How To Lose A Season in Ten Games

misery

I blame Paul Merson.

With the Sky Sports cameras whirring last night, Paul gave his thoughts on the game ahead. They’ll rip them apart, he told us assuredly, absolutely tear them to pieces. Really? Did he know something we didn’t? Were Wolves planning to field a team of chimpanzees? It would appear not. The trap he fell into, of course- and he should know better being an ex-Gooner- is that no matter how much of a banker it looks from the outside. Never bank on Tottenham. It’s the first rule of Fight Club.

I didn’t see the game, so I can only piece together what unfolded from hearsay and online match up-dates watched through my fingers. I think I’m right in assuming it wasn’t the prettiest ninety-minutes since the inception of time. Certainly not one for the history books. Plenty of invective spewed over the returning Kaboul and ‘Arry’s team selection which looked, for anyone’s money, puzzling from the start. More of that in a minute. I did hear that Jenas had a good game, but- and I’m not being at all facetious here- I couldn’t honestly tell if it was said in sarcasm.

That alone, I guess, tells its own story.

I devoted much of yesterday’s post bemoaning Mick McCarthy and his questionable approach to team selection; something which now does little else but ping egg into my face and drip down between the keys. As far as I can work out, our next League game is ten days away. So why, pray tell, did Modric and Palacios find themselves benched? Particularly Wilson, whose combative talents would’ve gone down a storm against such thrifty opposition. I find it baffling that he didn’t start. Correct me if I’ve missed something.

Anyway, more later if I get a chance to see the highlights and, importantly, I can bring myself to watch them. I expect if I do it’ll be in the style of Alex in A Clockwork Orange; eyes clamped open, bound to a chair, fighting the urge not to vomit every time Crouch spoons one wide.

Until then,

Keep the faith.

Someone’s got to.


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48 Responses to How To Lose A Season in Ten Games

  1. avatar KayBee says:

    The fact we turned up to play a team who A) had already beaten us once this season and B) are fighting toof n claw for their very lives, without our only midfield hardnut, meant we were pretty much screwed before any rogering had even begun.

    Yes, we should be able to rest players, but there is a time and a place for it. I humbly suggest that a must-win-at-all-costs game is neither of the above.

    The fact that there were, what, five changes to a team that, although didn’t get the result, pretty much dominated a far superior Villa team at the weekend, is equally mystifying to me.

    I, of course, question player motivation, but most of all, I question the manager.

    • On the face of it- the team Harry selected should’ve been a enough to overrun Wolves. A midfield consisting of three England ‘internationals’ and a Croatian should, you’d hope, be able to muster up a win against a team sitting in 19th.

      Surely.

      Don’t call me Shirley…

      I’d put it down to motivation that they didn’t. But then you have to wonder why Harry didn’t change it when it was clear it was going tits up.

      Like I say, though, I didn’t see it.

  2. avatar Jermaine Defoe says:

    Fa Cup or bust…

  3. avatar KayBee says:

    On the plus side, Bale was our only player of note last night.

    Lots of talk in recent weeks about Bentley’s renaissance, but I think our Baler has been the stand-out improved player.

    Lovin’ your work, kid; and I don’t just mean Planet of the Apes or the Supergrass albums.

  4. avatar hoopspur says:

    An absolute shambles from start to finish (apart from the opening 5 minutes). I don’t usually go in for all this Jenas is crap talk, but last night he was terrible in extreme. Harry had to take him off – the crowd would have run out onto the pitch and lynched him! Mind you, was he any worse than the rest? Ne heart, no class, no clue. Couldn’t as much as pass a ball to each other without kicking it straight off into touch. Eidur and Defoe didn’t look as if they were even from the same planet. The worse football match I’ve seen in years. Over 3 hours to get there and nearly 3 to get back. Thank god I’m not going to Bolton. And this is from someone who usually sees the best in a poor performance! No defending it. Don’t bother watching the hi-lights – I don’t think there are any!

  5. avatar hoopspur says:

    (still fuming by the way!!)

