The Sound of Sighlence

You can tell how a game is going by the sound of the crowd, a surefire soundtrack as the game ebbs and flows. The exultation that greets a goal, unrestrained singing in celebration, the contented hubbub as the fans leave after a win or the sharp, bitter recrimination of defeat or worse, a side that is not trying.

The sound of Spurs right now is a heavy, deep sigh. There’s disappointment there, some shaking of heads, plus a touch of resignation. It’s not working out as we planned and we’ve been here before, so many, many times.

Another day, another big fat zero in the ‘goals for’ column. However, this one was different. Same end product but only after the Newcastle goal was peppered from all angles in a second half bombardment where for 25 minutes we played scintillating, high tempo football to create more genuine chances than in the last half a dozen matches put together. There was a lot to be pleased with but still plenty of sighing, then as I drove home and still going as I type this.

65% possession, 24 shots, 14 on target – about right, I read them on the concourse as I paused on the way home and, well, sighed. Match statistics in games like these are the contemporary equivalent of a consolation goal, that is no consolation at all. Newcastle keeper Tim Krul had an outstanding game. More saves in a single match than any other keeper in Europe this season, apparently. See what I mean, they don’t help at all. First half leaps into the stratosphere to thwart Soldado and Sigurdsson were the best but just as valuable for his side were the outstretched boots and scrambled clearances. I’ve not seen a replay but how on earth he and a single defender kept the ball out after a deflected free-kick settled on the goal line remains a mystery.

Yet the harsh truth is that keepers can only make those saves if the ball is close enough to them. Weak finishing close in was our undoing. Krul could have remained the star but noble in defeat, such were the number of good opportunities we fashioned. Eriksen, Paulinho and Soldado made it too easy for him.

Things looked rosy to begin with. It felt as if both team and crowd had responded to recent criticism. Immediately we stretched the Newcastle with a move at pace, Walker freed up on the right. His cross was too close to the keeper but it augured well for things to come. Lots of encouragement too.

Eriksen was prominent, moving across the line and out wide rather than staying comfortable in the central pocket. For his game and that of Spurs to develop, he has to become more consistently involved.

The promising opening petered out. Newcastle moved the ball neatly out of defence and played two up front so they remained a threat on the break for the entire game. They were helped by Spurs giving the ball away. Friedel saved well on two occasions, then we were caught out. Dembele was fiddling around with the ball deep in our half. Although he eventually cleared, it allowed the Mags to pounce on a ball than Paulinho first misjudged, letting it run across his body, then was weak in the challenge. Remy was in: he rounded the keeper to score.

Newcastle and Remy in particular were dangerous. Our high line became our best protection. Dawson was stranded on more than one occasion and Chiriches came across to perfectly time a tackle that surely prevented a goal. Remy, a player we have been closely linked with, reminded us what we have missed this season, a focal point for our opponents’ attack and a target for balls out of defence.

We spluttered away for the rest of the half. Bad old Tottenham – too slow, not enough width as Siggy and Andros repeatedly came inside, too many players standing still and waiting for the ball.

We should really remember to start playing from the first whistle, not half time. Galvanised by the team-talk, we emerged fresh and new. Newcastle were well-organised but did not present as much of a barrier as Hull or West Ham. It was everything the first half was not, pace, movement, support for the man on the ball and above all, chances. Eriksen missed the best one, a lovely intricate move down the right put him in, he had time to take a touch but tried to place a ball to send the keeper the wrong way rather than putting his foot through it.

Driven on by substitute Sandro, his energy and power reverberated through the team even though he was the deepest midfielder. Vertonghen fizzed the ball in from wide left. Soldado headed weakly to the keeper, Paulinho missed, that scramble on the line.

Defoe came on at about 70 minutes, the right choice but as we gathered ourselves for another effort, his arrival had the reverse effect. Sandro stayed deep and Newcastle brought on another midfielder. Their 5 outnumbered our 3 and the momentum disappeared totally. Tactically outsmarted by Alan Pardew…not AVB’s finest moment.

Vertonghen hit the bar from a corner but otherwise that was that. Dawson was thrown forward late on but we couldn’t even whack the ball forward properly.

So what to make of this? This was different from some previous games where we hardly got into the box let alone make a chance. We can put a lot of this down to the keeper and should not be too down because if we play like that for an entire match, we will do well.

