Hutton Causes The End of the Universe

Spurs deserved to win that one. Under pressure, fought back, superb goals, better team in the second half, almost held out.

Wolves deserved to win that one. Never let up, better team in the first half, probably overall, inconceivable how Hutton stayed on the pitch after the ref gave a penalty.

We should have taken it: hit the post, missed chances, Bale unstoppable when he came on.

Wolves got what they deserved, less maybe, kept making chances, no way Gomes was fouled for the disallowed goal, he threw it into his own net for chrissakes!

Oh I don’t know. You tell me. Reality is, that’s all true, every contradictory word. Wolves played exceptionally well but we had more than enough chances to bury the match, after two poor match-turning decisions went in our favour. But I’m starting again.

Two things are incontrovertible. One, it was an outstanding game, swinging this way and that throughout, drama, stunning goals and the outcome uncertain until the final whistle. Shame I couldn’t enjoy it then. This is because of the second point: our defending was abysmal. I have to admit, I like the idea of the football public characterising Spurs as the entertainers, the team to watch if you are a neutral. When we’re on Sky, I bet people make an effort to watch because one thing’s for sure, it won’t be dull. One reason for that is never mind the skill and verve of our attack, we’ve given up the art of defence in favour of some fifties throwback formation. Future matches will be covered in jerky-framed black and white, the players’ legs whizzing along and the fans throwing their flat caps into the air at every opportunity. Pass the rattle and thermos, mother, I’m off to the Spurs.

Pav Turns Away After Scoring. In My Head.

Wolves pulled them this way and that. Late in the game, chasing a precious win, first Gallas then Dawson were 70 yards from their own goal as willing opponents galloped into the wide open spaces behind them. The full backs were so far from the centrebacks, they were communicating by walkie talkie. Gomes made a couple of fine saves, one full-length tip round the post for a bouncing ball a potential match saver. Crosses were a different matter. He always looked shaky and under pressure chucked one into the goal, only for Halsey to be swayed by his pleading desperation. Whose heart does not melt at that innocent, pleading little-boy lost expression? Perhaps that’s what he works on in training, rather than catching the ball.

Harry’s renowned powers of man-management were on display again. Slaughter Hutton, let him know you don’t rate him and he’s off in the summer, then bring him back into the team and all is forgiven. Or maybe, just maybe, consider the possibility that shorn of all confidence it might affect the way he plays…  Hutton duly produced a performance of uniform awfulness that by the end was remarkable in its consistency. It’s not easy to get so much wrong for 90 minutes. Perhaps he was making up for the fact that he clearly should have been sent off for the foul that conceded the penalty. On that occasion, he was guilty of letting the man inside him. We’re all entitled to a mistake but not to repeat it, which he did for the entire game. Their runners come into the gaps in the back four. If the full back can see a man, he’s got to come across, surely. Hutton stood and gazed on, steadfastly marking space. To be fair to Harry, other players in Hutton’s situation have found the motivation when they have come back into the team through injury, whereas the Scot appeared disinterested. Unforgivable.

Amidst the joy of the Milan game, I soberly noted that the Corluka injury was highly significant. He’d come back into the team and we looked all the better for it, defending better and the Lennon/ Charlie link on the right was back in the groove. We’re really missing him. The same can be said for Kaboul, who not have given Wolves an easy ride.

Benny was better but still too far wide and in trying to retain possession gave it away too often with some poor decision-making. Gallas chose to have his worst performance for some time, uncertain and off the pace for the most part. However, it’s time to bore regular readers with my well-worn observations about defending as a team. in the first half, Sandro and Jenas didn’t pick up those loose balls at the edge of the area or do much to break up Wolves’ play in the midfield. The fact that they markedly improved in the second period only served to highlight our major weakness on the day. Wolves were more than willing to go wide because they had the freedom to bang in a series of crosses, which caused no end of trouble. They were beautifully judged and we were unable to handle them. Doyle unchallenged in the midst of our box for the first, the equaliser a classic far post header that I thought was down to good play on their part than poor defending. The player knocked it a yard to his right, out of Sandro’s tackling range, and delivered a perfect ball.

Our Defence Moments Before the Universe Implodes. I May Have Got That Wrong

Fact is, we did nothing throughout the game to stop that flow at source. Both our wide men have instincts that drive them inside. Pienaar was invisible, while Luka had a better second half. Neither prevented the flow of crosses that was our undoing. Later that evening, shattered, I dozed in front of the box. Brian Cox’s soft tones were taking me through the ultimate demise of the universe. As he spoke of the very atoms of the cosmos slowly becoming an eternal infinite nothingness, I dreamed he’d covered our defence on MOTD 2.