  6. Second time I’ve written ‘Shirley’ today.

    Odd.

  7. avatar Enorme Nuez says:

    Yeah, this was very frustrating to watch. As is the norm against teams like Wolves, they packed the midfield to stifle any movement. We looked really hurried at times and they banked on a counter-attack towards the end as they defended a la Villa. Throughout the match they isolating Kevin Doyle on Bassong or Dawson. Doyle is a determined runner which pulled our defenders out of position numerous times and opened the middle as Jenas and Huddlestone were found wanting or out of position. Something that happens too often for my liking. This happened against Leeds (twice) and against the ruefully tactless Premiership teams who bank on defending against technically better teams, like us.

    You cannot fault them, they like Stoke and Villa have figured out how to play Spurs, defend-defend-defend!

    And I’m really sorry but again Jermaine Jenas looked off yet again and rightfully substituted at half-time. He failed to squeeze Jones as he came forward for their goal but he also failed to follow Jones into the box. He was good going forward and could’ve scored after he knocked the ball past Hahnemann only to have the trailing defender there to clear. However he was easily hurried off the ball or made to make quick passes back. He is a defensive liability and it shows with every match and has been more pronounced since Palacios came and Zokora left. It is beyond me that he hasn’t improved this aspect of his game. It is frustrating that ‘Arry starts him for the sake of resting Palacios or Modric which shows us why we painfully need another defensive midfielder.

    What I found extremely strange was that ‘Arry didn’t have a remedy for these tactics. How is it when we play these teams we do not know how to break them down in the last third? Yes we should’ve been a goal to the good after Gudjohnsen played in Kranjcar only to see his shot saved. And that would’ve probably led to a slew of goals but it is never that easy for us. We created countless chances but they came to naught and for all the work we did in the first three thirds of the pitch we were really bad in the last third. Bale was really the only threat in the later stages of the match. Bentley had another decent game but i wish he would do less tricks and drive at the defenders more. We had both of their left-backs on yellow cards and we didn’t exploit this.

    The real frustrating part of this is we do not have a Plan C. Crouch came on to replace Gudjohnsen who did well but is finding his feet and this led to us hitting the ball long and feeding off a knock down. Yes sometimes it works, but Wolves have tall defenders who were equal to Crouch. All they had to do was defend the knock down. This has become our predictable routine when chasing a match. Defoe should’ve come off as yet again he was found offside more than anyone should necessarily be. Just because Defoe has 20 goals does not mean he should play all the matches. All we are going to do is tire him out especially towards the latter stages of the season.

    I found it strange that with Pavlyuchenko on the bench we failed to utilise him, instead bringing on Palacios for Jenas, Crouch for Gudjohnsen and Modric for Kranjcar. Pavlyuchenko holds the ball up better than Crouch and makes better runs than Crouch and Defoe. Odd that ‘Arry won’t use him as an option when Plan A & B isn’t working.

    We lost because we are predictable and when our slick passing game doesn’t work, or we are playing on below par pitches, we are our own worse enemy.

  8. avatar rustler says:

    In short- no Lennon no 4th spot(a dot on the card)

  9. Most of the points have been raised, but the Jenas decision–and surrounding issues–needs to be looked at:

    1. Starting Jenas was nuts against against relegation fodder at their place. You knew it was going to be an ugly tussle in the middle. Exactly the kind of battle JJ has failed at time and again. Crazy of Harry to expect Jenas to succeed here.

    2. JJ’s failure to man up effects Thudd. Big T has improved (in part) because Wilson relieves the pressure he gets, allowing him to do what he is good at. Thudd was pretty ineffective as well, but the circumstances where he does well didn’t exist. Not totally the fault of Jenas, but a factor.

    3. Wilson resting? For a cup match? I want the FA Cup; it’s been way too long since we lifted that one, but consider that Bolton has a six pointer with Wigan mid week. They will likely weaken their team against us, so us weakening ourselves in the League to handle Bolton was nuts.