However, it comes in the context of an inability to score and some of the same patterns were on display. Soldado needs service – through-balls and the ball in front of him in the box. Without it, he contributes little and did not play well yesterday. We have to have faith and gear the team around his needs. AVB knew that when he bought him but he’s not so far achieved that aim.

I’m boring myself with the inverted wingers, done to death in previous columns. Suffice to say we saw more of the edge of the box log-jam that has stifled our attacks almost as effectively as the opposition back four. We are doing their job for them. Siggy and Andros ran into trouble, while Paulinho and Eriksen prefer it on the outskirts of the area. Problem is, there are few cut-backs because no one is going to the byline, no one in the box to help Soldado.

I will break a long-held golden rule and just this once make a comparison with Barcelona, which is normally the refuge of those who don’t know the game. They are one of the best club sides the world has ever seen so no wonder Spurs aren’t that good. The point I’m making is a simple one, however. For their third goal yesterday against Real Betis, Iniesta chipped the ball into the box and 4 of their players ran through to converge on it. I’m not sure we have 4 men in the box for corners let alone from open play. Regardless of the result, AVB has to solve this problem.

Also we have too many men whose instinct is to run with the ball. Good players, just not the right blend. It slows everything down. Add the fact that we have right-footers on the left and vice versa, they too want that extra touch or two. Not much in itself but add it up and it extracts the pace from our attacks.

We have a number of men playing out of position, and if AVB is sometimes accused of stubbornness then this is the point where I agree. Dembele is not best employed as a DM. His strength and passing ability have tempted AVB but he is the wrong choice. Sandro made a huge difference when he came on and should start, if he’s fit. Paulinho made his reputation as a box to box player but he’s being used elsewhere. I said last week that he needs a rest as he has become less influential as the weeks have passed. So it proved yesterday, admirably willing but a mixed afternoon and at fault for the goal.

Eriksen worsened as the second half went on but could be the creative hub with the right players around him. The wide men are not going wide and are not the men you want on the end of a chance in the box.

Townsend’s honeymoon is over. Opposition defences have sussed him out – two men and push him inside – and by the end his frustration manifested in wasted, hopeless long-shots. he still has a lot to learn. On the other side, Siggy was ineffectual.

I hope the squad are not getting fractious. Defoe gave Kaboul a right mouthful after an innocuous misplaced pass, and kept on going. This season he’s been hitherto completely focussed – this felt out of place and different.

Finally, all this money spent and no plan B. A number of quality players who are looking as though they can’t provide an alternative. Whatever Adebayor has done to hack AVB off must be the most heinous sin since Judas turned in Jesus. I enviously watched United, Arse**l even, Southampton with their central strikers as focal point and really missed Manu. We need him.

AVB needs more time to work this through. By now though, he would have expected to be much closer to his best team than he is. Or to be more accurate, the team and set-up he thought was close to his best is not working out.

Social media is awash with suggestions, including mine of course, and all of them different. These days everyone’s a manager and we’re all like Alex Ferguson – never wrong. AVB is in danger of becoming one of us, which frankly is a nightmare. He has so much potential at his disposal, he’s chopping and changing, which will create an unsettled side. He has to send a message to key newcomers, Soldado and Eriksen in particular, Lamela too, that for the next ten or so games, he’s going to stick with them and build the side around them. Let them make mistakes, allow them to learn. We’re in this for the long haul. They need time and that’s the best way to use it.

29 thoughts on “The Sound of Sighlence

  1. I was wondering how you would react, but the speed of it was what surprised me. At times like these I find consolation in the assurance that there are a few million (exaggerated?) out there sharing the disappointment. Pleasantly relieved by what you wrote. Absolutely convinced that the effort and talent was on display. It was one of those days that any team experiences on occasion – it will just not go in whatever you do. On any other day, my Arsenal friend agreed, it would have been 5-1 at best

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    • Well, it WAS one of those days but I fear the keeper display masked other problems that AVB needs to sort out, in the same way a couple of penalties have also masked the problems.

      Regards, Alan

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  2. another great article, and exactly how I feel. I also think that had Lloris been playing he would have cleared the ball from Remy, whereas Friedal stayed on his line, and gave him space.

    for all the issues I hope that the key thing AVB learned from this game is that Paulinho/Dembele does not work. They are both there to provide the same job (although slightly differently) and we need Sandro on the pitch. The energy he shows, and his determination to win back the ball are and always have been amazing (I still feel he was the key player in our away win at United last season as well).