The amazing thing is, well though Wolves exploited our frailty, we could have easily won the match if we hadn’t determined to avoid all goals that were not possible Goal of the Month candidates. JD and Pav queued up for twenty yard thunderbolts, although that’s doing Defoe’s second an injustice, because that was a top class finish. Luka and others had been studying L’arse and were determined to have 25 touches in the box before even onsidering a shot. What a waste. All the talk of JD| breaking his duck and then the floodgates will open, the same can be said for Luka lately. He badly needs one to go in to encourage him to shoot more often.

Full credit to Defoe for a fine performance. He and Pav combined well – one went wide whilst  the other  stayed in the centre. Sometimes off-form strikers work too hard for the team in an effort to make up for the lack of goals. This is counterintuitive: they are selfish beasts at heart. Defoe is so much a confidence player – this should do him good. The same can be said for Pav – neither have technique to be relied upon and again his control let him down at important moments but he did better than in previous matches.

We looked so much more comfortable once Lennon and Bale were on, even though oddly they swapped wings. Bale was on to help out Hutton, a good call from Harry, and to introduce the element of surprise. We didn’t need reminding how much we’ve missed him, but what a threat he is. Sandro and Jenas could potentially offer so much, particularly mobility and drive in midfield. JJ overstretched himself at times in the pursuit of possession. He did well but neglected his defensive duties. I would like to have seen him nestling close to the back four. Sandro  had a decent second half, more willing to come back into

Rest In Peace Dean Richards

the box to take decisive action. Both should not have needed the presumably harsh reminders from Harry to get going. From the first whistle next time. We had similar problems at Blackpool, though with different personeall. We looked a very different prospect there  after half time – I fear this is becoming a problem.

 

In an era when football and footballers are heavily criticised, the assured dignity with which Dean Richards’ memory was celebrated will live longer than the match itself. Thanks go to Wolves for organising this with such care and respect, and to fans of both sides who raised the rafters. My thoughts are with his family.

 

 

18 thoughts on “Hutton Causes The End of the Universe

  1. The Richards moment brought a tear to my eye. No one should be taken from their young family at such an early age. Football really doesn’t matter at such times.

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    • genuinely touching.

      I think football does matter, in the sense that we can mourn collectively, something that, from bitter experience, is important, a sense of something shared. The idea of applauding, a cel;cerebration of life, is simply wonderful. If such tributes are left to the fans, there’s nothing like it.

      Regards,

      Al

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  2. Can people get off Hutton’s back? He did not have a great game, but neither did the rest of the defence against a tough physical fighting for the Premiership lives. You CANNOT blame him for letting a player get inside him for the penalty – the ball came in there in a lucky way. It was not predictable – for that reason, the damage was done, and it is about limitations from then on. Only a class defender would have dealt with that SOME of the time – not every time. Yes, once the player passes him, he should not risk a sending off. Pressure him yes, but don’t tug him down. And to those people calling for Kyle Walker: why do you feel that he would be any better defensively? We all have seen his attacking prowess, but as a highly less experienced defender, there is nothing to suggest that he would have done any better. We miss Corluka – although I could see Jarvis giving him a hard time too. Which leads me to my last point. Lennon & Bale get double-teamed, and maybe that was the problem. Leaving Hutton to deal with Jarvis almost single-handedly is a big ask. Let’s not forget that a draw was a fair result, and better than most think – man u lost there very recently.

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    • I admit that blaming him for the end of the universe was a tad extreme.

      Tony, you’re right in the sense that the penalty was not the best example of his lack of anticipation and poor positioning. I would add that in the past I’ve not slagged him off – in fact, I wanted him to have a run in the team a while ago because behind Lennon, his pace could have got us out of trouble defensively. However, his positional play is outweighing that advantage.

      I’d like to see Walker – but next season.

      Regards,

      Al

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  3. Sorry but I have to keep saying it. Hutton, at this level of football, is a poor defender. No crunching tackles, no getting the leg in where it hurts, very few cross interceptions, poor reading of the game, woeful penalties (think back to Fulham). Is this not perfectly obvious!!!

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  4. Great game for the neutrals, but one we really needed to win. I thought our tactics were a bit naive considering our back 5 are always prone to errors.

    Gomes would never make a poker player; when he’s rattled he has a severe bruxism tell.

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  5. Great article, sums up the game and my thoughts on Hutton as well. Hutton fails to do the basics and that is why he frustrates me. He never genuinely attempts to block crosses. Jarvis (and most other left wingers who have come up against Hutton this season) look world class because he gives them the time and space they need to deliver cross after cross. Added to that the fact that he fails to come inside and cover the centrebacks on crosses, despite the player in front of Hutton being more of an immediate threat than the winger that he is pretending to cover beyond the far post.

