Dozy Spurs Hang On For A Point Against Palace.

Three-quarters of the way through Spurs’ undistinguished draw with Palace, the mood on the Shelf turned ugly. Having handed back the initiative to our visitors, Tottenham were dealing with a fusillade of attacks, badly. I can’t recall exactly which one provoked the outburst – one of many saves by Lloris, not the shot that hit the post and bar before rebounding out, probably yet another shot just over that should have been on target. Spontaneously hundreds rose as one in uncomprehending fury – how could we fall apart so easily?

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Poch stifles a yawn

The Shelf loyalists are dedicated, committed Spurs supporters – if you drew a circle with a radius of ten seats around my spot, we’re the newcomers and we’ve been there for nearly ten years now. These people are it for the long haul. Never mind the bogus drowning-out of boos or social media whingeing, this is real anger and frustration from supporters who care. How could we make it so easy?

I’m sure it was repeated elsewhere in the ground – the players left the pitch to a chorus of boos. It’s not so much the result, certainly not inflated expectations. In fact, we were lucky to come away with a point. After all, these fans have seen enough disappointment and missed opportunities over the years. It’s that once again, we made few chances, failed to play together as a team and above all have apparently learned nothing since the start of the season. All the progress made in the Everton match long forgotten.

The crowd also called long and loud for Aaron Lennon, who was keeping his new haircut immaculate on the bench. Party this was affection for a player who has recently reminded us that he still has a role to play at Spurs. Mainly though it was tactics. As the game went on, Spurs has become bogged down in a central midfield morass. I suspect that beneath the turf at White Hart Lane there is some mysterious force-field generator impossible to resist that sucks our men into the middle, where if they don’t run into a defender they will surely bump into each other. Flicky this, clever touch there, may beat one or two but eventually Palace swallowed up each and every attack without being seriously stretched.

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A rare shot

Against Everton, we shone with a right-footed player wide right. Yesterday, the inverted wingers achieved nothing. Azza is no world-beater but at the very least would have given us some width. One substitution put Chadli on the left where in Davies we have a good attacking full-back, Dier on the right not so much. Still no width therefore. Lennon came on finally with less than 10 minutes to go and did not have a run at his full-back. And they say the fans don’t understand the game like professionals. When this happens, frankly we don’t understand it at all.

The signs were ominous from the start as Fazio and Vertonghen occupied the first ten minutes by passing to each other. The whistle should have been our alarm call. Instead we reached over and hit the snooze button. The 3 o’clock start, unheard of these days,was confusing – what time train do I have to get? – but you would expect the players to be ready. Less high-tempo, more sleep-walking.

Credit at this point to Palace. With two forwards wide they forced us into the middle and were quick and dangerous on the break. More than capable of dealing with us, Warnock is a manager whose admirers say he has no tactical nouse. I’ll leave you to ponder the implications.

We did little constructive to find a way through and nothing to get going early on although we did buck up after the break, bearing in mind that yesterday everything was relative, and took the game to our opponents without ever looking especially dangerous.

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At least the kids enjoyed it. And Chirpy.

Palace meanwhile always posed a threat on the break but missed several chances. They also came up against our only class player, Hugo Lloris, on impeccable form. As if trying to make up for his errors against Chelsea, he kept Palace at bay with a series of outstanding saves to add to flypaper handling.

Despite it all, we did make some chances. Three good ones fell to Soldado, none were on target. The worst was in the second half, slicing wide after he was bang on to score from a sly little through ball into his stride. Eriksen made a couple of openings, the best coming early when Spurs finally woke up a bit. He cheekily nutmegged the defender on the byline and shot when three white shirts awaited the pull-back.

As I say, Spurs were better (not good but better) after the break then after Palace realised they could contain us, we nearly succumbed to ten minutes of sustained attack to which we had no answer and the midfield were all over the place. The afternoon was summed up by a vignette in front of the Park Lane when Eriksen did well to prevent a corner, short pass to Dier who then passed it into touch – for a corner.

