Arsenal (A) - THE Game of Two Halves

Krafty

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Thread starter #1
First half : Out Thought, Out Worked, Out Played (Written at half time)

Rafael van der Vaart said Harry Redknapp was a better manager than two time Champions League Winner Jose Mourinho because he did not spend hours talking tactics. Maybe the one time FA Cup champion should consider introducing tactics to his team, because that kind of naive play today shows why we have failed to win away to any of the top teams.

The first Arsenal goal is a classic example of Tottenham’s absence of a game plan when the team is without the ball. The defence is pushed up as Arsenal win the ball in their back third. Nothing wrong with this if, and only if, you press the ball from the front, restricting the time the opposition have on the ball.

Our strikers and midfield fail to do this. The lack of effort means Arsenal’s defenders can play the ball to Fabregas, playmaker in chief, a player who should not be allowed to get on the ball. But he has, so we close him down quickly before he can do any damage, right? Wrong. That’s not the Tottenham way. We allow the Spaniard to turn, look up, and then play a ball over the top of our high-line defence.

Assou-Ekotto, in a re-run of the incident at the San Siro that led to the Gomes red card and penalty, is too tight to his man and too far from the left sided centre back. Nasri runs into the acres of space, Gomes hardly covers himself in glory (and the Brazilians poor form is a frightening problem) and we are one down.

Time and time and time again, Arsenal pick up the ball and within four seconds are running directly at our defence. Jenas and Modric offer absolutely no cover, at best drifting in a no man’s land and at worse running out of position to close down someone fifty yards from goal when the real danger is on the edge of the penalty area. Compare our defending as a team to Arsenal’s, who press high up the pitch, have Alex Song stood only a couple of yards in front of his defenders, and get very tight and narrow when they are not in possession, and it’s no wonder that they look far more solid.

In the first half Lennon and Bale have failed to get on the ball enough, and the wingers have contributed to our open stance when ‘defending’. If it were not for Gallas and Kaboul the game would be over at half time. Pavlyuchenko is isolated and showing why he is not a top level front man with his inability to hold the ball up, our breaks are too slow, and in general we are stuck in malaise. While Newcastle showed how to win at the Emirates with a solid base, and West Brom were victorious with quick and incisive breaks, Spurs show that just turning up and hoping for the best is a recipe for disaster.

Second half: From Boys To Men (written at full time)

Defoe’s introduction for the anonymous Lennon prompted a high tempo, pressing approach. Switching from a 4-4-1-1 to a 4-4-2 is hardly earth shattering and yet it seemed to galvanise our players. Related to the tactic talk of the first post, it’s clear the players are more aware of their roles in the stereotypical 4-4-2. Bale tucked in more, and van der Vaart helped narrow the team and also contributed to the increased pressing of the opposition’s defence.

Check that second half again and count the number of times the Arsenal defence or keeper had to lump the ball forward instead of passing to feet. They turned over possession far more, and when they did try to build up the play we were swarming around them. Kaboul and Gallas continued to excel at the back, while Modric and Jenas were much more involved. Defoe offered an option over the top, and remarkably out jumped the six foot plus centre backs to flick on to van der Vaart, who had drifted in from the right, and played Bale through the inside right channel. Two smart touches later and we were back in the game.

That goal showed how we had changed. The formation could have been an old-school Brazilian 4-2-2-2, and we were looking much livelier. Our better play deserved some luck, and Fabregas was more than happy to provide it.

Gomes redeemed himself with a good save from Fabregas, but our new setup really stunted the Arsenal attack and if one team was going to win it, it was Tottenham.

Bale caused more terror and was fouled for the forty ninth time – this time down on the right hand touch line, again a sign of how we played with greater fluidity and pace in the second half. The free kick came in, Kaboul got the flick on, and ten tense minutes ebbed past before the final whistle and a great derby win.

In conclusion, the team has shown they can beat anyone, anywhere. Our first win at the Emirates, our first win away at Arsenal since 1993. Our first win at the Sky 4 in 60 odd games.

