Well it was the kind of thing you tend to get when you’re 6-1 up after the first leg, playing away on a pretty bad looking surface but it was a shambles.
Against a poor Cypriot side, who admittedly played far better at home than they did at the Lane, Spurs were just off it from the start and throughout up until the last 15 minutes when Bale and Keane did more in that time than the other 10 outfield players managed in the previous 75.
Yeah they created chances, which again given a starting spot Defoe managed to squander by not only by the usual method of hitting the ‘keeper and the woodwork but with the addition of trying to place the ball instead of his normal hammering it and ballooning it over the bar. He does make it very easy for Martin Jol not to start him in place of Robbie Keane. One thing for Defoe, when he came deep picked the ball up and ran at them it made a difference, just a shame there was no one about to take advantage.
Bent apart from winning the ball and putting in a good pass to lay in Defoe’s first chance did sod all worth 16 million quid again, short of confidence we are always told, short of ability more like.
In a game that was calling for some of the younger players to get a run out we got the first sighting of Kevin-Prince Boateng in the first team and he disappointed, one excellently whipped cross in the first five minutes apart he certainly didn’t look a wide player, another for the middle. Little pace didn’t really attempt to get past their fullback and stick more of those decent crosses in and he didn’t really support either his fullback or anyone that came out wide. But why was Taraabt left in those comfy seats – remember when European away games just used to have an exposed bench? – until five minutes from the end? Even on that surface he would have caused them problems.
Defence was again shaky, I don’t know what’s up with Dawson but he’s not the player he was, is he just missing Ledley too much? Yeah the Famagusta goal came about from a handball but why was allowed to get that far why did they all stand around and wait for a whistle instead of clearing the situation? Who is coaching them like this?
Again the only bright spot is Bale, who injected some life into proceedings with some direct running, he’s looking more and more a bargain at £8million. A cracking run then a bit of intelligence to pick out the cutback was the best option, Bent’s dummy – did he mean it? Was the best thing he did all afternoon – and Keane’s expert finish.
It was the thought that we started last seasons league campaign off badly and the performances in the UEFA Cup run gave the team a lift to bring things round so could that be happening again this year but no the way they’ve played in Europe have been just as bad as the league form, oh well at least they’re through to the group stages, it could be worse I suppose.
But will it be of any bother to Martin Jol as he looks like being Ajax’s first choice now that they look to have lost their head coach to Chelsea. Maybe Spurs should have tried a US sport style multi-team trade, Chelsea gets Cate in Ajax gets Jol and Chelsea wave that part of their deal with Jose so Spurs can get the ex-Chelsea boss.
Watching the coverage in five I was left wondering has the ubiquitous Pat Nevin shrunk over the last few months. I know sitting next to big Joe Royle would make the winger look small but this really did seem out of proportion, he really did look like David Steel’s puppet from Spitting Image stuck in David Owen’s pocket.
The other highlight of five’s football coverage last night came just before the Everton game when former Toffee Kevin Ratcliffe commented on David Moyes choice of Phil Neville as rightback.
“He obviously wants some quality in there” said the ex-Wales player at which point the game kicked off and Metalist started to repeatedly attack down the Everton right side where the aforementioned Neville was found wanting, either being run past or being totally MIA as another of the Ukrainian side ran into the penalty area from that side.
Ah maybe it was attacking quality Ratcliffe was talking about, well no, as Phil kept up the Neville tradition of playing two types of balls. There’s the stumble forward troglodyte style get side on so you can only pass it back so that’s what you do, to the ‘keeper who humps it up the park to lose possession or you cut out the middleman and aimlessly hump the ball up the park, to no one in particular, to lose possession all by yourself.
Real quality. The kind of play that’s seen him picked in McClown’s next England squad, at least Ashton ahs got a call up. I wasn’t sure about him before, think I said on here he looked like a poor man’s Teddy Sheringham, very lightweight especially away from home but he looks better so far this season maybe that year out injured has done him some good in the long run.