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Well Fab, sets up an interesting game that doesn't it. Personally I thought we did not play well and once again we were hugely reliant on Bale. Ade had a nightmare especially in front of goal but his all round play was poor. He didn't hold the ball up and he was back looking like he wished he was somewhere else. Lennon did absolutely nothing - zip - until the sub left back came on and then he went past him a couple of times and got crosses in but overall - very poor. Dembele looked off the pace again, getting caught on the ball and giving away silly free kicks (knowing that West Ham score from these more than most). He was poor last time out and only his goal made him look better than his play merited.
Holtby was doing a VDV by dropping so deep he was picking the ball up off the toes of Dawson and Caulker. Thats not where he should be is it! Verthongen was not as dominating as he has been and Parker looked like he was trying too hard. Who told him he could dribble and shoot FFS!
All together, we were lucky to come out of that with 3 points and if we had lost I would not have been surprised. OK their goalkeeper pulled off some great saves but our play was lacklustre and there were too many players not performing anywhere near as well as they can/should.
The fact that in a must win game and 2-1 down the only option for us was to bring on kid Carrol who has only played in 4 PL games and never scored and Livermore who has only a slightly better record but is hardly a potential match winner, says it all.
My only hope is that Ade really wants to score against #$%$ and he does not get himself sent off again.
Where's the sense in saying without Bale where would we be? We have him and if he's the one we need to rely on at the moment then so be it - what about Man U when Ronaldo was playing for them? Are we supposed to feel bad that we have such a great player in our team who can change games for us? Arsenal had it with Van Persie last season and got into the CL as a result - at our expense. If you remove Bale from the team then someone else would step up, that's the way it usually works. He wasn't playing that well earlier on in the season and yet we were still picking up points.
West Ham came at us last night after having two weeks off, fresh as daisies, whereas we'd had 2 Euro matches. We may have started poor and West Ham fought harder than us but the fact is we created the better chances, their GK having to make some extraordinary saves and we kept pushing to the end until we got the last minute thing of beauty from Bale.
As for the substitutions, Holtby was getting a real kicking out there in the second half and not able to influence the games. He'll learn that teams scrapping for anything in the PL will do that but until then AVB is right to ease him into premier league football the way he has been, so that he doesn't end up overcommitting, getting frustrated etc. Dembele gives us more presence in central midfield which is probably why he was kept on, but the fact he was taken off for a more attack minded Carroll minutes before our equaliser shows that knows what he's doing. It's not AVB's fault that there wasn't another striker to bring on. Livermore didn't do anything wrong when he came on and even had a hand in the winning goal, passing out from the edge of our penalty box.
Name me any one team in this year's premier league that has played consistently well over the course of the season. We haven't been playing that well and yet winning games as a result. Not all because of Bale - how about the performances of Lloris? Dawson? Walker's picked it up lately, Dembele against Man U, Lennon for the most part, Holtby giving teams someone else to worry about? Maybe we'll struggle towards the end when we're burned out and not finish in the Top 4. But if we are there, we would have deserved it - the table doesn't lie.
- 5 Replies to Dogstar
Popping in on this late, but with Tom Carroll getting the assist for the winning goal and Livermore being the player who passed to him I don't think bringing them on is a sign of a weak squad, I think it's the sign of a good academy.
Asking the question where would we be without Bale is a valid one in my book. Yes I appreciate we do have him but the emphasis is on relying on one player is dangerous and needs to be addressed otherwise, if we lose him through injury of him being tempted away, where are we then? Mid table as I pointed out and as was expressed in the press only today.
I asked the question, which other PL team relies so heavily on just one player and no one replied. You have pointed out that Arsenal did with RVP and that is probably the closet comparison BUT looked what happened when he was tempted away. They have struggled to replace him or score goals and to play to the sdame standrad. If anything you pointing out the RVP situation only goes to prove my point.
The difference between us and WHU was Bale. Other than that they did as well as us. Take Bale off and that would have been a VERY ordinary mid table clash.
So AVB takes playeys off because they are getting a "real kicking"? Are you serious? So, apart from th efcat that that happens in every PL game and the fact that the Ref would surely have done something igf th etreatment of Holtby was THAT bad, the signal to teams we play is "if you kick us we will take our best players off" is that it?
