Spurs Win Ugly. At Times This Was Downright Revolting

If winning ugly is a sign of a successful team, this was the Elephant Man of victories. Spurs v Everton should never have come out in daylight. Rather, the game is destined to slip furtively through the back alleys of north London largely covered in a hessian sack for fear of scaring the onlookers.

Nature and adventure. That’s the way to go. Something different. Exciting, innovative, all round White Hart Lane. On the advertising boards, of course. None of that on the pitch. It was that sort of first half, plenty of time to read the ads. One from Spurs encouraged us to ‘Join the conversation’ – nothing much to talk about. ‘What would you like to remember?’ begins the prompt on my note-taking app. About the first half, frankly nothing.

I’m grateful for the three points, I really am, don’t get me wrong, but my giddy aunt large parts of that game were the worst we have played since I don’t know when. Disjointed and devoid of both ideas and energy, we created very little in the way of passing moves in the first half, let alone chances.

Everton had the better of the opening period, Osman missing with two or three decent efforts from the edge of the box and Lloris making one top class save, full-length to his left. We gradually came back into it without making much of an impression on the Toffee’s well-marshalled defence. Eriksen shot over from a long-range free-kick and Adebayor stretched in vain pursuit of Rose’s one decent cross of the game.

Rose was holding his back even in the warm-up and looked sluggish throughout. Eriksen was peripheral, Lennon anonymous, carrying on from where he left off last week. I hope Paulinho is feeling his way back to full-fitness after his injury because if not, he must be mightily hacked off about something. Only Dembele provided any drive or impetus. A rock on the ball, defenders bounced off him as he went he forward but he had precious little help from his team-mates. He should have tried a shot or two.

Bentaleb kept moving across in front of the back four, tidying up and making himself available, his distribution a mixture of the accurate and misplaced but he was not alone in giving the ball away. A plastic kebab box blew across the pitch as half-time approached. Guess the defenders had the time to tuck in. It was so quiet at times, I could hear Sherwood shouting on the other side of the pitch. My highlight thus far was queuing for the toilet at half-time.

After the break Spurs emerged with a bit more purpose and bounce, though everything in this game is relative. We weren’t really getting anywhere but there were a few oohs and ahhs from the crowd, although by then winning a thrown-in might have led to a lap of honour.

The match was won with a moment of high-class football utterly out of keeping with the rest of the performance because it involved a) quick thinking, b) a pinpoint pass and c) a shot on target. Dembele toppled over in centre midfield. While everyone waited for him to pick himself up, Walker hit an early diagonal ball 40 yards onto Abebayor’s chest. Everything about what followed was perfect – a finely timed run to avoid offside and get a precious yard on the defenders, his impeccable control, his strength to hold off two defenders and above all a blinding left-foot shot that flew low to the near post. My whingeing about this game should not detract from Manu’s cracking finish, thrilling with the co-ordination and flow of a striker at his peak.

And that was pretty much that. The goal was our first shot on target. Stats show we had another one but I can’t recall it. Sherwood used his subs well, Capoue coming on to shore up the defence as Everton pressed and the bold move of Defoe and Townsend to distract Everton at the other end. Andros ended up shooting against defenders’ legs from a foot and neglecting his defensive duties as Coleman overlapped but the danger passed. Capoue came across to help but nearly undid his work by making one rash tackle, on Coleman in the box, but the ref said ‘no penalty’. We played out time without too much bother.

A few things to take from this one. People are still talking about Sherwood’s 4-4-2 when he has often varied his formation. This was 4-5-1 to match up with Everton. In the end, both sides cancelled each other out, which made for a dull game. Everton had no recognised striker and it really showed. Even so, their attitude was too cautious and they did not pressure us when it was clear we were not playing at all well.

Our main problem was the absence of movement when we got the ball. Time and again  we picked the ball up in midfield only to find everyone bar Adebayor standing still. We did not get enough players in front of the ball in those situations. One – Adebayor – is not enough. We have the players to do it, we have done it in away games to good effect, yet nothing yesterday and that could be down either to player lethargy or poor coaching.