    Flamini, in taking out Corluka, has ruined our chances of finishing fourth.

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  6. To be blunt, I thought the entire defence was pretty disorganized throughout the game. Dawson isn’t the type of player to put a lid on things, and Gallas can be equally as rash at times, but the main cause of concern is once again Gomes for me. The guy just doesn’t instil confidence in me let alone the defence. I’m always expecting a stupid error of judgement from him, and more often than not, he’ll oblige. Yes he’s capable of absolute brilliance as he showed in Milan, but he reminds me of Lion in the Wizard of Oz, looks the part, but is so lacking in courage it’s embarrassing at times. Would I swap those moments of breathtaking keeping for a little more composure and bravery in the box? No…yes.. bugger.. I dont know either, perhaps it balances itself out?

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    • Yep, feel same way about Gomes. Fact is, though, that at this high level, things balancing out isn’t good enough. he has to sort things out very much in our favour.

      I hope he comes good again – he’s one of those players that I want to succeed. Not sure why, more than any other, so there you go.

      Regards,

      Al

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      • Like I said Alan, I really don’t know how I feel about him, I’ve seen the best of the best in goal for us and does he stand against Pat Jennings or Ray Clemence.?not in a million years. Is he a better keeper than Robinson..Mmm yes..just, but who is better; that we could perhaps buy..not too many out there at the moment I’m afraid. Good writing by the way, keep it up

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        • Thanks, that’s kind.

          Re Gomes, I too had the privilege of seeing the incomparable Jennings. It’s not so much a question of comparing Gomes with him, more the comparison between Gomes now and Gomes at his best, when he had a fantastic half a season. That edge has been lost somewhere.

          Regards,

          Al

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  7. Very eloquent, and pretty much on the money..The defence had a bad day, and Wolves never give up, however, what I noticed the most, was not that our defensive minded midfielders werent going in for the ball and winning it, it was that every time this happened, Wolves were there to pick up the 2nd ball, I couldnt work out whether this was just luck at first, but it was their commitment and willingness to take one for the team if necessary…Maybe our boys were worried about missing out on Wed night…Pav was decent, as he is quite often, hes never gonna be a Tevez or Rooney(of old) but he has class and will always score, sometimes from unlikely situations…Defoe coming good again, just needs to stay injury free for 7 weeks and maybe we will finish 4th, just need to beat City and Chelsea away, and win all our other games, hmmmm…

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  8. On paper, I thought Harry picked a good team for this game, with a midfield prepared to scrap. That’s assuming everyone does his job. Essexian puts his finger on it – Daws had a stinker and was MIA for the first goal and out jumped for the third. I find it rich to blame Gomes – when a goal keeper realises three of his back four are struggling, then you can’t blame him for having to second guess what the hell’s coming his way. I don’t blame him for the disallowed ‘goal’ – the Wolves player clearly played him intentionally just before the ball arrived and it was a pretty clear cut foul.

    I liked Pienaar – when he played for Everton. But I’m not sure what he brings to the midfield. he is marginally better than Bentley at keeping the ball moving and I’d like to see O’Hara back in the fold where we could do with his attractive comination of abrasiveness and directness. He makes things happen, whereas Pienaar seems peripheral to whatever is going on. He is Modric-lite and not quite ‘there’ for me.

    After all the huffing and puffing the stats tell us we have shipped six goals in two games against relegation candidates. One point in six when others around us are doing slightly better. I’m getting a tad worried about Man City – they are grinding out 1-0 results and doing exactly what we were doing this time last season. The game at their place should be another cracker.

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    • Hi David just to clarify, I love Daws to bits, I like his infectious enthusiasm and believe he’ll be a great League player one day. When he does the simple things and has Ledders alongside him he’s fabulous however he’s prone to rushes of the blood as is Hutton, but i feel it’s Gomes’ hesitant nature that causes us the majority of our defensive problems. If you took the penalty for example Hutton wouldn’t have pulled the guy back if he was convinced Gomes was coming out, but with Gomes there’s no consistency to his keeping. The first goal was in my opinion criminal to concede for a few reasons. 1 the cross was allowed to come in, secondly BOTH centre halves were caught out (positioning and communication, and lastly it was almost at a catchable height for Gomes, which I why I thought all the defenders were culpable in way or or another for all three very avoidable goals, sods law eh?, Defoe and Pav begin to look hald decent again and our defence then has a stinker, but that’s Spurs for you

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  9. A game which ran the full gamut of emotion, culminating in seething, blood-boiling rage at the fact that — and not for the first time – we went to a team firmly ensconced in the relegation mire and conceded four goals. My cat knowingly disappeared under the bed in the middle of the second half.

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