Archive for the ‘match review’ Category

Are you Arsenal in disguise?

October 3, 2011

“How many hands do I have to shake”? What does Wenger have against shaking hands? It seems our Clive Allen was snubbed after the match by the Frenchman, as he’s snubbed so many others in the past. But I guess losing the NLD does leave one sour as a sour puss. Being French + sour = not so nice.

I’ll leave reviewing the match to others, instead I’ll just cover some frustrations as well as some shining stars.

Arsenal’s 5-man midfield

It looked like we were never going to break the red wall. Our only way through it was to go up the middle or to  play Crouchesque long balls. The latter was not something I wanted to see, but we tried it anyways and were left looking a bit limp tactically against the 4-5-1. Wenger’s a pretty smart man, I must say. He played his cards right, but the only thing he didn’t seem to predict was Tottenham’s pace on the counter-attack.

Adebayor not scoring

Come on… you know you wanted it to happen. Especially since Sczcesny was ranting and raving how they knew how to contain him.

Modric

He had no answers this time around. Some points where he had solid movements on the ball, but he gave away too many in the midfield; something out of character for him.

Brain fart in the defence

Ramsey, out of all players, should have never been given the opportunity to score. He was invisible most of the time and should have stayed that way. Anyone see Van Persie? Didn’t think so.

Walker brings one home

Kyle Walker’s goal left us with this beautiful moment which I’d like to share with Sczcesny and all his supporters.

Harry Redknapp’s subs

Great substitutions by the manager. No way anyone would have guessed those to be his picks. I was praying for Sandro to come on sooner because I knew if we added more muscle in the midfield, Arsenal would have a hard time coping. The additions of Livermore and Corluka turned out to be great options as well.

Parker

Left alone at times, he seemed to wander off into no-man’s land with no help from his teammates. Still, his presence in a very quick Arsenal 5-man midfield could partially be why it was hard for them to get that first goal… well him and Ledley King of course.

Controversy at the Lane

Having watched VDV’s goal again and again, I think he did use a part of his arm to bring down the ball. Still, there was no way any ref was going to rule that one out because you needed to watch the highlights repetitively in order to determine it a hand ball. Not enough conclusive evidence in my opinion, but then again, I am biased.

So there you have it folks. One NLD down and one to go. Until then, bask in the glory and enjoy it! COYS!

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The ugly head which belongs to history rears itself

August 23, 2011

History. Never been on our side at Old Trafford and unfortunately for us, that wouldn’t change this evening.

To everyone’s surprise, Friedel was asked to start. And thank goodness for that. We could have been down 5-nil had it not been for his experience between the sticks. Prior to the match, I was actually hoping that Harry would field the same unit which netted five goals at Hearts. Shows you how much I know about football, I’m not afraid to admit that.

It’s easy to play behind-the-tv manager, but the reality is none of us would have picked a winning squad against Sir Red Nose’s Red Devils. That single season game under their belt proved to be crucial. Throw in organisation, confidence and skill and that’s the winning combo right there.

There’s also the fact that these are the champions of the Premier League and not Heart of  Midlothian. The way we won in Scotland was wonderful, regardless of the lack of quality our opponents brought to the table. If anything, we tend to gag in front of those types of teams (remember Young Boys?). Most importantly, we didn’t. But as I was saying, this is United, a team which whether we like to admit or not, we are miles apart at this point in time. They clearly showed why they hold the title.

To be perfectly honest, I always thought that we would be faced with a major problem at the back. I’m going to say something and I hope many of you will be understanding. I don’t think Dawson will be capable of commanding the team. Players are doing what they like up front and I don’t see how he would have influenced the game whatsoever. Or many of our last matches as a matter of fact. Am I wrong to think so?

Oh well, a 3-nil result against an extremely young United side is what we’ll have to deal with as a start to our 2011/2012 campaign. Raise those heads boys and feel free to lash out on Hearts when they come to the Lane.

