AVB’s Spurs. All In The Cut

Cut to fit mohair, deep blue not black, hand-stitched. Three button, bottom one undone, buttons on the sleeve, tapered trousers. AVB fits Spurs like a made-to-measure suit and we look sharp.

Genuine silk lining, brushes against the skin as you put on the jacket. Can’t be seen but we know it’s quality. Run your fingers gently on your thighs, that brushed fabric soft and giving. Understated but oozing class and it feels so fine.

Spurs are easing into this new look with the elan of a mod in sixties Carnaby Street. Contemporary but classic – we know who we are and what we are about. A bit cocky but that never did us any harm. We sense this is right for us. Pass and move, on the floor, play from the back. Sandro imperious, dominant. Dembele the playmaker, it’s all in the touch. Details make the difference – the short pass, the ball inside the full-back, keep possession. The buttonhole stitching, silk in top pocket.

Reading on Sunday, Lazio this week. We’ve found our style and like the admiring glances. Perhaps that’s why the home draw against Lazio ended with a contented reaction at the final whistle rather than the grumbles that greeted the last two home draws. We played much better but there was more than enough to provoke disappointment – disallowed goals, the missed opportunity to secure an early home win against the best team in the group, the Italians consistent fouling in the second half. It felt as if we took the long view – at least we know what we are about now, know we can do it if need be. And what we need is three points tomorrow.

This was more like a pleasant evening stroll than a glory glory night. Spurs were on top for the majority of the match without ever threatening to cut loose, while Lazio were satisfied with containment as the game went on, settling back into a comfortable 4-5-1 and dropping deeper as time passed. By the second half, they sussed where the real dangers might come from and took it in turns to foul Bale, Lennon and Dembele, early and high up the pitch to snuff out potential breaks without placing undue pressure on their goal.

For most of the time it was all neat and tidy. Can’t mark that cloth after all. I wondered aloud at one point if this match could set a record low for shots on target. Me, I prefer something a little rougher round the edges. Smart only takes you so far. Bit ragged. Feisty, fire and spark, but this wasn’t one of those games. In the last ten minutes especially, Spurs became a little too comfortable. Lazio slowed it down and we allowed ourselves to play at their pace. Sure, we’re playing the long game – long season, long competition. Don’t want to lose the first match, I get that. But with only Klose up front, we could have pushed our spare man at the back, Vertonghen, into midfield when we had the ball, thereby allowing the others to push up still further. On several occasions in that final period we held 5 men back when we attacked. For once we had a side full of big men yet played two free kicks short rather than putting the ball in the box. Like wearing a floral tie with a mod suit, I don’t get it.

Yet by then we could have been promenading to good effect. Two perfectly good goals disallowed, the first a fine diving effort from Dempsey, who I would like to start alongside Defoe on Sunday. I confess I couldn’t judge it from my viewpoint and as I’ve said, the crowd were philosophical on the night rather than getting worked up over an injustice. Maybe other parts of the ground were. Caulker’s header looked fine to me. However, these days there’s so much fouling in the box from set pieces, I forget what the laws are. We get the benefit sometimes, as did Walker on Sunday – handball or a little push, which does the ref give? We feel good now but those referring errors could hurt come December.

Lennon as the most unlikely ace face, but credit to him for effort and encouragement. AVB set him wide to create space and we used the ball inside the full-back to good effect in the first half until Lazio shut the door. Lenny should have scored, once inexplicably opting to pass when shooting was by the far the simpler choice.

Sandro was magnificent once more. Such is his influence, it could tempt AVB to go with only one DM thus releasing more attack-minded players. Dembele oozes power and class, great left foot, lovely touch. Purring with delight over him, he’s a player and no mistake. Caulker eased himself into the team although he looked nervous. Lloris had little to do. He’s prepared to boss his box, readily coming off his line. His first such run nearly ended in disaster but fortunately Klose fluffed it (not the only time he did so) but it’s what we need. Two fine keepers is a good problem to have.

The game was soured by the racism of a few Lazio fans. I didn’t hear it or see the nazi salutes that Park Laners have reported, but action must be taken by UEFA and the club itself. Di Canio’s nazi salute (alleged nazi salute, sorry, he claims it wasn’t. Pins and needles in his arm, I’m sure), that was to Lazio fans, wasn’t it? The club must take action. It’s not just UEFA’s responsibility.

It’s also a shame because there was a poignant moment when both sets of fans chanted Paul Gascoigne’s name and applauded each other. The memory of a wonderful player endures.

One final and futile comment – Spurs are never going to have European glory nights if the opposition fans occupy most of the Park Lane. I know the safety issues but there must be a way to at least tuck them safely in the corner. No other team in the land would shift their own supporters to that extent.

