It’s been a while, and it might be hard to remember some of our results since the last Good Week/ Bad Week, so here is a reminder...
Swansea (A) 3-1 Win
City (H) 5-1 loss
Hull (A) 1-1 Draw
Everton (H) 1-0 Win
Newcastle (A) 4-0 Win
Dnipro (A) 1-0 Loss
Norwich (A) 1-0 Loss
Dnipro (H) 3-1 Win
Cardiff (H) 1-0 Win
Chelsea (A) 4-0 Loss
Benfica (H) 3-1 Loss
Woolwich (H) 1-0 Loss
P 12 W 5 D 1 L 6 F 15 A 18
Good 2 Months
The goals have slightly dried up towards the end of this period, but our leading striker has shown more effort as our results have slid. Pace, power, and some terrific finishing, especially the goal against Everton, have been a highlight in a pretty dark 2014. That we have struggled for goals in March is less to do with Manu and more to do with an utter lack of creativity in the team.
Some sumptuous free kicks from the Dane, who was alarmingly left out completely from the dire defeat at Carrow Road and more worryingly for me is continually shunted out to the left of our five man midfield. With no one else offering any creativity from the middle of the park we need the former Ajax playmaker in there.
Yes, you read that right, Naughton makes the winner’s circle. Coming in and out of the side, not always in the same position, would be difficult for anyone, but now he is getting a run of games, with Walker’s injury problems, the other Kyle is looking a pretty steady player. He knows he doesn’t have the pace to beat a man so is far more likely to put a cross in, which aren’t bad, and if it weren’t for our high line he would not be looking too bad defensively. Whereas Walker has the pace to get back but also has the odd meltdown when taken on one-on-one, Naughton can get caught in behind but is harder to beat in tight spaces.
Already starting to struggle, Nacer showed a glimpse of his quality with a magnificent final goal in our thumping of Newcastle, and against Woolwich he showed some skill, pace, and desire although fatefully lacked the finishing skills in the second half with the goal at his mercy.
More needs to come to fully convince but there is hope for the future. Plus he is one of the few players who gets within waving distance of Adebayor in our 4-X-X-1 system.
Now, Bentaleb has had a bit of an up-and-down eight weeks, and maybe he should be rested until the end of the season so he can learn and build on his first team experience. However, given the (almost bizarre) faith Sherwood has in his abilities, Bentaleb’s run continues and he was even linked with a move to Manchester United which, while not what it used to be, indicates that some share Sherwood’s opinion about the young midfielder.
A lovely send off for the little man against Everton, with injury ruling him out from there on. He’s already scored a brace on debut for Toronto, and I’m sure we all wish him the best in Canada.
With Defoe’s departure, Kane is one step further up on the pecking order, and I’m quite pleased about that. I like Kane, I think he showed a good footballing brain in his initial first team appearances, added a little pace, and now seems to have developed a prodigious leap to go with a tasty shot from outside the box. With the front man/men being so isolated from midfield at times, it’s crying out for someone who can just drop off in between the lines and link the play. Rafa van der Vaart he is not, but he is still young and I hope, with our season petering out, the HarriKane gets some more game time.
Impressing out in Spain with Rayo Vallecano, if the squad wasn’t already chocker blocked with attacking midfielders and wingers (and we are linked with Konoplyanka from Dnipro as well) there is little to no chance he’ll get into the first team. At the very least he has improved his reputation in his home land.
Another diminutive blonde with a pinpoint free kick, Pritchard has been nominated for the Football League’s young player of the year award. Now if this was a player of another club we would all be clamouring for Spurs to sign him, but again Pritchard will find the first team blocked by plenty of players who, quite frankly, are not doing the business, and a great potential talent will not get the chance to show if he is going to make it or not.
Obviously, picking up a straight red last time out doesn’t help, but it’s nice to see some fire in a player’s belly.
Getting regular games on loan in the Championship, the likelihood is he won’t make it at Spurs but at least he is proving he deserves to be a professional footballer in at least the second tier.
Another on loan, and someone we could badly do with at The Lane, if only for his infectious attitude. He’s already making us miss him and hopefully he will show the coaching staff, current or future, that he deserves a run of games.
Bad 2 Months
Okay, strap yourselves in. This ain’t going to be pretty...