Some promising signs from Fazio and Davies, both of whom had their best games for the club. Fazio was especially strong in the box and at the near post, moving with confidence to the ball to deal with danger. Davies deserves an extended run. I like his appetite for the ball, berating team-mates for not passing to him and hitting early balls with confidence when he moves forward. One such cross after a fine ball from Lamela gave Soldado an opportunity.

Sadly the phrase ‘fine ball from Lamela’ applied only to that moment. When he’s tackled, as he so often is, he always looks surprised. What’s Spanish for ‘how did that happen?’ Soldado will know… Lamela should have got used to the PL by now. Twice yesterday he burst clear with the ball, looked up only to be tackled from behind. That’s the PL and he’s got to learn.

Otherwise, Kane and Mason were industrious but quiet. Bentaleb at least tried to move the ball forward late on when playing the deepest of the midfield. He attempted to get something moving even if he wasn’t always successful.  The sage fellow supporter to my right pointed out his fair impression of the Parker pirouette, twirling in midfield without getting anywhere. A fair point, and like Parker he depends on having someone to pass to. Our collective failure meant so often he was disappointed, as were we in the stands. Progress, such as it was, stalled, or perhaps a figment of the imagination.

 

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33 thoughts on “Dozy Spurs Hang On For A Point Against Palace.

  1. I was thinking the sames about the boos. Sadly, over the years I have heard plenty of booing at half and full time but I can’t remember ever hearing them during a game before. Many people around me in East Lower towards the North Stand were annoyed by the booing, but were more annoyed by how lame we were.

    It comes to something when we are lucky to come away from a home game to Palace with a point. Hugo kept us in the game with some fine saves He is our only world class player and I’m glad to see him captain. Hope this is permanent. His calm professionalism is or should be an inspiration to the rest of the squad.

    Other highlights are Fazio and Ben Davies. Both are pointers to the future. For a big, powerful defender Fazio has some impressive ball-playing skills. He had a shaky start but if he is given an extended run in the side alongside Vertonghen he should become a key player.

    Otherwise we were pretty awful. How many hours of my life am I spending watching Spurs endlessly play the ball in, around and across midfield until, unable to see a way forward, the ball ends up with Hugo. Most of the frustration I hear among the fans is people shouting ‘forwards’ or getting out of their seats and gesturing towards the away team’s goal.

    I’m pretty sure Kyle Naughton heard me last year at home to Cardiff. I was sitting in the front row and he picked up the ball and turned to face Hugo, ready to pass back. ‘Move forward with the f…… thing,’ I screamed jumping out of my seat. If looks could kill. Sorry Kyle.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the game against Everton. Not just because we won, but because of the atmosphere and the way we played. Yesterday was a long way from enjoyable. After 10 minutes the guy sitting next to me and I agreed it was going to be a plodding 0-0 (if we were lucky.) Turgid unimaginative crap. Expensive crap, too.

    Was worried yesterday that Lennon didn’t come on until the 82nd minute. This was a game crying out for speed and width which, for all his limitations, Azza gives us.

    Outplayed by a Neil Warnock team and Wham fans singing, ‘We’re going to win the league’ as they go 2-1 up against Swansea.

    The football gods are not smiling on us.

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    • I could write a longer reply Russell, it’s just that I agree with every single word. I once shouted at John Pratt. Away at derby he’d dashed 40 yards, just missed a tackle and gave me the look when I shouted, ‘Get up John!’
      Very poor yesterday.

      Regards, Alan

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      • He’s here,
        He’s there,
        He’s everyf……where,
        He’s Johnny Pratt,
        He’s Johnny Pratt.

        Would love to know the songs the crowds used to sing in the really old days, eg the 20s and the 30s.

