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Three Issues From Three Points

4 min read
by The Fighting Cock

Whilst Mark Clattenburg was doing his best to usurp Howard Webb as Manchester’s favourite son, the dust was settling at Saint Mary’s. Spurs had moved back into the top four, scored a goal for the first time since 1999 at Southampton, and achieved all of this without their best midfielder and apparently their best striker. […]

Whilst Mark Clattenburg was doing his best to usurp Howard Webb as Manchester’s favourite son, the dust was settling at Saint Mary’s. Spurs had moved back into the top four, scored a goal for the first time since 1999 at Southampton, and achieved all of this without their best midfielder and apparently their best striker.

Thanks to SKY showing two Red vs Blue fixtures, I along with many who didn’t take the trip down south, were left watching the game on various stuttering internet streams.

The game wasn’t a classic, or a yard stick by which to define our season so far, but it did yield three important points and sets us up nicely for a home game against Wigan.

With the Woolwich set to travel to Man United earlier in the day, Spurs could possibly be looking at a nice 5 point cushion as they prepare for an away game at Man City.

Despite the obvious positives of claiming three points and regaining our top four standing, there were certain issues to arise from the victory.

The most worrying was the form of Jermaine Defoe. Rather like a miniature Darren Bent, when the little guy isn’t scoring he isn’t doing much else. Some may point to his assist of the assist for Gareth Bale’s opener or the fact that its was the rebound off his shot that Clint Dempsey bundled in, but overall his performance was his worst of the 2012/2013 season so far.

Undoubtedly Defoe’s all round game has improved dramatically under Andre Villas Boas stewardship. Rather like Aaron Lennon outside him, he has developed his movement and spatial awareness but perhaps the weight of being the lone and only fit senior striker is finally getting to him.

The England international has started every game this season, which has included trips away to Greece and Slovenia. On Sunday the one reliable feature of Defoe’s game, his ability to hit the target went seriously askew. His catalogue of miscues and wild swings, included one effort that from inside the 18 yard box, managed to hit the St Mary’s jumbotron, a feat that even Jonny Wilkinson would be strained to match.

The striker needs a rest, but more importantly Spurs need Emmanuel Adebayor to capture some sort of fitness. As the game descended into a typical up and at them by Southampton, Spurs’ inability to hold the ball upfront, or utilise their speed on a counter left the back four under serious pressure.

Defoe is a great alternative, but he is far from being a solution.

Whilst one man struggled upfront, another was in his element. For a while now Spurs fans have been witnessing the Rise of Sandro. The Brazilian Kung-Fu aficionado put in a display on Sunday evening that rates alongside his coming of age moment at the San Siro a couple of years ago.

Relishing the chance to play consistent first team football, his stamina, speed and technical ability are improving week on week. When he stopped Morgan Schneiderlin power blaster with his face, had I possessed more X chromosome than Y I would have offered my body to him as a reward. It was a moment straight out of the 1960’s and deserves to be watched back in grainy black and white, not full colour HD, or a continually buffering internet stream.

Sandro’s rise to prominence only serves to highlights the weaknesses of the central midfielders he is paired with in Mousa Dembele’s absence. Jake Livermore a solid enough squad player has in recent weeks seemed ponderous, slow in the tackle and poor with the ball. This is a player who has been in recent England squads, his ability hasn’t dropped, it’s just that Sandro’s has risen meteorically.

The Copa Libertadores is now our main defensive midfielder, and will be hopefully for years to come.

Behind Sandro, Brad Friedel continues be his solid self between the sticks. The former American international is yet to have a bad game for Spurs, but it’s this steady level of averageness that worries me. This season we have bossed the majority of our games, especially at home, but Friedel has still conceded goals. His best performance of the season is generally regarded to be Norwich City game, but even in that his goals conceded to shots on target ratio is poor.

On the opening weekend of the season the goal he conceded to Newcastle’s Demba Ba highlighted his weaknesses.

The American has solid handling and decent positional sense, but it’s his inability to spring to either side, or race off his line that leaves him susceptible to talented footabllers. Friedel makes the routine saves you expect a leading Premier League keeper to make, but doesn’t pull of the saves that define what is a top class keeper and win the team points on an off day.

Friedel remains a good goalkeeper, but why have good when we have a great?

All views and opinions expressed in this article are the views and opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of The Fighting Cock. We offer a platform for fans to commit their views to text and voice their thoughts. Football is a passionate game and as long as the views stay within the parameters of what is acceptable, we encourage people to write, get involved and share their thoughts on the mighty Tottenham Hotspur.