Adebayor was our best player regardless of the goal. He kept working and was always available despite not getting any support from the midfield.

I’ve never done it myself but I could understand why many were tempted to drift away before the end. A shame though – they should have stayed to say farewell to Jermain Defoe, who wandered slowly around the pitch taking his applause from two-thirds empty stands. A mistake to let him go. He found himself a relic of a bygone age when the big man/little man combo reigned supreme. Sincere thanks for everything he’s done. I was sad to see him drift away like this and think he was sad too.

 

43 thoughts on “Spurs Win Ugly. At Times This Was Downright Revolting

  1. I’ve been critical of Defoe, but wish him all the best. It seems as if none of our English contingent are up to the job.

    The most worrying thing about now is that I don’t really care. At least going to games used to be fun.

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  2. Lets be honest here we were absolutely dire yesterday, its beyond me how we are only 3 points behind liverpool, who look to be in a different league to ourselves…. I keep saying to myself we will get better, we can get better but when.
    March will define our season the Arse, Chavs & Pool if we pick up points there 4th is on, but at the moment with the way we are playing i really can’t see it COYS !

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    • I thought we were awful in the first half especially. I mean really awful. Interesting to see that others agree. Said the same as you on the way home – I don’t know how we are where we are, but we are. Difference in this game was maybe as simple as having a striker in form and Everton didn’t.

      Regards, Alan

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  3. COYS! I agree it was completely ugly, but what a tremendously important win. Need to keep those Toffee off our back while Sherwood continues this turnaround. I enjoy your style and perspective. Can’t wait to see more recaps and insight.

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  4. Absolutely agree – we were very poor. I don’t think I’ve ever seen us so disorganised; it looked so schoolboy/amateur at times. Vertonghen smashing a clearance at Paulinho one of many examples. Dawson played well and I love his commitment but our defence looked so fragile at times that you can see why we shipped so many goals in some of the games this season. Our midfield, Moussa aside looked so lightweight and lacking imagination. Bentaleb’s undoubtedly a talent, but it’s probably time to take the pressure of him – certainly at least until The Beast is back to bolster things. Our only threat seemed to come from the full-backs on the break which is a pretty dire state of affairs at home.
    Still, as has been said, it’s a very good result, despite the woeful performance and we’re only 3 points off 4th, though God knows how..
    I don’t seem to be alone in feeling the general sense of antipathy/disillusionment with things at the club currently.

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    • Many supporters feel that disillusion. I’ve written about it recently, some positive feedback, sadly it has touched a nerve. Air of unreaility about the place, waiting for the summer when I strongly suspect more managerial decisions will be taken. Unreal air about this win too.

      Agree re Bentaleb – highly promising but I would not play him every week.

      Regards, Alan

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  5. Sherwood (Adebayor apart) seems to be reverting back to AVB’s mistakes at home this season …playing 2 or 3 midfielders who are not in the slightest bit creative, fast, or indeed able to slow up and dictate the tempo of the match. Hence the sluggish build-up from the back and lack of imagination in the final third yet again ..in the face of (in the first half especially) a pacy, high pressing and quick moving opponent. I know Everton are better than Hull, Newcastle, WBA, West Ham and Swansea etc. but it was like watching the same home game (win, draw or lose) ..Groundhog Day! No balance on the flanks ..I mean Sig and Chadli are static enough out there, but to put our only playmaker on the left was ridiculous ..no creativity centrally, and still no solid protection of the back four. Eriksen should have played inside (taking out Bentaleb altogether ..why is this promising but relatively ineffectual youngster still being persisted with?) with Townsend and Lennon operating the flanks ahead of our pacy full backs.
    You could see that there was no pattern in the final third at all for much of the game with just about everyone shifting positions (or as Harry said ‘running abaht) and as a result, simply misplacing or misreading passes. Lennon wandered aimlessly, Paulinho and Dembele took turns at playing further up (but mostly getting in the way rather than generating chances),
    Ade hunted for service to little avail, and so on. He, obviously, and Townsend’s 2nd half appearance can certainly be excused for differing reasons, as can the defense.
    The fact is, however, we are no nearer finding a balanced team out of this squad, and most of our defeats (especially the heavy ones) have shown up our lack of pace compared with the slicing quick attacks of whom we were playing. Pace at least made us very attractive over the past two or three years, and that must be our aim again now with Lennon/Townsend/Walker/Rose ..but for most of this season the lack of pace (and central creativity) in our side has held us back, despite our strong squad.
    3 points behind Liverpool but can anyone see us getting 4th ahead of that ‘fast and fully together’ team?? Especially with the home performances we keep turning out. .