        Very best

        Russ

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  2. The Lack Of Tactical Nous award should go to Roberto Martinez last week. He came to play so open and not like every other side that comes to WHL, to defend and frustrate. We have no answer — and when we did have an option (Lennon), it was too late and came at the expense of the player most likely to benefit from his introduction (Soldado). We played badly, but our subs were somehow worse. How Hugo must feel to play behind this shower. His saves — wonder saves, at that — protected a defence and midfield that continually left him exposed.

    I love Spurs and am behind Pochettino, but this was just Godawful from start to finish. Transitional season written off with Hugo certain to leave at the end of it, how depressing. Wide players in the transfer market are a must, as well as playing them correctly.

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    • Im behind Spurs but Pancettino ?.,Harrys dog knew more about football. than that twat.But if fighting relegation is your bag then back Pance,if not for Christ sake get rid

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      • Bill ‘The Master of White Hart Lane’ Nicholson said to journalist Norman Giller a long ago: “The toughest thing about my job is being told how to do it by people who can’t trap a bag of cement.” What is it about the keyboard that it turns the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker (and the lad who’s renamed our coach “Pancettino”) into an armchair manager, who knows better about tactics than somebody who had a distinguished playing career for club and country? Hey, Spurgatso, how’s that bag of cement in your head? 😉

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    • Enjoy every moment, Hugo bound to be gone at the end of this season. Don’t think he will be sold in January. MP needs several players who suit his plans and we continue to suffer for the lack of striking options – scandalous that once again a Spurs manager has been left with so few choices.

      Regards,

      Alan

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  3. You would have thought that Palace were both the home team and higher up the league. I’m sick of the excuses, we are tired, we can’t cope with Europa league games, or midweek games, unlike every other club involved in Europe. Before the next game, just admit that we will be putting in a crap, lethargic, could not give a toss performance.

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    • I don’t actually read or listen to the excuses so I genuinely don’t know what was said. Whatever it was, I wouldn’t pay any attention. Do the business on the field.

      Cheers, Alan

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  4. Poch’s training methods have left the players knackered come game time. Our time play with a total lack of drive and thrust because they have nothing left in their legs because of the double training sessions.

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    • Its not his training methods its his complete and utter lack of method anywhere.He is worse than avb and I didnt think you could get worse than that.If Levy dos’nt pull the trigger very soon we are in deep shit.So we sack managers if they dont perform ,I’d rather be laughed at for that than the pathetic performances this season.West Ham 3rd FFS

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  5. East upper block D I was, and I can tell you a lot was said regarding Poch’s tactics.
    When Chadli came on for Lamela, most were annoyed as we knew that this sub was crying out for Lennon, and this proved the case as Chadli was not good enough offensively. Lennon would off kept their full back under pressure and created openings for us.
    The minute Paulinho came on for Mason,it was game over ,our defence were under more undue pressure, and there was no way Lennon coming on was going to make a difference because we were too much under pressure as Paulinho offered nothing for us,offensively or defensively.
    Took my wife for this game, and said after the game,now I know why you come home quiet after we loose 😞

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    • Keep it in the family! Glad she was there to ease the pain. The subs were badly utilised, no question, but the original side should have done so much better.

      Regards, Alan

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  6. I only watched half the game.I know the score so I could didnt have sit on the edge of my seat (Im sure the fans that were there didnt either)
    The Chelsea game Iw rote off.It came on the heels of a nice game against Everton.
    So you would think the players would have some spunk,have some energy even though this was the thrid game in a week.You’d figure they would at least be fine for the first five minutes at least.
    It wasnt energy they were lacking for but soul. Another one of those soul-less performances.
    You would think Soldado would be a little more excited after the Everton game.
    The most important men on the field for me were Lamela and Eriksen. Lamela is all legs,he has legs like nobody has legs. I think God gave him many more legs than brain cells. he keeps on letting his legs get away from him and they take on a life of their own. They keep doing the same thing walking into walls.
    Eriksen runs a lot.he tracks back.He sees the goal and he will go for it a few times. But he is our playmaker. I have never seen a through ball from him in two years. Lay it off,lay it off,lay it off and once in a while have a poke. But NO creatiing. he finds space receives the ball and taps it to someone. Yards gained. Zero.

