Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Everton

Discussion in 'Match Reports' started by funster, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. funster VIP Member

    Feb 17, 2007
    +250 / 0 / -0
    Pah! Defeat at home to Everton for the second season running. You could look at it and say we're right back in the mixer, but realistically I think that would have been the case regardless of the result given how tight the Premier League is this season.

    In reality we deserved nothing from this game. We were bad. Not as bad as at Fulham two weeks ago, but bad.

    The last four performances - if we count Nijmegen (and I'm loathe to as I wasn't there) - have been poor. Two wins, two defeats. Probably a more realistic representation of where we are than Redknapp's first six games in charge.

    So, onto the analysis.....

    Travel wasn't quite such a ball-ache this weekend as engineering works didn't quite hamper my journey too much. It was back to the usual as well with a couple of cans of beer to keep me company on the train up to London!

    Team news wasn't too much of a surprise. 4-4-2 again and the lack of Jenas and Modric in the middle meaning Huddlestone and Zokora started. As last week, Lennon was on the right wing, Bentley on the left. I just don't imagine Bentley is too pleased with that. He wasn't in the Ramos era, so what would make it different now?

    Players emerge

    A couple of early Everton half-chances set the tone for the game. Bentley's seeming unhappiness with the left wing - that is a conclusion I am drawing all by myself..... its completely unsubstantiated! - manifested itself in the first few minutes with one of the most woeful cross field balls I think I've ever seen! Perhaps that's what you get when you play a £15m winger on the wrong side?

    We did create a couple of reasonable chances ourselves early in the game. A superb ball from midfield on the diagonal to Huddlestone gave him space and time to shoot, but he sent it wide.

    With Bentley seeming unlikely to swing in crosses of significance with his left boot, BAE managed to do so, and so so very well, only for the Everton defence to head the ball away with Bent lurking.

    All of that inside ten minutes. Blimey! Sounds exciting, dunnit?

    It wasn't. The most notable feature of the opening ten minutes was actually an injury to Yakubu. Looked nothing serious when he went down, but he was substituted and the later new revealed that he would be out for the rest of the season. Can't see those far-fetched rumours of Redknapp's interest in him coming to anything now!

    It didn't seem to upset Everton too much though and pretty soon Corluka displayed incredible composure and strength. Facing his own goal at right back he held off the Everton challenge, turned neatly and belted the ball up the right wing. The lad just continues to do nothing but impress me. Without doubt he is one of the best signings of recent times.

    Not long after Everton breached our defence again. This time it was down to Gomes to get out quickly to the ball and touch it away down the left.

    With about half of the first half gone, Everton were in complete control. It was a struggle to work out that we were the home team such was the dominance the visitors exerted, particularly across the centre of midfield.

    Bentley's indifferent afternoon on the left wasn't helped by two awful set pieces in quick succession and when he did manage to swing a good ball in, Tim Howard collected all too easily.

    That lends some credibility to the fact that we aren't all that great in the air with Bent and Pavlyuchenko, but I was pleased that Bentley had a go at putting the cross in. A more refreshed Pavlyuchenko would perhaps put more pressure on the keeper. He looks OK in the air. Not great, but hopefully he will improve on that aspect of his game.

    Still, the few half decent moves we did construct were quickly undone. Another Everton chance was presented to them when Huddlestone gave away possession with a shocking short pass - where have I written that before? Gomes again had to be alert to mop up, although for a split second it looked like he and King would get in each other's way. The resulting break saw Zokora run at pace with the ball some distance, pass to Lennon angling in from the right, only for his shot to go wide.

    A good run from Zokora. Seen that before. At pace. Seen that before. A ball to a Spurs player at the end of it. Novelty!

    Sadly we seemed incapable of building on any of the chances we were creating, and another sloppy piece of play resulted in possession being conceded on the right side of midfield. The Everton lad with a massive afro - must have picked up the same hairdresser as BAE earlier in the season - had a decent punt which Gomes kept out, but poor closing down in defence resulted in another shot which the keeper once again saved, this time pushing it out for a corner.

    This just was not very good.

    We created another chance in what was a very sporadic first half, BAE crossing very well from the left, only for Bent to sidefoot straight at the keeper with the Everton centre halves having completely missed the ball.

    This was not the Bent of five or six games ago. This was back to the striker who needs six or seven or eight chances to convert one. Funnily enough, his shocking recent form has coincided with Modric being out injured and our formation swtiching to 4-4-2.

    So, the summary of what was an entirely uninspiring half - for the Spurs supporters - was that they totally dominated, especially in the centre of midfield. Unlike the previous week where an iffy midfield performance had been masked by loads of ball to Lennon, against Everton we didn't even seem to utilise that channel particularly well, or frequently.

    Still, the scores were level and considering some of the luck that had seemed to swing our way since Redknapp took over, there was still hope.

    As the second half started we seemed more intent on pressing forward. I had commented that it might be useful to switch Lennon and Bentley. A lot of our attacking had been down the left and perhaps getting Lennon on that wing to run at the Everton defence, and Bentley on the right would enable the former to create more, and the latter to be more comfortable swinging the ball in.

    Harry clearly ignored me!

    Two very poor decisions by the ref early on didn't stop us in what was looking like it may be a better half. Despite his inability to see that Bentley had clearly been fouled and that we should have had a corner, we created the first real chance of the second half.

    Excellent play by Pav as he ran across the forward line from right to left, led to him laying the ball off neatly for BAE, but his shot went both high..... and wide.

