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Tottenham Hotspur
Posted by Colin McCullough on 03/13/2012

Defeats in the Premier League, that is. Spurs are now clinging on to third place by a single point, following the last gasp victory against Newcastle by that other team from north London. The last time Spurs lost three on the bounce, Juande Ramos was shown the door and Harry Redknapp took his place.

This current sequence of results does, however, need to be put in some sort of context. While the performance in the derby match was poor, the games against Man Utd. and Everton did show an improvement. David Moyes was even prompted to remark that,

"They have a terrific team and played really well. Maybe [they are] the best team we've played at Goodison so far. That tells you what our players had to do to get a result."

Maybe he's simply angling for the Spurs job in the summer.

In truth, the loss at Goodison should not have come as a huge surprise. While Spurs entered the fixture on the back of two defeats, Everton were on a run of eight games unbeaten in all competitions. What was surprising, however, was how Spurs lined up, with Bale on the right and Modric on the left. That left Sandro and Parker in the middle, in a configuration that was more than a little puzzling for the travelling support.

The manager justified his tactics and specifically his use of Gareth Bale by saying that,

"I switched him because we haven't got a wide right player …. there's no one at the club apart from Aaron Lennon and David Bentley that can play wide right so it's a problem. He plays on the right for Wales anyway."

Perhaps that says more about the limited range of options open to the Welsh than it does about Redknapp's tactical acumen. And you know you're on shaky ground when David Bentley's name is evoked in any context.

The Spurs formation on the day will no doubt support the view that Harry Redknapp's main strengths are as a motivator and man-manager rather than as a strategist. Some would argue, however, that these gifts are entirely in step with the needs of the England team, but Harry himself now appears to be suggesting that his elevation to the national job is not a foregone conclusion. Further clarification on that issue would be welcome, since however challenging the recent run of games has been, the uncertainty over Redknapp's future cannot be having a positive effect on the players.

The break in the league campaign may well now be welcome. Spurs face Bolton, arguably the weakest opponents still in the FA Cup. They are the lowest placed Premier League side left in the competition and hopefully their focus will be on maintaining that status rather than cup glory. By contrast, Leicester - the only non-Premiership side in the quarter finals - are slap bang in the middle of the Championship table and will be putting everything into their tie with Chelsea. Although Bolton won at the weekend, their victory over QPR showcased just how poor both sides are and why both are contenders for relegation. Surely a trip to Wembley beckons for Spurs.



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Comments

Posted by JOHN ADAM on 03/13/2012

Admittedly as Harry points out, our last three games that we unfortunately lost were very very tough. These matches are behind us and we must now turn a new page. Spurs must now start winning as many games as possible, seven, at the very least, of the remaining ten matches. It is quite a challenge but are all winnable. Good luck to them.

Posted by Sam, Jakarta on 03/13/2012

Thou an Arsenal fan, I also like Spurs. They have some fantastic players. Yet, I couldn't agree more with you when you said HR is more a man-manager and motivator rather than a strategist. Could we say that Spurs players have been praised so much by their man-manager and motivator that some players might have become "big-headed?"

Hope both teams will qualify for Champions League,

Posted by Curtis on 03/13/2012

I have long thought HR's is more tactically savvy than he is given credit for. The team went to the quarters of the champions league, and from Young Boys (swapping out BAE for another midfielder to go 3-5-2 with the wingbacks was essential to recovering from a disastrous start) to the home and away ties with AC Milan were all outstanding.

I don't have any problem with him playing Bale on the right. My bigger concern is playing with two strikers rather than having VDV start the game. I do not know about his fitness, so that may have been all he could handle. I would also have preferred VDV to Sandro or Parker if we wanted to keep both strikers. We need Modric in the middle of the park. When he is on the wing, we tend to isolate our strikers a bit too much.

But it is not panic time at all. We need to take care of business against Bolton and Stoke. And then we will have a head of steam built up for the trip to Chelsea and be good to go.

COYS!

Posted by rose on 03/14/2012

hello colin!As a neutral.i knew even when spurs were 10points ahead of arsenal that they weren't going 2 finish 3rd in the league.(1) the fixture line doesn't favour them...(2) i don't think the mentality is there 4 that 2 happen,what keeps a club at a particular level or the ability 4 them 2 sustain over a period of time..it's in how strong they are mentally...u can liken the case of spurs 2 juventus..they want 2 be champions but can't seem 2 be clincial when in front of goal...it's the same case with spurs against mantud...positional wise spurs are getting it wrong,for u 2 do well in the Epl,u have 2 take ur chances when they come & defend as a unit when u have the lead,spurs haven't been doing that hence the results in the last 3 games..manutd showed wat at means 2 be champions by been at the right place in the right time...i think mentally spurs players are beginning 2 get tired,their attitude against arsenal & utd immediately they conceded spoke 4 itself...2 be 3rd? u ve 2 do more

Posted by syun on 03/14/2012

You got it spot on about Bale playing on the right for Welsh. Unlike you, I don't like Bale on the right. Bale right now is not good enough to play on the right in EPL games. Maybe in the future he can play there but not now. Against Everton, it's obvious that he cannot cross using his right foot.

On limiting player to play on the right, Krancjar can play there. Not sure how Harry forgot about him. If we play 4-5-1 with Krancjar on the right and 2 DMs, I'm sure we can get something from the game against Everton. Krancjar maybe slow, but that 2 DMs can cover for him. I think Givanni can play there too, so why not use him..?

I hope we can secure third place and possibly get to Wembley.

Posted by Spurrs4life on 03/16/2012

I think it's high time harry moved King to Midfield ancor role and introduce Ryan Nielsen...even a blind man can see that! Defoe has shown beyond doubt that he deserves a starting position....what else does the young fela have to do that he hasn't done.

Posted by Mike in USA on 03/17/2012

@Spurrs4life - King in midfield? He can barely run as it is. His strength on the field his his defensive positioning and you want to change his position?

What we really need to do is stop playing Modric as a winger/ss. He's best in the middle of the field dictating play with his passing. His defense has far improved since his first season at the club. He's become nearly a complete box-to-box center mid.

Instead of trying to play him wide (he's just going to come in), we should have put Krancjar out there. Very good attacking the goal, great shot, and he can pass better than lennon.

Another guy said it best - Harrys a great players manager. He can rally whole teams together and do great things, but he is NOT a tactician.

Posted by Spursparrot on 03/17/2012

Totally agree with the spursrs4life comment, It seem everytime King plays now we lose a game....not his fault though.

I think its the usual spurs rut....ive supported this team long enough to know that even at 10 points ahead i though Arsenal would catch us and we would get the jitters.

I could never understand spurs fans taunting the Arsenal supporters about the gap.....wait until after the season....now look!!.

Additionally with the Arsenal supporters.....Wenger spends hardly any money the club and finances are in good shape and they are in 4th place....Hardly a traedgy!


With regards to being clinical in front of goal its whats needed. Following that a claude makelele
type of player, Realistically i think 4th is for us with 3rd as a bonus

Posted by LENNIE NAIDOO on 03/23/2012

Fourth is not an option.It is imperative that we move back to third and finish there if we want to play UCL next season. If Chelsea win the UCL fourth for Spurs is not good enough.The players need to realise this.

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