One request: no hangover when we face City.

Champions League… we’re havin’ a laugh!

November 26, 2010

Calm, relaxed and composed. An effortless win against a visiting Bremen side which led to a historic night. We are through to the knock-out stage of the Champions League!

I’m not going to lie.. I never thought that it was possible.

At first, I knew we had a good chance of winning the qualifier round and making it through to the group stages. However, when we were placed in Group A with champions Inter Milan, Dutch champions FC Twente and Werder Bremen, I honestly had very little hope.

Well thankfully, I was wrong. The history books have been opened and amended. Tottenham Hotspur… “we’re havin’ a laugh”.

I would like to take this chance to gloat a bit. To kick things off, Arsenal lost the other night, stiff as a deer caught in the headlights after the NLD. A day later, Bremen came to visit the Lane and were treated to a delicious display of football class. Take notes ze Germans: the Tottenham boys were at their very best that evening. Domination without aggression. Simply because we didn’t need to let it get to that point.

With Pav still looking a bit lazy on the pitch, it was nice to have the extra option of Defoe on the bench. He looks good so far, just needs a goal to his name quick. Crouch had another solid European performance + goal; glad to see the big man delivering.

The midfield were great as a unit once again. Creatively, we are a very hard team to match. Lennon added two assists to his seasonal stats. Bale missed a penalty kick but hey, who cares! Modric just gets better and more intricate every second he spends on the pitch. Pure genius this boy!

Gallas was once again given the captain’s armband, rewarding the team with a commanding performance. If he and Kaboul continue in this form, we could be looking at a good run of clean sheets.

Each unit – attacking, midfield and defence – contributed to the score sheet; one goal from each. That’s what I call diversity. Obviously we shouldn’t be laughing too much. We host Liverpool on Sunday and we all know how we perform after a successful CL night out. All I ask is for the boys at the back to do their job and everything else will fall into place.

COYS!!!

NLD (Never Lose Determination)

November 20, 2010

I’m going to keep this short and straight to the point. We showed up to the Emirates and almost had our little tushees beat.

Harry made some bizarre calls. The one that really had me scratching my head was gifting William Gallas with the captain’s armband. Huh? Was Harry serious? How could he? Then I began to think, if anyone knows how to crawl under someone’s skin, the gaffer can. Was he taking the piss? A genius and unexpected move?

First half saw the Arse go up 2-nil, a sight we have been used to seeing for the past 17 years on their home ground(s). Gallas was sensational, although he and Kaboul had communication issues which resulted in our negative start.

The second half may have taken a short while to go our way, but when the pendulum swung, it came through like a wrecking ball… all over Arsenal’s parade, especially Wenger’s. 3 goals in a single half. Brilliant!

Harry may have been tactically off the mark at the start of the match (or not), but he thankfully took quick and decisive action by bringing on Defoe at the half. It changed everything and added a threat to the dimension of our game.

Van Der Vaart started the match looking off the pace and was constantly frustrated in the middle of the pitch, which was quickly rubbing off on the other players. He managed to turn it around in the 2nd half with two great assists and a goal (a penalty from a rare Fabregas mistake). Some individuals at Real Madrid must be kicking themselves.

Bale did his thing. Wasn’t dangerous out on the left flank, but when he dipped in the middle, he caused a lot of problems for the Gunners. Quality touch for his goal as he continues to score for our side.

Enough said… the curse is broken. If you hate Arsenal, stand up.

1 point, Howard Webb, and other things to make you cringe

November 10, 2010

Howard Webb. Webby. The Webster. What’s your problem exactly? Giving Bentley a yellow card for a dive when he was obviously judo-chopped by Zenden? Not giving Kieran Richardson a yellow for that cheeky time-wasting heel flick when we were trying to take a quick foul kick? Huh?

I should have known things wouldn’t be any different tonight. Not ever! Who do you work for exactly? “Who does number 2 work for”?

