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Horror-story Huddlestone, ghastly Gallas and the depressing Defoe

Jubilant Woolwich fans spent their Saturday afternoon on various social media sites proclaiming that they had beaten Spurs 5-2, again. Their joy and unmitigated delirium started mass finger-pointing amongst the Tottenham Hostpur faithful, but who is really at fault for another five-goal captiulation?

For 17 minutes we were totally in control, then one error, one badly timed and ill-judged challenge sent us spinning into an epic self-implosion. The fault should lay at the size 11 feet of Emmanuel Adebayor, but in reality there are many more individuals at fault than just the Togolese striker.

The former Manchester City man isn’t the first and won’t be last footballer to ever be sent off. Losing a player is sometimes part of the 90 minute game; although it’s significant hindrance it isn’t an excuse for defeat.

Tottenham should’ve adapted, reshaped and shown some resilience.

Footballing history is awash with tales of 10 heroic men holding on to claim a victory. These teams however all had one thing in common, they possessed a leader. When their team started to buckle, one or two individuals stepped up and held it all together.

[authquote text=”At the Emirates on Saturday Gallas faced the weakest centre forward for many years to don an Woolwich kit. Oliver Giroud is short of pace, strength, technique and height, but still was able to dominate our captain.”]

With less than 30 minutes to half time Spurs needed to steady the ship. They needed someone to show a sense of duty to the cause and through his actions or words take control of the team. Unfortunately we didn’t have one.

Many Spurs fans have already blamed Adebayor, but for me the true blame is at the feet of William Gallas, Tom Huddlestone and Jermain Defoe.

These three senior players should have stepped up and ensured Tottenham held on. As the spine of the team they are perfectly placed to handle the responsibility. When Spurs where cruising for the first 15 minutes these three were happy to receive the ball, make tackles and be involved, but the moment the situation changed for the worse, not for the first time in their careers, they became anonymous.

Defoe may be a poacher and apparently a clinical finisher, but at 30 he must face up to his status of a being a senior player with responsibilities. When Spurs are under immense pressure, he must not allow himself to become isolated. By disappearing for the last 30 minutes of the first half he effectively made the game 8 vs 10 outfield players.

The England striker must add more to his game, but already into his thirties, perhaps it is too late.

Huddlestone meanwhile has been treading water, slowly, since he returned from injury. Floating in central midfield he reminds me of Carlos Valderama weeks before he retired at 43 years old, but without the skill, vision or determination. The former Derby County man, despite being capped by England on Wednesday must realize that his time as a serious central midfield pivot is over. His ability to allow a game pass him by is nothing short of incredible; the introduction of Tom Carroll only served to remind us what we had been missing and confirmed the terminal defects in Hudd’s game.

Huddlestone can no longer be trusted in a midfield duo away from home to top-half Premier League opposition.

The final cog in Tottenham’s capitulation to a mediocre Woolwich was Gallas, Tottenham Captain. With Brad Friedel finally dropped, probably to his relief, the Gallas situation remains the biggest question mark over the Andre Villas-Boas reign.

Why does he continue to persist with a centre-back that has shown at various stages (and at varying degrees of incompetence) that he is no longer good enough for a regular starting berth?

At the Emirates on Saturday Gallas faced the weakest centre forward for many years to don an Woolwich kit. Oliver Giroud is short of pace, strength, technique and height, but still was able to dominate our captain. As he showed against Chelsea a few weeks ago, we cannot rely on Gallas in crucial games.

Tottenham needed a captain on Saturday to ensure they still had something to fight for other than pride in the second half. Gallas who was at fault for the second and killer third goal, failed again to be that person.

Regardless of whether his ability on the ball is better than Michael Dawson, surely his repeated lack of defensive instinct, positioning, leadership and strength will now consign him to a spell on the sidelines?

We can take some encouragement from the second-half rally. It showed that certain players were willing to fight for the shirt and that the time has come for Carroll to start instead of Huddlestone. Whilst Daniel Levy, who spent the week telling AVB what a big game the North London derby is, may also be inspired to sign the manager the players he so badly needs.

We have to move on from here with players willing to fight and show some passion, but of course not in a clumsy two-footed challenge kind of way.

[author name=”ARLombardi” avatar=”https://twimg0-a.akamaihd.net/profile_images/1344407697/soccer.jpg” twitter=”ARLombardi” website=”arlombardi.com” tag=”ARLombardi”]


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.

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Published on 20th November 2012

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13 Responses to Horror-story Huddlestone, ghastly Gallas and the depressing Defoe

  1. AL GRANVILLE 20/11/2012 at 2:37 pm #

    I;m sort of confused. A,V.B picked the team I wanted him to pick, with the single exception of Gallas instead of Mr Tottenham through and through Michael Dawson. That’s his name A.V.B in case yopu’ve forgotten. He’s your club captain.
    So since he picked the tea I would have picked I can’t lay any blame at his doorstep. It was the retard Adebayor and no manager could have forseen such ridiculous behaviour.

  2. cookiebun 20/11/2012 at 2:56 pm #

    Amazing that you can write such a good article and not mention the ‘other’ factor that lost us that first half. AVB spoke to several players during a break in play and he didn’t get the situation sorted out until half time. Not good enough. I blame him for not rallying the troops during that half an hour in the first half. He should have seen Gallas struggling, everyone else could see it and the left side of midfield was being looked after (against Walcot and Sagna) by a right back. Why was Danny Rose sacrifised. Dawson should be playing every game until Kaboul returns, surely that’s a given. Why the manager persists with Huddlestone and Gallas I will never know. I do know that AVB has a lot to prove and he’s not doing great. He’s ignoring six or so under 21 players that would get a game at other clubs. I somehow feel that the ‘happy AVB clappers’ won’t be banging their drum quite so loud next season.

