Back after a week’s holiday/hiding, we start with a Frenchman and end with a frog.
His selection for the derby with Woolwich showed he is now firmly number 1, and his performance both in Rome and against West Ham cemented his position. Against Lazio he produced a few very good saves that kept us in the game, was extremely alert of his line, and earned the credit that this column has stated every keeper needs for when they do make an inevitable error.
On Sunday Lloris didn’t have that much to do but what he did have he dealt with very well. Very quick off his line, pleasingly commanding in the air, and a blossoming relationship with the fans. Everything is coming up roses for Hugo, and there is the added bonus that Deschamps will now only say nice things about the club (and maybe pick Younes more often).
Started in the hostile Stadio Olimpico, played a delightful through ball for Bale’s goal that was wrongly ruled out, and despite appearances he was not out muscled or out fought.
Making match day squads consistently, the little man is moving from promising youngster to credible option for any and all games.
Two more goals for JD, shutting up the Hammers fans who had given him stick ever since he left their club. The first was extremely well taken, with Defoe showing great strength to get past two men in a tight situation, although his finish did seem to fall into the category of ‘smack the leather off the bloody thing’. Just with Adebayor looked to be back as the main man JD has come in and done the business, and another goal on Wednesday will make him undroppable until Christmas.
First league start since February, Daws looked like he had never been away. Gallas has struggled recently but I wonder how much Dawson’s selection was to do with Andy Carroll as opposed to Billy G’s form.
Regardless, Dawson showed us what he can do, and added some great moments of composure to retain possession. There was the odd 50 yard switch ball that didn’t come off, but its useful to have a variety of passing to keep the opposition on their toes.
Best game in a Spurs shirt by far, and the main reason for that is explained below, but an assist, a lovely little ball to put Lennon in for the third, and more of a goal threat. Clint looked a lot better, more like the player at Fulham, and if he can perform like that on a regular basis with the odd starring role then he will be a great option for the manager.
AVB and the Hudd-Sandro-Dempsey-Defoe rectangle
Given we played on Thursday, I’m not sure how much credit AVB should get for this, and how much was a result of West Ham’s pretty poor performance, but something clicked on Sunday.
AVB had stated we had not played 4-4-2 that much before the Maribor game, but he obviously recognised that even if he did not have two out and out strikers at his disposal, the team looked a lot happier in a formation that resembled the tried and trusted.
What was key to out good performance and to Clint Dempsey’s impressive turn was his starting position – much higher than previous, meaning when he came deeper to get on the ball he was operating between the lines of the opposition’s midfield and defence, and not falling into the clutches of the oppo’s central midfielders. With Defoe pushing on ahead and pushing West Ham back, Dempsey had more space to operate, and most importantly Sandro and Huddlestone pressed right up to the halfway line and beyond (the third goal being a prime example of how we should look to play at home).
AVB is noted for his opposition scouting, and with West Ham using Carroll as their plan A (and with no plan B) the obvious answer is to press the opposition whenever they have the ball so they cannot get their head up and hit the big man. This should be how we look to play at the Lane regardless of the opposition (give or take) and it is no surprise this tactic coincided with our best performance at the Lane this season.
Sandro was a beast yet again, and while Huddlestone struggled early on he performed better in the second half and got stuck in, at least by his usual standards.
As Lloris goes up, Friedel goes down. Slightly surprising he wasn’t allowed to move to Blackburn – if he had wanted to that is – as he’ll be gone in the summer one would expect, and its not like we don’t have cover in the GK position.
A reckless lunge provided yet another blip in Ade’s stop-start season. Just when it looked like he might get a run of games he does something silly, and his performance against Lazio was lazy-o. JD’s goals and Clint’s performance at the weekend will make it harder for Adebayor to come back into the starting line up.
The Society of Black Lawyers
How they must be regretting electing the attention seeking Peter Herbert as their chairman. While he threatens to report Spurs fans to the police, the FA are reporting West Ham fans for anti-Semitic chanting. In Herbert’s world we should all be locked up, while any sane person at the Lane on Sunday or Rome during the week will know who the villains and who the victims are.