Redknapp deserves credit for making the changes at half time, just as he has to take some responsibility for a really poor first half display. Defoe’s return, and the switch to 4-4-2, makes the team look far more comfortable. The 4-4-1-1 formation away from home still needs a lot of work as it is neither one thing nor the other without a home crowd urging the team on.

Gallas and Kaboul were exceptional throughout the game, Bale and van der Vaart continue to grab the headlines, Defoe’s return was timely, although Lennon’s indifferent performances are worrying. Maybe the classic system of two wingers is still outdated, if not the 4-4-2 setup.

The bottom line is....WE WON!!!
TWO NIL, AND YOU ****** IT UP, TWO NIL, AND YOU.....
 

alamo

Don't worry be happy
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#3
What a boring report from an anorak....just enjot the win mate
Fuck off.

Good write up Krafty. Thank you for taking the time and making the effort I enjoyed it. And I doubt I'm in the minority.
 

spurs_viola

Rui Costa,dreamspurs no10
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#4
Good, well thought out report. While we enjoy the euphoria of another high profile, sensational win like we did after the 3-1 v Inter, we should still be able to see the failures of the first half and expect improvement. If we can consolidate these kind of results with more bread-n-butter wins against lesser teams, we can really compete at the top.

There needs to be more work and preparations to ensure the wins v Inter and Arsenal are not followed by bad defeats v Wigan, West Ham, Bolton. We have perhaps the best squad overall in the last 20 years, but we cannot expect the players to just go out there and get results every time, without more thorough preparation and tactics.
 

davidmatzdorf

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#5
One major reason why Arsenal were so ineffective after half time was that Jenas (who was absent without leave in the first half) got much tighter to Fabregas (I reckon he had instructions, probably quite blunt ones) and shut off the creative supply line. The acres of space in the centre largely disappeared after that and, having thus been slowed down, Arsenal spent minutes at a time prowling around outside our penalty area without actually making a chance out of the pressure.
 
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#6
Kaboul and Gallas did very well.

Gomes looked a bit shaken/scared in the one on one.

The introduction of Defoe changed our entire dynamic, allowing us to keep Arsenal worrying - I am very pleased that he is back.

Lennon looks like he'd rather be somewhere else and does not run with blistering pace into the gap behind full backs.

Bale was hit a few times, Modric and Van der Vaart were well tested - although the improvements at half time allowed them to get much better results.

Jenas really did poorly in the first half, improving in the second.

I am ever so glad that we won though... it has been some time...
 

Gaz_Gammon

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#10
I think that we did get out of jail but i am not trying to take anything away from a great second half display. For me (and after many weeks debating) Pav just has to go. He was far from inspiring today and all too often gave the ball away when under no pressure to do so. If Harry can do a deal come January, and bring in a different forward then i think we can push for a top five plus finish. We need our forward line scoring more goals than at present.

Big credit where it's due and Gallas was the outstanding player on the pitch today, closely followed i thought by Modrich who for me didn't give up running all game. Harry must be delighted with the teams performance and once Bale had scored then our tempo and movement was simply too good for the Gooners.
 

JimmyG2

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#13
I don't believe the reported interview with Van der Vaart about tactics.
Something got lost in translation or it was a question and answer session with jokey or leading questions.
Perhaps Harry concentrates on the younger and more inexperienced members of the squad for his tactical insight and leaves experienced international campaigners likeRafael and Modric to do their thing in the 'Just go on and ******* run about a bit tradition'. which I also don't believe.

We seemed to have an extra man in the second half and as you say they were forced to pump the ball forward more.
I was delighted when I saw this because Kaboul just loves heading the ball.

Tottenham seem to have returned to the carefree Ardiles days but with more success. The 'it doesn't matter how many we concede as long as we score one more'.
Suits me.

I'm afraid that Sendero hasn't quite got the hang of blogging and posting sites.

