I’m hardly the most positive or optimistic of Spurs fans. The truth is I’m not sure I really care like I used to – but that’s a blog for another day.
Last night Spurs lost for the third time in four league games and were utterly, utterly hopeless in the 1-2 home defeat to Aston Villa. Martin O’Neill has done a fine job there and built a very solid team. But while he’s maximised return from limited players like John Carew, Stilian Petrov and Nigel Reo-Coker, Spurs are failing to get anything out of expensive international stars like Luka Modric, Roman Pavlyuchenko and, erm, David Bentley.
I think it’s important that Juande Ramos has come out and said, firstly, that’s he’s angry but, secondly, that he’s not going to panic. Whether or not the latter is true is another thing altogether. After last night’s performance I couldn’t blame him if he panicked.
A team who are missing their best player (Ledley King), who sold their one world class player (Dimitar Berbatov) and also his goal-scoring sidekick (Robbie Keane) without replacing them, is going to have serious issues. Perhaps the club underestimated just how much the loss of these players would affect the team. You can’t get rid of two strikers who scored 40+ goals between them for two seasons in a row and not miss them.
Don’t shout it too loud but I think Spurs miss the industry of Teemu Tainio and Steed Malbranque; the former may not have been top class but rarely let the side down and Malbranque was one of Spurs best players last year. He’d certainly be bringing more to the table than some of the newer players have so far.
The new signings
I have never got the David Bentley thing and was quite horrified when we spent a ludicrous amount of money on a player who can’t deliver a corner kick past the first defender. He seems more obsessed with his tan and haircut than anything else and unlike Michael Carrick, we won’t be making a profit on this guy.
Luka Modric has been disappointing, Giovani is promising but lightweight, Vedra Corluka and Roman Pavlyuchenko need time to settle in. Overall there has been little to get excited about. These players cannot have become bad players overnight so what’s wrong?
The central midfield remains a disaster area for Spurs as it seems to have since the days of Steve Perryman, Glenn Hoddle and Micky Hazard. Didier Zokora and Tom Huddlestone were simply out of their depth last night against a hard-working team who never stopped moving. Spurs on the other hand lacked urgency and didn’t like the constant hustling that Villa admirably employed.
Ramos really has not got the hang of the tactics thing. Perhaps he doesn’t know how to win games in the Premier League. That’s worrying. Mind you, if you sent Harry Redknapp to La Liga he might fall on his face soon after realising that sending Pape Bouba Diop out to kick Lionel Messi off the park won’t have the same impact as it would in the Premier League.
But seriously, it is worrying that Ramos is unable to get the best out of the players he has. I mean, ok, they’re not going to challenge the top four (regardless of the sound bites that eminate from exciteable new signings or deluded fans), but nothing short of 7 points against Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Aston Villa should have been deemed acceptable.
The team he is sending out now seems to have a vague tactic: a holding midfielder and four players attacking in support of a lone striker. Yeah, if you put enough attacking players around the box we might get a few deflected goals. It’s the type of thing I’d try in Football Manager.
As it is he’s got a team that lack a leader. What price a move for Lassana Diarra? Should have just asked Portsmouth to name their price.
The main question…
Which leads me to ask who the hell is in charge? Is it Ramos or is it Comolli?
Whose fault is it that Steed is gone or that Bentley is here? Whose fault is it that Diarra or an alternative midfield battler was not bought? Who had the final say on letting two center backs go without a replacement sourced? Who signed off on the Berbatov deal with no top quality center forward being brought in.
Was it the man who won two UEFA Cups, a Copy del Rey, a European Super Cup and the Carling Cup?
Or was it the man who signed Kevin-Prince Boateng?