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      • They are the players with Mason and the wingers who feed the strikers. Our strikers starve.
        Eriksen should be far more effective in what he does.Infact he is in the key position to run the attack but he doesnt.
        None of our players take charge of the middle and make things happen. Lamela for 30 million shouldnt be showing the ball as much as he does to the opposition.
        Of course the strike force have to be a bit more fluid (Kane is) but its the midfield that cant get the flow going.
        Eriksen in my opinion doesnt make things happen.He goes for goal which is good.he hits some high balls,good too. But does not take control of the ball and make things happen for the more forward players.
        He is in a key position and is talented.But can he create chances for others?

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  7. Hello Alan.
    I don’t usually comment on games that I haven’t seen but my source of information is so reliable that I’ll break with tradition this time and go for it.
    In a nutshell, he said that it was a couple of wasted hours that he could never hope to claim back.
    Otherwise his post match comments mirrored yours almost to the letter.
    “Width, width we’re crying out for width” he grumbled.
    I’m personally tired of Lennon’s enigmatic status but if he’s the best available then use him or sell him, I couldn’t care less either way.
    Our manager is like a car mechanic who’s been asked to fix a “Lemon” but the replacement parts are faulty.
    It’s a three year project, he’ll be lucky to get two.

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    • Lucky to get 2 months if you listen to some people. Or if Levy stays true to form. Your source is extremely reliable by the way. Lennon has played well and offered balance to the team. He may not have been fully fit, I don’t know. Not perfect for Poch and no magic solution. Also, too much attention on him obscures the failings of the others and they were many.

      Regards, Alan

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  8. Poch is starting to run out of credits with this latest puzzling performance. Full disclosure: I never thought he was the right person for the job – I could never understand how the club thought he was an upgrade on Sherwood by hiring the manager of another club that had finished two places BELOW us last season. Hardly made sense to me but since when did logic matter in the Levydome? And I would always take points over style. Poch has a real problem on his hands. He hasn’t got any players waiting in the wings to suddenly breathe new vigour and style into the team. He’ll have to work with what he’s got and his message isn’t exactly translating into a group hug. Give up on Soldado, he’s scored his only goal of the season. Ade is turning into our own drama queen after this latest episode (why is it always him?) and Lamela seems to have cast some bewildering juju of his own on the manager, getting picked for games when form, productivity, and effort are simply inadequate to justify selection. But it’s reached the stage whereby each time I see him in the line up, it means the midfield set-up is all to cock and we are in for another severe test of our loyalty. I thought Lennon sent a great positive message in his performance against Everton but his reward was the bench. What gives, Poch? Give us back our team.

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    • What gives? I don’t know. Goals? Don’t know where they are going to come from. We know the history – Spurs’ manager churn is catching up once and for all. But what to do? Who knows, except that we play one good game and Poch changes the tactics. Don’t get it.

      Regards, Alan

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      • I was scanning the league table and boggling at the fact that Villa – who very recently seemed to be relegation fodder – are just two points behind us. A win for them and a loss for us at the weekend puts us below them. Scandalous! We are six points adrift of a top four spot, but just six points above those scrapping for points to avoid relegation. It’s one thing to grumble about performances but every point is precious at this stage. A crappy Christmas/New Year period will drop us ever lower. We should be just as concerned at looking over our shoulder as well as aspiring to a European spot. I take no pleasure in mentioning the “R” word but looking at the table gave me a jolt.

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  9. I’m no longer disappointed with poor performances. It is now what I expect. I’m no longer upset by poor results. That is where the poor performances have left me. The game of football has lost a lot over the years but I never thought it would lose me completely. I think I’m sad but like the current Spurs team I’m unsure whether I care or not. And in spite of my campaign a few years back there is now no hot water to wash my hands in the (disgusting) toilets again. I wonder if the players have the same problem.