So many overlooked “potential booking” moments were there, laid out before your very eyes and you still didn’t take them. You just love the controversy, eh? I wonder if it gets you laid. Hmm…

We took the game to Sunderland. It was only a matter of time before we would score. A lovely persistent play by BAE pushed the ball out to Bale, he crossed to Crouch’s head, who deja-vu’d it to Van Der Vaart’s arm chest for a wonderful turnaround goal!

You missed that one, did ya Webbon of Mass Destruction?

Then a blunder at the back resulted in a Sunderland goal. Miscomunicado extravaganza. Don’t Kaboul and Gallas speak the same language? FFS! They were doing so well too.

We were sloppy in the second half. The team looked tired.  We were looking for that explosive moment when we would take the game back, but you know how the story goes: we didn’t. Bale’s final ball was never really there but Michael Turner was. It’s not to say Bale was completely subdued, but he just wasn’t as effective on the evening.

Bentley had some great touches off the right wing, but he began to piss off the supporters with his erratic long distance shots. Speaking of “long”, I am so sick of the long ball passes to Crouch. It just really makes me cringe and I’ve had enough!

1 point. 1 effing point from measly Sunderland at the Lane. Without their leading goalscorer, Twitty.

I’m just sick of it all. Bring on Blackburn.

The curse of Champions League success

November 7, 2010

Will we ever leverage success in the Champions League as a catalyst for the Premier League? Okay, we did it once after beating FC Twente when we won against Aston Villa at home, but if past trends are anything to judge by, our chances look quite slim.

Hence the misery at Bolton. Many will argue that Harry’s squad selection was the main problem. 2 CDMs, Sandro and Palacios, got the nod for the start and it was the former who’s mistake handed them the opportunity to go up by 1. Message to Sandro: don’t worry kid, they were probably going to score anyways, especially Kevin Davies. Seems that’s always the case, doesn’t it?

So Harry was wrong. I was naive. We got nowhere. Had Hutton and Pav not scored those two goals, a 4-0 win for Bolton would have sounded just about right. They held us back in almost every way, and as our “triffic” manager said, we can’t always rely on Bale. How I wish that wasn’t true.

What did I learn from this match?

4-4-2 ain’t too bad of an option for Spurs. It’s not that I don’t believe that we’re not effective with a 5-man midfield, but I just think there are certain teams we would fare better against if we reverted to the system we know best. Pav had a cracker of a goal and it makes me wonder how different would the match have been had he been starting up front with Crouch.

Speaking of Crouch, he cannot play up front on his own in league matches. The only time we should ever risk it is when VDV or JD play off of him. That’s it.

It was nice to see Niko have a go, but the overall team performance will not do anything to instill some much needed confidence in the guy. He really needs to get some playing time under his belt; letting him rot is just a pure crime Harry.

5 teams are tied with 15 points. Last week, Liverpool was facing relegation but after tonight’s Chelsea-bashing-Torres-resurrection match, everything has changed. Arsenal lost to Newcastle (I want this Andy Carrol kid) and United’s win was a slimy effort as usual.

Sunderland visit the Lane on Tuesday (sheesh… another former Tottenham player seeking revenge) and if they win, they will jump us in the table. Not a sight I want to see as I’m sure you’re all thinking the same.

It’s all up for grabs and we need to pull it together quick! Otherwise, we’ll be left wondering what hit us and why we’re not in top 4 contention.

COYMFS!

 

Super dooper party poopers!

November 3, 2010

Frustrated? Are you Inter? C’mon, admit it. You were abused. Out-played. Out-manned. Out-marked. Out-muscled. Out-managed.

Us, dare you ask? Out-standing!

I’m sorry, but you asked.

What a night! As “glory-glory” as they ever come. The fans were electric and had just as much a hand in this victory (I refuse to call it a “win”). We were one, fighting spirit and all. Sitting somewhat close to the Inter support area, I must give them a cheeky thumbs-up on their attempt to instill some of that Nerazzuri belief into their players. Their attempt obviously was left unrewarded.