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    • Thanks Chris. Lots of stuff around in social media about how AVB was too negative but like you, I see similar problems right now. Aimless and disorganised up front, Ade isolated, not enough support for the man on the ball and the biggest problem, the lack of movement when we got the ball and the associated failure to get men ahead of the ball. Still, we have the points so should not complain too much…

      Cheers, Al

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  6. The other shot was the scuff (at least I hope it was a scuff) that Defoe trickled toward Howard with two men waiting in the box. I felt almost embarrassed to watch that, we looked so disjointed, uncomfortable in our ten second spells of possession and utterly clueless when we got the ball up field. Did we connect with a single cross excluding the goal? And did any of Walker’s crosses clear the first man? I never thought I’d see the day that we became less attractive to watch that Chelsea, but Tim has proved me wrong. Dire…

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  7. This season has been the worse for a long time and on so many levels but ultimately I hold Levy and the board responsible.
    The constant hiring/firing of Managers while not really supporting them in the transfer market (we sell before we buy, support during January has cost us in the last three seasons) and the devious/underhand dealings just make us a laughing stock.
    When Redknapp said this is as good as it gets, we didn’t want to believe it but I now think he is absolutely right.

    As a result, this year has been the worse for atmosphere and sticking “COYS” after screen announcements of injury time and yesterday’s all time low of displaying tweets after Adebayor’s goal just says it all for me.

    Spurs will never be a major force while Levy is Chairman.

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    • Peter, sounds like you are a loyal fan so have every right to point out the chairman’s deficiencies. We’ve had some good times with him but I agree with what you are saying about the lack of a consistent buying policy and the chopping and changing of managers that means individuals thrive but we never complete the building of a team.

      Regards,

      Alan

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  8. Your having a laugh, try being at citeh on that drubbing, yesterday weren’t bad at all. Stop talking the team down, unless you liked the shit we played under Francis, gross et al.

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      • The same here but since 1970. If you feel hard done watching this then go and watch someone else.
        I support the team, even in tier two 1977/78, even when they’re not the finished article.
        Go and plead for sugar to comeback as owner , now that was shite (although he stop us going bankrupt ) you make me laugh.
        No wonder the arse support can take the piss with whiners like you whinging.

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  9. It must be time to draw a line under Lennon’s first team status, he has been dire for us for quite a while now, we need new options going forward. Our entire midfield looks devoid of ideas and can’t seemingly thread more than two passes together, on top of that there is no pace in our attacks (I excuse Dembele from this criticism). The only player who is playing really well is Adebayor, who lets face it we are relying heavily on and who is delivering (long may he do so). Oh well 3 points is 3 points I suppose. Rant over.

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    • Lennon looks lost over the past couple of weeks but before then he turned in a few good games. Looks out of form. Worth keeping. To me it’s less about him, or Andros, or any of them, and more about the blend. Problem with a winger is that they have to be jacks of all trades these days, Lennon works back better than Andros, passing touch not consistent enough but a handful if used well. he has the pace but we are not getting him on the ball.