It's a 'sharing' thing Sendo.
This ones called 'Spurs Community'
 

UbeAstard

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#14
Assou-Ekotto, in a re-run of the incident at the San Siro that led to the Gomes red card and penalty, is too tight to his man and too far from the left sided centre back. Nasri runs into the acres of space, Gomes hardly covers himself in glory (and the Brazilians poor form is a frightening problem)
I cant see how 'the Brazilian can be blamed for that goal and I cant agree that there is any particular poor run of form from him.
 

Krafty

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Thread starter #15
I cant see how 'the Brazilian can be blamed for that goal and I cant agree that there is any particular poor run of form from him.
Gomes should have been far more decisive in coming out when Nasri's first touch let him down. Instead he took a couple of steps back, and then when he did come out he didnt win the ball.

Given the form he can achieve, the errors yesterday, for Blackburn's second (which was right at him), the Inter red, a weakish hand for Bolton's first, the freak Utd second....they arent absolute horrors, but I'm sure Gomes would say he isnt at his best yet.
 

TimJ

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#16
I enjoyed the write up and the subsequent comments. Just when things seems to be getting worse and the club seemed to be going backwards, we win two on the trot and everything seems great again. Thanks Harry and the lads. Looks like we are in for another up and down season, just the way I appear to like it.
 

AW?

Formerly known as *******Who?
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#17
That first goal with Gomes i'd put down to his recent sending off against Inter. He looked very hesitant.

The first half wasn't looking good at all but i still had hope. The game can completely change even if we'd got a lucky goal suddenly. We didn't get lucky though, we came out far more organised and Arsenal seemed a bit complacent which helped.

We need the Hudd back asap that's for certain.
 

JimmyG2

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#18
That first goal with Gomes i'd put down to his recent sending off against Inter. He looked very hesitant.

The first half wasn't looking good at all but i still had hope. The game can completely change even if we'd got a lucky goal suddenly. We didn't get lucky though, we came out far more organised and Arsenal seemed a bit complacent which helped.

We need the Hudd back asap that's for certain.
Agree with your comment about Gomes.
He stepped back to set himself up for Nasri's shot.
When Nasri failed to control the ball he came forward but was too far back and couldn't make up the ground.
I'm sure the sending off against Inter would have been on his mind.

His save from Fabregas at 2-2 wipes the slate clean for me.
He also got down well to two ground shots later and held on to them.
He is not at his best but is still a world class, game saving keeper most of the time.
 

spurs_viola

Rui Costa,dreamspurs no10
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#19
I don't believe the reported interview with Van der Vaart about tactics.
Something got lost in translation or it was a question and answer session with jokey or leading questions.

....
I know it's hard to believe. But the OrangeTHFC (far from anti-Harry, regular member of SC) watched this interview on the Dutch TV and confirmed that the quotes were correct.
 

davidmatzdorf

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#20
I know it's hard to believe. But the OrangeTHFC (far from anti-Harry, regular member of SC) watched this interview on the Dutch TV and confirmed that the quotes were correct.
Of course the quotes were correct. But the content was a mixture of hyperbole, dramatics and nonsense. You don't coach a team of high-strung budding stars into the Champions League and into an FA Cup semi-final by completely ignoring tactics. It's patently absurd.

I posted the other day that Redknapp doesn't appear to trim and tweak his approach very much depending on the opposition. He just sets out his team to play his way and then waits to see if it works. It's ambitious and it's in danger of proving a bit arrogant if the players are not up to the calibre of our current squad. Fortunately, Harry seems to have become much better at changing things around when it isn't working, as we saw on Saturday - this has not always been so.

If you adopt a managerial approach that your team is going to play in your own style and try to impose it on the opposition, then scribbling tactical diagrams on a white-board right before a match is otiose. That work should have been done on the training ground over the previous several months and it should be possible to send the players onto the pitch, secure in their roles, with just a few words of instructions.
 
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