When we were sh*t. It was fine. When we got good. We loved it. When we got real good. It was great. Then we wanted more. It's now ugly.
Welcome to Tottenham Hotspur.
Part of me wants to hold back from dissecting this game into pieces because Tim Sherwood is caught between a rock and a hard place. Even if you ignore the missing/suspended/rested players and the lack of any type of strategic structure - there wasn't that much wrong with the performance. Apart from not scoring from the usual abundance of chances (would help if we got more on target). That's actually everything that's wrong with our on field problems. This game served to amplify that surgery is needed.
I'm still going to hold back from dissecting it given the fact that the visitors cut us up with two telling slashes leaving everyone confused as to which side was covered in more claret.
It was frantic.
It was 442. It sort of worked and it sort of didn't. One weakened side against another. There was pace and punch. We just lacked the telling aim. Defoe's assist for Adebayor was as good as the finish that put us 1-0 up. The games highlight for us.
There was also a lack of balance what with the overly positive nature of our midfield (too many attacking players) and no defensive midfielder. All well and good when you're applying the pressure, but suicide if you're going to be pressed.
It all started out as a blatant 'go out there and have a right go' kinda night. Go wide, attack the channels, attack the box, attack everything. Even row z. Instantly, it's going to look better than the deliberate, slow tempo methodical approach Andre Villas-Boas implemented without success (in the end), although perhaps it was all a little too soon to go mental with the gung-ho expression.
I might need to re-watch (yeah right, like that's going to happen) but I didn't feel convinced by it. Whether AVB had fallen out with some players or not, there is a potentially very dangerous undercurrent of uncertainty that might do more damage in the long term than any given high line tactic.
We need a plan. The players need it. The players need to believe in it. Not sure they really understood the one we had before. The only way to have one going forward is for them to know the person at the helm is the one to lead us through the darkness and straight back out of it. Sherwood's post match comments about the job having to be right for him and Spurs having a list as long as your arm of prospective managers just tells me there is no contingency plan in play - unless this is just deflection and he knows the job won't be his.
Before we went 2-1 down, we could have been 2-1 down. After dominating most of the play we entered into copyrighted territory. The Ominous Zone. Imagine if you will a Spurs side, winning, looking good. The crowd are singing. Then it all goes to hell.
West Ham's line-up hardly screamed of Danny Dyer and Ray Winstone. More Russell Brand. Tottenham screamed of Kenneth Branagh. All very Shakespearian.
This is a transition within a transition within a transition.
Was the football easier on the eye? Yes. Also no. There wasn't anything clever about it tactically. It would have been a different story if an early chance was buried, but not burying them has became an art form at White Hart Lane. We're like the perpetual grave robber, always taking something dead away with us.
If you're going to take off Adebayor (who did score and held the ball up, the expended traits of most strikers) and make substitutions that suggested 'game over' then you can hardly be shocked to see the polar opposite of negative from Big Sam when making changes to his side to counter and take advantage. Then again, it's a cup game. A game of risks.
I guess it's no real shocker when you have a manager with an abundance of Premier League experience and one on the opposite bench with none. A certain shrewdness missing that doesn't come attached by virtue of taking control for the very first time. Then again, if Ade was tired/injured (understandably from all the Instagraming he's been doing this season and no white Range Rover to get him around the pitch) then we can't lay blame in the same fashion we bestowed on AVB. However, the subs still killed it at what proved to be a crucial point in the game. It was almost too easy for West Ham.
I guess it's all still vastly superior than plodding along playing possession football and conceding three goals on the counter. That game hurt a lot more than this one did.
Sherwood's problem during the game is the same one Andre Villas-Boas has had for some time - we're not finishing teams off. It's AVB's left-overs and one game isn't going to produce the solution. Southampton away will be far more telling. Although still not enough for anyone to pass judgement on Sherwood. His job should be to wake up our players and remind them of their responsibility to the shirt. We're hurting at the moment, before this game even got played. No time for apologetic shrugs.
We lost, but at least the side was positive, if a touch untidy.
It's poetic, the accusations and the games of one upmanship we (the fans) are involved in currently. The same people that decided after three games AVB wasn't the right man are accusing the people that supported AVB of not giving Sherwood the benefit of the doubt after the one. The circle of life. Or should that be death?
Tim won't be in charge for the long haul, so for now, it's up to the players to group together and give us something back. He had a look in his eyes after one game that AVB had in his eyes after the 5-0 drubbing.
As for the long haul, ask our chairman. The project is dead, long live whatever the **** it is we've got at the moment.