It wasn’t that we played particularly badly – well, at least in the first half. The problem was that we very rarely threatened the Tottenham goal. In the first 45 minutes we didn’t have a single shot on goal that I can think of. And the problem boiled down to three things – lack of width, lack of a playmaker and lack of any sort of penetration up front (ooh, er, Missus!).
Let’s deal with them in order. Playing Behrami as a wide player doesn’t get the best out of him. Having said that, he was again one of the best performers last night, and no one can fault him for effort and battling qualities. But from a wide player you want running down the wings and dangerous crosses. That’s not what he does.
Few of us could understand why Julien Faubert was in the team after his lamentable performances in recent weeks. His ability to lose the ball grows by the game and he probably only hit a single reasonable cross before he was subbed after an hour.
We badly need Matty Etherington back, with Kieron Dyer on the other side. Carlton Cole is the type of player who thrives on crosses and if he doesn’t get them, he will have fewer scoring opportunities.
Cole’s lack of ability to keep possession is worrying. He holds the ball up well most of the time, but eight times out of ten he then gives it away too easily. Bellamy was busy last night and had a couple of scoring opportunities, but again, never looked at his threatening best.
Scott Parker had a very good first 45 minutes, dominating the midfield, but as usual seemed to fade the further the game went on.
Defensively, the back two looked totally solid for much of the game, but you have to question why one of them didn’t pick up Ledley King for the goal. James Collins’ heading was generally awesome and for me he was Man of the Match by a country mile. Lucas Neill was negative for the first half an hour but got more adventurous as the game went on. But for their second goal he was caught out of position – and not for the first time.
So overall a very disappointing night. It’s difficult to see us getting much against Chelsea, and we often do badly against Villa. I am sorry to be negative, but I can easily see us being in the bottom three at Christmas. Woe is us.
Robert Green 8