Carroll is more attack minded that Dembele!! Exactly how many goals has attack minded Carroll scored in the PL?Oh no, hold on, NONE. How many assists? no that is not a statistic that shouts out from anywhere. How many shots? Nope, not there either.
You don't win games because your goallie or center back plays well - you draw them at best. Carroll and Livemore have done nothing so far IMO to say that they are anything better than average PL players. Lennon was completely ineffectual until the last 20 mins and even then he managed just two half decent crosses. Adebyor did nothing at all apart from a header which some would say he should have do ne better with. He missed a sitter that Arry's missus could have scored.
And the table doesn't lie? Oh come on. Stat wise it doesn't but we all know that some teams deserve better that then get and others get too much.
At the end of the day we want the same things. The only thing that differs is how we see success being achieved. I don't think AVB is the man to do it and I don't think the squad is strong enough to do it. As always, we shall see!
I'm not so sure Bale is playing any 'better'. He is playing differently.
Bale got what, 10 and 10 assists last season. So far he has the edge on goals but few assists.
Bale may end up getting more than Ade last year, but he's been playing more as a striker than a provider.
Before we had known strikers getting goals and still some from midfield (Daffy and Ade got 28/12 goals/assists between them last season and so far have 12/3 this season - a major difference). Across the replacements for VdV-Modric (Dembele, Dempsey and Sig), so far we're getting enough goals/assists to compensate for their loss.
I'm still not sure though that Bale becoming the goalscorer rather than provider is the 'total' answer, but I think it has had a bearing on the goals scored by Ade/Daffy.
I still think we need the goals from Daffy coming back on form or Ade finding his. Bale's goals should be a bonus to us.
Oh well. AVB's problem.
Sfer - chill out man! I'm not here to argue, I take your points on board but think you're being harsh on us. Whatever you say about Arsenal without RVP, they still have a chance of qualifying for the CL again, and could even finish 3rd - if we falter and Chelsea (both are likely). What I meant as well is that we have Bale - for now - and he's been our best player so naturally our other players will look to him first for inspiration. Currently that's working.
Re Holtby getting a "real kicking", not saying he was kicked but I thought he encountered a more physical team than what he's probably used to and wasn't getting any joy in the second half. The ref wasn't offering protection and he ended up on his a*se a lot. So AVB substituted him for someone who is more used to the physical demands of the PL and what happened? He nearly scored with his shot that spilled onto the post when Ade then missed his chance, and afterwards did manage to score our equaliser - however scrappy it was he was there to put it away.
Re Dembele/Carroll - turn that question on its head, how many goals scored and assists created for Dembele? Not many considering he's had more game time but that's because he sits deep. He'd also been booked and had one or two moments where he could have got a second yellow, so taking him off for Carroll (rather than a defensive player) was the right move.
As for your argument on defence/goalie not winning games, not sure many Arsenal fans would agree with you given that they have not had a solid back 5 (including goalie) for years whereas the likes of Chelsea have had Cech, Terry, Carvalho, Cole and Man U have had Vidic, Ferdinand and Evra - and have won trophies. You can't say that Arsenal have been light in attacking options over the last 7 years while they still had Henry, RVP, Fabregas, Walcott etc.? Many feel it is that lack of a quality back line (+ goalie) which has cost them games, competitions, success.
Maybe some teams do deserve better, and if West Ham had the quality they we do (or Bale if that's the case) then they may have got that. Ditto for a whole host of other teams over the years. I support AVB at the moment, but I'm not sure on Levy - why no players in January again etc. etc. r
I am really sorry that Spurs are playing #$%$, have done all season according to some on here. Man U have won the league how many times despite playing badly in lots of game?
SOME JUST SEEM TO LIKE TO MOAN ABOUT SPURS FOR ANY REASON.. Just enjoy what we are building.
Beginning of the season when AVB was appointed there were soo many postings deriding him. Saying we'll be lucky to finish in the top7/8 and how bad he was at Chelsea etc that he had to perform without the fans support for the first 10 or more games. How many times were the team booed off the field?
Yes it may well be true we are not playing well but just look at the table.
WE ARE 3RD IN THE LEAGUE AND HAVE ALREADY WON MORE AWAY GAMES THAN IN ANY OTHER PL SEASON WITH 5 GAMES STILL TO COME. (Only Utd have a better away record)
Ok we're not playing the fantastic football that the last manager had us playing but we are very well placed and still learning under AVB. Did nobody notice the celebrations after the 3rd goal. How nearly everyone, led by Bale, ran over to AVB and the coaching staff to join a big huddle. That shows how much of a team spirit we have in our squad and that can be worth a load of points over a season. We haven't showed that kind of spirit for years.
