West Bromwich Albion
|DATE||Sunday 21st September 2014|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
Albion have a full squad to choose form for the first time this
season, while Spurs are only likely to be missing Andros Townsend in
addition to Kyle Walker, who is recovering from surgery on his hip,
so we can expect what is likely to be more or less the full strength
sides of both clubs to face each other. Coming after a Europa
League week, this may be a luxury that Mauricio Pochettino might
have to make the most of, having rested six of the team on Thursday
from the trip to Belgrade.
The media have been expounding Albion's terrible record against Spurs and they come to the Lane bottom of the table without a win this season. But such things do not always go to plan.
Referee Kevin Friend may have a difficult game, as Spurs will seek to dominate possession and hopefully be more clinical around the WBA penalty area. This may lead to a physical approach to try and put Spurs off their game, with the visitors having players who are capable of putting in a tackle, although how familiar they are with each other is questionable, as they signed eleven players this summer.
Keeper Ben Foster is there and although he is back in the England picture, he continues to make errors that cost his club, which might make his defence in front of him a bit nervy. They have Norman, sorry, Andre Wisdom on loan from Liverpool and Sebastien Pocognoli filling their full back slots, with Chris Baird (formerly of Fulham) and Craig Dawson as cover there, also being able to fill in the centre of defence too. Joleon Lescott is likely to make his first League appearance for the Baggies, alongside Jonas Olsson, with neither possessing a great turn of pace, so getting around them might unsettle them on the ground.
Other options at the back are plentiful, but they are Gareth McAuley (now in the veteran phase of his career) and Cristian Gamboa, who has not yet been risked in the Premier League.
Having signed so many players, Alan Irvine might not know what his best side is and with them only just getting to match fitness, the chance to see them all in action may not yet have been available to him. It sounds good that the news about a dressing room bust-up has been denied, but whether they will fight for the club on the pitch remains to be seen.
The squad is packed with midfield players, from the physical (Yousuff Mulumbu, Craig Gardner, Claudio Yacob) to the creators (James Morrison, Chris Brunt, Graham Dorrans, Stephane Sessignon), who the manager will hope can chip in with a goal or two at some stage. Whether they can provide enough ammunition for the forwards will depend on how often they have the ball and they might depend on the ball-winners to get their share of play.
With the likes of Saido Berahino (the England Under-21 scoring sensation), Ideye Brown (the Nigerian scoring sensation) and Giorgios Samaras, the Greek signing, they have forwards with potential and experience, but if they play one up front, they might rely on the pace of Berahino on the break, as the other two might struggle playing a lone role. Samaras can hold the ball up, but he has been used to playing in Scotland for a few years, so needs to get up to Premier League speed. Brown looks strong and could be a handful, but the lack of pressure on the Spurs back four could release the full backs to attack the visitors.
The problem Tottenham have had this season is finishing teams off. QPR don't count, as they were so poor at the back, I am not sure we will see such as generous a defence again at the Lane this season, but testing Foster with shots on target could be the key to breaking through. Making the right decisions in the vital areas is always key to success and the onus will be on Spurs to set the tempo to press WBA back towards their own goal.
I think Tottenham will win, but
with Irvine formerly assistant to Moyes at Everton, he might make
getting that breakthrough harder than it looks on paper.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 2 West Bromwich Albion 1|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
A kick to Andros Townsend's leg on Thursday may rule him out, while Kyle Walker's recovery from surgery keeps him on the side-lines. The six players who did not travel to Serbia will be available for selection. Benoit Assou-Ekotto's three match ban will not affect any chance he might have had of playing in this match.
