QPR 0 Tottenham 0
Funny how the scenario I didn't mention in the match preview is the scenario that frustratingly plays out. QPR displayed the same level of tenacity that a bricklayer would when building a wall. We stood watching with graffiti canisters, failing to spray anything memorable on it. Hardly even left a tag.
At times (like the entirety of the match) it felt like QPR we're playing us at White Hart Lane. Defending deep, congesting the midfield, lack of space, everyone behind the ball when we had the ball, working hard to nullify our width whilst we plodded along. Struggling to retain composure in possession and not scoring thanks to that fabled lack of edge accompanied by the continuing evidence that Defoe and Adebayor can't play together. The latter can't seem to play at all. Cue a dozen jokes about having left for the African Cup of Nations already.
Hopefully he'll come back a different player, like the one we had last season when he was on loan and not on a contract. Been told that he was abused today by Tottenham supporters. Stay classy.
Other's struggled too. Dembele not on his game at all, one of several players that appeared lacklustre and uncomfortable with QPR's persistence in the middle. If the ones that are meant to be able to pass allow the passing to pass them by then you know it's not going to be an eventful day in the final third of the pitch. Bale, Lennon both quiet and unable to find a way to influencing proceedings.
Sandro's injury comes tinged with cruel irony. Here's me thinking he's going to burn out and he picks up a knock instead, the timing stinks with Manchester United up next. However, he might be fit to play so hopefully looked worse than it was. We're tightly tuned up (when aren't we?) which means losing any key player will hurt. Depth of these players isn't so deep. Although Parker is a very nice-to-have if Sandro is out/rested (it's fallacy to say we can field two different teams, Harry didn't when he was here last season).
Our football was all a bit too central when we all know we remain light with ideas through the middle. No pulsating runs from Bale. No cutting in from either flank. For all of Andre Villas-Boas deflection in the build up to this game relating to transfer activity, you can only hope it's a shrewd bluff.
To be honest, the game probably wasn't half as bad as it appeared. It probably felt like an ugly mess because it was an ugly mess. But then we should all be wise to the fact this type of insufferable game can sometimes play out. QPR will saviour the point. Any bravery might have left them open to attack and the risk of missing out on one altogether. But they worked hard and they got the point and I guess that was their plan.
We we're static for the most part. Much like the first half of the Villa game. That oh so subtle touch once more whispering from afar...the memories of Luka and Rafa always softly remind us of what has to be rediscovered in the present day. Unlike Villa, QPR just preferred to remain equally static in front of us. No invitation for the counter. No trickery or inventiveness was forthcoming to somehow find a way through them. Again, this is nothing new, we know this is a problem. It has to be resolved if we want to consolidate that CL place, or 3rd or better.
The whole 'static' thing is a factual observation rather than a tactical
ploy. You can't add tempo or pace when teams avoid playing football and
instead just defend. Compare our football when we counter. Hardly static.
One dimension is pretty much akin to one plan. We need more.
However, I'm beginning to wonder whether we are a little too reliant on each other (the players) on waiting for the next man to create that little bit of that missing magic rather than the team pulling together in one definitive sweeping direction to find another way through. Can AVB conduct from the touchline or do we need someone on the pitch in the middle to orchestrate when a change of style is required?
Not enough movement today to even entertain this. Regardless of any constant high octane pressure you still need that decisive jab otherwise you're left pounding your opponent onto the ropes till the final bell.
However Part II, we could do with taking more shots, speculative ones, the odd deflection, and being a little more assertive. Bit more urgency. That's generally speaking.
Today, that lack of movement and the low key performances meant this was hardly the day for fruition.
Defoe played well up front, equally so Vertonghen at the back. Another clean sheet, so first world problems and such. Lloris with hardly a thing to do until called into action late on. Defoe and Ade, for all their lack of partnership compatibility, both had chances and 'on another day'. Except that other day is in some alternate universe. Perhaps in that alternate universe we played the game on a Monday night instead of lunch time on Saturday. In ours, we got a very forgettable one, a point shared and not worth tuning into Match of the Day to re-watch. It was 90 minutes of poor football. We'll survive. Can't say the same for QPR.
All those lost points where we failed to break down deep defending
teams. You can insert another Modric citation here of your choosing. Just a couple pieces of the jigsaw missing. Not based on this game but based on
the season so far.
Villas-Boas post game:
"Difficult game. We created some chances but maybe not as much as we usually do. We knew we had to score early to bring them out. We have been on a magnificent run, we will take this point away from home. It will be a tough place to go for the rest of the season. Cesar made some great saves. Difficult game and conditions. Not what we wanted but we look forward to United"
The ACON is a blessing, if anything, it breaks up that partnership and gives time for Villas-Boas to admit that it isn't working. 442 doesn't work. But then we knew that. Well, some of us do. Might work with better forwards but we have what we have until we change it. If we change it. If we want to change it. Hypothetical hyperbole...imagine <insert an in-form striker playing for another Prem club here> up front for us...we'd be <insert 3rd, 2nd, or 1st place position here>.
I didn't know about that sign (We'll always love you Harry but today's on you) until an hour ago. Not been on Twitter all day. I actually avoided it during the match. Such a blessing. The amount of sh*t that gets amplified by a 1000 on there has finally 'done my head in' during a Tottenham match.
0-0 probably the best result for everyone's sanity. I think we lost there last season. Will definitely keep the tabloids on the low in the aftermath. It's not just the football that hit a brick-wall today but also the narrative. Thank God. Or rather than dysfunctional tactics and off-key players.