Another Tottenham defeat immediately prior to an international break, the third time it has happened this season. Who’s to blame for this loss to a team which Spurs were expected to beat and a team which in its last away game lost to their near neighbours, Sunderland who at that point of time had only one point from 8 games?
The Blame Game
If you read the thoughts of Tottenham fans on social media or on message-boards you’ll be given a multitude of reasons why Spurs lost to Newcastle and a host of people to blame for the defeat. Among those who are are having the finger pointed at them are:
Andre Villas-Boas selected the wrong team, played the wrong formation, used the wrong tactics and wasted his substitutions against Newcastle.
Team Selection – the introduction of Christian Eriksen was unexpected as he hadn’t impressed many supporters on Thursday evening against FC Sheriff. Sandro should have started instead of Mousa Dembele and Gylfi Sigurdsson offered nothing on the left. According to many Erik Lamela was the player to unlock the Geordies’ defence.
Formation – playing with one striker is the cause of our inability to score goals. There is a view that a change of formation is required to provide support for Roberto Soldado and to provide a greater threat in the penalty area when crosses are played into the area. The inverted wingers should be scrapped with Andros Townsend moving to the left and Aaron Lennon on the right to put in crosses for the strikers.
Tactics – the Spurs play is too slow and too narrow which makes it easy for teams to defend against. The lack of width means that Spurs are constantly trying to pick their way through a packed defence.
Substitutions – the arrival of Jermain Defoe for the last 20 minutes to play alongside Soldado was no more successful than it had been when it was tried in the defeat by West Ham. Supporters were looking for Erik Lamela to be given the opportunity to carry on from where he left off in the Europa League game.
The Players:Few of the players are absolved from blame. The reaction of one supporter who never wants to see Brad Friedel, Michael Dawson, Andros Townsend, Christian Eriksen or Jermain Defoe in a Spurs shirt again is rather extreme.
Two players who have avoided being cited are the substitutes Sandro and Kaboul who helped to increase the tempo after the interval. The team as a whole receive criticism for the slow tempo of their play in the first half which allowed Newcastle to take a grip of the game and give them self-belief.
Brad Friedel was included in the team as Hugo Lloris was given additional time to recover from last weekend’s knock. The goal was well taken by Remy but some felt that Lloris would have been off his line much more quickly and been on top of the striker as soon as he got the ball to make it more difficult for him. Lloris has been an important part of Spurs defensive play this season, especially his speed at coming out to clear through balls but on this occasion he was not there to do what he has managed so successfully this year.
Paulinho and Mousa Dembele were caught in possession on a number of occasions during the game and in the build up to the goal Spurs gave the ball away too easily and carelessly.
Andros Townsend was one of the more dangerous players in the Spurs team, requiring the attention of three Newcastle players every time he received the ball. He caused irritation to fans by constantly cutting inside to shoot without troubling Krul in the Newcastle goal.
Christian Eriksen had another disappointing performance. As on Thursday there many misplaced passes and he was very much on the periphery of the game without having any great influence. He was entrusted with the corners and set-pieces but these mostly failed to meet their target.
Gylfi Sigurdsson had little impact on the game although his free-kick could have so easily led to an equalising goal but the visitors’ defence survived.
Roberto Soldado had few opportunities to score and his passing and link up play was disappointing. He is struggling in the role of lone striker and needs greater support if he is to rediscover his goalscoring form.
Jermain Defoe made little impression when he came on.
There was little atmosphere inside White Hart Lane according to some supporters which didn’t help the team or the tempo of the game.
It’s My Fault Too!
I, too, must accept some of the blame. I was out this morning so didn’t see the first 30 minutes of the match and when I came in I didn’t put on my Spurs shirt before watching the game as I would usually do. I should have taken those few seconds to pull on the white Tottenham shirt and it all might have ended so much better!
The only consolation from he disappointing result is that the other results over the weekend went in our favour with Arsenal and Manchester City losing as well while Chelsea and Everton both dropped points in matches they would have expected to win. The weekend’s results have just made it that bit closer but unfortunately Spurs weren’t able to take advantage of other teams slip-ups.