Last Saturday, I took my young daughter to her first football match. As a lifelong Tottenham Hotspur fan, I debated with myself over whether I should actually inflict supporting Spurs on another generation of my family. As it happens, I needn’t have worried, my daughter spent the first half eating snacks and the second half playing a Nintendo DS. She enjoyed the day out with her dad, but not so much the actual “football match” element of it.
If you were a Spurs fan, the match itself was awful – one of the worst performances from them in quite some time. There are some mitigating factors in this: this is still a squad and coach trying to get used to each other, and that can take a long time to gel. Manager Andre Villas Boas is trying to move Spurs away from last seasons “up and at ’em” all out attacking, into something more considered. At the moment, the players just look paralyzed and short of confidence. Spurs are short of 3-4 of their first team players and lost another early on in this game.
Having said all that, there can’t have been many inside White Hart Lane, including the 200 or so Wigan fans who made the journey who would have thought Wigan would get all 3 points. Wigan are known for playing nice football, but are often considered too weak defensively, surely super-hyper-ultra-megastar: Gareth Bale would make mincemeat of them? Nope, Bale rarely got the ball in a dangerous position, and when he did, he was double-marked by the Wigan defence. He didn’t really get a look in for the whole game
Bale wasn’t the only one though. The whole team were abject. Clint Dempsey looks short of form and confidence and Sigurdsson looks a shadow of the player who excelled at Swansea last year. Huddlestone remains too ponderous to be a top class midfielder and Defoe is too one-dimensional. I can only hope that this performance and result will prompt AVB into finally dispensing with Friedel (who doesnt do much wrong but has very poor distribution) and Defoe and replacing them with Lloris and Adebayor (who looked much sharper when he came on).
I’m fairly confident that my daughter being bought a soft toy and chocolate means I wont get accused of cruelty to children, but at least now I can use: “if you dont behave, I’ll take you to see Spurs” as a way of keeping her in line in the future!
Mark Cruise is a soccer writer for rantsports.com – You can follow him on Twitter: @chiefhairyman #rantsoccer