Sunday 23 December 2007

Pissed off with 4-5-1

Maybe I'm completely wrong, but I think the excessive reliance on 4-5-1 is threatening to wreck our season. Spurs were there for the taking on Saturday, injuries galore and a back four that even Derby County would hope to bang a few past. When I saw the team line up with Ade on his lonesome up front, my heart sunk, as I knew that 4-5-1 would give Spurs a chance to win a game that they should have no right to.

We even started brightly with a good hook just wide from Flamini, but as the half wore on, Spurs came into it, our ineffectiveness was there for all to see; we just didn't look like scoring. Spurs had far too much space and room to play, Berbatov was sometimes bringing the ball down with time to make a quick cup of tea before strolling goalwards. There was no pressure on the ball and we were far too slack with the ball, loosely giving away possession left, right and centre. Fabregas and Hleb had particularly poor first halves, finding Spurs players with machine like regularity.

We did start the second half with more desire and tempo, and were rewarded with a great goal courtesy of good work from Rosicky, then Fabregas who back heeled to the striding Adebayor, who neatly side footed past the larger than life Robinson. It didn't take Spurs long to equalise, having squandered a sitter moments earlier when Keane hit the crossbar when it would have been easier to score, Berbatov found space to drive home a thunderbolt from a rather acute angle. I thought Almunia could have done better, but having seen replays since, it is hard to imagine how he could have reacted, such was the pace on the shot.

Next was the controversial bit, Styles pointed to the spot when Toure lunged towards Berbatov in the box. Replays conclusively showed that Toure clearly got his foot to the ball before making any contact with the diving Bulgarian, Berbatov did make a bit of meal of the clash and certainly made sure that Styles' mind was made up for him. Never a penalty in my book but Styles always seems happy to be sure of himself when he shouldn't be. Keane choked the penalty and Almunia guessed right, thank the lord. Later on Taarabt tried to con the ref into giving another penalty, fortunately Styles didn't fall for this trickery, and saw that Taarabt was going down before Sagna made any contact. At the other end Rosicky was taken out in the box twice, and it was done quite cynically on both occasions. Nothing doing for some reason only know to the incompetent Styles.

Step up Mr Bendtner. Corner to the Arsenal, great run from the back post and he rose majestically to power home past the hapless Robinson. Spurs never looked like getting back in the game, however it was rather too close for comfort. I just felt that if Ade had had some support up front, we could have buried them much earlier, and wouldn't have had to rely on Almunia's heroics.

Anyway the three points were essential given that Chelsea and Manu both picked up their full complement today. Interestingly our Champions League opponents AC Milan were in derby action against Inter in the San Siro today, Inter winning 2-1 thanks to a second half howler from the gravity prone Brazilian Dida. AC Milan didn't look very convincing at all and Inter deserved their win, however Pirlo and Kaka are awesome talents who only need small sniffs to punish you. Pirlo's range of passing and free kicks make him a constant danger, while Kaka's pace and balance mean you can never relax; they can kill anyone on the counter attack. It will be a tough tie, however there are a few chinks in their armour these days, and if we get it right on the day, we can certainly do them.

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