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    • Best resort to the swan feathers then.

      Good to hear from you even though the circumstances are not the best. Your feelings about being distant and losing the thing that makes the game special for us has been a theme of the blog this season. Lot of people say the same, that it’s not the same. Long term neglect catching up on the team and many fans. I still feel the same – things are not good but 5 minutes before kick-off there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

      Are you still in the West? Let me know and I’ll ask the Trust board to follow it up. Drop me a line, tottenhamonmymind at gmx dot co dot uk

      Regards, Alan

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  10. A fair analysis of the game, I thought.
    Similar reaction in the Paxton and we’ve been here 15 years. I can’t remember Spurs fans booing during a match before even during the dark days of Gerry Francis. I managed to catch myself this time and I left just before the final whistle for the same reason. I don’t want to boo a Spurs side but God did they deserve it.
    Saturday 3pm kick off. A decent performance last week and there were signs of hope. Chelsea was always going to be a problem but maybe… No, back to the same clueless half hearted stuff that we’ve seen most of the season but with the added bonus of a clueless performance from Poch. Absolutely no width and a tortoise like build up against a solid wall of defenders and the substitutions really were awful. My confidence was severely dented.
    I’ve seen worse sides and worse players (although Paulinho might make the bench in a Spurs worst buys) but it’s the total lack of heart and spirit that kills me. There were some individual positives – Fazio and Davies had better games and Mason and Kane dug in, Lloris was superb. However football is a team game and this certainly isn’t a team, whatever the reason.

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  11. Once again Soldado escapes the criticism he deserves. He missed two great chances and one very presentable one. He should have scored two goals with the chances he was given yesterday. I was there and concure, it was a heartless performance we have too many cowards in our team. Its a bit of a catch 22, players like Erickson and vertongen will play well in a team thats performing well, but we need them to perform well if we are ever to be a good team.
    You really have to question this manager now for some of his bizarre choices ie playing Lamela, Soldado or Paulinho when there are demonstrably better players available.Despite their linitations Ade, and particularly Lennon have done more for spurs (and still can) than these guys ware likely to ever do

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    • The first two chances were hardly gilt-edged – both crosses were a little behind him. I’ll agree he thrashed the third chance wide, but then I think he knows he has to score with the one chance he gets, which may be hard for a player low on confidence.

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  12. I hate moaning about my team but they leave you with no option. I wish they would at least try and fool us into thinking they are trying even if they are not.I question what happens at training as it certainly isn’t working on how to break down a packed defence. To me it seems obvious that with no width you are severly limiting your options and therefore trying the same thing time and time again doesn’t work. At least Lennon can go on the outside of the full back which Lamella and others haven’t worked out is an option. Soldado has missed too many chances and it’s never going to work out for him at Spurs. The experts said one goal will get him going but I thought he scored against Everton. Like others I agree that the likes of Bentaleb, Mason, Kane and Davies are showing the way whereas the rest are lost in a sea of mediocrity. Despite all that I will never boo my team but I fully understand what’s driving others to it. Come on you Spurs and prove me wrong, please.

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  13. Alan. how about this quote from a fellow keyboard warrior: “Some might call it a kneejerk reaction, but (he) must go now!!! That first half performance wow, words cannot actually describe how bad it was. The frustration supporters must have been going through, no shape, no direction, no ideas, no clue!!! What is (his) game plan, i mean seriously?” PS That’s not a Spurs but a Pool fan talking about Rodgers. He almost wins them the league, but for a Stevie G pratfall, gets them into CL, and now they want him out. In some ways, he deserves it for dissing us about spending £100 million and he’s done the same, and it’s better for us if rivals Pool are unsettled, but seriously…many of the Pool fans, who want him out, couldn’t trap a bag of cement, either! Too funny! 😉

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