Sunday, January 06, 2008

Dodgy defending results in a mediocre Christmas and New Year

I may not have been close to a computer for the past fortnight but I've remained as close to Spurs as ever. Since my last post we've won twice, lost twice and drawn once. A mediocre Christmas, despite scoring 15 goals in those five matches.

First up was a trip to the Emirates. It was a close match that seemed to frustrate the ARSEnal fans until the defining moment part-way through the second half. At 1-1 Keane stepped up to take a penalty to give us the lead, but it wasn't to be. Following Almunia's save, ARSEnal won a corner which, as so often this season, we failed to defend and it was game over. Football is full of "what ifs" as highlighted in the 2-1 defeat.

Keano was quick to redeem himself though, as he bagged a brace in our 5-1 thrashing of manager-less Fulham on Boxing Day. In a match that was slow to start we remained in control throughout.

Three days later White Hart Lane witnessed a bizarre game that I for one will never forget. At half time with Spurs and Reading sharing the game's first two goals, I remained upbeat that we'd go on to take all three points. But with typical defensive errors we fell behind three times, and it was only because of real grit and determination that we kept fighting back to eventually win a crazy match 6-4. That and an inspired Berbatov, who notched four goals himself. Although that in itself is incredibly pleasing for Spurs fans, I can't help but worry that he may be off to new pastures before the transfer window closes.

Two more defensive blunders from set pieces at Villa Park on New Year's Day proved our undoing as we were beaten by a very mediocre Villa side. I thought our second half performance was pretty good, and when Defoe grabbed our equaliser I thought we'd take at least a point from the match. Alas it wasn't to be and it was another reminder to the coaching staff that serious work is required on our defensive capabilities (or lack of them).

So with the Christmas and New Year festivities behind us attention switched to the magic of the FA Cup. Surely after putting six past Reading last week we could brush them aside with relative ease? Especially since they were intending to stick to their policy of fielding a weakened side. Oh no, once again we made heavy weather of things. I'm still not sure whether Hunt's first "goal" had crossed the line or not, but the bottom line is Reading didn't earn a draw, we through away a win. Dodgy defending (again) and a strange decision to replace Keane with Taarabt without changing the formation (even though Defoe was on the bench) means we have to travel to the Madejski for a replay a week on Tuesday. A tough place to go, but at least we can assume Reading won't play a full strength side.

So, all in all an average fortnight from a results perspective. Yes we scored plenty, but we also conceded far too many soft goals. The next couple of weeks could make or break our season, so there's a hell of a lot for Ramos and co to do...

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