Saturday, 14 August 2010

Spurs 0 - 0 City

  • If we're this lucky for the rest of the season we'll do well. Somehow we managed to escape from White Hart Lane (White Hart Lane!) with a point despite putting in a first half performance that was a fairly faithful reconstruction of the 3-0 loss there last December. But thanks to Andre Marriner, Joe Hart and a few interventions of fate we managed to shut them out before putting in a much improved second half performance. We never looked like winning, but we never looked like wanting to win either. More positives than negatives, all told.
  • The first half showed up the chasm of familiarity between the two sides. We were sloppy, incoherent; a collection of players unfamiliar with the league and with each other. Spurs harried us across the pitch, pinning us back in our own third. Luka Modric must have made eight or so interceptions at key moments. And with only Carlos Tévez up front we could never keep the ball in their half, meaning we were under constant pressure. This pressure was made more problematic by our inability to defend like adults: Micah Richards was humiliatedy as badly by Gareth Bale as Sylvinho was by Aaron Lennon in September. He ought to have conceded a penalty for pulling down the Welshman, but allowed half a dozen crosses to come in. The main factor in our successful resistance, though, was Joe Hart, who wholly vindicated Roberto Mancini's trust with a series of athletic saves that Shay Given would have been proud of. There must have been five or six game-preserving saves in the first half (my personal favourite was from a Tom Huddlestone volley) and another two or three sharp ones in the second half.
  • Aside from that, there were so many moments when a block or a save led to the ball bouncing into a position of convenience for us and frustration for Spurs. Vincent Kompany and Kolo Touré were hurling themselves in front of everything and not much would need to be different for us to have been in an unsalvageable position at the break. The fact that it was goalless at half-time was a gift to us and a visible frustration to Spurs. To say I was relieved at the half time whistle is an understatement. It allowed us to gather ourselves and re-plan.
  • The shape was changed from 4-1-4-1 to 4-2-3-1. Yaya Touré was dropped deep alongside Nigel de Jong, David Silva was moved in behind Carlos Tévez and Gareth Barry moved to the left. It gave us more security in midfield, and allowed Silva more time on the ball. We realised that the ball was coming straight back off Tévez and so building from the back was our only option. We kept our shape and the ball, and stifled the game as we had surely intended to do from the start. It was just a shame that it had taken a worrying and fortunately unpunished forty-five minutes to reach this point. From this point on the game was played on closer to our terms. With twenty minutes left Harry Redknapp withdrew Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch for Robbie Keane and Roman Pavlyuchenko, such was the increasing dominance of Kompany and Kolo Touré over them.
  • We didn't create a real chance of our own, for all our possession. Spurs defended excellently, and even when Silva had his hands on the controls there was no-one running beyond their lines for him to find. Emmanuel Adebayor came on and gave us a different option in the final third but at no point did we meaningfully threaten Heurelho Gomes. Gareth Bale had one good chance of his own, and Spurs had a few threatening moments but it was incomparable to the siege of the first half.
  • And so we escaped with a point. Clearly this team needs time to gel. But as a result this is perfect. We had lost eleven of our last twelve league games with Spurs. They're a very direct rival of ours, with a settled side. This point is a platform.

7 comments:

buddzy said...

4-1-2-1-2 formation is the way forward after todays showing we must have more of a cutting edge my team is Hart;Boateng,K Toure(c),Kompany,Kolarov;De Jong;Y Toure,Barry;Silva;Tevez,Balotelli If Milner finally signs put him place of Barry.

Henry Crun said...

Thing is, that's probably as well as Spurs can expect to play all season. City, on the other hand, will get better and better.

And don't the papers print some rubbish - Manicin under pressure already, my arse

thunderand1bolt said...

Jack
I certainly didnt see any "stone wall" penalties. I think Harry or the sky pundits may have mentioned it we there were? Perhaps you were sitting with the Spurs fans and influenced by their appeals? I thought the ref. put in a good performance on the whole.

trinder said...

That was a good summary. If you offered me a point away at each of the top four sides, plus Anfield and Goodison, I'd take it right now.

I think we created one chance all game - Wright-Phillips should have done an awful lot better from Yaya's excellent pass. SWP, rather than Barry, is the one most at threat from Milner's arrival.

Blue Moon said...

Assuming that what we saw yesterday is the tactical blueprint, the lopsided 4-4-1-1 we played is going to give teams fits - especially if Milner or Balotelli is running down the left side just behind Silva.

And I may be overreacting, but I think City will beat Liverpool comfortably next week...

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