    Then, somewhat against the run of play in the second half, but no less deserved given the dominance Everton had in the first, they took the lead.

    Exceptionally sloppy defending from a free kick that they won near the edge of our box led to a goal that seemed to take a slight deflection on its way in. The Everton fans, understandably, were ecstatic. I was appalled. We just switched off. A free kick in a real danger area, and we just switched off. We were so slow that it didn't even seem like we'd realised they'd taken the free kick and scored! Shocking. Not what you would expect from a side that should be well drilled by Redknapp on the importance of maintaining concentration from the first whistle to the last.

    Unsurprisingly this gave Everton a bit of extra confidence, and although we could have responded quickly - Pav firing miles up in the air from a well slid in free kick - the next meaningful chance fell to Everton again. This time Gomes was forced into a save from Pienaar who had seemed to make a miraculous recovery from what any onlooker would have thought must be a season-ending injury. He lay there looking like he was at death's door, the physio on, the stretcher readied. Yet a minute or two later he was popping up having run up the right wing to force Gomes to save! Not that I'd claim he was feigning injury, of course. Merely that he was, shall we say, somewhat exaggerating. Cheat.

    Pienaar asked to leave the pitch after lengthy treatment

    With an hour on the clock Redknapp had clearly seen enough of Bent and replaced him with Campbell. Another performance lacking in contribution from the striker who seemed like he couldn't stop scoring only two weeks ago.

    Campbell got himself involved almost immediately. His..... errrr..... commitment couldn't be doubted. The way he was throwing himself into tackles though, suggested a touch of extra experience is required. Had he connected on a couple more of those tackles nobody would've been too surprised to see him heading for the exit early.

    While Everton continued to dominate the midfield our best chances seemed likely to come from set pieces. Another shocking refereeing decision meant that a blatant - and I mean utterly, utterly blatant - handball wasn't spotted in the wall from a Bentley free kick.

    Perhaps with one eye on the fact that set pieces may be our saviour, Bale replaced BAE. Wishful thinking on my part, I suspect, to believe that Redknapp shared my view, but I can continue to dream!

    Coupled with the substitution came a switch of wings for Bentley and Lennon, and the former created a good chance for Pav, sliding the ball in on the floor from the right. Pav's shot was very well saved by Tim Howard at the near post.

    We created just one more chance of any real note. Lennon slipping in Pav after a run down the right - didn't he realise he was meant to be on the left?! - only for his shot to be deflected for a corner.

    Late Spurs free kick

    The last chance of the game, however, fell to Everton. A possible foul on Campbell wasn't given and the Everton break down the left led to a low shot that went just wide.

    Another Everton player leaves the field, but this time on a stretcher

    And that was about it. Everton celebrated a well earned victory, while we were left to ponder all sorts of things.

    Chief among them for me was whether what we've seen in the past couple of weeks is the reality of where we are this season. After that initial burst of good results, sometimes with questionable performances, we've somewhat come back to Earth with a bit of a thud. Against Fulham, Blackburn and Everton we've really not been that good, and two of those games we've lost.

    Blackburn were very poor last week and I did think to myself that an Everton side likely to be much better organised and just as physical would be a much sterner test.

    As it turned out it was a test we couldn't come to terms with.

    A massive part of the reason we lost with such a woeful performance on Sunday was down to the midfield dominance that Everton exerted. With the five they played in the middle, there just wasn't any way Huddlestone and Zokora could cope. Without Jenas - think what you like of him, but we missed him (or at least player able to link play) - and Modric we were bereft of attacking presence in the centre of the pitch.

    Add to that the lack of contribution from Bent, the inability to use Lennon as we had the previous week, playing Bentley on the wrong wing, and sometimes iffy defending in the centre, and we really didn't deserve anything out of the game.

    I can't begrudge Everton the result. On the day we lost to the better side.

    There is, clearly, still a LOT of work to do. The squad depth isn't there and we are missing Modric badly. Anybody who thinks Arshavin is a luxury we can do without hasn't watched the performances since Modric has been out. Against Nijmegen Bentley clearly couldn't fill that role, and against Everton we did away with altogether and got nothing from the game.

    I'm not saying he is the answer to all our problems, but I'd rather have him here than not.

    The most impressive Spurs performance of the day came from..... you won't be surprised to hear this..... Corluka. He is superb. After that patchy start where he looked well short of pace, he's hardly put a foot wrong. Whether at centre half or full back his composure is exceptional. I actually got to thinking that while we wonder whether he should play right back, centre half or defensive midfield, primarily because we can't decide how often King will play, maybe we should give him a try at centre half with King playing the role just in front of the back four?

    He's done it well enough for England in the past, and in the last ten minutes or so King was playing that role rather than centre half, and seemed far more adept at it than others we've put there.

    Then again, who do you then play at right back?!

    Ah, so many questions, so few answers!

    So, we look forward to Watford away tomorrow night and I leave you with one last point of note. Never before have I seen so many supporters from a visiting club travelling back to the south with me as I did against Everton on Sunday night. Never. Not even with ManUre! They must not like it much in Liverpool.....!
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2008
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  2. mangobus24 New Member

    Feb 13, 2008
    Arizona, United States
    +45 / 0 / -0
    Spot on, once again funster. We looked so incredibly lifeless on the pitch it was pathetic. Hopefully Modric recovers quickly as we need his creative abilities on the pitch.

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