If arriving at the ground to hear a preview of the Australia v Pakistan cricket World Cup match being played over the tannoy under the stands was a little strange, then the experience of watching Spurs struggle to score and put away a weaker side was a far more familiar one.
Defoe in particular had a game to forget. He is a regular despatcher of goals against his former clubs but on this occasion failed to take two clear cut chances that would that wouldâ€™ve spared us a frustrating afternoon. To say that things arenâ€™t going for him at the moment is to ignore the fact that his form has been disappointing for a long time now. Since he notched against Wigan on Feb 21st last year he has scored just four times in the league and one of those was a penalty. He has always been all about scoring goals to the exclusion of everything else, itâ€™s his lifeblood. However his confidence is low, his speed seems to have left him and whilst I donâ€™t think you can fault his effort, thereâ€™s little end product especially as given his size he adds only the bare minimum in terms of holding the ball up etc.
How he failed to put away the rebound from Lennonâ€™s shot that hit the post in the first half here Iâ€™m still not really sure despite having seen it a dozen times now. As the ball comes towards him he seems to twist and take his eyes off it and thus somehow contrive to back heel with his standing foot past the post rather than side foot into the empty net four yards away from him.
That we failed to score wasnâ€™t all his fault of course. He was left on his own a lot of the time as Van der Vaart wandered all over the shop and support from midfield (through the centre) was minimal. We seem to be a team thatâ€™s set up to create chances rather than score goals. Harry clearly doesnâ€™t fancy Pav or Krancjar in the grand scheme of things and a lot of the time you can see why. They do however know where the net is and should as a result play more often in my opinion.
Having said all that, I thought we played very well, the best weâ€™ve done for a long time. Twenty six shots on goal with the woodwork being struck three times tells its own story. West Ham had one clear chance when Cole got in behind Dawson and one rocket of an effort from the otherwise anonymous Demba Ba that Gomes finger tipped wide superbly. Bale was relatively subdued on his first game back but it was great to see him. Modric was sublime and, given the chance to make an onfield comparison with Scott Parker made talk of the latter as a potential Footballer of the Year look laughable.
Iâ€™m sure Levy and Harry did their best to sign a striker during the winter break but the failure to do is clearly costing us. Two points from three games and the form of the other teams around us mean that a Man City collapse is our best chance now of hitting fourth and even then we have Liverpool (ironically led by two winter transfer window signings) coming up on the rails. We always knew it would be hard and that last season has raised expectations. Not getting the reward from good performances like this doesnâ€™t help obviously especially given the tough away fixtures we have left. A run of wins though and weâ€™ll be back in the hunt for a CL place. Jermain Defoe rediscovering his mojo is one way to make this happen, sooner rather than later would be good.
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