What’s the point of playing a weakened team against Woolwich? A victory on Saturday against Citeh? Hm, we’ll see.
Before the game we’d scored 8 goals in 7 games so it’s obvious where our problems, if we have any, lay. In a match all the fans want to win, probably in preference to the weekend encounter with the Bank of Abu Dhabi XI, is the right thing to leave out the scorer of three of those goals, rest the best keeper in the league and play a walking accident waiting to happen? Poch has more idea how to manage a football team than I do but the moment you saw the names Fazio and Vorm in the team you knew we weren’t going to keep a clean sheet and thus you knew a couple of goals at least were necessary. Step forward Harry Kane? Unfortunately not. His ability to notch from an offside position remains without parallel; when presented with legitimate opportunities in this game however he suffered from the same hesitancy & misfortune that he has done all season so far – the terrific volley from the corner excepted.
After a poor quality first half the match turned at 1-1 when we subbed off Townsend for Son and they brought on Sanchez for Campbell. We’d built momentum after we’d equalised thanks to, through Tom Carroll in particular, grasping control of midfield. The old legs of Arteta and the wretch that is Flamini were being by-passed by quick running and movement of the ball. We looked clear favourites. We had been pressurising before our goal and the period immediately afterwards but then the withdrawal of Townsend reduced the defensive cover in front of Trippier at a time when the speed of Sanchez added menace down the same side.
The game became even but then the flukey second goal gave them belief and us more work to do than we deserved. More subs just unbalanced the side and the teams swapped half chances as we chased an equaliser and they tried to take advantage of the game being stretched. Ah well.
The positives? Carroll and Wimmer both played well and Trippier was ok. Fixture congestion will ease. Pochettino will have learned that youth is all well and good but a lack of experience, especially on the bench (they brought on Sanchez and Walcott – we brought on Son, Alli and N’Jie) can cost you.
The negatives? Losing to the inbreeds and seeing our best chance of a trophy fall at the first fence.
Roll on Saturday. COYS.
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