    30/10/2012 @ 4:29 am

    ” Friedel remains a good goalkeeper but why have good when we have great “. I like these words. They sum up the situation beautifully. I could not agree more…It is a real shame keeping a top class goalkeeper on the bench…
    In my opinion, Sandro was the man of the match against Southampton. What an outstanding block with his head and how brave he was considering the enormous power of the shot which was clearly heading straight towards goal to beat Friedel just as Cahill’s shot did. Were it not for Sandro, we would have been robbed of two valuable points.

  2. wise
    30/10/2012 @ 4:43 am

    Your hopeless comments about Defoe are extremely irritating and you really sound. Very much like a pessimistic racist, and if adebayo doesn’t perform ur likes of you would be calling for another striker, every member of any winning team deserves kudos and not crazy assessment like yours

    • Yid at work
      30/10/2012 @ 8:39 am

      How you deem anything racist from the authors comments is astounding ! Have you ever actually watched Defoe play ? Even dear ol uncle Arry wouldn’t play him regularly instead opting to play Adebayor.
      Defoe is either great or average. He’s often selfish when there’s a better ball to be played. The author has, in my opinion captured our front line exactly. We still need another world class striker. His colour irrelevant… However, I’m sure you’ll find something racist in whoever that might be….. Idiot !

      • arlombardi
        30/10/2012 @ 9:39 am

        Thank you for supporting words Yid At Work.

        How my comments on Defoe can be described as racist are beyond me?

        I think Wise needs to have a long think about how he interprets football based blogs.

  3. BartSpur
    30/10/2012 @ 4:59 am

    If I wasa AVB I’d have Lloris in goal as my number 1. He is younger, quicker & is the future. I would want him to get established with the defence ASAP & that means playing week in, week out.
    Adebayor needs to get fit & match fit & then he & Defoe can both be used. Dembele’s absence shows our need for another quality midfielder who can be rotated with him. Thud & Livermore just aren’t up to the same standard.

  4. spursforme
    30/10/2012 @ 6:21 am

    I auume its because AVB watchs the keepers in training every day and can see something in Lloris that worries him at the moment. thats not to say it wont come right for Lloris, but we dont see the traing pitch, or have the kkeper coaches feed back that AVB gets. Im sure Lloris will be the top keeper in the prem in due course, the longer he waits the better he will be when he breaks in.

    30/10/2012 @ 7:55 am

    No, Lloris must start getting the EPL experience NOW. Waiting will not help.

  6. ColinSC
    30/10/2012 @ 8:13 am

    I don’t know Spursforme I thought that might be the kind of reasoning at first. But if Lloris is going to be the future why not play him against the ‘Wigan’s or Southampton’s ‘ of the league at first. There is something I am missing here. On paper Lloris is the better keeper, Lloris plays a high line and some of his defenders dont? Possibly when BAE and Kaboul are back and the team moves towards this type of play Lloris will be the preferred keeper. Friedal makes his saves look hard because he has to dive right across the goal we all know that Lloris knows how to close the angles and make what Friedal look hard.. look easy.

  7. @PhillyHotspur
    30/10/2012 @ 4:04 pm

    This article nailed it………IMO. And well-written

    Defoe–> is great in that one moment, but isn’t at all suited for AVB’s 4-2-3-1 tactical formation –> He doesn’t hold the ball up very well and rarely gets on any crosses by Bale or Lennon. Super Sub is really where he belongs when we need that one moment of brilliance at a key moment.

    Friedel –> Love the man, but its time…….The fact that he is considering retirement after this season is a enough of a reason to move Lloris into the Starting 11 asap. Don’t we want to keep this world class and future Spurs keeper as happy as possible ?

    Sandro –> Beastmode. Nough said

    Livermore –> The epitome of average and nothing ever good happens w/ him on the pitch. What strength does he have outside of passing back to Gallas ? He has J Jenas written all over his game.

    Ade –> Never wanted him back and now look at what we have on our hands. Called this one………Mentally weak and selfish as it gets. I hope he comes good, but i doubt it. Either way, i was really hoping we’ll spend that loot on a legitimate Target Striker who can finish technically…Its really the only thing missing from the Front 6. IMO

    Bale on the left –> Continues to play an isolated role since he is stuck on the left and will never get the proper service w/ a CAM in Dempsey & a Dembele-less MF. He should move to 2nd striker in these cases so he can be properly utilized.

    Dempsey’s role –> Still figuring this one out………he isn’t a CAM where he will facilitate . Has a nose for the goal and is always in the right place at the right time which was lacking last year. I might just give him a run up front as Striker to see what he can do …

    All and All……..a good start w/ loads of potential but lots of questions marks still. Hopefully the JTW will go down as a big big moment for this club and where it has a huge impact on where the Spurs sit via that Table in May.

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