This post won’t be one about our tactics or analytical by any means. There’s plenty of that out there for you if that’s what you’re seeking. I want to just type away what I’m feeling, and what I remember of certain players’ performances.

Carlo Cudicini’s full-stretch save defined our performance on the night. We were not letting Inter off the leash with this one. They were going to have to run, fight and even beg their way through our Italian “stand-in” keeper (more on this later).

The boys at the back, all four of ’em, were a wall. A brick wall layered by some sort of magnetic force-field. Gallas was barking away; Kaboul was forceful; and the two wing-backs did their best impersonations of Lennon and Bale, while holding down the fort in the back. Who are you people and where have you been all my life?

The midfield was oozing with class and sneaky footwork. They have taken my foot fetish to a whole other level. Did I just say that? VDV and Modric in the middle were clinically moving the team forward. Ball out to Lennon, nowhere to go, it’s okay, send it back and we’ll figure something else out. “VDV, here you go. Modric, take it back. Oh Tommy, you want some? Have a go”. VDV scored again, with a perfectly-timed demolishing of the off-side trap. Best value for money ever. I’ll leave anything I have to say about the Welsh wizard till the very end.

Crouch was effective once more on the grand European stage. He deserved a goal and got it before being subbed off for Pavyluchenko. The Russian seems to mosey on through, in a world of his own; only to switch on and realise he’s playing against the World Champions and score. He gets away with murder that boy!

And now onto Gareth Bale. Wait… not yet. Let’s clarify something important first. Inter were without Julio Cesar and Cambiasso. That will be their argument if they decide not to give credit to our performance. Here’s my argument. Gomes: out. Captain Daws: out. Former Captain King: out. Defoe: out.

Spurs were the better side from the very beginning. Yes, Inter had some beautiful chances and a goal, but if you can honestly say Tottenham did not deserve this win, you should have your head checked. It may be hemorrhaging.

Bale. Oh Bale. You make me want to give you man-lovin’! You absolutely embarrassed “the world’s best right back”. Some think that you would have been stopped had Rafa Benitez added another man to the mix… I think they’re absolutely bonkers! It showed that you were having an out-of-body experience, seeing things no one else on the pitch thought could be possible. That last ball you shot away from Maicon and chased wildly down the left, resulting in our 3rd goal, will go down as one of the most memorable moments in football; I guarantee it! We were all chanting “call a taxi for Maicon” because you almost convinced him it was time to retire. I kid you not. All in all, thank you. The “man-lovin” offer still stands whenever you want to take me up on it.

COYS!

Behind enemy lines

October 31, 2010

Oh if they only knew. A fellow Spurs supporter and I were in the midst of Manchester United fans, lurking with nothing but fake smiles, unmeant “cheers” and unnecessary laughter. Little did they know that we were cursing their very existence under our breath.

It was my first visit to Old Trafford. From the outside, I was a bit disappointed in that it wasn’t the historic looking venue I had imagined. First misconeption “busted”. It’s a squeeky clean ground with proper facilities, wisely divided seating sections where at the 45-minute whistle you have enough time to grab a drink, have a bite, use the bathroom and return to your seat (something I have never mastered at the Lane).

The second misconception – “BUSTED” with capitals B, U, S, T, E, D – is the fact that United fans aren’t as intense as I first thought. Our 21-year submissive opponents proved yesterday that their chanting isn’t even up to par with Macclesfield Town’s 6,300 home support. For a stadium that can hold up to 76,000 (approx.) individuals, it’s quite wishy-washy at best. 

Third thing proven is that there’s something really hypnotizing about Old Trafford for match officials, almost like deer caught in headlights. They just can’t go through a full match without tossing a controversial call into the mix… in United’s favor of course.

