It’s Three Point Tim! Spurs Win Again In End Of Season Stodge

Once again Spurs have waded through a stodgy game and come away with three points without playing well. Let’s enjoy it. Not the football itself – flashes of brilliance from Eriksen, Adebayor and Chadli stood out because they were so rare in a staggeringly ordinary match. But we’re winning so let’s freewheel to the end of the season, whistling a happy tune.

Not much happiness at the Britannia, oh dear me no. Both teams struggled to get going, working hard but lacking cohesion. I checked my stream – thought it must be running slow but that was just the players trudging through treacle. Then in a flash of inspiration, Adebayor touched the ball past the defender and Danny Rose, um, rose at the far post to decisively head home his inviting cross. Shouldn’t have been so far forward – disgraceful!

Then Rose was victim in an incident that exposes another element of watching Premier League football these days. Prem fans are cosseted and privileged yet apparently carry a massive sense of simmering injustice. Fans of many clubs seem to think their players (Spurs are like this sometimes too) are never in the wrong. It’s always the opposition and the ref, usually both. It’s part of the culture of criticism that has enveloped the modern game. The real game, watching in the flesh, is faster than ever but not on television where everything is slowed down and analysed into oblivion. Refs make mistakes. Players go over the top. Players dive. But they don’t always do that. Nevertheless there’s now an element of doubt in every tackle, every time a player touches another.

Late in the first half, Shawcross went in high on Rose. The ball was bouncing a foot or so off the ground. Both players were entitled to go for it. Rose got there first, Shawcross was late. He was rightly booked but because he had been yellow-carded already, he was sent off. Ref completely right.

Cue Stoke apoplexy and Spurs ineptitude. Not a hint of blame for a defender’s daft challenge? Not a jot. I think Rose, my player, was extremely stupid with what he did next. Not a question of bias. He stupidly pushed a defender in the chest having been cynically late-tackled. Ref booked him. I’ve not seen a player dismissed this season for raising his hands to chest height. Head height is different. Players often push each other and get booked. Ref was right but in this case Rose was foolish as he had been successfully wound up by Stoke players and crowd.

Now a liability, Rose was rightly substituted by Sherwood. I can’t be arsed to listen to either manager post-match but as Hughes is in a state of permanent indignation, I guess there was no room for doubt in his mind.

Stoke with 10 men were a far more formidable proposition than Stoke with 11. At least, they were because of our reaction. It’s a measure of our fragile collective team psyche and lack of on-field leadership that we played poorly from this point onwards, until the final minutes when finally we grasped the fact that if we hold on to the ball and don’t constantly give it away, we might hang on for the points. We sat back, looked dismal in possession and generally waited for Stoke to score.

Obligingly they missed the chances they made. Lloris was admirably solid, a tonic as gaps opened up in front of him. Dawson and Kaboul helped out with a couple of finely timed interventions. Hughes did the right thing in boldly attacking when he went to three up front but his forwards let him down.

Last week I severely criticised Nacer Chadli’s lack of application and effort. So it is only fair that I compliment him this week because at last he realised that his central midfield role involves working back as well as starring on the ball. He overcame a niggling knee problem and often appeared in between the two centre backs to help out at the back. Credit where it is due – well played sir.

At the end we could have had another – Kaboul irresponsibly charged upfield – if only we knew where the keys to that bus are, if only – but in the event his cross could have been turned in by Kane, while Paulinho, who was poor throughout, missed another opportunity.

Sherwood can’t find the bus either so we’re unable to park it even if we want to. We could have done with some solidity at the back but we turned out winners in a forgettable end of season stodge memorable only for the reaction to two bookings. See – I’ve reached the end without mentioning Charlie Adam.

28 thoughts on “It’s Three Point Tim! Spurs Win Again In End Of Season Stodge

  1. Ironic that we could (for only the second time, and in succession) end up with 70 or more points in a PL season ..and yet still finish outside the top four. In over 90% of cases, since the advent of the PL, 70 or more points has meant top four was assured. Oh well. Just another reminder of all the things that MIGHT have been in recent seasons (we had 69 points the season before last when we DID finish top four, should have finished 3rd, and lost out anyway to Chelsea’s CL exploits). In most ways this season wasn’t a cruel near-miss like recent seasons, however, because then we harbored hope and even expectation right through to the final day. We really lost it (hope I mean, but have played OK with little pressure on us since) when Arsenal beat us at the Lane a while back. That was the game we needed to win to keep faint CL hope alive ..but again, our great rivals stuffed our dreams up our backsides for the 3rd season running. However, it’s not really them, and never has been. They were just always there like some bloody great vulture standing over our corpse. It’s US (our ownership, our management, our focus, our decisions, lost opportunities and even our players’ attitudes) that have wasted potentially great times over these past 3 or 4 years. So forgive me for not being excited as the recent wins and the comeback draws take us through to (perhaps) yet another 5th, but more likely 6th. This season showed us much earlier than usual that we were not going to be a top four side, and the performances against those teams that are, still make me shudder with shame and embarrassment!

