Fantastic Falque and Dodo Dempsey

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Last night’s game against Norwich was a good example of one of football’s unique peculiarities; a team can dominate a game for the vast majority and still lose. Chelsea won the Champions League by way of this unusual aspect of the game last season, to our cost, and Norwich have gained a quarter final berth in the League Cup this season, to our cost.

However this is not to say by any means that yesterday’s fixture was a disaster or failure, far from it. Gareth Bale continued his good form, constantly getting in behind defenders, switching flanks and scoring an excellent goal. Iago Falque finally got 90 minutes of football to show what he can do and did not disappoint, good on the ball, fed Bale, and others, delightfully on several occasions and seemed to shed inhibition as the minutes ticked past. Tom Carroll who I have been somewhat unsure of on recent showings played very well; He seemed to have improved significantly in terms of technique and distribution, a few times I found myself thinking ‘bloody hell! I didn’t think he was capable of that sort of pass/skill/vision’ maybe it’s because I wasn’t seeing it before, maybe it’s because Norwich aren’t very good, either way, it was impressive.

There were, as always, areas of the display which disappointed. He got a lot of stick for missing the penalty but the more concerning aspect of Clint Dempsey is his all round game. He has scored two very important, if very simple, goals for Spurs but apart from that has been average at best. Last night’s performance was typical of the type of display he has been producing so far; he looked disinterested/off the pace for most of it, gave the ball away far too often, didn’t win the ball anywhere near enough for someone who is supposed to be a hold up forward and yeah, missed a penalty. I like Dempsey and I like the idea of him playing for Spurs but I just do not see the strong, nuisance of a forward that played for Fulham. I’m not writing him off, Bale, BAE and several other players have proved that it can take time to find your place in a team and I hope Dempsey begins to settle and perform soon.

The biggest issue with our general performance last night was that we did not dispense with Norwich on the multiple occasions we had the opportunity to do so. There are mitigations to that failure in that we had to make changes due to the demand of playing in four competitions and we were unlucky with the equaliser. However, Andre Villas-Boas must shoulder a significant portion of the blame; he brought on Jan Vertonghen when it was clear we needed a second and were lacking penetration.

The remedy to that problem was sitting in a Jermain Defoe shaped ball of restless energy on the bench, he left that sub until we were 2-1 down with a minute to go, too little too late.

I understand the thinking behind both these substitutions; Vertonghen gives you a more flexible midfield and defence and should allow you to see out a 1-0 win against a side like Norwich (someone should tell him though, this is Spurs we don’t/can’t do 1-0 wins!) and he leaves Defoe until the last possible moment because we need him on Saturday. I just don’t agree with them, the League Cup (I refuse to refer to it as anything else) was our most realistic shot at a trophy this season and now it is gone and I, for one, am very disappointed by that.

Last night's performance was typical of the type of display he has been producing so far; he looked disinterested/off the pace for most of it, gave the ball away far too often

Still, the positive performances by Carroll, Falque and Bale plus the fact that we completely dominated the game are encouraging signs and although nobody ever likes to exit a cup we now have significantly less fixture congestion. As Andre said after the game “We are all disappointed but we move forward and focus on Saturday.”

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10 Responses to Fantastic Falque and Dodo Dempsey

  1. Ness Spurs 01/11/2012 at 12:41 pm #

    I do agree. I always liked Caroll but thought that he was too lightwieght – but then Modric never had much of a problem. I’m not an AVB knocker, far from it. However, some of his tactics of late have been slightly Harry-esque. As you say, were 4th, less congestion and some winnable games ahead. The return of Dembele, Benny and Ade will help but I can’t help wishing for that January transfer window!

  2. South London Spurs 01/11/2012 at 2:44 pm #

    I am starting to think the Tom Hudd is too slow to keep up with our game these days. OK he splayed the ball around a bit, but more often than not it was sideways or backwards. Not very effective.

  3. Clock Milk 01/11/2012 at 3:52 pm #

    Super aticle. I agree entirely. How can a team be dominant so often yet fail to win so consistently? If football was scored the same as boxing we’d win lots of games on points; however, we’re frequently knocked out by a sucker punch. Spurs have been unlucky at times – how many teams have three goals disallowed in a single game – but they have got to learn from mistakes and not keeping falling into the same abyss when things start to get tough. We don’t have the knack of Arsenal and teams who hail from Manchester who score a ridiculously high number of goals during injury time. Spurs have got to see games out from a wining position, even a slender one. We need a pit bull mentality when it comes to holding on to a lead, a commodity that is sadly lacking at the moment. Last night against Norwich was extremely disappointing in terms of the result. There were plusses regarding the play but these need to be converted into winning ways. Who’d have thought Tottenham of all teams might be looking towards the January transfer window? We did more shopping in the summer than a socially aspirant working class lottery winner. Yet the season so far, in all its variety, has highlighted that you need the right players to build a team that has cohesion and the flair to win both against the odds and also when winning looks (on paper) like a natural consequence of just turning up to play. I keep reading that Tottenham are looking to buy midfield players and wingers – really? Haven’t we got enough midfielders? And as for wingers; a team that already has Bale and Lennon is as much in need of wingers as Chesil Beach is of a handful of stones. Then again, I should know better than to believe what is said in the national press. Whatever the real situation, Spurs need to turn a corner and make other teams genuinely fear them. After last night’s performance we’re likely to strike as much fear into the opposition as a troupe of morris dancers pitching up unexpectedly on the local village green. Don’t bother pontificating over the needless indulgence of breaking the record for the most midfield players or topnotch goalkeepers in one squad, get some teeth and metaphorically bite the heads off our opponants, let them see again that we are a team capable of scoring nine goals in one match. To which end, how about one really fast, furious and prolific striker to give Spurs the gnashers they really need to put the opposition away?