    4. Jamie out on loan…..why? If we need to give Sarge a break, I’d much prefer a battler like Jamie over Mr. Chicken, especially in a bruising match. We were crying for cover at CM, but Jamie is sent back to the retarded clown show at Pompey……. well, you know what? FUCK POMPEY! If they go down, so be it and it ain’t Harry’s job to care anymore.

    5. Pissed. Fucking Pissed. But not ready to dismiss the CL spots. We’re still not far off and everybody is dropping points. Harry needs to sort the boys out, but we can still do this.

  10. avatar paul cav says:

    we do not have the players at the club to change the way we play Redknapp just does not know how to change things about with the players he and Levy brought into the club this season we need to give Rose ,walker and pav a run in the side

    • avatar Trembly says:

      Sorry. I disagree paul cav.

      If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
      Leave well enough alone
      Never change a winning team
      Don’t rock the boat (don’t rock the boat baby)

      Too many changes were made last night. Too many people needed blooding in – including Jenas. People take too much about strength of the bench, but it’s the strength of the 11 that matter. If the team is working, all the cogs running smoothly, then we should continue with that. It’s the main reason for the relative success of modest clubs like Brum, and even the same principle held onto by successful defences like Villas back 5/6.

      Bar a FEW exceptions, that bunch out there looked like they’d forgot which colour shirt they were passing to. Unlike hoop, I watched from the comfort of my armchair, but it was nothing like a comfortable view. I was agitated to the extreme, nipping off to the fridge to get beers even though we all had full ones, just for an excuse not to watch anymore mispaced passes, or hands on faces after horribly skewing a pass/shot/clearance. Worst game since relegation from last year and arguably worse than even some of those.

      Wolves aren’t as bad a team as they’ve been painted. Their goal had ‘goal of the week’ written all over it. That’s the kind of movement and desire that I expect? No. DEMAND from our side.

      I’ve seen the full game twice now, and we’re lucky it wasn’t a 2-0 home win. Jenas is not a defensive mid, and him and Thudd a decent central midfield make. Absolutely fucking appaling. Atrocious.

      Rose, Walker et al should all have been blooded in the cup competitions. Even Gudjonsen should’ve had his first start against Bolton not Wolves. The expectation to win was far to obvious, but we believed our own hype a little too much and Arry got it woefully wrong with his starting team selection. On paper we’re miles better, I mean who’s ever heard of David Fucking Jones? Yet he scores a belter and we’re buggered as a result.

      At least against Villa we got a professional performance. Against wolves, we got a shit circus show.

  11. avatar Big Fish says:

    Great to see reasoned thinking instead of the Harry Out lynch mob who are all over some of the other forums. HR got it wrong yesterday for sure but I’m not ready to hang him yet. Jenas name in the starting 11 and the writing was on the wall, especially against a five man midfield. Truth is we don’t have strength in depth where it really matters. Not many games to go now so let’s play our our very best until they fookin well drop.

    • avatar Trembly says:

      Obviously you weren’t referring to me as a reasoned thinker, what with all my tyops. Haven’t you heard? Arry Ahht Nah is the new Bring it on…

    • avatar KayBee says:

      I plain don’t like Harry, and never have. I didn’t want him at Spurs (back when he was originally linked with the job wayyyy before Ramosgate), I will always view him as “that dodgy geeza from West Ham”, and think people have bought into some Messianic image of the man because he steadied the ship and stopped us going down (essentially by playing players in position and picking a consistent team – something most of us were calling for under Ramos anyway)…

      However, with all that in mind, even I think calling for his head now is INSANE. Pure and simple. We’re still in with a shot at fourth – it’s unlikely, but given how we’re not the only team giving stupid points away, is still possible. We have Lennon to come back. And we have an FA Cup to maintain our run in.

      Sacking Harry now or any time soon would be akin to stuffing our season in a rocket and firing it into the sun.

      Or something.

      Ignore the knee-jerkists, and let’s hope he stops with the silly tactics and gets us back on track!