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  2. Actually….it is down to Arsenal. Getting beaten twice in the League is a 12 point swing and they are in the Cup Final after our turgid display in Round 3. They are as crap as we are when it comes to playing good teams. So we played them for 4th and lost.

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    • Arsenal is the ‘excuse’, and the horrible coincidence (or is it that?) that it’s them who’ve got firmly under our skin in recent years, Gary. But the ‘reasons’ for not fulfilling our own destiny as we should have, go far deeper, and honestly lay with us alone.

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      • Of course you’re right about deeper problems. The point I was making is that they are similar to Arsenals (ineffective top management, no discernible or coherent transfer policy, mentally frail players lacking leadership and enough ability to beat average teams but soft enough when up against the best). So…..all things being equal, what separates us from them are our results against them this season. From 4th to 7th in the League, all 4 teams could have finished in any of those positions and all 4 are a few light years (or £50m to £100m wisely spent) away at present from the top 3.

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        • Interesting re Arsenal both. Good points abound. As Gary says, I agree and have written about how we are much closer to them than we would wish to acknowledge but they have an edge when it comes down to it and have done for many years.

          Also think there is a gap between the top three and a few clubs including us with the rest much of a muchness.

          regards Alan

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  3. Alan, there’s a term fans chant over here in American sports — like, Go, Leafs, Go! — but witty wags like to change it up a little when their big money club misses the playoffs and chant, Golf, Leafs, Golf…or in our instance, Golf, Spurs, Golf! So that’s what I felt watching the game, thinking the players may also harbor dreams of again carousing around on Mr. Lewis’ rather large yacht like last off season (when Bale was still with us!). And then I had another of many scary thoughts. What if we win next two games, equal best points tally ever, but guys like LVG still don’t want to come to Spurs, and we’re left with Europa League again, and wait for it…Tim-foolery (he sure likes the sound of his own voice and citing his own partial season accomplishments) as our last option? What will we be chanting then, No, Spurs, No! 😉

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      • Erhh, I’m not American, Kev, I’m originally from Newport and have been a Spurs fan a lot longer than you have…so I’m figuring irony doesn’t play your way, but unwitty, trolling replies do! Good on ya, laddie! 😉

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        • I’m keeping up with you, Ashley. Equal points but football people don’t want to come because they don’t see us as an attractive proposition. Also, LVG not necessarily the best option regardless of whether he wants to come or not because he’s not likely to hang around. We need some continuity.

          Go Ashley Go!

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          • Alan, that cracked me up, cheers mate! RDB is saying a lot of positive things about us as a club “a sleeping giant” etc — if Eriksen, one of our leading lights going forward, Lloris and Verts (possibly also Chadli/Dembele) want to play for him, then that makes his choice even better. He said he’d consider it after May 3 — I had a dream, well a little one, that RDB will be in place for last home game, give us a wave, so ENIC can assuage our disappointment, and point forward to another “dawn” false or otherwise! COYS! We’re (LA Spurs) having a huge morning get together for last game at the Kings Head in SF Valley — Brits and Yanks, alike! 😉

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  4. We could end up with the same record 72 points as last season playing poorly, without our star man Bale .
    Last season we got 9 points from the top 4, this season 1 point from the top 4(Chelsea), which shows we are beating the lower teams, and lost/drew more last season against the lower teams.

    It always baffles me that we are always one star player away from a top 4 finish. Last 2 seasons all we needed was a proven goal scorer alongside Bale and top 4 was ours.
    This season no Bale and no like for like replacement, except players either needing time to gel or low on confidence.
    Just hope the 7 amigos (if they stay)come good next season and we do a Liverpool like this season.
    Keep up the good work Alan.

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    • We’ve been one or two players short from competing for a long time now. It’s like a leaky bucket that as soon as the leaks are plugged, one or two new holes appear. Call me a cynic, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence. Teams that can compete at the highest level cost money, more money than CL football earns. ENIC are happy to keep us in a state of purgatory, hinting at heaven, but never opening the gates. That’s not say we should spend beyond our means, especially if FFP is ever properly enforced and God forbid we ever ‘do a Leeds’ that the Levy apologists are so terrified of, but it’s time for ENIC to either admit that we can’t compete with the mega rich and price the tickets accordingly or start delivering trophies. The fake ambition and false hope which they use to justify charging the second highest prices in football is wearing a bit thin.

