Spurs 0 Spurs 1
Spurs tend to beat Spurs rather than the opposition beating Spurs. I’m exaggerating but I’m sure (if you’re a Tottenham supporter) you know exactly what I mean.
We can’t blame fatigue, we can’t even suggest we were out-thought and out-played over the ninety minutes. We got done with a brilliantly simplistic passage of play - a cross field ball splitting us on the counter - and ending with a 1-0 Utd lead just before the break. All thanks to Tripps and his turgid pass. This after a bright start and then stagnation as Utd contained and waited for us to push forward for them to Rash ahead.
The second half was a vast improvement. Yet all of what we witnessed never deviated away from the script. All our efforts were on target and straight at De Gea. Poor finishing. They're gonna build a statue for DDG and plant him in the centre of the six yard box for the rest of time. If our forwards were a touch more convincing we'd have won this regardless of Utd’s occasional ‘on target’ counter attacks. Everything we hit, hit DDG. Everything! He was solid, no doubt, but none of the saves were worldys or unbelievable moments of shot-stopping. We seemed to strike the ball within range of his feet and hands. Everything FFS!
Spurs were not at their best and I'm frustrated about it because it feels cheap. It feels like United survived this. Utd were not special but they had the weapon to punish us, the single shot was all that was required. Which illustrates the frustration perfectly considering all those wonder-saves we had to suffer. They deserved it because they finished their chance. We didn’t. Any of the 200 strikes we had. We were not at our best yet opened them up time and time again. Am I getting the frustration across enough?
Regardless, kudos to the second half performance, I can’t fault the application only the execution.
Things to discuss?
The officiating. I guess we wouldn’t be moaning had we won.
The midfield. Sissoko’s injury. Depth? It will be mightily ironic if we have to bring in a player to cover Moussa, a player we appeared to sign out of pure desperation to just sign someone. A player that has inconceivably become paramount to our central dynamic. I don’t expect to see a new face. Not just because of the Poch Philosophy (propaganda) but mainly thanks to history. After-all, when do we ever consolidate with player acquisitions when we most need them? We miss Eric Dier. Spurs do have depth but they also have too many top players unavailable. Even the cameo-king Mousa Dembele could do a job for us. Is he still at the club? Sexy Sissoko is out for 3-4 weeks so over to you Daniel Levy….
<insert Alan Partridge meme here>
Winks grew into the game and was consistently reliable on and off the ball. Eriksen ghosted and not in the good way. The front three, I can’t fault their discipline and their movement. Just the touch directly in front of the goal. Has Jan been out injured? Didn’t even look like he’s been away. One thing I often see echoed is the wing-back conundrum. Good in delivering the crosses but not as robust and dominant when attempting to aid with pressure from congested midfield action.
The diagonal balls, on the counter from Utd could have hurt us more than they did (although they hurt us enough to gain all three points). Our response was to get away with it when they did happen to split through us. We didn’t shape up to combat this but we got away with it. Much like Utd got away with it at the back when we piled on the pressure.
The whole Sky Sports promoting Poch to United story arc has now taken an interesting twist what with the Ole Gunnar ‘WWWWW’ Solskjaer locomotion steaming ahead with a 100% record. However, it does feel like he’s had a Sherwood effect. Something that is hardly an unexpected result of replacing one coach with another and having the new one release the players from the constraints the previous one shackled them up with. Once momentum is dislodged, it’s what he does to fix it - that’s his true test. So expect Poch to be perpetually linked all the way to the summer.
I’m a little numb this close to the post-match. Is Harry Kane dead?
“I am worried. This could be a big problem for us.” - Poch
He’s dead. Season over.
Son going off on international duty?
THE SEASON IS DEAD. OVER. END IT NOW. DOWNWARD SPIRAL.
When I compare this performance to the one in the League Cup semi-final, we dug deep in that one. It was super high intensity. The Utd defeat feels like we got sucker-punched. Yet it was ultimately because of us - because of our finishing, because of a mistake (for their goal) - that we ended up with nothing. You can hardly fault tactics here (I’m sure some of you will). We got ourselves into countless scoring positions. Not half chances either, proper fully-fledged ‘we’re gonna score ‘ere’ moments. All of them gravitated towards the frame of De Gea.
You’re gonna hate this but…er…it was one of those days. The difference maker? Midweek; United in Dubai, us hosting Chelsea. So one of those days, yeah? Pretending you could have somehow worked this out with hindsight and then direct disdain at us not crafting a goal through some ilk of alternative ploy…well, sure, keep on trying to run towards 88 miles per hour and let me know when you get back to the future. Spurs didn’t do much wrong - even in the first half. An individual error cost us and you have to accept it. Football is mostly about punishing mistakes. Once again, look towards those marginal shots and inches in front and behind Utd’s back-line.
Of course, I will have to caveat this. The second half relentless tempo, had we been treated to this in the first - surely…SHIRLEY…we would have made the break through? I guess we all could suggest Spurs might have adapted and changed something very early on but that’s hindsight talking. Them scoring was predictable (against the run of play from those diagonal balls) but we could have have done so too. If's and but’s are the building blocks of analysis. Perhaps Ole did out-think Poch in that first half? Perhaps we didn’t react quicker? If so, how do you tag the second half? Because I saw no reaction from Ole other than to rely solely on DDG.
God damn it. Writing about the game isn’t helping me one bit. Spurs….Y U DO A SPURS? Ruined my weekend m8.
edit: I didn’t blog about the Chelsea semi-final and will hopefully write something in preview of the second leg.