  12. avatar Jima says:

    Like your comments guys and agree with Big Fish that other blogs are going overboard with Harry out – ‘let’s get another unknown foreigner, this time it’ll work’

    Heard a stat today that we’ve ONLY scored 3 goals in the league this year which goes along with the headline of ‘how to lose a game in 10 games’ – it’s actually 6 prem games this year but that is an appaulling record for a wannabee top 4 team. Something needs to change – we’ve not conceded that many in those games so either the fullbacks need to get forward more, the passing needs to be quicker, more incisive and cleverer ie. stop lumping it up to a guy who can’t head it, especially when there’s no one around him, get to the byline (without Lennon – need gyle and decent intricate passes, we have the players in abundance) so Crouch is facing goal heading it and directs rather than having to generate power from a bamboo stick frame or Defoe can run on to balls and use his pace and finishing, drop Defoe as someone has already suggested, little break to recharge, and use Geovanni, Tarrbatt, Rose etc to get someone running with the ball in Lennons absence – just need to try something different. We’ve been too predictable, teams know that if they have a solid bank of 4 with 5 midfielders working hard to cut space, and one awkward forward they know that they’ll probably get a draw or a 1 nil win with a good bit of goalkeeping to boot – we’ll also start lumping it and panicking after 20 mins and a couple of good opportunities that go amiss

    Hopefully Harry has learnt a massive lesson aged 65 and can push us on – just so frustrating as there’s not too many opportunities left to ever get that top 4 place

  13. I was sitting at work today and every so often, under my breath, I found myself muttering “Fucking Jenas.” This can’t be good for my chances of making partner.

    • avatar KennYid says:

      Hey man, the thing with”Fucking Jenas” is that he isn’t a central midfielder, if he’s anything he’s an attacking midfielder and we’ve got a few of those, but it/he is “Fucking Annoying”. Hmm, I originally typed ‘attacking mudfielder’. Maybe that’s where it’s all going wrong?

  14. avatar KennYid says:

    Fox, is it coincidental that the guy in the fore front of the picture on Misery looks not unlike Berbatov?

  15. avatar who framed ruel fox? says:

    Better late than never, but…..

    Good spot! 🙂

  16. avatar who framed ruel fox? says:

    Some top stuff here, peeps.

  17. avatar KayBee says:

    Bolton were brilliant today – the Coyle effect clearly making an impact as they played some really nice football.

    Still, at least we bothered to turn up in the second half. Loving Bale’s work at the moment – the only Spurs highlight of 2010 so far for me…

    Which brings me to Huddlestone; WTF was that penalty all about? lol

    Seeing as our main striker is seemingly temporarily incapable of taking penalties, I’d rather one of Baler (high on confidence), Bentley or, my real preference, Niko, took them.

  18. avatar KayBee says:

    Having trouble posting… testing, testing 1, 2, 3…

  19. avatar KayBee says:

    Jesus J Corbett… I justr ead this quote from Baler:

    ““We don’t practise penalties really and it’s disappointing we missed one but things like that happen.

    “Tom was down to take it before the game and he was unlucky. Will we practise them more now? You never know.””

    source http://www.imscouting.com/global-news-article/Bale-reveals-Tottenham-hardly-practice-penalties/5790/

    I’m gobsmacked if true. Have no lessons been learnt from the England scenario a few years back?

    How can nobody practice penalty taking??

  20. avatar KayBee says:

    Baler, I love you fella, but we haven’t just missed “one”, we’ve missed four out of the six we’ve been awarded this season.

    “We don’t practise penalties really”

    !!!

    • avatar Spiritual Advisor says:

      That’s an absolute shocker….. you’d have thought they would have started to practice more after the 1st miss, really can’t see a German or Spanish team failing to do that can you ?

      Seems the lads could do with spending more time practasing shooting at goal and less time long balling it to muppet windmill boy Crouch.

      now back to Jeanas stake sharpening….

  21. avatar KayBee says:

    ignore this post… i’m testing out avatars

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