Good Week For Tottenham As United Struggle With Transition


Celebrations at Sunderland [Photo: Alan Hill]Alan’s 2013-14 Season Diary no. 30

World Cup Watch

Friday 6 December

The World Cup draw

England get Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica with our first match against Italy in Manaus 1,000 miles out in the jungle.

Saturday 7 December

Newspapers full of “Group of Death” captions. Earlier in the week Roy Hodgson had said he wanted to avoid going out into the jungle, so now that we are the Mayor of Manaus has revealed he was offended and says he’d rather England weren’t coming. As the group was announced Greg Dyke was caught on camera jokingly drawing his finger across his throat. Papers delight in reporting that it upset some England fans who tweeted he is a traitor for doing so. Another example of early stirring by the Press.

This afternoon’s results have set things up nicely for us. Let’s hope we can take advantage. Chelsea lose 3-2 in at the death to Stoke City. Manchester United lose again.

Spurs vs Sunderland

Three centre halves out injured. Surprisingly Chiriches has a swollen knee. Vertonghen and Kaboul out too. AVB forced to play Etienne Capoue out of position alongside Dawson. Poyet has decided to go for it with two strikers against this makeshift defence. Defoe gets his second game on the trot for Spurs. Will Lewis Holtby be positive enough to get that ball through to him?

It was a big hit for Huey Lewis and The News in the ‘80s but when it comes to football, Spurs have shown it’s not  Hip To Be Square. Let’s hope Holtby stays far enough forward and plays Defoe in to scoring positions.

Have I mentioned this before? When are we going to make something out of corners and set pieces? Every time we get one we seem to waste it. Even Kyle Walker’s goal against Manchester United wasn’t because the free kick was well taken. It would have just bounced off the legs of the wall if they hadn’t kindly jumped over it.

No sign of it so far in this game. 5 wasted corners at least in first 35 minutes. The usual first half hour. Plenty of possession for Spurs. No penetration.  The odd break from Sunderland that could produce a goal. Probably would have done for better strikers. Poor play from Hugo Lloris who weakly punches a high and hopeful cross down at the feet of Adam Johnson who gratefully whacks it in.

Ha ha ha ha.  My superstitious move just worked again. 41st  minute. I go for a slash. I come back 2 minutes later and we have equalised! It was from a free kick to the far post. Was it over hit or deliberate? No matter, headed back by Chadli down into the danger area and lightning reactions from Paulinho gets to the ball first to stab it into the net with his studs. Before half time we nearly get another one, just heading over from a corner.

Mousa Dembele powers down the left wing in the 50th minute and his cross along the floor results in what proves to be  a winning own goal. Spurs up their game and dominate the 2nd half. Could have had 5 or 6. Defoe hits the post twice. Having said that we were lucky when Sandro  got away with a handball in our area. It was so blatant, it looked like he was putting his arm out to stop a bus on Tottenham High Road. Glenn Hoddle says on TV afterwards that as a manager “I’d rather be lucky than unlucky”. We know what he means but I think the phrase is “I’d rather be lucky than good”. Bit of a Colemanballs there Glenn.

3 points off second place. That took some effort. Watch out if we really get our act together.

This Thursday we have another thankfully meaningless game against Anzhi before the big one against Liverpool on Sunday. Thank goodness this one is at home. I’d still make major changes. Give Soldado a run out and play from the start like we did in the second half against Sunderland. He should fill his boots. Those sort of chances were just what he needs and hasn’t seen all season.

Managing Change the Fergie Way

I wondered who would be the first player to publicly break ranks at United. If the Press reports are to be believed, it didn’t take Rio Ferdinand long. As United struggle in this transitional period he publicly criticises Moyes’ policy of leaving it until match day to announce his first 11. If Moyes wants to maintain the long established principles that Alex Ferguson applied to keep United at the top, he only has to turn to his autobiography.

“In my day you wouldn’t whisper a word about your manager. You would fear certain death…The one thing I would never do was allow loss of control because control was my only saviour…I knew the minute a player started to try and run the club we would all be finished.”

When Roy Keane criticised him in a meeting filmed for Man U TV he said,

“He needs to go Carlos. 100%. Get rid of him.”

Over to you David. Perhaps anticipating what would happen when he retired, Ferguson also writes,

“When you are managing change you have to accept the quieter spells and acknowledge that transformation takes more than a year”.

That is something the Glazers would do well to note (and perhaps Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy too) although if as now seems likely United do not qualify for the Champions League, it’s hard to see how they will service the multi-million pound debt. If they can’t will they have a Leeds United-like future to look forward to? I think it makes it even more crucial they make the right purchases in the January transfer window. Moyes had a right to expect so much more in the summer.

With Arsenal and Everton drawing at the Emirates, the past week has been good for Spurs, making up ground on 7 teams around them, although I’m not so sure about the FA Cup draw.