Thank god for daughters that’s all I can say, let me explain…. I celebrated my daughter’s christening last Sunday and if it wasn’t for that bringing a bit of joy into that otherwise nightmare of a day there’s a fair chance I would have all my hair torn out at this stage!
We knew it would be a tough ask getting a result at the Etihad – City have been an absolute machine at home this season, scoring goals for fun and steamrolling opposition – but it was the manner of the defeat that hurt the most. From the moment Lloris made a hash of his 1st clearance and we went a goal down, I had the sinking feeling we could be on for a tanking, unfortunately that feeling proved to be correct.
Where does one start in describing the fiasco that was Sunday’s game? There were so many bad performances it’s easier to say who actually played well. Paulinho and Sandro were extremely disappointing in the middle of the park, with the former really struggling to get to grips with the likes of Yaya Touré. The sight of Sandro vomiting on the pitch just about summed up every fan’s reaction to this shambles of a performance, AVB pointed to the “intensity” of the game but the truth is there was only 1 “beast” on the pitch on Sunday and that was City’s Negredo. Both he and Aguero were awesome to watch, their touch and movement off the ball were exceptional and our back four were simply unable to deal with them.
Vertonghen made a couple of silly errors, not least for the last goal but it was Dawson’s performance which was most worrying, poor decision making and being constantly out-muscled by the City attack meant we looked extremely porous at the back. Up front wasn’t much better, Soldado was again practically anonymous, the heat chart doing the rounds online during the week showing his action areas from Sunday must be particularly galling for the Spaniard. The service he received again was poor but at what point must this excuse stop being trotted out to explain his lack of goals?
AVB has to be feeling the pressure big time but at least he was honest in his post-match analysis including himself by describing the performance as “embarrassing”, he was right, that’s exactly what it was and he’s right to shoulder some of the responsibility. We feared that introducing so many new players into the side would leave the team looking disjointed and that the new faces would take time to settle, that’s the way it looks to have panned out at this stage.
To fix this problem beginning with the visit of United to the Lane this Sunday, the gaffer has to start by picking a settled team starting with midfield. The constant rotation, especially of the holding players, simply isn’t working. Paulinho has been a mainstay all season but he’s had several partners including Capoue, Sandro, and Dembélé who, for me is the best option, albeit in a slightly more advanced role. The wingers also pose a dilemma; Townsend needs to start on Sunday but maybe on the left side with Lennon again getting the nod at right wing. Holtby again looked off the pace on Sunday, Siggurdsson might be a better bet in the no.10 role.
Then there comes to the striking situation, despite all our woes on Sunday Defoe still found himself an unused sub with the manager opting to bring in Adebayor out of the cold. To be fair to the former City player he did try hard in the second half but we all know that his bad traits often outweigh the good and it remains to be seen whether he will be motivated enough to make an impact on Sunday. AVB made noises during the week about looking at changing the current system which would indicate that he might go for two up top, that has to be Defoe and Adebayor for my money, he just can’t kept persisting with Soldado hoping something will click.
I doubt if the Tottenham manager would have foreseen himself in such a precarious position so early in the season but that’s the current situation and he must realise that a win on Sunday is a must. United arrive on the back of a 5-0 away in Europe during the week but they’re missing Carrick in midfield which would suggest that if we get our act together in midfield they might be there for the taking. Whatever happens, a massive improvement from last week is needed, this is the biggest test of AVB’s managerial tenure to date at Spurs and let’s hope it’s one he passes with flying colours. COYS.
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