Danny Rose was bright and alert, dashing forward into gaps in the Villa defence. A willing outlet on the left, he was always available and had our best chance, Guzan blocking a low shot with his legs. Even after our opponents plugged the gap in the second half, Rose remained a danger.
Thought I would get that out of the way. It’s rare that I fail to see any redeeming features in a Spurs game, however poor it may be. In this case, that’s the best I can come up with. Before this turd of a performance sinks to the bottom, pull the chain and flush it from the septic tank of memory into the stream of effluent that is the end of our season. It’s certainly all gone down the drain.
On the way out, a dad was carrying his little boy and trying to explain what happened. I have every sympathy with him. Beyond, tactics, formation or team selection, this was mouth open jaw-dropping I can’t believe what I’m seeing are these professional players bad.
For extended periods some players were unable to control the ball so it rested near their person or pass the ball 5 yards, let alone penetrate one of the most shaky defences in the league. As time went on, we became worse not better, adding to our repertoire the unerring ability to knock the ball into empty space or straight to a grateful Villa man. Instead of a gung ho finish in search of an equalizer, we wasted our time by conceding a series of needless free-kicks or giving the ball away.
It was unremittingly awful. Chiriches and Townsend on the right formed the latest in a long line of famous comedy double-acts. The difference is, Morecombe and Wise or Laurel and Hardy are funny but no one was laughing. As Paulinho’s “shot” last week encapsulated his Spurs career, so with Chadli on Saturday. With a sublime shimmy that took two defenders out of the game, he briefly emerged from the primordial soup only to hang onto the ball on the byline until a defender could get back and block his feeble cross. Thus he sank back into the swamp, never to evolve into a capable Tottenham footballer.
Spurs have seemingly been in a ‘transitional season’ for about 15 out of the last 20 years. Now we can add the ‘end of season fade’ as a second unwanted tradition, although this is less about fading away, more plunging headlong off a cliff. In truth this pathetic effort was not unexpected after our last two games. We’ve played three of the bottom five and looked short of form and motivation.
I am not a fan of Tim Sherwood because to me he committed the ultimate sin of putting himself before Tottenham Hotspur, where he practiced being a manager with our first team. This has been done to death so I’m not going to go over it again. I’m sure Tim and his ego snuggled up together for a cosy Saturday night in. This new breed of modern English manager showed the way forward – bang it up to the big man. Everything went to Benteke, usually from deep rather than the byline. He either went for goal, scoring the winner by stepping in front of the lumbering Fazio and guiding it into the far corner, or by flicking it on to Agbonlahor dashing through. The latter hit the post when he should have scored.
It’s hardly radical but it was far too good for Spurs. Fazio played to mark him, fine, but the Belgian drifted wide to get into space or onto the full-backs. Not standing still – the nerve of it! Chadli on Beneteke for several set-pieces…no one in that defence sussed it. Sherwood kept his side narrow and compact. When Rose had the freedom of the left, we never supported him, preferring to stay narrow centrally too. Easy to repel attacks and Villa have not had a more comfortable awayday since the last team outing. Looking at one stats site, in our shots total they must have included the half-time entertainment of a punter shooting into an empty net.
So what’s gone wrong? Our young men are tired under the burden placed upon them. They will emerge more mentally resilient next season. In the meantime Mason is half a yard short, Bentaleb passes sideways, Kane stiff-legged and adrift. Eriksen works hard but has lost form, row Z instead of match-turning magic. I don’t see why Chadli plays every week.Yedlin made his debut to a huge cheer. His first task as a Spurs first teamer was to take a throw-in. He stood frustrated on the touchline as no one moved for him. Welcome to Tottenham.
There’s no spark, little inventiveness and disappointingly the dullest knife in the box is our manager. Pochettino has done little to shake things up when we have been playing badly. Soldado came on and played off Kane except the two never got anywhere near each other. He seems resigned to the fact that he has no real alternatives in the squad. Can Dembele really offer less than the others? He like the team appear to have given up on the season. At half-time the conversation turned to the only truly modern discourse in fandom – the best ways of getting credit to pay for the tickets next season. Perhaps we have too.