Having said that, I wasn’t expecting to go there and pick up a win having predicted a 3-1 loss. We actually came off quite solid yesterday, but once again failing to score (should have known better). Had VDV nailed that screaming “no-look” attempt which hit the post, it would have been a different match altogether. Once again, a set-piece in a similar area got the best of us; note to defenders: don’t do it again please. Down 1-0 but we never looked out of it. The score really doesn’t do us any justice.

Some thoughts on my mind (in bullet points, getting a bit lazy as I’m typing):

  1. Where the hell is Niko Kranjcar? Has there been some sort of a falling out between our Croatian “looker” and Harry?
  2. Why did Keane start exactly? You could tell we were in desperate need of Crouch in the center. Any balls crossed from the wings were mostly placed low and easy for the Man Poo defenders to clear.
  3. VDV hurt?
  4. Mark Clattenburg blind?
  5. United fans, lame?

I’ll answer the last two with a mighty quick “yes”.

The fat lady at the grand Italian opera

October 21, 2010

She sang alright and it took her no less than 70 seconds to begin the graphic murder scene. I hate fat ladies.

The defence remains the problem area of focus here. Not only did they play a major role in conceding 3 goals within minutes, but they also came off looking like amateurs at best.

Arse Wanker (Arsene Wenger) must have sent Gallas here to sabotage our cause. This is definitely not the same player who captained that side. Sloppy seconds at best (so far). Bassong doesn’t really cut it either. Time to recall our younger boys? Not yet. Kaboul will be back shortly (not soon enough; never thought in my wildest dreams that I would say that) and he should add some bite to the mix. But we will make do with whatever we have.

But honestly speaking, I switched-off the television right after the 3rd goal. I couldn’t take it anymore. I did miss Bale’s stellar hat-trick performance, but it was probably better for my health in the long run. The determination to come back from 4 goals down means we will give them a run when they come to visit. No doubt about that.

Hit the reset button and bring them back to the Lane.

The case for a new captain?

September 30, 2010

That was more like it, eh? Fighting spirit and determination. From the manager, players and fans alike. Electric.

We’re a different team when King and Gomes reside at the back. The defence felt like it had a purpose; a jump in confidence. A healthy Dawson’s return can’t come soon enough.

Bale came off the West Ham slump and dug deep to put in a fantastic performance, rewarded with a goal to add to his career. What gave me a laugh was when he missed a clear passing opportunity to Van Der Vaart on a counter-attack, leaving the Dutchman fuming and lifting his shorts almost exposing his privates to Bale with disgust.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Could we be witnessing the rise of a potential new captain? We’ve had quality in the midfield before. We’ve had players who can create in the midfield as well. But you feel that with Van Der Vaart, everyone wants to prove something. When he is unhappy, he lets them hear it. Bale even had to explain himself – during another counter-attacking run, mind you – because VDV thought he wasn’t covered; Bale was pointing wildly at him letting him know he was marked. Isn’t that what a captain does?

He clearly has the hunger for it. Ok, maybe a bit too much with that unnecessary foul which now sees VDV missing the Inter match. But the hunger can be viral and infectious.

The man wants the ball on every play. He seems to see an opening in every move forward and is not afraid to risk it. In terms of the “flair” Harry wants, he gets it with the Dutchman. Unapologetic flair. So a bit of poetic justice for Van Der Vaart last night? Totally. He rallied the cry for war from the beginning of the match with his commanding of the midfield; missing a penalty; returning after the half to get revenge; was fierce on the pitch; paid for it; but his dismissal made the team even more determined to pull off a win. We were actually better one man down. Fighting for the cause.

Could VDV be a new captain in the making? I don’t mean tomorrow or even this season, but I can’t help but think he definitely has the right qualities for the job. A captain’s presence in the midfield might be better for us than on the back line, considering we are experiencing technical difficulties up front when it comes to scoring. This should not be an overnight decision. However, if the man continues to perform like this on a consistent basis, the armband could be the only reward imaginable.

COYS!