Albion TEAM NEWS :
Joleon Lescott, Stephane Sessignon and Youssuf Malumbu, are all fit to play and Alan Irvine has a full squad to choose from.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
West Bromwich Albion 1 (0)
Sunday 21st September 2014 Kick off 13:30
White Hart Lane
|None||Morrison 74m 34s|
Rose (foul on Sessignon) 73
Soldado (foul on Lescott) 90
Sessegnon (foul on Lamela) 83
Foster (time-wasting) 90+4
|Crowd : 35,861||Weather : Warm, sunny|
|Referee : Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. D. McDonough; Mr. C. Hatzidakis|
|Fourth Official : Ray East||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 5 minutes|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||West Bromwich Albion :||kit|
Etienne CAPOUE (
Aaron LENNON 76)
Roberto SOLDADO 61 )
10 Emmanuel ADEBAYOR
|Manager : Mauricio Pochettino||Manager : Alan Irvine|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : Intuit QuickBooks|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : adidas|
"On another day we could have nicked a draw," said one spectator exiting the Tottenham part of the stadium. But surely, this is not what it has come to is it ? This was West Bromwich Albion. No win at White Hart Lane in 30 years. Bottom of the table with two points from four matches. They hadn't won on a Sunday in two years.
And maybe that was what the players were thinking. The lack of urgency in Tottenham's play was shocking and while Pochettino might not have been sure of the words to describe his feeling after the game, plenty of people around me found the words coming easily. The sloppiness of the passing at the back that threatened to hand Albion a goal from the very beginning of the match. The insistence in playing the ball out from inside our own penalty area will come back to bite us, despite it being part of the way the game is played.
When we do try and play the game, we get penalised, while others get away with it.
Kevin Friend had a bad day at the football pitch today. He missed a penalty for WBA, when a header hit Adebayor's raised hand in the box. He missed Lamela and Kaboul being pushed to the floor as corners came in and Dier's shirt nearly torn off him in the area. When Capoue pulled back Saido Berahino by his shirt, it was a free-kick, but that was near the halfway line, so the laws of the game suddenly apply when you leave the protection of the penalty area. I was in line with the view the ref had in the first half when Adebayor's shirt was being pulled. Although slightly elevated, the view I had would that Friend had, but he chose to ignore the incident. Before the match I said to one of my mates that the ref would get the book out for Foster in added on time at the end of the game for time-wasting throughout the game. it was only when I got home I found out he had been cautioned, as my view then was obstructed by the people leaving the ground in disgust.
Another thing we had discussed at half-time was that if West Brom scored, they would be even harder to break down. And that was what happened. A corner in the 75th minute was flighted in from their right wing and Morrison jumped (but he probably hadn't needed to) to put it past Lloris. It looked like Lamela was the nearest to him, so whether he was Erik's man to pick up or they were working a zonal marking system (the worst thing invented, as it doesn't seem to work), I don't know. It was just rank bad play.
When the game was in the first few minutes, we witnessed Vlad and Younes trying to play the ball out on their own dead-ball line, which wended in a corner for the visitors, with Dawson planting a free-header (sound familiar ?) onto the roof of the net. More slack play for Chiriches either passed the ball to their players or his clearances found a red shirt unerringly. In the second half, he ran forward to head the ball, which promptly bounced straight over his head. Not impressive.
The midfield were dropping deep to get the ball, leaving Ade stranded up front. It was a day when his touch deserted him and he failed to hold the ball up for support to arrive. With only one up front, the WBA defenders had free rein to step out with the ball, thus putting pressure on our midfield. While Lamela was energetic and showed some good skills, too often there was nowhere to go and he ran into a wall of red shirts. Dembele had the same issue and Eriksen was trying to probe with passes through the back four, but they weren't coming off today and his delivery from dead-ball situations was particularly poor. He was not alone, as the best crosses came from defenders, with Rose almost picking out a stretching Adebayor leg in the first half and Kaboul finding Ade's head late in the second. The captain also created our only shot on target in the 71st minute (Yes ... 71st !!). His low ball in from the right picked out Soldado and his flicked shot at the near post made Foster save, although only at the second attempt.