  3. Kate 20/11/2012 at 3:11 pm #

    It’s clear as daylight to see. Dawson over Gallas. Carroll over huddlestone. Ade in the hole behind defoe. Dempsey, siggurdson and huddlestone are not good enough. I would like to see falque get more playing time too. We’ve been missing a playmaker since dembele’s injury and its cost us a lot of points. Instead of promoting a player like falque we have struggled in midfield with no creativity whatsover. AVB has not had his best 11 yet so the fans need to be patient. Dembele will be back at the week-end we can all rejoice then!

  4. dannyboy 20/11/2012 at 3:25 pm #

    Every new manager needs plenty of time & we must be patient BUT Why does AVB persist with Huddlestone who goes lumbering up & down always a yard behind (a player who he was going to sell before the season) especially against one of the nippiest close passing teams in the league ? Why pick suddenly a young inexperienced full back( Naughton) in the most hard, important game of the season ? Why didnt Vertonghen play inthat slot as he has done so well all season & let one of our England international centre halves partner Gallas ? Why was Friedel suddenly dropped ( the reason for keeping him in was that he was the keeper in form & in possession) did I miss something? he has been outstanding !

  5. Colin 20/11/2012 at 3:37 pm #

    Once we sold two world class players such as van der Vaart and Modric, and not replacing
    them with someone similar, we were always going to struggle. The replacements brought in
    are no where nearly as good as those who were sold.We urgently need a class striker,
    and two top class midfield players in the new year for us to compete with the top teams.
    The likes of Huddlestone / Dempsey and Siggy are very average types,and are never going
    to set the premier league alight.

  6. Victor 20/11/2012 at 4:20 pm #

    AGREE WITH FAN’S COMMENTS, that It’s Dawson over Gallas. Daws may not be perfect, but he has shown again and again, that heis a ball-winner in defence. Daws is taller to repell high balls, is aggressive, and gives his all. Defoe is only effective, when we are attacking. so is Hudds. When Spurs is not functioning in the midfield, Spurs attacking bite is gone, as shown when Modric and creative attacking Van Der Vaart provided creative attack.

  7. rob 20/11/2012 at 4:42 pm #

    The main reason we lost heavily was nothing to do with Gallas, Huddlestone or Defoe it was clearly down to Bale!

    Anyone with half a brain that watches Spurs regularly can see that he seems to think defensive duties are beneath him. He rarely tracks back or gives his full back any protection and wants to play as an auxilary forward. BAE is an amazing left back who always gets unfair criticism despite having to defend against not only his man but Bale’s too.

    Team’s know this and therefore load attacks down that side and have done for about 3 seasons. If you look at where the biggest source of goals come from it is always Bale’s side. Now that other players have played there ie Vertonghen who plays the position for his national team, and (Naughton who often played there last season for Norwich and looked solid) have been constantly exposed due to lack of help, maybe the finger should be pointed at the true culprit.

    How on earth you could come up with a list of players to blame without focusing on the MAIN reason why we lost is beyond belief.

  8. Maggs Ephgrave 20/11/2012 at 5:33 pm #

    AVB had better get a move on and play Daws – when he has played he has put some great passes out- because when Harry gets the QPR job then Daws and Scott Parker (remember him) will be off to QPR.

  9. steve 20/11/2012 at 6:54 pm #

    This article is exactly correct it is true of three or four matches this season but even more evident against the delirious gooners, they are crap in defence and we let them off the hook

  10. mark hilditch 20/11/2012 at 11:34 pm #

    Rob…you obviously watched a different game than I did…Bale was constantly tracking back and blocked countless crosses etc..at one stage he even won the ball near the corner flag in our defensive area and then went on a winding 100 yard run, got the ball out of defence and won us a corner at the opposite end of the ground…admittedly he works better on that side with BAE in the side but to blame him is absurd….Ade getting sent off changed the game then having to defend with Garbage Gallas in defence and horrendous Huddlestone in midfield coupled with Defoe up front who is beyond chasing back etc we were always going to struggle. Even when we are 11 against 11 and playing well Defoe shoots when others are in better positions. We need Dembele back in midfield and Daws in for Gallas until Kaboul is back..COYS

    • rob 21/11/2012 at 6:05 pm #

      How is it absurd? I see it week in week out not just this season EVERY season. People say BAE is poor but I don’t see any other left back in the league who gets less protection from his winger than him. Being exposed all the time means that inevitably goals are scored from the left side and he is blamed. Countless?? I counted 3. One long run doesn’t excuse him waiting around on the half way line watching his man run past him and pointing for someone else to pick him up for the majority of the match. The side as a whole were going to be under pressure once down to 10 men and needed everyone to do their part he didn’t and rarely does much defensive work and it cost us.

  11. mike 21/11/2012 at 10:16 am #

    We took a gamble on Bale in a free role and I did notice that he did not help Naughton at full back thats not to say that he did not work hard. Game was over from the moment Ref took the hard line red to send off Adebeyor. I am one of the “old school” and did think the ref should use his discretion in such a big game I remember him reffing the World Cup final and he let Van Bommel get away with a virtual mugging if I recall ! We neede to hang on to half time but we are not the sort of team to play defensive – we should have a plan for that very situation. The game was a FARCE I don`t pay good money to see 11 play 10 what a shambles. We now have some hard games coming up so make or break for AVB I am sorry to say

  12. andrew 25/11/2012 at 8:44 am #

    you blame avb but the core group of players lost 5.2 at the death star last year with eleven men ? gallas and Ade should never ever have worn a spurs shirt. they are both ex scum and that is what is wrong with the modern game, no one really cares about that. they do not belong at the home of football. to concede 3 goals within 30 mins of going to 10 men is not good enough, especially a the start of the game when u should be fresh.

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