    AVB has a great squad, and apart from Lloris he has competition for every place. I agree that he needs to pick a settled side (I would love to see Lamela as part of that side). Having either Sandro or Capoue on the pitch allows the others to push foward, and the second half shows that when it clicks we are going to be deadly (we just need to start at that pace).

    I also think that Townsend needs to stop trying to shoot – perhaps he would be better on the left driving to line and putting balls in for Soldado – at least with Lamela they can switch and look for openings. Hoping the next game is better – but if Sandro/Capoue is missing from the starting 11 then I fear the same result. Remember how we started the season – not just strong in defence, but a midfield that struck fear into the other teams. Sandro/Capoue is the key to Spurs making the top 4, and pushing on to the title next year.

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    • Thanks. I’ve not seen a replay so that’s useful to know.

      Getting that midfield platform is key – I’ve said so since the beginning of the season. Capoue has impressed me because he moves the ball on efficiently and quickly. Sandro must start.

      Regards, Alan

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  3. Good read.. AVB has some talent but he is not what I would consider a particularly good manager.. football is about opinions and even top managers will differ in their views about certain players.. but I sometimes seriously wonder whether AVB knows what a good footballer looks like.. his team selections have been more than a little curious at times.. and the team has suffered for it.. he’s also not adverse to cutting off his own nose to spite his face.. a trait he displayed with certain key players at Chelsea and one we’re seeing again now with Adebayor

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    • hard to tell if he’s going back to bad old ways re Manu and Benny. Other side of the coin is that their appears to be a good mood in the squad, no reported backbiting despite many players frustrated at not playing regularly.

      I was impressed with him last season. Now we have to see if he will change his system to bring the best out of the players as he did last year.

      Cheers, Alan

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  4. Love this added insight into one of the little things that are slowing our team play down:
    “Add the fact that we have right-footers on the left and vice versa, they too want that extra touch or two. Not much in itself but add it up and it extracts the pace from our attacks.”

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  5. Hi Alan
    While I agree with most of your analysis on the game, I don’t think that the high line was our protection, rather the opposite as it was the high line that forces team to play defensively and take us on the break. And the truth of the matter is, we do not play with fast paced Centre backs and, in effect makes Dawson and Jan seem slow as they have to turn and try and catch players that have already gone passed them.

    Secondly, I’ve said this before, AVB is too slow to change the game. The man needs to, excuse the pun, have the Bo!!ocks to drop players that are not playing well, and get Ade on side for the good of our club.

    Defoe right choice ! I was flabagasted as this straight away weekened our midfield. What was needed, Townsend to go on the left for Siggy and either Lennon or Lamela for Townsend ‘s side . This would have given the width that was badly needed and hopefully would have kept us defensively and offensively strong .

    First half was frustratingly boring and painful to watch. Especially in the Midfield where Sandro should have been on within the first 15 minutes, as the warning signs were there. Ive said it before, I still want AVB to do well for us, but of late he needs to wake up and smell the coffee and change things when needed.

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    • I’m not keen instinctively on the high line but it has worked fairly well this season, our best defender?!

      I think Defoe was the right choice with a 4-4-2 and Townsend wide as you say but with a 4-1-3-2 we were outnumbered. That was poor.

      Cheers, Alan

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  6. Very insightful and thought provoking stuff as ever Alan,

    Maybe AVB could have brought Lamela on instead of Defoe, to keep the shape of the side, which was working very well. Otherwise, we did what I’d come to fear we couldn’t do, open up sides intent on stifling us consistently. Which was pleasing. But really, they were there for the taking and I was left bewildered and a little concerned at the end.

    I fully agree about us giving Krul the chance to be a hero, there was some woeful, or rather casual finishing in there, though he made some fine stops, of course, and had a good bit of luck, which he earned.

    I was pretty buoyed by the first 30mins of the second half, but that’s not going to be enough, I fear.

    I like the idea of settling on a league XI and giving them10 games, though AVB had a settled side in the league up to WHU, since when he seems quite indecisive to me.

    Bizarrely, Adebayor is the only striker he’s got who can play the way he seems to want to?

    I dunno, it beats (and saddens) me.

    Up the Spurs!