10 thoughts on “AVB’s Spurs. All In The Cut

  1. Not sure what to make of this article – started purring with satisfaction, and leaving me to wonder at how easily many Spurs supporters are satisfied these days – it was a goalless home draw, for God’s sake! But then some signs of intelligence appeared, pointing-out how slow and laboured much of our play was, and how we didn’t play to our apparent strengths, in terms of speed and physical presence – I still don’t get what’s so great about AVB – mid table for this season at best.


    • Well that artical made perfect sense 2 me. There’s a good feel about spurs right now and if u can’t see that ur dumb. Very well written artical that justifies are last 2 performances . Bring on QPR .. COYS


  2. Looks like the players are getting to grips with the system. Cautious but calculated. If we can add clinical to our game, we’ll be in for a good season. A decent win tomorrow, and there’ll be a few in the media catching a whiff of humble pie, which I hope is coming in huge servings.


  3. The Future Looks Bright,Supporters in Spain(Costa Blanca)are pleased with the Direction of club!!
    New training ground,New ground starting,New manager,a different man to his Previous club,who wouldn`t be run by Player Power!! J.E.Lewis&D.Levy Ex Eastenders have a great club at heart,I`v seen Spurs
    since 1950`s,1960`s,Never give up on a good thing,the direction is right, “C.O.Y.S.”


  4. If there’s an accusation of being ‘easily pleased’ these days, I’m happy to hold my hand up. Look at the current squad and then imagine what the likes of Alan Hutton, Andy Reid etc (insert your own players from not too long ago) would have done against that team on Thursday?
    I thought it was a good performance vs an excellent in form (if ultra defensive) Lazio team. We could’ve done with Adebayor in the 2nd half to get some variation and Modric’s ability to move the ball from one side of the pitch to the other creating space was missed, again in the second half when Lazio tightened up even further. However I think there are signs that overall this is a better squad than last year in defence and midfield with more of a system rather than relying on ‘the first 11’ being fit. Hopefully this means that we won’t fade as badly at the business end of the season. The strike force (as for the last three seasons) is still a worry but that’s a failing of our transfer policy rather than any manager (Redknapp or AVB).
    Like you, I fail to understand why we recreate a ‘home end’ for the away supporters especially when, on this occasion, they appear to have used it to abuse some of our players.
    I think we need to give AVB time before we can really judge how he’s shaping up. He couldn’t do what was asked of him at Chelsea and we need to be careful not to set unrealistic expectations for him at Tottenham. Apart from the Norwich game, I’d say the signs have been positive. Let’s hope we can continue to make progress tomorrow.


  5. Interesting stuff Alan, as elegantly written as AVB is attired.

    I thought we played pretty well and would have won but for two mistakes by the officials. I’m trying not to get too hung up on results at present, with a view to the longer term. Bar Norwich and the last 20-30 mins vs WBA, we’ve started well in performance terms under AVB imo.

    A little too deliberate and slow at times, but it’s definitely coming I think. Looking forward to Sunday.


  6. I agree with this article. I think that AVB needs to be given time. You can see how he is trying to get us to play proper football in which we hold the ball and play patiently until we carve up an opening. And this will help solidify our defence that is already improving. We havent bagged many goals as of yet but you have to remember scoring a goal is all about passing. And our entire midfield at the moment haven’t played together for long enough to be on the same wavelength. However, Dembele seems to be immense. Strong, Fast, has great technique and it wont be long before he starts go get everyone involved. And I’ve got to mention Sandro! he cant pass very well but the boy can tackle!! No one gets passed him.


  7. Totally agree giving away fans a great view and not sticking them up in the top tear is stupid!. it gives them all the incentive to get behind there team . to be honest it,s not the 1st time either. and we get out sung which is frustrating as we rarely if ever get out sung at the lane. i couldn,t understand stick the lazio fans all in top tear and put all the spurs fans in the lower . makes sense to me.


  8. Very good article. I thought Spurs played well against a stubborn Lazio side that came for a point – had one of the disallowed goals stood, it would have changed the pattern of the game. From the first match at Newcastle, the side are showing good signs of adjusting from a system of getting the ball to individuals to decide a game, to the team first and systematic approach under AVB. This is a rebuilding season and we’ve brought in a number of good young players – Vertonghen, Sigurdsson, Dembele, Lloris – to add to a lot of already young establshed talent – Bale, Kaboul, Walker, Sandro, Caulker. It might be one step back this season to take several forward next.


  9. For me, the jury is still out on AVB. Failure to close out the Norwich and WBA games and the first half display against QPR have all given cause for concern. I accept he needs time to find his feet.

    I hope for an audacious display against United!


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