished whilst we simply did not work as a unit and had various degradations of form from individuals.
Modric played. But his productivity hardly outstanding because the players around him were distinctively average. But he played okay. Not sure why he was subbed. Didn't make a difference either way in the end. Player not looking at the manager or applauding the fans when walking off the field of play. Disgruntled.
The goals (most of them) we conceded were not defended well at all. Embarrassing stuff, lack of any apparent focus. We had chances, but how many times do we have to sigh in despondence when said chances are not taken? It was City playing with intent and us presenting them with the red carpet. Never red, indeed. Red with anger today.
Nasri, Aguero and Silva. Stick them in our team then watch how different the result would have been. Hard knock life. We still have quality in abundance. We need to shake off the rust from last season's disappointing finish and reclaim that grit and spine we had so famously in 2010. Think back, we had injuries then too. Perhaps not so many issues with central midfield as we do now.
We've played two games and lost two. Arguably against the two strongest sides in the country. Our problems have been illustrated in quite a humiliating manner with regards to the scoreline for all to analyse and discuss. It's obvious what we need in terms of signings. We've got us a striker. We need DM cover. We could do with a centre-back. We could still do with a right-sided forward to compete with Lennon and give us options when playing two up front.
Adebayor will bring us that much needed cutting edge. Rafa will have a far better forward to play off if Harry continues with the current formation. Only takes one moment, once slice of luck or inspiration to completely change the course of season and set us on our way.
Crisis? The fact we are even discussing avoidance of a 'crisis' after two games...well, its over the top. It hurts, but we might have to admit that the likes of Utd and City are in a far more comfortable place than us. We've lost direction, perhaps because of the Modric saga and the in-house disagreements (assumptions). We have to show unity once more.
More importantly, we need the players and the manager to get a grip and to remind themselves they are capable of much much more. We got it very wrong today and were duly and deservedly spanked for it. If Harry is keen on self-preservation of his brand name, then he has work to do. Levy has to support him in doing so. And Harry has to respect the chairman at all times.
Losing to a good team is one thing. Losing to a good team and making them look great is another. Losing badly to a good team that don't even manage to shift into a more aggressive gear is simply shambolic.
Not a good day at all. But with both Manc games out of our system, we can just look forward now. Redknapp, the players - they have a lot to answer for and a lot to give back to the club in the next couple of games to avoid any dramatic twists that might well cause us to unravel further and crisis isn't the only 'c' word quoted by the fans.
This Modric stuff is beyond ridiculous now and Redknapp constantly citing him as the root of all evil when in the past he's actually called him a model professional is almost touching comedy, the ilk that few will laugh at.
Onwards with pride Tottenham. I want to hear the cockerel crow.
We'll improve. I still believe we'll compete for the top four. Arsenal are having their own problems and Liverpool still have to prove their longevity and how they react to loss of form.
Not defending our teams performance today (it was poor), just trying to anchor myself to something to avoid drowning in depression.
We've come a long way baby.
Love the shirt.