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    • Manu is not the saviour but a vital alternative, I really can’t see what he’s done. We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors but AVb or any leader for that matter has to be very careful when he chooses to close all the doors and lock them.

      Could do with this break tbh. AVB needs a few days on the beach in the Portugal. Bit of thinking time…

      Regards, Alan

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  7. Totally agree about the lack of a “Plan B”. Unfortunately for us Defoe and Soldado are both similar types of player and as such will struggle to play together effectively as they both want to be in the same place at the same time. In my opinion, Ade, if fit and focussed could give us an alternative way of attacking or maybe give young Harry Kane a chance to show what he can do. At least it would give us some variation in the style of play and maybe unsettle the opposition defence a bit

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    • Need Manu as an alternative, no question. Surely there’s a way for them to play together, even though they are similar as you say. The blend isn’t right. For once I’m glad of the international break. AVB needs a rest and good long think.

      But we’ll be back for the next one.

      regards, Alan

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  8. Excellent post and hard to disagree with anything, Alan. But if we’re going to play the high line we need to be pressing the opposition more effectively. You’re right that Barca shouldn’t be the default referral, but another thing that made them the best club team around wasn’t just their ‘possession with a thousand cuts’, it was their instant desire to swarm around the opposition upfield and press them hard to get the ball back, whenever they ‘briefly’ lost it.
    OK. Positives …Sandro and Eriksen (yes, he tired but was impressive and showed us the creativity that we’ve been missing lately).
    No problems with our defense. We are going to let in goals occasionally ..but the answer is to simply ‘score more goals than the opposition’ as some great manager once said. Townsend is going to have to show more ‘deceptive’ pace and imagination if he wants to be another ‘Bale’, although why couldn’t we capitalise (elsewhere on the pitch) with him being hunted or surrounded by two or three defenders whenever he received the ball wide? Sig, I agree? Why is AVB persisting with him on the wing? He’s scored some vital goals this term, but in terms of overall contribution, influence and assisting the team’s domination, leading ultimately to the victories we need in important matches, he’s a bit like Defoe (ie streaky and too often ineffectual).
    I’ve been a big worrier re Lamela, but, after his Sheriff performance, it may be time now to bring him fully into the PL frame.
    The frightening thing is our imbalance, something that Bale managed to cover for us last term. All that money spent and no balance! Rose has been a big loss in recent games because his and Walker’s pace will always help Lennon/Lamela/Townsend (or whoever’s wide up front). Soldado? Is he currently the wrong striker for us? I’m certain he would have been the best choice a few years back when Modric ran things centrally, and Bale/Lennon created havoc on the wings, but we play differently now with two DMs instead of one, inverted wingers, a higher line, and the opposition sussing us through our slow and ponderous ‘possession play’ build up. We need a striker who, instead of just waiting to be fed, goes hunting for his meals!
    Or, I agree here too, bring Ade back to help out! What have we got to lose?
    Finally, there is no doubt that AVB has been outsmarted by the managers of lesser teams this season ..or should I say teams that have had ‘lesser’ players, but who responded effectively to the way their team was instructed (or ‘managed’) to play against better opposition. AVB showed signs of his inflexibility and procrastination early in the 2nd half against Chelsea. He showed it against Arsenal as they let us come onto them ‘slowly’ in search of an equaliser (like George Foreman’s ‘mummy’ that Ali so accurately described in their fight) while keeping us easily at bay and launching the odd effective counter attack. And he has showed that inflexibility on too many occasions since.
    AVB has a plan that he wants to work and persist with. That’s fine,, and hopefully it will all eventually fall into place for us ..but surely he needs also to know just how to adapt to how the other team is set up, and not be afraid to alter things early in a match, rather than when it’s too late!

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    • Right about the pressing. think with Chiriches injury AVB was right to show some caution with changes – careful with subs – but Sandro made a huge difference. His presence and force propelled the team on.

      Big call to leave out Townsend but I would put him on the bench. More craft and energy, more movement, more interplay. I’d try it.

      regards, Alan

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  9. Good article again Alan.
    Yes the stats,the stats and the stats and you know the stats are not always indicative of the game.
    Krul was good.Better than good. But our shots had no edge.No soul,no power,no will.
    We didnt look like we really wanted to score.We looked like we wanted to try to score.Suarez never tries.He does.He doesnt know from trying.He just does.
    We try.