At the other end, Lloris had to make three sharp dives to stop Albion scoring, so when they went ahead, on the balance of chances, they deserved it. In the first half, he had plunged left to keep out Gardner, who struck it well from 20 yards out in the 14th minute. in the 55th minute, Spurs messed about with the ball at the back and Albion slipped Berahino through to fire a shot at goal that Hugo beat away. Three minutes before they did score, Morrison drilled an effort at goal and again, Lloris saved well to his right. Lescott won a header form a corner and it was stopped from going into the goal by Craig Dawson's head and then Berahino had a goal disallowed, but the whistle had gone for offside before he put it past Lloris.
When Spurs did add Soldado to the attack, they spectacularly failed to give him the service he thrives on, leaving him coming short to get the ball and the only two passes he got in the box (other than for the shot on target) were running away from him in tight situations.
Spurs did put some pressure on the Albion goal at the end, but it was too little too late and none of it was on target. Lennon came on and ran at Pocogloni, beating him often, but failing to pick out a Spurs man with his crosses. Pocognoli should have been in the book for committing one of the all-time embarrassing dives. Trapped on his own dead-ball line, a challenge came in and missed him, but the defender still did a dying swan act some time after the ball had trickled away from him to Lamela. It was so shameful, but Friend lived up to his name and failed to show him a yellow card. Something he was quick to do with Rose and Soldado for their first offences. When Dawson went through Lamela late and from behind early on, the ref gave him a talking to. So what is so different in the 90th minute then ? Consistency is something that fails to exist in Friend world.
Eric Dier had a header go wide and then Paulinho tried an overhead kick that cleared the bar and also most of the East Stand. The corners were a mere flattering at the end of a game where Tottenham had failed to break the other side down. This tactic will be used time and time again, so Poch had better get used to countering it. On a day like today and without a Gareth Bale to win games out of nothing, Spurs look set for a season of disappointment, not just a game's worth.
This was the third home game and the second defeat, without a goal being scored. The team have only had two shots on target during those two losses and there lies the crux of the matter. Ron Atkinson said that if you don't buy a ticket you won't win the raffle, so Spurs need to work the opposition goalkeeper more. They managed that last week and Mannone was up to the task, but Foster had only one save to make and fumbled that.
As Forest are coming to WHL on Wednesday, they must be licking their lips, as they are scoring readily, while we stutter onwards. Then Arsenal await. Even they must be reckoning on a few.
Less than a week before the game at Highbury. Poch needs to work quickly and the team need to play quickly.
West Bromwich Albion were forgotten about in last year's League Cup competition and only got in at the last moment, when the Football League thought they had received two applications from West Ham United.
Bromwich Albion are twinned with French Third Division side Auchere-La-Mere,
who are nicknamed the Baguettes.
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|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|What you thought|
This was poor and Spurs looked average in trying to overcome a side
who just came set out for a draw and ended up with all three points.
You just knew that their best chance of scoring would come from a
set-piece and Tottenham were doing their best to give them enough
opportunities. A free header from a corner deserves to be
punished and while we got away with it in the last home game with
Balotelli missing from close in, this time we didn't. We could
have played all night without looking like scoring.
Consigned to mid-table already, with the scary prospect of West Ham playing more entertaining football than us :o(
Poor ... very poor.
Possession isn't anything if you don't make something of it.
What were Spurs fans thinking of getting all excited with the
biggest cheers of the day every time the latest score came up
showing Manchester United slipping to defeat at Leicester City ??
While they were enjoying the schadenfreude of the Red Devils' demise, don't think that they weren't laughing at us losing at home to West Brom. At least they scored three goals. I couldn't see that happening in three games at the moment for us.
|Other scores during this week :|
|Newcastle United||2||Hull City||2||Saturday|
|West Ham United||3||Liverpool||1||Saturday|
|Leicester City||5||Manchester United||3||Sunday|
|8||West Ham United||5||2||1||2||9||8||7||+1|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||5||1||2||2||3||7||5||-4|
Position before match :
Position after match : 9th
Position after the weekend : 9th
* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.
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