Spurs v Fulham. Lovely and Dull

A routine win from an average display characterised by competency and the plain ordinary. Those long boring passages with nothing much going on were a welcome relief from the shredded emotions of the previous week. The lads knew we needed a break – they’re just so considerate, bless ‘em.

After the Hull game, Phil Brown said he had rung a few manager mates to find out how to cope with us. Mick McCarthy and others obliged, but the wonderful wily Roy Hodgson needed no help in setting up his team. They tried to funnel us into the packed midfield, where many of our attacks foundered. Bentley was probably the most surprised man in the ground where he heard he was playing but we needed width and that was his role. Desperate to impress, he was repeatedly drawn infield to the ball like a moth to a flame, indicating his lack of a big brain. However, we had so much of the ball that he was able to produce something out wide and did well enough.

Modric was the pick of our team. He could have got on the ball more, because when he did he upped the tempo and made things happen. Not only is he dangerous, he galvanises others into action. This blog’s mantra is pass and move. I’m always banging on about it but today I will give you some respite. Suffice to say that when we played in short bursts like this, as after the second goal, we looked so much more dangerous than when we hammered in the crosses but seldom provided enough support for the man on the ball.

And boy did those crosses and long balls come sailing in. Crouch causes anxiety in defenders and usually gets a touch but the real question is about what he does with these opportunities. Time and again in the last few weeks he has failed to make very much of them. Headers are misdirected past the woodwork or by team-mates in support and he’s easily nudged off the ball, just enough to affect his aim, because of his lack of body strength. He took his goal well, laid on a plate by Luka’s admirable persistence, but he is so frustrating and his presence means we look for him rather than try to pass our way forward. He’s a key option but not the only option. Defoe was left with a cricked neck as the ball flew over and past him for the whole game.

Bale continues to impress. We’ve not really seen him tested defensively since he came back into the team but already his accelerating forward runs are reminiscent of Cole (may I wash my mouth out) and Evra. Above all, he’s taking control of situations and seldom hesitates. When he makes a mistake, he’s quickly back into position and does not lose concentration. He will make mistakes but we must tolerate that, because he’s one of the best prospects I have seen for a long time. A top quality player in the making.

Hud did Ok. Again he does better when given a fraction more space but he made the most of what he was given, looking for the ball and passing well. At times his control was beautiful, and I mean an utterly beautiful skill, so much so that he stopped to admire his own genius and was therefore tackled. Oh well. And a word of praise for Gomes, who really has not put a foot wrong for several matches and his presence exudes confidence at the back. He’s a terrific player.

Fulham were missing several key men, which disrupted their formidable powers of organisation, and they don’t travel well, so their lack of threat was predictable and frankly welcome. Murphy impressed, as always. Shrewd and spiky, he releases the ball early into channels as well as picking everything up from their back four, but he had little to work with. Frustrated as much by his team-mates’ reluctance to pass to him as the redoubtable efforts of Dawson and King, Zamora forsook the more traditional methods of graft and talent and turned to sustained whinging in order to make the breakthrough. Surely the offside decisions against him were mistaken as he could never in this match have been considered active.

Overall, we were never seriously challenged and picked up the win without too much of a problem. Dull at times, and for once I’m glad.

13 thoughts on “Spurs v Fulham. Lovely and Dull

  1. Good summary, although I thought Palacios deserved a special mention.

    This could have quite easily gone the way of Wolves, Stoke, Hull and Fulham (away). Not a great performance, but good enough. You can’t help but think where we’d be if we played with more guile in front of goal.

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  2. nice post,

    At times his control was beautiful, and I mean an utterly beautiful skill, so much so that he stopped to admire his own genius and was therefore tackled – brilliant 😀 😀

    Palacios tackle was piece of genius as well…

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  3. Good summary – agree on Palacios with tmwnn. What the f** was Dawson up to in the last 10 minutes? Personally didnt rate Bentley and the combo with the lumbering Corluka didnt work. Both are slow and had to cut inside because neither has the pace to get past a defender. Modric must stay left where he is more comfortable and worked well with Bale so for me if Krank is fit at the weekend I’d play him instead of Bentley. Definitely Hudd ahead of JJ as his passing is miles better but he could do with a kick up the arse about his casual play at times.

