More a catalogue of errors than a comedy to be fair but, like Shakespeare, yesterday´s match had all the other classic elements of an Elizabethan drama – comedy, tragedy, history and romance.
But first, the comedy or more importantly the errors. Whereas in recent games this season we have seen the occasional lapse of concentration, the poorly placed pass, the mistimed tackle or defensive blip, generally one or two others within the defensive unit have been on hand with a last ditch block, tackle or save to prevent a goal.
Yesterday it was if everyone was making errors and all at the same time – consider the first three goals as prime examples.
After less than ten seconds Lloris was put under pressure by a backpass (why was he even involved at this stage?) – ERROR – and his poor clearance – ERROR – is not collected or covered in midfield – ERROR – Negredo is found in acres of space on the edge of our area – ERROR – and while his shot is saved by Lloris he can only palm the ball back into play – ERROR – where Navas has slipped his marker Vertonghen – ERROR – and with Kaboul slow to react – ERROR – the ball is in the back of the net from a rather fortuitous cross – never a shot.
For the second goal, again Lloris has a poor pass out of his area – ERROR – again it is not dealt with in midfield – ERROR – and, as the ball is passed down the left wing, Negredo is at least five yards offside, the ball falls to Nasri who is not closed down by Walker – ERROR – and is able to cross to an unmarked Aguerro – ERROR – who chests it down and shoots. Again a good enough save by Lloris but yet again – ERROR – he can only palm it to Negredo – now in an onside position but he should still have been flagged by the linesman for his previous offside – ERROR – and his shot hits Kaboul only for it to cannon into the net off Sandro – more bad luck rather than an error.
And as for their third – more sloppy play in midfield gifts them the ball – ERROR – Vertonghen isn´t close enough to his player – ERROR – Lamela has given his player a two yard head start – ERROR – so cannot prevent the cross which Kaboul doesn´t even attempt to cut out – ERROR.
I can normally accept one or two errors such as these in a game as they normally come to nothing – that many is bordering on insanity.
If the scoreline at halftime was not tragic enough, we did somehow manage to improve our overall play in the second period. The only problem was that Citeh seriously upped their game. Whereas they had taken advantage of our bad play in the first, they simply tore us to shreds in that second.
Their passing, their movement on and off the ball, their vision and desire were a joy to behold – it was a shame we happened to be on the receiving end of it. All credit to them – Citeh were quite magnificent.
Another three goals – and as the last went in I felt like Julius Ceasar having been stabbed in the back a final time, looking round and muttering the words – “Et tu, Brute”. It was indeed a tragedy and regrettably an historic one.
Our biggest defeat in the Premiership in 16 years, one of the biggest in our long history, and the end of our pretence of having a viable defensive record. In our last three Premiership games we have conceded seven times and scored none.
But history will show that this was the day on which we lost all hope of being treated as a serious contender for a top four position. Other teams already knew how to cope with us – WetSpam and Newcastle have proved that – now this will show others how to hurt us and hurt us badly.
As for the romance – the honeymoon period for this new style Spurs team is well and truly over. I know it will take time for new players to adapt and develop, but only three of the seven new signings played yesterday.
It wasn´t even that team selection was poor – the decision to drop Townsend as his play had become too predictable and easy to counter was a brave one but trying to use Lennon and Lamela to get in behind their defence should have worked. It did on occasion but only when we were chasing the game – and we were from the 13th second.
I have been calling for our two Brazilians to be paired in central midfield – it did not work. I have wanted to see more of Holtby – instead we saw less and apparently he was on the pitch for 45 minutes.
We need to sort out the defence where Vertonghen has to partner Chirches – I know the latter is still smarting after a broken nose two weeks ago but they are so much better than Dawson and Kaboul – who have been firm favourites of mine over the years.
If we do not have an experienced left back, and unless Rose is going to be back very soon, then why not experiment by switching Walker and bringing Kaboul in his place on the right. I know it isn´t Walker´s best position but neither is it Vertinghen´s and he is currently needed in the centre.
Playing Walker on the left coupled with a true left footed winger – Townsend or Lamela – would create different problems for the opposition. Playing Kaboul on the right would strengthen our defence – admittedly at the expense of attacking flair.