Another gutless display leaves Spurs stuck to the bottom of the table
like glue. On this performance and what has gone before, going to
Liverpool on the last day of the season looks like a game we might have
to win ... if it gets that far.
points out of 18 leaves Spurs with at least another 38 to find and with
only 32 games left, that is averaging more than a point a game.
Can you see it ? No me neither at this moment in time.
The situation is something that needs to
be addressed now, not to say everything will come right eventually.
We can all see what the problems are. How is it that the
management can't ?
For all the money spent, the side are a
bunch of individuals gathered together in the hope that something might
come off. The rot set in when we won the Carling Cup and the team
got complacent because they didn't have to play for the rest of the
season. Well, they are now carrying that on into this campaign.
With lots of possession in the opening
stages, the lack of confidence in the team showed, as they did little
with it. In fact, Gomes had to pull out two good stops from
Richard Hughes shots to keep Pompey out. It was two occasions when
Tottenham left the midfielder on his own to fire the bal in on goal.
Spurs did open up Portsmouth on the right wing, when Dawson's raking
pass saw Corluka rush in to take the ball on his chest and beat Belhadj
and as he laid it back for O'Hara, Diarra got back just in time as Jamie
pulled back his foot to strike. It was O'Hara who had another
chance getting onto Bentley's deep cross and hitting a shot at goal, but
it lacked real venom.
Spurs picked up a couple of soft bookings
before conceding a cheap penalty. A free kick came in after O'Hara
got booked for a sliding tackle on Hughes, but as Jenas jumped for the
ball, it was higher than he thought, so not able to get a leg to it, he
stuck out an arm and Mike Dean pointed to the spot. It was so
predictable that Defoe would score, but giving him an easy shot with
only the keeper to beat from twelve yards was a gift. He buried
the ball into the corner of the net and showed some respect in not
celebrating his goal, which probably had nothing to do with the Spurs
crowd singing "You're Spurs and you know you are."
Tottenham tried to hit back and Didier
Zokora went on a twenty yard run that was ended by Lassana Diarra
dumping him on the floor with a shove from behind. It earned him a
booking. Despite having a bit of the ball and going forward, Spurs
struggled to make any chances for their lone striker or the men who were
supporting from midfield. So at half time, Aaron Lennon was
introduced for the anonymous Gilberto.
I am not sure how many free-kicks David
Bentley has to take before he is deprived of the privilege.
Surely, his success rate is dropping faster than the confidence in
banks. Why is it that he is the only one who is allowed near a
dead ball ? I know Bale wasn't playing today, but Jenas and O'Hara
can hit a good free-kick and I am sure Pav would like the chance to have
a shot on goal at some stage. The Russian did well to get his head
to Bentley's cross, but did not get any power behind it and it dropped
wide of the post by about a yard.
Gomes made another low stop as Traore cut
in from the left, where he had a lot of space to fire a shot low across
goal which looked like it would have crept in at the far post. And
then the moment that turned the match happened. With Lennon
breaking on the left wing, he produced a cross from close to the dead
ball line and Diarra turned his back and threw an arm out to stop the
ball reaching the goalmouth in a manner not dissimilar to Jeans in the
first half. Dean had a good view, but declined to give Tottenham a
Dos Santos came on for Zokora to add a
bit of attacking midfield play and tried running at Portsmouth's
defenders, but often ran into them. Bentley pulled a shot wide and
Roman got on the end of a free-kick from the winger, but could not
control the ball as he got his foot to the fiercely struck free-kick.
As usually happens, just when it looks like Spurs are getting back into
the game, they shoot themselves in the foot. Acres of space down
our right hand side let Traore onto Defoe's pass and he drilled a shot
at Gomes, which he managed to beat out, but the ball popped up and none
of our defenders reacted quickly enough to stop Peter Crouch heading the
ball into an unguarded net for 2-0.
Pavlyuchenko got round Distin and had a
sight of goal, but as he got his shot away, Johnson dived in to block
the effort, then a foul on Lennon on the edge of the area allowed O'Hara
to bend a free-kick around the wall, but a bit too high and wide.
When Pav was replaced by Bent, the Spurs fans did not take it well,
chanting "You don't know what you're doing" to Ramos. Whether this
was for just keeping one man up front or the fact that they felt Bentley
should have been the one to go, I am not sure.
As it was, Bentley fed Bent and he turned
to hit a shot way over a couple of minutes after coming on. The
tackles were flying in and Crouch elbowed Dawson in the head, but only
got a yellow when he kicked the ball away. Nice to see referees
have got their priorities right. Hughes also got one after a long
string of fouls, but when Diarra over-ran the bal and Assou-Ekotto got
there first, the Pompey midfielder just went straight through him and
got a second yellow and a red.
Just before that, Tottenham had forced
James to his first proper save, when Lennon cut in from the left to curl
a low shot that would have snuck inside the post had James not dived to
palm it wide. That was in the 87th minute.
Aaron hit another effort that was
straighter at the keeper in added time and then belted the ball away
when he had a free-kick given against him, as his frustration took hold.
That frustration was felt nowhere more
than in the Tottenham end. Another long journey. Another
pointless exercise and with no wins coming at home, you have to question
the tactics for away games, which are not all that different from Jol's.
We still fail to get much from away games and that has got to change.
Playing just one up front has to change, as it leaves the home side with
space and time on the ball, with no worry about the ball sticking up
Lots of talk has been made of Ramos now
having to prove that he is the manager that everyone thought he was.
It is not even that. He has to prove that he can manage a big
club, albeit one that is at the bottom of the league. That should
have started from the day he stepped through the door at White Hart
Lane. It is getting too late and later with every game.