The last time Tottenham Hotspur away to Bolton meant anything very much was in the mid 70s when two pulsating battles helped decide the promotion places from the old Second Division.
It’s not that I have something against them. Rather, they are just – there. Not a big club, small club, homely club, friendly club, mouthy club, upstart club, arrogant club. Just there. However, yesterday’s match offered a significant benchmark of our progress as a team and I’m sorry to say that we failed the test.
In my preview I suggested that we should no longer be afraid of the physical, muscular teams. Yet we were consistently vulnerable, especially in the box. I laughed out loud at Bolton’s tactical ploy towards the end of the game, when they replaced small players with very big players. And it was effective.
Credit where it is due. Our opponents played some good football and in the end it was Spurs who were offering long balls, scoring from one and another from a set piece. We did little to ameliorate faults evident in our play this season, such as not closing down effectively in midfield and conceding needless free kicks. Above all, our ball retention was appalling and Bolton took full advantage. I also take absolutely no pleasure in the fulfilment of my predictions that Gardner was a danger and that Davies would peel off to BAE on the far post.
These problems must be sorted out as a matter of supreme priority if we are to maintain our status as a top six team, with aspirations to move higher. They are basic to Premier League success, and if we have to adopt a slightly less attacking attitude, then so be it. Keep the ball and play people who can do so. Without resorting to stereotypes, this is more familiar to foreign players, so Kranjcar, BAE and WP can be a good influence in this key aspect of our game.
I would add Corluka to that list but he is not quite on his game. One of my favourite players, I see calm and measured ease where others have clamoured for more pace. He’s strong, intelligent and shrewd. Last season he was seldom outmanoeuvred, never dispossessed and held the ball superbly. This more than made up for his slowness, although even this was exaggerated. There were few occasions where he was flatly outpaced in situations where other defenders around the league would not have struggled. Even against Drogba for Chelsea’s second, he looked lost but actually reached the ball first with his toe. This year, he’s not playing badly but has lost that air of superiority. He seems to be more hurried and whereas I used to rely on him, he now gives the ball away continually.
Overall it was a disjointed, edgy performance but we can take some pleasure in the fact that we came back from a goal down on two occasions and created several more chances. Lest I forget, we came back with a point. In other years, we would have been beaten. However, I remain disappointed and look to Harry and the many, many coaches to work hard in training to rectify the faults that are restricting our development.
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14 thoughts on “Bolton v Spurs. Who Cares? We Should Do.”
“I laughed out loud at Bolton’s tactical ploy towards the end of the game, when they replaced small players with very big players”
McCann (5’11) M Davies (5’11) & Klasnic (6’1) came on for
Lee (5’11) Taylor (5’11) & Muamba (6’2). Hilarious!?
Ha ha, fair play mate! I was watching on a stream. Point is, they saw a weakness and pushed the big guys forward, and they were right to do so
In fairness the substitutions of Davies for Klasnic and Lee for McCann were certainly a replacement of guile for brawn. I agree with the writer that we failed the physical test yesterday in the first half but second half we got to grips with it much better and deserved the point.
You’re an idiot, this article is awful and arrogant.
Bolton away is a tough fixture and they’re not mugs as a team either. Just because they don’t play the most attractive football doesn’t mean that they’re shit.
Just be thankful we got a point, given that they usually turn us over.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, we’re making steady progress but we’re not United.
As a Bolton fan I think you guys have made real progress. We might have SKD up front, and Zat Knight and Cahill at the back, but compared to the Allardyce days we are no where near as physical.
For the last 40 years Spurs have been struggling to beat us at home. Harry Redknapp will get you into Europe. A point at the Reebok might look better at the end of the season than it does this morning.
Both teams at least went for the win, and suprise suprise we actually passed the ball really well especially in the first half.
For the guys who werent there the game was played in a gale, Bolton are never going to have millions to spend to compete at the top end of the premiership, but we do have spirit and good quality premiership players.
Gary Megson isnt rated by our fans because of his dour and negative approach in games over the last 2 seasons, but at least he kept us up , and just maybe brighter prospects are round the corner.With Chung Lee Young (???) and Gardner neither of whom are 100% sure of what they will do everytime they get the ball, so how can the opposition plan for random brilliance or chaos.
Most disappointing comment I picked up yesterday was the Spurs fan who called Collymore saying it was the worst Premiership game of the season, where has he been, quickly followed up by the suggestion Bolton get out of the league to let the likes of Newcastle and Leeds back in. He needs to stick to playing Computer Football games and leave the real stuff alone. Bolton is a town club where the gates represent 15% of the total population, within 25 miles there are 8 other premiership clubs. Last season Bolton had the biggest increase in attendances 8% in the Premier league.
Good luck for the rest of the season, see you at the Reebok again next season
Botlon played very well yesterday and spurs only woke up after 30 odd minutes. Spurs easely deserved the point in the end. Spurs missing there two best defenders. Missing there best midfielder. When we get our defenders fit then we can make reak judjments but right now we are sitting 3rd with key players injured every week. I think the lads done fantastic yesterday and all credit to Bolton they were good. The auther of this article is absolutly blinded. Exacly the sort of fan that puts unjustified pressure on the club.
..and jack…thanks for taking the time to comment, debate is what it is all about even though we disagree about yesterday.
On the rest of this blog, there’s plenty of realism about our chances. In my preview I highlighted problems that are less about who is in central defence and more about what I believe has bedevilled us for years and years – not closing down and giving the ball away. We have to do more about those. That’s realism.
idiot was a bit harsh tbf – sorry
We should have gone with Keane and Defoe again yesterday. I like Crouch as an impact sub, but our pressing game is lost whenever he starts.
Defoe forces the opposition to defend deeper to cope with his pace and ability to beat a player.
Keane works hard and closes down possession in the final third, enabling the rest of the team to keep their shape when we don’t have the ball. Crouch is too slow to do this, especially against a team like Bolton who can play a bit, but like to launch it long at the earliest opportunity.
I felt we played into Bolton’s hands somewhat, when simply a quick passing game on the deck (as we will no doubt do at home against them) would have created more possession and goals for us.
Bolton were the better team yesterday, plain and simple. We were lucky to walk away with a point. A true positive, as you mentioned Alan, is our ability to come back and score when behind. This was not the case last season and it really dug a hole for us. A lackluster Spurs performance overall. Looking forward to Pompey now.
I Didn’t get any furtehr than your statement that Spurs failed ‘the test’ – I think it is funny. I think it is funny ‘cos I would see this as a test that we most definitely passed!
We ‘earned’ a point awway to Bolton (where other teams will struggle this year – I really feel that this is true). United dropped two at home to Sunderland. Ask yourself: who really passed and who really failed tests yesterday?
Even Lawro said we would have lost that game last season – it is defeinitely an improvement.
I was pulling for Spurs. This is beter than a loss. A loss would have killed Spurs chances of a top five finish. Disappointing but better than zero points http://bobbygee.wordpress.com/
Never occurred to me to take offence,but thanks for the note and keep commenting on the blog. debate always welcome on TOMM.
If we can grind out a point when playing badly for 45mins then I see that as progress.
But yes, Harry still has a lot to sort out on the training ground.