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  4. Good article and would support your views on Gomez-absolutely outstanding. Worryingly because he was injured last night the media are again suggesting we are interested in….. David James …. Please no, if we don’t have confidence in our back up keepers lets not go for the geriatric Portsmouth reserve keeper there are some good young ones about. And by the way up here the word you used is spelled Coal!!!

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  5. good article, i was so relaxed watching that game and usually i have to self medicate by nicking a couple of my wife’s painkillers to watch spurs these days. really happy with bale’s progress and nice to see harry giving him his shot. it was very worrying when gomes looked as though he might go off as i have no faith at all in alnwick. we look more of a unit with hudd back but i am becoming concerned with defoe. his positioning was terrible, if you are going to play with crouch you need to be close to him to capitilise on any knock down. defoe was miles away from him for large parts of the game and showed no nous to predict where any knock downs might happen. keane even showed how to do it by running toward goal past crouch whenever the ball was headed toward him. simple stuff.

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  6. “After the Hull game, Phil Brown said he had rung a few manager mates to find out how to cope with us. Mick McCarthy and others obliged, ”

    Yes, managers in a relegation struggle always help out their rivals. Phil Brown is lying

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  7. Spurs need to get the ball to the bi line more often – Bale gets there with his pace and Modders vision/passing ability but on the right with out the pace of lennon we cut inside too often, whether that’s corluka, bentley or krankjar – either need hutton to come on to add pace (they hardly threatened right back so wouldn’t have been too risky) or we need to get another player out there to help drag players out of position – too often bentley and corluka had no option other than each other or cross, needs another body. All the better teams do it Utd have for years, whether it’s the flying winger or the overlapping full back (Nevilles hardly pacey) and Ass never lob the ball in – Spurs spend too much time crossing the ball from 10 yards inside oppos half and hoping to feed off Crouchy, rarelt comes off – if players get to the bi line it brings in Crouchy, Defoe, and any Midfielder taking a punt

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  8. Dull and in control is better than a nail biter. Good win. Spurs are still in touch with leaders. Tottenham is still in position to win the EPL. Why? anything can happen. This is one crazy season. Crouch’s goal was great. Bentley and Modric set it up. A good win. http://bobbygee.wordpress.com/

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  9. well put Alan,it was pleasing to see Bentley playing and scoring a great goal,we miss a proven free kick taker,just wish he could be more assertive in games.Dull football but the spurs fans in park lane and lower shelf made it a good atmosphere.

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  10. I was really happy to see Bentley have a go. All that money spent deteriorating on the bench is not good for anyone. Granted, there is no way he can take Lennon’s place, but we can definitely utilize his craftiness every once in a while; the boy just needs his confidence back.

    Bale has been the standout player so far in every match he has played (my opinion). When the team begins to show signs of “getting relaxed”, he continues to push the ball forward. We all know, and I believe can agree, that this is when Spurs are at their best.

    COYS!

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  11. Good write up. Let’s all just think …we’re 4th in the Prem… we’re still in the cup … we’ve got 41 points so no relegation battle … life’s a breeze …we can play good and we can play boring… its great to be alive and a Spurs fan.

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  12. Even at 2-0 when the overtime board shows more than minute I still get edgy.
    God knows what I’ll be like in the Champions’ League final.
    I would give Bentley another go as he keeps the defence stretched when he plays wide. It’s a risk because it might decrease his value.
    Can Rose play down the right? He is quicker and tends to hug the touchline.

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    • Edgy? Me too. Good job we don’t sit together, what a mess of anxiety that would be. I’m off to the doctor’s in a minute, I’ll let you know if the heart can take another season…
      Regards,

      Al

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