      Rant accepted – know what you mean, I’m here to listen… cheers Alan

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  10. Man oh man you all bore me to tears!
    All this Levy/ENIC out after every game irrespective of result…seriously get a f*cking hobby, it’s incredulously boring. Fan or not we have absolutely no say whatsoever as to what happens on that football pitch or how the club is run.
    Like it or lump it. Put up or shut up.
    All you doom and gloom lot are a joke. If you don’t like it bugger off elsewhere, go support Chelsea or Woolwich, real Spurs fans will be glad to be rid of you. You’re a cancer eating away at the club. You’ve infected the atmosphere and made it toxic. You can try the easy way out and blame performances blah blah blah, we all know it’s a crock of sh!t. We’re not Barcelona, FACT. Like ALL teams we’re not going to play amazingly well every game, FACT. We’re adjusting to a whole new team, 7 new players having to bed in. It takes time, hiccups will occur, get over it!
    The fact that despite all of this, having to deal with you miserable lot choking the life out of the home games and an agenda to see Sherwood sacked and continue our manger merry-go-round, that we are still in with a very good shout of 4th place is a testament to the players and coaching staff. Irrespective of what you lot crowing “the end is nigh” say, we’re not having a terrible season at all. Sure performances could be better, but they could be a whole lot worse too.
    For the love of God please for one f*cking day try, just TRY and see the positive side of things.
    It’s infinitely more constructive and will help the players untold amounts.
    All this jumping on their backs after 5 minutes without a goal nonsense baffles the mind. Like any of you could do any better, should you be able to lift your obese bodies off the plastic seats…
    I love Spurs, always will. Unfortunately a lot of other people who call themselves “fans” of this club are nothing of the sort, just whiney joyless morons who seem to “waste” money on a team they don’t like so they can cry about it all week until the next game!
    Get out and stay out, no place for you at the Lane. From a Spurs SUPPORTER. COYS!!!

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    • well said Kurt – I have been reading the spurs media watch website for a long time now and it makes my blood boil to see
      so many negative comments. Do we really need so many sad gits supporting our club. I have never looked at any other
      club’s website but I cant image any of the clubs below us have as many moaners on their sites as we have. How many teams
      would love to be in our position? I have been supporting spurs for 70 years (I’m 77) and the past five or six years have been
      the most consistent I can remember. Sure we have had one or two seasons where we have had relative success. Its quite
      clear that we are on the up and seems to me the club is in good hands. They clearly want to maintain the progress we are
      making and have no intention of returning the the boom and bust years where we have one good season followed by
      mediocre one. I agree with you COYS and you sad sacks go and support someone else!!

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    • ‘Super fans’ such as yourself are the reason why Levy/Lewis will not stop taking the piss. You and your ilk should be the ones clearing off. For every fan that has had enough of being ripped off there are two of your ilk waiting in the wings to be buggered hard whilst happily clapping. Perhaps if there were less of you, things might change for the better. ENIC will walk away with millions, their legacy will be a club with no soul and a supermarket.

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  11. was not at the game Alan, but watched it on TV, and while I agree the performance was not great, the Palace home game was a lot worse , and, we by the Grace of God won that as well.
    Tim shows a lot of passion and I could clearly hear him screaming on TV, and kicking the water bottles so hard on the ground it splashed onto Martinez. He definately woke them up again for the 2nd half.

    We definately need to be playing with one defensive Midfielder,not 2, who must also be able to be more offensive as well, which Sandro is perfect for this role. Playing 2 defensive or holding midfielders will make us more static as we were under AVB.
    Now Andros is back, hopefully this will benefit Eriksen .
    Keep up the good work Alan

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    • In saying it was the worst I had seen for ages, I confess my subconscious had blocked out the opening minutes of the Palace game. But this was dire. I could hear Tim from my seat on the Shelf which says as much about the atmosphere as it does about him. To me it’s not so much numbers in midfield but the blend. Don’t think we have the right balance. Sandro is a first pick for me if he is (ever) fit. He and Paulinho work very well together, strong, flexible, let others play secure in the knowledge that there is cover.

