Final Reflections on Tottenham in the North London Derby

Things move so fast in football, I think it’s worth recording that I drafted most of this at 4.50pm on Saturday, 17th November, 2012 after watching Tottenham lose another north London derby. I wouldn’t be surprised if there has been at least one managerial change in the Premier League before this blog appears on the HotspurHQ website. [You're right, Alan, there have been two. Editor]

Early joy for Spurs and Emmanuel Adebayor in north London derby

Article written by Alan Hill

Being a Blogger

I was pleased that Logan liked the Tottenham stuff on my website enough to ask me to contribute this blog. It came right out of the blue. Much of my site though is fond reminiscences about the old days and showing off pictures of souvenirs. There will be plenty of that in my blogs for Hotspur HQ but commenting on current issues is another kettle of fish entirely. By that I mean there is clearly a responsibility on bloggers to stay within reasonable limits like pundits on TV and columnists in newspapers. I want to express a view but I don’t want to seriously offend  anyone. There is too much hurt in the world already. On the other hand, if I think something needs saying, I’ll probably say it. A female management colleague of mine once said at a meeting, “Ah, Alan Hill, the man with an opinion on everything.”  I loved it. It wasn’t meant as a compliment but she was right! Whatever I do say in these blogs will come from a desire to improve things and amuse, whether it’s aimed at fans, players , managers, owners, or the authorities.

The North London Derby

It was another day of what might have been. A second 5-2 reverse against Arsenal in two seasons. Is it me or when we go down to 10 men do we end up getting soundly beaten and conceding 3, 4 or 5 goals? Yet when our opponents have a man sent off, we don’t capitalise. Instead they grind out a result and we end up pointing out how difficult it is to break down a team that is determined to shut up shop and defend.

The Pundits

I thought Alan Smith and Jamie Redknapp summed up the Arsenal game well and fairly.

Prior to the sending off, Jamie Redknapp on Santi Cazorla – “You wouldn’t get the ball off him in a telephone box.” “You could see Spurs even getting another goal. Defoe was terrorising Mertesaker.”  The partnership, the front two was working.

On the sending off, “The referee got it absolutely right. It was reckless, out of control.” “Went to 3 at the back but kept 3 defensive midfield players”.

Post match AVB said, “We certainly had the ambition and desire”. From where I am it certainly didn’t look like it. It’s not the first time this season that we have folded after a bad stroke of luck. We now have lost 4 out of 5. It’s time for level heads and a show of character from the players and the manager. It’s easy to forget that we have been playing for many weeks without some top players.

Scott Parker to return for Tottenham

I am sure that several results would have been different if we had been able to play a fit Scott Parker, Mousa Dembele and Benoit Assou-Ekotto. However, the best managers somehow manage to get through periods like this without their teams plummeting down the table e.g. Alex Ferguson, David Moyes.

Others get results in the face of adversity with limited resources – Steve Clarke is looking like one of these, Roberto Martinez.  Then there is a queue of manager, who don’t manage this wherever they go and appear on TV week after week, pointing the finger at refereeing decisions, bad luck, anything but themselves to explain why their clubs are in or near the relegation zone. We have excuses but the best managers don’t have to resort to using them.

Which type is AVB going to turn out to be?  Van Morrison has a new album out.  Born to Sing. The subtitle is “No Plan B”.  Let’s hope it’s not going to become the record of choice at White Hart Lane.

Topics: Andre Villas Boas, Arsenal, North London Derby, Pundits, Tottenham Hotspur

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