    There is no way we are in sync with what would be a winning team. The system itself may be choking our best creativity.Eriksen was great in his first game showed amazing touches but has become the others. Soldado has become the others.The only one thats not the others is Sandro who rises above it,who plays his own game to his own soul. I think the system itself is killing our team.
    I think its killing organic creativity and killing possibly the exceptional.

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  10. I think that Soldado has great touches,you can see that talent but is obviously having a difficult time getting open.
    He is better off coming towards the creative midfielder even pulling out the CB with him to create space for others and mixing it upin where he is looking for space.If there is no space its best you look for it but with an eye to understand that the creative players around you can get the ball to you as well.

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  11. Alan, nice post. But 4-5-4-5 in the last 4 seasons. This season, while not yet out of first gear with all the “continental” changes, yet only IP off a CL position, in QF of LC, into KO round of EL (I personally want to see that big old trophy back in our cabinet)…and I just realized that “moaning and groaning” is our default position. It was like this with Jol/’Arry/now AVB — there are polls on wanting him out already. FFS, give him 3 seasons, then if he fails us — then we go back to what we know best! Moan, groan, and a fine whine! COYS! PS Still summer out here on the Left Coast, Alan, helps assuage the pain of being a Spurs fan listening to the banshee cries of the new bandwagon jumpers!

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    • The Boy Hotspur had a joke poll.84% want AVB to stay.Lots of complaints and I would agree during Jol’s and Harry’s time.Thi is good it means we expect more.
      The club sells itself as a big club because of the great legacy or Push and Run and then the Great Double team.
      Nicholson’s and Danny’s words adorn WHL. Greatness is expected. Thats not bad.
      The manager complained about the fans,so what? they are allowed to react the way they are allowed to react.
      You know those South American commentators that shout ‘Goooooooooaaaaaaaalllll’ well they would have nothing to shout about at Tottenham this season so how do you expect the great fans we have to shout…and yet they still do.
      I still think AVB can do it but he isnt up to now. This quality is not good enough but maybe it will be.I saw today a statistic that we have one through ball on average per game,that everything virtually is going through the wings.This is Tottenham football??
      John White would turn over in his grave.

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      • Ron, I appreciate the veteran fans who supported the team in 50s and early 60s — I came in just after that. So I haven’t seen greatness as a Spurs fan — the closest thing was about 30 years ago in early 80s with Hoddle, Ardiles, Villa, Roberts. But 3 cups in last 30 years doesn’t lay the foundation for any fan who came after the time you wax nostalgic about. ‘Arry’s team showed glimpses of it but he took his eye off the wheel. I sense we are so close to achieving something good, maybe even great — and I haven’t seen it in my lifetime as a Spurs fan — if we don’t flinch. I have worked directly with pro sports players all my writing life — one who plays for a first place NFL team told me his team’s philosophy in a nutshell: “If we stick together when things are not going our way, keep to the plan, don’t flinch and keep going, good things will happen.” And make Sandro the Beast captain — COYMFS!

        Read more: http://www.mademan.com/huntin-for-ravens-browns-and-bucks/#ixzz2kYXbazfz

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        • I actually have lived in Canada for many years but have always followed my wonderful Spurs. I want to see great footie and want to see us win. But as to AVB I havent made up my mind.He is young but he might just learn and get the team to evolve as time goes on but Tottenham fans are hungry for success.We all talk about the CL and becoming contendahs but in our second season even getting ahead of our rivals,like the arse would still be consider a success.It looked until the over the hill looking Wenger and his le miserables that looked a bit done too until Wenger turned over the Ozil card.It was Edward G Robinson in the Cincinatti Kid trumping Steve McQueen. Ozil after we bought 7 stars.He buys a player than glues his team together and now look.
          Have a read of this….the bit about if it was a few goals the other way…

          ‘Tottenham Hotspur find themselves seventh in the table, five points behind rivals Arsenal, having scored just nine goals in 11 matches. They’ve scored more goals than only bottom and second-bottom sides Crystal Palace and Sunderland. Spurs have been blanked twice, and only superior defense has kept them out of the bottom half of the table.
          If it weren’t for Hugo Lloris, the Lilywhites would be in the relegation zone. Literally. Give each Premier League opponent that Tottenham blanked just a single goal, and Spurs drop 11 points and find themselves third from bottom on just nine’ from this site…..

          http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1848081-tottenham-hotspurs-troubles-show-no-sign-of-stopping

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          • Ron, I disagreee with that article – written by someone who represents the kneejerk negativity Ashley and I don’t like. There’s more to football than stats. You ge that on Bleacher Report – it helps to get published if you have a shock point.