  4. anti-Portuguese tactician 01/11/2012 at 6:51 pm #

    I cannot for the life of me believe that AVB is a deft tacticial tactician. His tactics (save the ManU game) have been bloody infantile. He would be better just to tell thm to go out, get stuck in and enjoy the game. He simply hasn’t got a clue. He must look at Dempsey every day in training and understand that he’s in awe of the size of the club. Ditto Siggy. Tom Hudd is not mobile enough to be a useful squad member, he’s too slow and there’s no way he should be retained after January. There must be a striker at the club at junior level who could travel with the team and come on when the likes of Dempsey fails to function. Dawson did nothing wrong last night and should be on the team sheet on Saturday. Vertongen is now starting to play like a typical spurs player, afraid to exert himself. Everyone except Bail and Falque looked very nervous last night. AVB hasn’t instilled confidence to this team and as far as I am concerned he shouldn’t be the manager. He doesn’t do good things during a game. His tactics are naive and Levy was entirely wrong to run with him. Next thing we’ll hear is,Bale Ade and Llauris want out.

  5. spur1950 01/11/2012 at 8:37 pm #

    soo ANTI who do u think? bring back redcrapp >Typical spurs player what the hell is a typical spurs player Greaves,Ginola,Gazza,Rafa,Berby, Bale thats my typical spurs player after watching for 50yrs
    So after dominating a game with young carroll and falgue and bale what good things could he do during this game that was not be done ,bring on jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!.
    So far after 14 games he shouldn’t be our manager and his tactics are naive how???he doesn’t install confidence ,try telling falgue,carroll,caulker,naughton,mate you read to many crap papers and listening to them arsewipes on talksport
    Tactics with AVB seems now to be an agenda with the media as well always knocking AVB whether it be the redcrapp paper the sun or harrys next lovchild talksport
    Where forwards are concerned we are ltd ADY has played about 2-halves hasnt been fit with bad-back[???] hamstring and flu or sick? ,so we are left with Defoe, do u want AVB to kill him on the pitch like redcrapp done with 90% of his players
    Defoe sunday was crap missed couple of sitters and in other games like against Mancs where he didn’t hold the ball up, it put immense pressure on our defense and that is our problem ,instead of going for goal all the time after we scored ,all that was needed was defoe to use some of that brain !! to hold the ball that has been our trouble all season ,with that pain in the arse ADY being injured most of the time this season he holds the ball up far better and chases down a lot more believe it or not than defoe

  6. Matt 01/11/2012 at 8:47 pm #

    Blah, Blah, blah… All AVB’s fault. Blah, blah, blah.

    Good article by the way, reasonably positive compared to most people and tbh, we were by far the better team. Norwich got lucky – who would have though bringing Vertongen on (who has been quality all season) would have made us fall apart. I actually at the time thought it was sensible. Yes, he’s a defender and would make it seem defensive, but he’s good with the ball going forward and Hudd was being left trying to defend, it would have freed him play the ball allowing Vert to be solid behind.

    I hope Dempsey and Sigg turn good. It took Bale and BAE ages to bed in. But they look on a different page to everyone else at the mo. Maybe Adebayor returning to the team will help them?

  7. Tom 01/11/2012 at 10:42 pm #

    Dempsey is so bad. I miss Rafa.

  8. Lilywhite London 02/11/2012 at 7:16 am #

    To be fair to AVB, we used to start going deeper after going ahead under Harry as well sometimes but i can’t help thinking that aspect of our game has got worse under AVB. It’s almost childlike tactically to go ahead and just sit back and wait to go on the counter ALL the time. The opposition suss you out, the pressure builds, they gain confidence and get a goal back. I thought this approach would eventually backfire and it did the other night. We defended doggedly 2nd half at Old Trafford but we got lucky really… The tactics 2nd half were almost suicidal but Utd didn’t get the breaks.

    We are doing well and give the bloke more time and then see how we’re playing but AVB looks tactically naive rather than a genius a lot of the time so far…

  9. Woody 02/11/2012 at 10:30 am #

    So Anti- THudd shouldn’t be a squad member. That’s interesting since AVB also wanted him loaned out so he could get some fitness back. So if AVB had the same idea as you and AVB knows nothing about tactics that would mean that you also must know……
    As it stands though, who else from our multitude of central midfielders would you play there with Dembele injured? Hudd’s really the only option because Levy dropped the ball at around 10.59 pm. in late August when he failed to buy Mountinho. Hudd stayed and is the best we’ve got. Or perhaps you’d prefer it if we recalled sideways pass Jenas from his loan spell?

  10. Tony Rocky Horror 03/11/2012 at 12:00 pm #

    Demspey is ten years and three seasons too late to play for Spurs. Ten years ago he would have been our best player virtually, but standards are (should be ) much higher these days. He’s an average player who belongs at an average team (Liverpool) He’s also given of his best to Fulham and will never make it here.

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