      Eriksen was terrible – he relies on having someone to pass to, to repsond to his quick reactions and creativity, but there was nothing.

      Regards, Alan

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  12. Nice article. It seems it doesn’t matter who the manager is, home games are hard work. Reminded me a bit of Wigan last year when Martinez had his players press us till we could only pass back to the keeper. I agree, movement off the ball in midfield is what we’re missing.

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    • Although for once Martinez did not outsmart us with his tactics. He had the drop on AVB – completely agree with what you say about the Wigan game last season – but this time round he was far too cautious and ordinary.

      Cheers, Alan

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  13. I do enjoy your blogs Alan. But I do think we are getting what a lot of us deserve at the moment. First memories seem very short. We are all disappointed that we are only fifth, but through most of the nineties and then noughties we dreamt of finishing so high. The club has grown in stature without investment from a sugar day. And yet you and others criticise Levy. What did you want him to do differently. We all thought that avb was a good idea but it turned sour. I personally would have stuck with rather than go for Tim although he least been proved right with manu. But not much else has changed – we still keep edging games interspersed with thrashing and we now can’t call on Defoe or the excellent and hardworking holtby. But we are still close to Liverpool who will drop points because they don’t play so well in close games. Those who want a new chair man say exactly how they would have done things differently – very easy to be wise after the event.

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    • Cheers man.

      Appreciate what you say but don’t quite agree. I’m not disappointed about our league position – I’m amazed and delighted that we are where we are. At the start of the season I did not expect us to be in the top four. What I did expect, and I have written about this, was that we had a plan to be contenders, to play better than we are, to play better consistently and above all to fashion a team over a period of time with the decent players we have. Levy bears the responsibility of not enabling that to happen because he can’t pick the right manager. We have to compete by buying players who have their best years ahead of them, by and large. To me it’s not a question of their fees – Levy could have been bolder at times but broadly I agree with a policy of bringing talent on. Not from youth team to to first team as much as buying players with some experience who can reach their peak with us. Not even a question of selling – sad but no vehement objections to selling Luka, Berba and Bale because they had offers they could not refuse. I get that, but it is a mistake to have a buying policy where consistency and patience is imperative yet not put in place a manager who can bring that to fruition.

      Regards, Al

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  14. Everton played with no striker and yet somehow fashioned several shots on target in the opening minutes. It took us over an hour.

    I’m sure Jan’s favoured position IS centre back as it’s harder to do his team-mates’ jobs on the touchline.

    My only rationale for not taking Lennon off is that Sherwood forgot he picked him and didn’t see him sitting in Block 26 for the majority playing Flappy Birds.

    We were excruciatingly slow and ponderous, almost as if the players weren’t briefed by the management team on the best way to exploit Everton’s weak spots. It was a clueless performance once again decided by pure luck.

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  15. Winning ugly is probably OK for the rest of this season.
    But I trust in the summer we will sort out the manager situation, and let him re-jig the squad a bit – not 7 new players this summer, just buy a few and sell a few.

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    • Winning will do but I fear more defeats against the better teams. We are better set up for away matches right now where we can be effective on the break and keep possession. We are having trouble at home getting the ball forward and being consistently dangerous.

      Regards, Alan

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  16. I didnt see us as being dire or diabolical,just flat.
    It happens.It wasnt the worst.Tottenham hasnt been knows for exciting games in the longest time,just some exciting moments and we had 2 in this one with the Lloris save and the Ade goal.Everything else was very forgettable.
    But to go to a game,spend that money,it takes almost a day of your life,and half of your dosh and get mediocre.Id rather watch it on the television and turn off the bastards.
    Im happy I live in Canada where there will be only Jermaine Defoe to shout at

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    • Of course, JD on his way to you. Let us know how he gets on. Surely bags of goals.

      You’re right about the money but I’m still the mug who feels that being there is where I want to be.

      Cheers, Alan

      Like

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