            Last season there were times when Wener got more praise from Spurs fans, including me, who could put his achievements into perspective, mixed with a large dollop of envy, than from whinging Ars**l supporters tired of only finishing in the top 4 and taking aprt in the CL every year… Their achievements show the value of a well-coached settled squad familiar with each other and the system. And while I am about it, their system is precisely the quick pass and move, little running with the ball, with a central pivot that Spurs crave.

            Regards, Alan

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            • Wenger was the most frustrating Arsenal figure for me because he changed my whole perspective of them.
              He brought a facismile of the Tottenham way to Highbury. For years they kept the label of boring and we all laughed and he changed that perception for all time.
              At times we were glad to see great passing with them but no end product. Does that sound familiar?
              But….then there were the henry’s and Fabregas’s that made it happen.We are now waiting for ours.
              Im not anti AVB but there is a feeling creeping into the psyche that AVB has no idea how to unlock this basic problem of not getting a flow and not getting one that ends up with a good ending.Its a strain. The players look strained.AVB looks strained.
              He hasnt created a flow.Its a hodge podge of trying to get an end product with little in the way of some consistency the way we are doing things from the half way line on up.
              Its in this instance that Bale took over.So now with the same problem we look to anyone but usually those that are not playing to messiah us out of this.
              Ade,Lamela anyone…please…..

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    • Ashley, I agree he needs time. Completely against the kneejerk stuff that’s floating around. Can’t deny things are not going as smoothly as he hoped. I am disappointed because the potential is there for all to see but then again I did not have inflated expectations for the season. Didn’t expect us to be in the top four at this point, for example. However, as the article says, there are a few things that he has tried but they are not working.

      regards, Al

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  12. Credit to you for highlighting the deficiencies. It’s not easy to criticize a team that is accumulating points despite underperforming in several positions. When you think about it we are doing OK for a team of ten men! Soldado is nullified for 80 per cent of each match, either through his slow learning curve but also the style of play he is trying to adapt to. We are getting very close to the unhealthy position of an expensive signing being played because of his price tag and not his contributions. I think it was Shankly who said that he would wait 12 games into the season to see which teams would be challenging because where they are in November/December is generally the place they’ll end up at the end of the season. On current results and tactics we look equipped to scrap it out for fifth place. Again. Watching a re-run of the game confirms what you point out – that some of the team lack conviction in the places where it matters. Erikson should have buried his chance instead of attempting to pretty sidefoot it past Krul. Soldado missed his close range header when one on one in the second half. I don’t think Benteke would have had second thoughts about banging either chance into the back of the net. We can move the ball quite effectively to the edge of the opposing penalty area but tool about trying to place the killer pass to limited bodies in front of goal. All said and done the run up to Christmas will test our nerve and our faith in AV-B. If he can stay in the mix into the New Year it should give him the time to find his best combo for the home stretch. A new striker (Benteke?) would sharpen us up and give us alternatives to Defoe as our only viable option.

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    • A lot to agree with there, David. At times we have been crying out for a big, decisive centre forward. My niggle comes from the fact that presumeably AVB knew what he was getting when he bought Soldado and thought he knew how to get the team playing to his strengths. Now that is not working at the moment – agree with your timscales before we have a proper assessment. If those niggles continue, it implies AVB can’t coach the players in his chosen system, or has the wrong players to fit the system, or has chosen the wrong system. If any of those are true, then we do have a longer-term problem.

      Regards, Alan

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  13. Excellent article. Need to visit this site more as it’s very well written! Highlighted our problems very well. I think we definitely need to start playing players in their strongest position. Play wingers on the correct side, and start trying to open up defences. Apparently Spurs haven’t completed a single through ball away from home, and very few at home. All this despite having the highest number of passes and pass % completion rate. Clearly too many balls sideways and backwards without enough creativity. overall though our possession and defence have been very good (very unlike Spurs!) We have a very solid base to build from. If we can attack like we did in 2nd half against Newcastle we’ll win many games. It’s ot the doom and gloom some critics make it out be – we’re 3 points better off than last season!

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