Spurs v Hull. Next Time, We Take Charge.

Not for the first time this season, Spurs toiled against a team with less talent but exemplary organisation. Hull deserve credit for their energy and application and none whatsoever for starting their time-wasting tactics in the first quarter of the match, but in the end despite all our travails we made and missed four gilt-edged chances, and with them the opportunity to bank valuable points in pursuit of fourth place.

Hull came with a plan to restrict and stifle our flowing football, and we fell right into their clutches by allowing them to dictate the tempo in the first half. We had precisely the midfield to combat their pressing game but chose instead to waste possession and play the long ball far too often. Searching for scraps, Modric and Kranjcar came inside and were enveloped in the Hull defensive blanket. Without Lennon there was no escape in width.

The time-wasting and staying down at the slightest knock is enormously frustrating (Bolton did this a few years ago when of course Brown was their assistant manager) but we have to be big enough and strong enough to rise above it. Instead, we failed to just hold the ball and shift it around and were sucked in. By the middle of the second half, Hunt had succeeded in winding up Hud to the point where he kicked the Hull player in the back. Hunt protested but in reality he was delighted – he had Hud exactly where he wanted him.

The long pass to Keane and Defoe, who were running centrally between their central defenders, looked like team orders, but our opponents learned from the away fixture earlier this season and played deeper, therefore there was little space between back four and keeper for the ball to be played into. Their cause was greatly assisted by Huddlestone’s poor performance. Time and again he went for the long ball, ignoring simpler but more effective alternatives. Everyone has a bad one from time to time, but this was a match where as the playmaker he should have taken on the responsibility of directing operations. He did indeed set the tone for the team, but being caught in possession and over-ambitious passing ripe for interception was not what we had in mind.

As the first half wore on, and time went very slowly yesterday, we gradually dragged ourselves into the match but Keane and then Defoe missed the chances. We expected more in the second half but it was only the introduction of Jenas to up the pace and to drive on from midfield that finally kick-started our game. Crouch won everything and we looked more dangerous, but for the most part the final ball in the box eluded us or heroic blocking from the massed Hull ranks prevented better opportunities.

Myhill had a fine match. My usual Saturday night routine is to look forward to MOTD and then fall fast asleep after the second match, so although I missed our highlights I’m assuming that Lineker’s trail of the ‘best goalkeeping performance for years’ referred to him. I feel duty bound to point out, however, that we placed the ball close to him on several occasions when we should have done much better. Keane was fatally hesitant when those rebounds fell to him, one in each half. For the first, Myhill did superbly to get up and back into position, his best save, but Keane had a lot of the goal to aim at, as did Crouch for his late header.

Keane’s form is highly concerning. Once again he was ineffective and approached his chances in the manner of a man who knows he is way out of sorts. At the moment we cannot rely on him in any way.

Bale was our best player. He showed total application, understood what he was supposed to do and defended well enough, although he was not seriously tested. Still, he will benefit from games like this. Modric and Kranjcar, two of my favourite players, disappointed, being absent for long periods. In the second half they and we fell into the trap of pushing ten or fifteen yards too far forward. Playing against teams with a blanket defence, one or two forwards have to drop back to start each move, to begin the pass and movement style, and they are experienced enough to know this, rather than hang around up front waiting for the ball in areas where defenders can more easily handle them. Dropping back also tempts their marker to follow them, thereby creating a fraction of space. I would have brought on Rose for Hud, with Modric in the middle, to give us the option of width and pace plus more craft in the centre.

Daws made a couple of fine tackles towards the end, one of which I would hail as magnificent if it weren’t for the fact that it was necessitated by defensive hesitation.

The question hanging over the Lane at full-time was, ‘why can’t we beat the teams at the bottom?’. The reason is that Wolves, Stoke and now Hull come with limited horizons. I don’t blame them: it’s just a fact. They can get ten or eleven behind the ball because winning is not the primary aim. Teams with greater ambitions will have a more open style because they will be attacking for at least some periods of the match.

To be a top team, we have to dictate to them, not the other way around. It’s not easy playing through and around defensive teams but we have to find a way. This was out biggest failing against Hull. Two points lost.

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18 thoughts on “Spurs v Hull. Next Time, We Take Charge.

  1. Excellent assessment – I agree with almost every word. I would have liked to see Rose or Naughton introduced to add some width or pace, even if only as a last throw of the dice. Corluka looked very pedestrian when he lumbered forward to join in attacks and his crossing wasnt up to much. Keane is not playing well but Defoe and Keane were not getting the service they need. Bale did try hard. Very disappointed in Hudd – Wilson was supposed to be our holding/defensive midfielder thereby freeing Hudd to play a more attacking role but Hudd seemed content to stroll around looking very casual, playing long balls (without his usual outlet of Lennon) or shooting from distance wastefully. If Wilson hadnt been booked I would have liked to see JJ replacing Hudd as he showed more urgency.

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  2. Excellent summary from a Tigers fan. Was more than a little miffed by the attitude of the Spurs fans on the bus back up to Seven Sisters. We have nowhere near the talent and can only dream of the day we do! But we had to come to get a point and did. as Spurs are finding out there is no divine right to beat anyone even ‘little Hull’ all the lesser teams need their luck on the day and we had ours and a goalie in inspired form! Best of luck for the rest of the season. I love the football Spurs play except when the other teams wearing black and amber!!

