So what were we lacking? Guile, vigour, speed, strength, confidence… what else? You name it really. We were slow, lightweight but most of all, we were lacking in creativity.
Three games and three late goals conceded, in theory denying us 5 points, but only if you’re so blinkered you make Ian Paisley look like a blue sky thinker. Norwich’s equaliser here was almost a carbon copy of West Brom’s as we failed to deal with a high ball and the knock down was whipped past Friedel’s left hand. It was the least the away team deserved though as they created the best chances in a poor game. Wise buy though I’m sure Lloris is, on this evidence, goalie is the last position we need to strengthen, Friedel made 3 blinding stops to add to the ones that kept us in the game last week.
4-2-3-1. Villas-Boas’s baby. Have we got the men to play it? I’d say no personally, on this evidence anyway. The centre backs aren’t strong enough, Livermore and Sandro don’t supply enough quality going forward (and neither will Parker) and Defoe doesn’t hold the ball long or well enough (old news obviously) to bring Sigurdsson, Bale or Lennon into the game. Until we get a Scholes/Modric type figure (Tom Carroll in two years and plus two stone?), a much much better centre half pairing and an Adebayor type up front (hang on a minute…) then we should be looking at a system that suits Dembele, Dempsey, Bale, Adebayor, Vertonghen and the full backs and not the reverse.
I’m no tactical guru I’ll freely admit but I saw no sign of any high line or pressing in this game, just a team that’s short of inspiration and rather weedy. No offence to the big man but there’s no reason why Michael Dawson can’t fit into a team that plays like that and putting him in in place of Gallas would be a huge improvement, every team with a big bloke up front is going to bully us otherwise.
Dembele’s debut goal was a touch of class that stood out from the poo around it. One trick and a dip of the shoulder gave him the sort of space that Defoe only dreams of when he tries it and the finish was emphatic.
Two weeks off now before Reading which is good as there’s a lot for AVB to ponder.
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