We start off with Sherwood in the Bad section. When I was thinking of writing this column a few weeks ago, before the Norwich defeat, I had Sherwood in the Bad section because despite doing alright the haters were gonna hate. First he was 4-4-Tim, then when he changed tactics he was a mumbler, then when he started shouting he was wearing a jacket without sleeves, then when he threw that to the ground he was too fiery, and so on and so forth. No matter what he did, he was not the answer and never would be.
After the recent run of results, which to be fair aren’t exactly the result of managerial incompetence but weren’t helped by Sherwood’s decisions, I am in two minds as to what to do with Sherwood and the manager’s position in general.
With our season now pretty much over, we should be using the next few months to be in the best position for the new season, but nothing can be done until the manager for next season is confirmed. I could go on and on but it will not change anything – its another balls up at The Lane.
Daniel Levy and Franco Baldini
So AVB couldn’t do it. Sherwood is struggling. Now the players, new and old, are falling over themselves (literally) to find new levels to sink to. From top to bottom, in terms of the first team, nothing is going right. Even Adebayor’s recent form comes with the issue of our wage commitment once City stop subsidising his contract.
I’ll not rush in to blame Levy and Baldini because there were plenty of us happy as Larry when the signings were coming in. Paulinho- great. Soldado – boom. Lamela – hello! Yes we lost Bale but for once Spurs did not dick about.
It was that last signing that worried me. We already had Lennon. Townsend had impressed at QPR. Chadli had come in, plus numerous players who could ‘do a job’, and we went and spent a club record £30million on another winger. It just seemed a little unnecessary and, dare I say, amateur? The sort of thing you do on Football Manager, when you know you can reboot and start all over again.
The Director of Football position is a tricky one to decipher because no one really knows what it involves. However, if there is no strong link between the head coach and the DoF then issues do not get addressed and money gets wasted. If AVB had got Moutinho all those moons ago to replace Modric then I can’t help wondering where we might have ended up....
If Sherwood stays then I can see him wanting Baldini gone, which is not an issue because Franco likes to love and leave, and if a new manager comes in and it’s not Fabio Capello then I think Baldini will be gone anyway.
Baldini did his job but unfortunately for us and for Levy, it wasn’t what we really needed, and Levy has to take the blame because he was the one who went for him.
You are good, Jan, but you’re not Beckenbauer. For a classy defender you do have a few too many brain farts, like the penalty against Dnipro or the slip at the Bridge, and it appears to come more from a lack of concentration more than anything else. Are you bothered? I’m not sure you are, and it’s that complacency that stops you being a top central defender, and is probably why you end up getting shunted to left back for club and country.
At the top of his game, Vertonghen is everything you want in a defender. However he has been exposed by players far below his level far too often and should buck up his ideas before complaining about the need for Champions League football.
Injuries, indifferent performances, blimey there could be half a dozen players in here with Moussa, but he competition for midfield players is so fierce and Moussa does so little that actually impacts on the game as a whole that I think a ruthless manager will end up cutting him off, or at least demoting him. He’s missed the last few games and yet not many are counting down the seconds until he’s fit again. The only plus side is that no one else has stepped up to the plate.
With Redknapp bringing in 139 players in January, competition rules have forbid Carroll from making match squads at times as the number of loan signings in the side is restricted. Should have been called back in January, and probably would have got some games under Sherwood too.
He has missed some sitters, but then ended his drought to get the only goal against Cardiff. Since then we have struggled to see any sign of him, and his late, late introduction (especially for Eriksen) rightly angered the Spurs faithful on Sunday.
Still convinced there is a player there, but looks set to join the list of players we’ve ruined.
I don’t know how many times Lennon has appeared in my columns but I don’t its very many because he doesn’t really do enough to stand out but puts a shift in.
However, in the setup Sherwood has selected for the majority of his games Lennon’s lack of end product is critical. He doesn’t score or create enough to warrant playing anything but a right winger, and even then his crossing is so erratic that you need two strikers in the box just because you don’t know if he’s going for the near or the far post.
I can see Lennon’s role in the team diminishing if Sherwood persists with this setup.
Where art tho Erik?
We should finish 5th, which is our joint second highest finish since what, 1993 or something? However, performances and results have meant this has felt like one of the worst seasons ever, certainly in my living memory.
It just feels like it doesn't matter. There will be a new manager, tons of new players, probably a new set-up, no new stadium. All we will be is another year older and deeper in debt.
At least when we used to lose there was some perverse glory in it. Now there is just....nothing....