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    • Thanks for checking in, Ian. Sorry about the bus – you must tell me how you managed to get on a bus within three hours of the final whistle…

      Regards,

      Al

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  3. Cold Spurs fand please givecredit ti an outstanding goal keeper on the Day – Hull city’s Boaz Myhill. Match of the day praised him for numerous outstanding saves.
    Also the game plan for a side struggling at the bottom is to be defensive away from home as a point earned is more precious to Hull than 2 points lost to spurs and it lifted us out of the bottom 3 for at least 24 hours.
    Full credit to the team for their efforts in defending for 90 mins and full credit to Spurs who also played excellent attacking football but came up againt a keeper who had one of hs best performances of his career.
    I think Spurs will be finishing in the tops 2-3 spot ths year without a doubt and wish them well as they deserve it on performance. The home game at the KC was some of the finest football ever witnessed from Spurs and we paid the price then and Boaz Myhill has returned the favour to us.

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  4. Glenn Williamson :Could Spurs fans please give credit to an outstanding goal keeper on the Day – Hull city’s Boaz Myhill. Match of the day praised him for numerous outstanding saves.Also the game plan for a side struggling at the bottom is to be defensive away from home as a point earned is more precious to Hull than 2 points lost to spurs and it lifted us out of the bottom 3 for at least 24 hours.Full credit to the team for their efforts in defending for 90 mins and full credit to Spurs who also played excellent attacking football but came up againt a keeper who had one of hs best performances of his career.I think Spurs will be finishing in the tops 2-3 spot ths year without a doubt and wish them well as they deserve it on performance. The home game at the KC was some of the finest football ever witnessed from Spurs and we paid the price then and Boaz Myhill has returned the favour to us.

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  5. Another one of those days – again. Goalkeepers certainly seem to keep some of their top performances against us. Having said that, it is concerning, that once again when Keane starts, we don’t seem to be at our best. If I remember properly he started against Wolves, Stoke, ManU (in leage cup), Sunderland (where we were very lucky to win), and now against Hull. For whatever reason, the team just don’t seem to as effective with him. BTW Has Bale won in a league game where he started?
    Luckily Liverpool drew and Man City lost. Liverpool on Wed will be really big.

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  6. Abe
    I think Spurs will beat Liverpool with ease as they are lost without Gerard and Torres especially if Lennon is back – if he had been playing against us yesterday then it may have been different as we struggle against fast wide men. Yesterday we forced Spurs to play down the centre and closed them down for most of the game
    Good luck for the rest of the season

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  7. yup your goalie was in excellent form! yup disappointed not to beat hull but must agree you had every rite to play defensive i an i think honest spurs fans will remember we have done the same thing! in relegation struggles! i remember at chelsea “the one” ranting about us parking the bus infront of goal! it was up to us to win!so well played hull and good luck for the rest of the season! thank you for the kind comments about how we play!

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  9. Sorry fellas, the Tigers just don’t seem to have wanted another thrashing.
    You hhve got to admit that Brownie had the right tactics to stop you.
    Our style of play might frustrate you guys but all the bitching about delaying tactics etc will be in vain when you consider how many times you have wanted to run the clock down. Not like you guys clip people on the halfway line every time they start to head off toward your keeper! Let’s say Spurs players are very professional eh!

    I have always enjoyed watching teams who like to play football, Spurs, West Ham, Arsenal and smaller teams like West Brom who try to play attractive football.
    So very occasionally when Hull get into the groove it’s nice to see. For now though we have to make do with who we’ve got (for now).

    Here’s a point for you Spurs fans …… the teams like West Brom, who also play great football, never seem as arrogant as the London clubs.

    Beating Arsenal, Spurs, Fulham and West Ham last year was just peachy with headlines of London 1 – Hull 4 (the title of Hull Band the Beautiful South’s album).
    Perhaps some of the bitterness from last season lingers on. How dare Hull beat the London clubs, how dare they come expecting to get a point etc.

    Good luck anyway, although I don’t think you’ll need it 😉 Just try to keep it real eh 😉

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    • Appreciate all you Tigers fans commenting on my pony little blog – really.

      Most of my bitterness, such as it is, was directed at the Spurs’ players inability to play to their potential. As it was for last season’s home game. And you’re not to know, but in other posts this year I have been envious of teams’ ability to shut a game down – we can’t do it.

      If you know any sports editors, tell them I’m more than happy to write a fully balanced report….

      All the best,

      Al

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      • Letting opposing fans have a view on here Alan? What ever next!

        An excellent assessment as always, come May will we rue these lost home points?

        If we keep picking them up on the road maybe not 😉

        Time will tell, but of course we know it ain’t going to be dull and our nerves will be frazzled as long as possible 🙂

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  10. As a Tigers fan I was absolutely delighted with the response from our players. We have been outstanding in many gams- often with very little reward- against ManU we were fantastic- except they had Rooney. What I was incredibly upset by was the 10 or so Spurs fans who surrounded me after the game pushing me, being abusive towards me and one even spat in my face- that I find deplorable. I am currently on a crutch having done my crucate- and was shoved out the side door with the Spurs fans and had to wait for my group to get to me. I appreciate that these animals were probably not true Spurs fans- I as a Tigers fan would never do that to any other fan in the name of my side. I don’t expect it from other fans- having followed the Tigers for nearly over 20 years…

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  11. I would have fancied us to win at Anfield but with injury breaking up the excellent partnership of Hudd/Wilson I would take a draw. Maybe Jenas can put in a match winning performance but they come along too rarely to expect it tonight.

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