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    • Sherwood’s record so far has illustrated that. Wins against poor teams unable to take enough of the chances that came their way while we can always score something, heavy defeats versus the teams above us bar Everton.

      Cheers, Alan

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    • Agreed, never felt so deflated after a win. As Alan alludes to, if we’d been up against a side who could finish, it would have been ugly. If not Van Gaal, I’d like to see De Boer or another of the Dutch heavyweights at the helm next season.

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  5. Winning ugly!! Better to win ugly than lose playing pretty football.
    There are so many good players in our club and all is needed is a goal scoring forward and a couple of good defenders.( A new manager to gel them together!!!!). Maybe next year. We can always dream. COYS

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  6. Sorry fellows but when we were churning out dismal dross under avb,it was at least we are winning ugly,csoring about 1 goal a game ,well we are still winning ugly but scoring adamn site more goals.Next season when Tims sorted the team out and gets them playing well,anythings possible

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  7. For me its the quality.I really liked the way we put the ball about under AVB but only in the middle third.The first third and last third were horrendously inept. But the second third,thats where we looked like we had an identity.BarcaBrazil like.Its that we had something.Not much but something.
    And i hated the way AVB managed us.But itw as something.
    Now its what exactly?
    I mean it like getting an animal from a university to pick stocks or horses.Often its better than an actual human doing it.
    This is the way I see the Trial and Error of Sherwood.
    We are a club that bought an inconceivable amount of midfielders and left us totally out of whack with positioning especially when we had a injury or two.and lacked a left back or a CB. But this non system that Sherwood has,is what exactly?
    It gives you real hope for the future.
    I mean so many teams actually have a plan and play some wonderful coherent footie (ok at times I agree) and we have ‘well Ill have a go at this or that’ Its beyond my comrehesion how we have done what I have done.
    I know the Red Sea did open up and swallowed up all the Egyptians but most of the time you flip a coin in the air and it comes back down again…oh yes 365 days per year it does that.
    So how does bloke forges wins beats me. I guess you get a few half decent players.You dont screw them up with blueprints to victory but ask their best selves to come forward.Its not rocket science and you get them to run.
    Ok its not Brazil,or Spain but sometimes one goes in.The problem is I cant get that excited.

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  8. Hi Alan.

    Another accurate summary. We won ugly but we won. It is still remotely feasible that we could get 4th spot, which is nuts but there you go.

    And we do currently sit 4th in the form table.

    You know what, now that van Gaal is going to Utd and having read this week that there is serious talk of Moyes coming to Spurs, why not give Sherwood the job. Especially if we win the next couple of games.

    Whoever comes in it’ll be a car crash in the end and he’ll be gone in 18 months. Why not stick with Sherwood? Would rather him than Moyes or some other poor sod who we’ll chew up and spit out.

    Keep up the good work – and thanks for your writing. It is a delight to read.

    Regards….

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    • Very kind.

      I am not as convinced about Sherwood as you, I’m afraid. I see little evidence that he is able to organise a team well, esepcially when we don’t have the ball. he enables attacking players to combine well and to extemporise. He is learning but as I’ve said from the beginning, I would have preferred it if he practised management somehwere else rather than at a side with top four ambitions.

      Think he will do well at another club if he’s given time to build a side in his image.

      Regards, Al

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      • Hi Alan

        Thank you for replying.

        My comment was less about faith in TS and more about the apparently seriously possibility of Moyes being appointed.

        Also after the shenanigans of this season I’m finding it hard to believe in a ‘project’ led by a funky European manager like de Boer. Enough evidence now to show that Daniel Levy just can’t support such a project through the difficult times. FDB will likely go the way of AVB.

        The ideal scenario is that he does. I doubt he will hence my grudging support for Tim. I’m kind of warming to him. Maybe it’s Stockholm syndrome. It gallows humour.

        Best wishes as always

        Russ

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  9. It is strange how Tim keeps picking up points with such disappointing performances. It’s worrying how a small minority indignantly cite his points total as some kind of proof that he’s the greatest manager we’ve had. I hope nobody takes them seriously.

    The only excitement was the Danny Rose incident. Stoke’s manager, players and supporters all behaved disgracefully as far as I’m concerned – hounding him off the pitch for the temerity to get kicked up in the air. I got an interesting comment or two from Stoke fans after one of them found my match report.

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    • I tend not to let this sort of incident dominate my match reports but as you say, the vehemence of the reaction went way over the admirable passion that Stoke fans are known for. I know it’s different watching at home but can’t recall a player who has only been booked and has been badly fouled twice having to be escorted to the dressing room when subbed for his own safety.

      Best, Alan

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