Hopefully given a couple of seasons, and getting his players in, we may get to see the team playing as Porto did when he was there. It takes time to build a team, and a squad, and to get them playing as the coach really wants!!!!!
- 1 Reply to longtimespur
OK so we have Bale and he happens to be playing his best football ever BUT if we didn't have him, where would we be? My guess is mid table and if that were the case a lot more fans would be moaning about AVB, Freund, Levy etc. By ignoring the way we are playing, the poor substitions, the missed goals and the lack of strikers and simply looking at the table you are putting your head in the sand.
Point out one other team in the PL that is so heavily reliant on just one player. The only one that comes even slightly close is Manure and RVP but even that does not work as they have other strikers and midfielders that replace him regularly and score goals.
It takes time to build a squad? Yes thanks for pointing that out but I thought we had a squad already and that this squad had already been near the top of the PL and therefore should be good enough to do so again with or without AVB. The fact is that the squad is not getting any stronger is it. Without the monster that is Bale we would not be anywhere near top 4. Thats not a strong squad is it!
No wonder AVB is praising Bale like he is. Bale is probably the only thing keeping AVB in his job.
IMHO we are lucky to be where we are in the PL. Luck does not last forever and before it runs out (which it will) I would like to see more being done to rectify the poor play we are witnessing.
Yes of course, if we finish in the top 4, I will celebrate that. Will I do so knowing we played well enough to deserve being in the top 4? Not really. Will I think that it was down to AVB and his tactics? No. That feeling of euphoria that should accompany something like that will be slightly less than it should be. A bit like getting an award at work for acheiving something knowing that in fact others in your team deserved it more than you did. You accept it but it doesn't quite feel right.
I never mentioned we had a strong squad but please tell me HOW you come to the conclusion that we have got the same squad?
We lost Modric, VDV, Kaboul, King, Adebayor (most of this season) and Corluka, Krankjar, Dos Santos, and other peripheral players. Additions of Dempsey, Siggy, Holtby so that is at least half of the 25 man squad that has changed.
I'm more of a half-full than half-empty person, I think AVB has done magic with the squad we have now and getting them to play his way. I never said we played well but we have played well enough to get results albeit with luck. Given time and the right tinkering and I think we will be challenging for honours.
As for ENIC and Levi, would you rather we went back to the days of IRVINE SCHOLAR, nearly bankrupt (and would have been if not for Alan Sugar), mid to lower part of the table year in, year out??????????
I know how we'd all like to have every player that's available (like Chelsea and Man city or Anzhi, or PSG) but we are run as a business on a financially sound basis and those dreams are not commenserate with our balance sheet.
- 1 Reply to longtimespur
Same as is in same standard IMO. AVB has done "magic"? How do you think that? Have you noticed how all the pundits and "experts" have stopped saying that Spurs are one of the best teams to watch for attractive football? They were raving about us last year under Arry for the way we played. Not any more.
You admit yourself, we have got where we are with "luck" and my point is that without that luck, or without Bale we would be mid table. When other teams in the top 4 or 5 are ocassionally steam rollering some team 4 or 5 or even 8 nil and we are struggling to a draw or a 1-0 win that tells me we are not at the same level. When Manure or Citeh host th elikes of Reading or Southampton or Villa the expectation by independents is a win. That is not the case with us so much is it.
Its a daft thing to ask if I want to go back to being nearly bankrupt. Where did that come from? I am happy that we are financially stable and long should that be the case but IMO AVB is not "magic" and the inability to get another striker in when the vast majority of people, fans and others, were shouting that we needed one, will come back to haunt us.
What I want is a side that plays attractive football, creates opportunities and scores goals. At the moment we are only creating opportunities. I asked the question before, which other PL team relies SO HEAVILY on one player and you didn't respond. Its dangerous and everyone knows it. Yes celebrate the fact that we have Bale but don't rely on it FFS.
So its not AVB's fault we didn't get another striker is it. Know something the rest of us don't eh? I also notice you didn't respond to me saying that bringing on the likes of Carrol and Livermore when we were 2-1 down was a sign of how thin our quality was.