With it all change at the top of the management tree and Tim Sherwood in temporary command we were all hoping for an instant turnaround in our fortunes.
Unsurprisingly there were changes in personnel – the defence virtually picked itself with injuries and suspensions robbing us of the usual suspects – but with Adebayor included from the start for the first time this season, and flanked by three fleet footed English attacking players, we all hoped for something better.
Even the formation had altered – two up front, two wingers, two attack minded central midfielders and two overlapping fullbacks – back to the old reliable 4-4-2.
But despite a flurry of attacks and shots we headed into halftime in exactly the same manner as we have for virtually the entire first half of the season – at nil-nil – frustrated by a lack of cutting edge and a real goalscoring threat. So nothing changed there.
The second half continued in much the same vein until a lightning break from Defoe, a finely placed cross and a volley that left their keeper with absolutely no chance.
But with the scoreline so precarious we all feared for the worst and sure enough along came the defensive frailties, the leisurely clearances and the inevitable fightback from WetSpam. In the long term perhaps it might be for the best.
Would we have been able to overcome Citeh in a two legged semi-final in January, especially as the first of those games would be immediately after awaydays to ManUre and Le Arse?
Would we be better off having a few mid-weeks free of matches so the new management team – either the caretaker or a newly appointed permanent one – can have time to get the squad together, training without thinking about Europa or CapOneCups, and concentrating purely on the Premiership for a while?
And bear in mind that the transfer window will be open in two weeks, who will be making the decisions about who comes in and who leaves, as it does seem as though AVB was not consulted about some of the incoming players in the summer. Chiriches, Eriksen, Lamela and Chadli have all been mentioned as players he did not approve of, instead he wanted Moutinho, Hulk and Willian.
With money still available for new purchases, will we finally get a true goalscoring striker? Regrettably my preferred choice of Damiao has gone – within Brazil – for around half what we apparently offered earlier this year. No change there then!
And we really do need cover at leftback, in case of a recurrence of the injury to Rose.
But all these things will be resolved in due course as we have the Christmas fixture list to look forward to and four Premiership games in 11 days – starting at Southampton this Sunday.
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With our poor record against teams in the top half of the League – no wins against any of them this season – and the Saints playing quite well even if they have had a few blips recently, this is not going to be easy. But under Pochittino they are an attacking outfit – maybe ideal for us to catch them on the break.
If nothing else it should be an entertaining game – probably high scoring – with the result in doubt, for the moment at least.
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