Yes we can all sit (or stand) moaning about how great times WERE under Harry (I am one of them), but we MUST move on. Forget doing it for your team (as they're not doing it for us), but do it for your sanity!
If you look at the players in our team you can see that pace is our major strength. Previously we played a fast paced game and our defenders were made to look good as most of the time we were running the ball up and down the wings, or keeping it in the middle ready to distribute out. However now that we are not playing to those strengths we are getting caught out. Looking back at Harry you can see that the team has played its best from attacking first and defending from the front, but now that we have slowed the game down we have been getting caught out a lot. It was the same with the likes of Santini and Ramos it just doesn’t work for the team.
Friedel has had far much more work to do and its because we have slowed the pace of our game far too much. Players are getting caught with the ball, opposition is then breaking and getting on to goal far to easily. Luckily for us with Friedel and Lloris we are well covered for an onslaught.
Walker is a great attacking defender, but the slow pace does not suit him at all. He in my opinion is beginning to look like Glen Johnson (and that’s not a good thing)! His defending can be suspect and it is being proven now as the pressure is piling on. He is undoubtedly one of our best players, but he is lacking in concentration, self-belief and hunger. Once he finds this he will be able to link up with Lennon like before and make the right side look worthy of any top team.
Gallas is the opposite to a fine wine and he has not got better with age (he’s now 35!!!). Against Man City I was surprised to not see him free transferred straight after the game! His awareness has gone and his pace went last year so what does he have left? Experience...... well its only worth its weight if its brought out onto the pitch, but its not! It is about time that we rely on the younger members of the squad (that is if we want to start building a team). The sooner Kaboul is back the better.
Caulker has a small excuse for me. He is young and inexperienced, but the talent is definitely there. I've said it before and I'll say it again, without the experienced support he is going to make miskate’s. Partnering him with Gallas is a match made in hell as Gallas is a complete liability and it puts far too much pressure on Caulker. If anything this is hindering his progression as a player.
Vertonghen is finding his feet well and other than a few lapses in concentration I really don't have too much to say against the guy, so keep it up.
Dawson seems to be finding life much harder now. Having made a great partnership with King for years and then beginning to link up well with Kaboul, but now he is a little lost. With a small amount of game time and coming back from a long injury, it would be a difficult feat for anyone. We are yet to see Dawson come back well, but he is similar to Caulker in that he needs to play with a great defender to raise his game.
Naughton is young, but again same issues as Caulker and Walker. If we play attacking football he won’t be found out as much. Whilst playing though he must be helped out a lot in the style of football we are playing and yet again its not fair on his progression.
So to sum up our defense it’s pretty obvious, in a fast paced game we are not found out and can handle the bigger teams (as they struggle to cope with our pace). Technically in defense we are reasonably gifted, but the true outstanding (fit) defender is Vertonghen and considering its his first season its not great to learn your trade by being pressured so much. We need to have the pace back in the game for the defense to benefit.
In midfield it is a sorry state of affairs. We have an aboundance of pace now with Bale, Lennon, Townsend and Falque. Problem now is that AVB has put a leash on the greyhounds and whilst Bale is definitely (technically) gifted the other 3 above just don't look as great if they are not constantly running up and down those wings. Lennon is a prime example of a player that thrives on the pace of the game. His whole game seems to have faded in his shooting and passing (which annoys me frankly) and I feel that his confidence has gone without the pace. The pace disappearing from our game would not be so much of an issue if we had capable midfielders to hold the ball, carve chances and create a solid link up between defense, midfield and attack. Parker and Dembele are due to come back (so that’s not so bad) but Sandro is still learning the game it seems and can get a little too carried away at times. Parker is a big miss at the moment. Huddlestone although I rate the guy is being used at the detriment of the team. He is too slow and is a disruption rather than benefit at present. If the guy had more pace we would be laughing. With the loss of VDV and Modric we have seen just how vulnerable we truly are. Dembele was starting to look good so upon his return we may see some changes, but one man cannot do this himself.
It is a big concern for me. All true fans that want to be realistic must see the difference between the last few seasons and now. The players likely see that there is no true leader in midfield at the moment and are finding it hard to get over the loss of VDV and Modric. Bale and Lennon are dying for some creative flair to carve them some chances. The ones that are really suffering are up front though.
Defoe and Adebayor are wasted without the decent support. VDV filled this gap fantastically and to be replaced with Dempsey is frankly an insult. The Bruiser (as I call him) is not suited to our team at all it seems. He is old skool in his style and in a team that should be fast paced it’s not good as he’ll slow the play down. VDV had an eye that saw the quick flash of play to keep that ball going, then Ade and Defoe would jump on the balls and fire them in. We don't have that now. Although I get on Defoe's back a lot (and yes he is infuriating with his unwillingness to pass or think before head down and shoot), he is scoring a good few goals, but isl missing easy opportunities to score or pass off for shots. Ade is coming back and against City he looked fantastic, but he had to come off as playing 4-4-2 with only 2 strikers in your squad is very dangerous (you could lose both in one game!).
If you think about it, it is not necessarily one players fault or one staff members fault, it is several bad decisions all put together in the mixer. Levy needs to find his targets early and tie them up quick (one so we are not poached by the likes of Arsenal and two so they have time to settle in). AVB must identify what he needs now to make his tactics work. If you want to have a slower paced game you need solid defenders and world-class technical ability in the middle of the park. Finally you have to have the suitable cover and players to make the different formations work. If we play 4-4-2 we don’t have the cover up front!
All in all we can all point the blame at one player or AVB, but they are ALL to blame. What it really comes down to is poor preparation work in the summer and it has had a big knock on affect.
Look to the future of what AVB wants to create. If he is fully supported by the players and Levy then we could be in for a much better second half of the year (however I truly believe that we should forget about Willian or Moutinho now, we missed our chance again, which Levy is to blame for).
We must look at this as a chance to reshape and with everyone's support we can get better. Yes I am moaning here, but I am being realistic about it all, rather than pessimistic. Bring the pace back into the game and we are right back in it. Or bring the players in that can make AVB's tactics work. They are two simple options so its not all doom and gloom, just AVB is trying so hard to put a mark on the team, when all he really needs to do is improve on what was already there (don't change a winning formula).
I can see a bright future my fellow Yids (oh and I never had a response on my open letter to Herbert or anyone that was insulted by that term), so..... greatness is just around the corner.
COME ON YOU SPURS!!!!
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