Spurs Were Never Out to Win It

Image: SpursWeb

Away games in this league, particularly in a venue such as Old Trafford, require an aggressive attitude to have any chance of victory. Punch them in the mouth, grab the scruff of the neck, breathe down their throat.

Spurs did none of that in the first twenty five minutes when they controlled possession. One Kane dink over the defense and a near-miss from Eriksen as a result, and that was it. It would be simple and wrong to lay the result at the feet of Nabil Bentaleb, whose fatal error was one of several, undoubtedly leading to his rapid exit after halftime. But Toby Alderweireld had two or three similar egregious giveaways that could have led to goals as well. On the whole the defense played well, perhaps none better than Kyle Walker whose hustle in getting back to challenge a wide-open Wayne Rooney was cruelly rewarded with an own goal.

But where were the attacks down the wing and the crosses to center? They never happened. Where was the invention near or in the box? It never happened—not from Chadli who was in alone in the 83rd minute, not from Kane or Eriksen throughout. Where were the bursts from midfield after possession was regained? They rarely happened. At one point after the 70th minute, Ryan Mason gained control just past midfield and had no fewer than five Lilywhite attackers rushing ahead of him—a golden opportunity to create a chance. Mason paused—one beat, two… and passed ineffectually back to a defender. Opportunity gone. The story of this game. United defended well but then again we could/would not test them. Only in the final six or seven minutes did an attack finally materialize.

United were hardly world-beaters, but Spurs were hardly Top Four contenders. It had better improve vs Stoke.

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Paul is a respected U.S. political pollster (Democrat) based in Madison, Wisconsin and Los Angeles. His love for Spurs began when the Premier League games started appearing regularly in the U.S. and an American lover of football had to choose a side. Bale, Rushdie, Adele, Shakespeare, the Spurs faithful, The Lane, etc. were all irresistible attractions and have made Maslin a Spur for life.


  1. Exactly that, this side at the moment reminds me of the AVB side that is just trying to contain the opposition and win 1-0! so we went 1-0 down so where was the reaction until the last 10 minutes? seems the remit is to keep possession going side to side then back etc etc with no wing play or penetration exactly how AVB played. We are Tottenham and are supposed to play attacking football with style, Levy even said in his yearly statement we have lost our way, the Tottenham way of playing so where is the change now? he has a lot to answer for selling off all the Baldini disasters but not getting in the half the players that we need so of course we are always going to come up short! we look more solid as a unit but without any idea how to link up in the final 3rd and have no goal threat apart from Kane who is up top on his own isolated without any service! can someone please tell me how this one and only system Poch is using is working? it is not working! i thought good managers changed systems depending who they where playing? Mourinho does. Of course you play more defensive against the really good attacking teams but why not play more attacking against weaker teams that you can beat most of the time? i can see this project falling down as every opposition knows how we are going to play every game so will just close us down and with that we have no answer to it, also not having the right balance of players to fit the system is another reason i can see Poch failing and you know what that means-the sack from Levy who in my opinion is the biggest problem at our club, good with a balance sheet but a disaster with football decisions and can't see it changing until he leave's, just one other point- we had 3 months to identify targets to bring in and still we are 3-4 players short so what the hell was the point of bringing in Mitchell???????

  2. Very excited for this season. This was a tough game and the opening game of the season so what happened was expected. But I feel the team did well.

  3. A good assessment. I wonder if the coach ever comments on our trend to pass backwards even when the team is or should be in attacking mode? The players are good – or not bad – but lack that extra commitment and desire to be the winners – that was evident against Man U and happens every now and then – except when we played Chelsea and Arsenal !
    Need an attacking cum poacher forward very badly and a team spirit that is all out to win each and every game – not just by 1 goal margin ,, we need handful in each game. That is when we will know Spurs are in business.

    Lastly not relevant but important. Spurs management should learn to respect the players even if they are no good now but they gave us some good times and dedication… Lennon, Kaboul, Dawson, Naugton, Akotto etc.

    I hope starting with Stoke, its all out war to win every game!! With 1 additional world class forward all is possible. Why not? Hold your heads up!


  4. Totally agree – seems the team were under instruction to pass sideways or (preferably) backwards but never forwards. There were more passes back to the goalkeeper in this game than the whole of last season! Hope this is not the sign of things to come.

  5. Frustrated with the loss!!! Exactly, why does it always take the last 10 minutes to float and cross the ball into the box??? Beats me! Common this is epl….take your chances! Work the opponents defence! Where was trippier? The guy that can really put in the crosses!!!

  6. In short it never seemed like we were in there to win it. Defensive minded approach showed they lack that desire to win the games. Soo many back passes to keeper instead of finding someone up there on the other half. That’s creativity and it was lacking apparently. And this will be the scene for near future as well. Since we are running out of attack minded players like aron Lennon and gilfy sigurdsson. We need quality at flanks. Who can take the responsibility and is able to hold the ball and finish it single handedly at times. Forget about the mistakes. You at least have to show the desire that you’re there to win the game. Get players like Andriy Yarmolenko he’s best suited at left flank. And we need a player like him desperately.

  7. Spurs did ok against a Man utd side that was there for the taking no fire power up front on the bench to help Harry Kane is a big concern.Who do you buy now with limited time left and selling clubs in a good position to push price up,unless the policy is to use more youngsters up front !

  8. I knew this was going to be a bad game. It was stupid to play 2 games during the week and the result was obvious. We looked tired from the off, were happy just to knock the ball about in midfield and rarely tested their defence. You're never going to win games like that.
    On the plus side we did well to keep Man U at bay, with them only having one shot on target in the whole game.
    I think (or rather hope) that next week against Stoke will be a totally different game.
    At least we can laugh for a week at them Gooners being bottom.

  9. Defence looked better with Toby but no pace anywhere, apart from Walker but he never went forward. Don't like inverted wingers which just clogs up middle and relies heavily on fullbacks providing width. Ok with Rose & Walker but Davies too one paced and shows little interesti in getting forward.
    Remain unconvinced by Vorm who appears better with ball at his feet than commanding area and only a mediocre shot stopper. Unless Chadli is scoring he offers very little in way of dribbling or crosses and Lamela was his normal "headless chicken" when he came on. Anyone who thinks Dembele can play wide is dreaming and Bentaleb needs a rest as he keeps repeating same mistakes over & over again. As for poor Harry he desperately needs support upfront.
    If we are not signing a new pacy winger push Yedlin or even Rose further forward to provide some crosses and please,please please pass the ball forwards a few times !

  10. But the fundamentally sound Spurs forgot to box out on one play when Chris Bosh secured the offensive rebound of his life and kicked the ball out to the NBA s best shooter since Reggie Miller Ray Allen. The Heat went on to win in overtime and closed out the series the next game.


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