Five wins out of five in the group and seven out of seven in the competition as a whole speaks for itself. We’ve qualified as winners with still one one game to go and have dominated the group – our stiffest opponent has been the amount of travel, being drawn to play in Russia, a suburb of Moldova and north of the Arctic Circle waas fun for the Michael Palins amongst our supporters but probably didn’t do the players much good. We’ve got to play Anzhi before we find out who we play in the interminable knockout phase that begins in early February.
You’d think that a comfortable 2-0 victory away from home would ease the pressure on AVB a tad but in fact I’m sure his detractors and the mischief makers alike will sieze on the facts that Soldado drew another blank and the youngsters were left sat on their arses despite having travelled. The good performances from Kapowee, Chiriches and Fryers on their returns from injury as well as those from Townsend, Dembele and Siggy will all be ignored no doubt. Don’t get me wrong, this was far from the goalfest we would’ve liked to see, more of an efficient despatching than a drubbing.
Picking out a couple of performances: Chiriches is an interesting prospect. He looks more comfortable on the ball than any centre half I can remember in a Spurs shirt. If he can get to a point where his ability to read the game and time a tackle makes up for his lack of physical presence we’re in for a treat I think. Soldado is an enigma. Clearly a man with talent, he’s not, as many have pointed out, helped by our tactics and inability to get the ball into the box quickly. Even so though, he had a few occasions yesterday where he had the chance to make space and/or get a shot away but each time he didn’t exactly come alive in the way that say, someone like Pav used to. He has got talent as I say, but we’re a long way off allowing him to exhibit it. I’d make him watch tapes of Suarez making a nuisance of himself until he learnt how to make runs and make himself available to the midfield.
You can’t say that AVB doesn’t possess cojones, his refusal to bring on McEvoy or Fredericks was almost perverse in the circumstances, but I’m sure he had his reasons. ‘Arrogrance’ is how it will be described.
Perhaps he’ll fill the team with kids for the game against Anzhi in a fortnight, I doubt it though.
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