That’s getting us out of the Europa League

Tottenham Hotspur 1 - 2 PAOK Salonika - Europa League - November 30th, 2011

done and dusted then.

Well that’s what ‘Arry seems to think and seems not to be ‘appy about. Funny that he spent so long whinging about being in it and now wants to stay in it.

His mood for the competition looks to have turned before last nights defeat to PAOK as the Spurs starting lineup wasn’t just confined to the kids plus those coming back from injury, getting games under their belt, and the those completely detached from first team action. No amongst those assorted types was Modric, Lennon and Defoe.

So ‘Arry was going for the win. Shame the rest of them weren’t let into the game plan. As the first 20 minutes went by the likes of Corluka, Gallas, Bassong and Pienaar played like they had been instructed that this European campaign was to be “forfeited“.

They seemed to think PAOK were there for the taking and all it would take was to cruise around slowly, passing the ball about. Well we know Spurs don’t work when it’s slowly and this certainly didn’t work when they just gave the ball away with sloppy ease.

Gallas meandered up field and lost the ball far too easily. PAOK broke, Corluka barely attempted to do anything remotely defensive as the winger crossed for the somewhat small stature of Salpingidis to head in the opener unchallenged. It was almost slow motion and the Greek player even looked amazed at the ease of it all.

Not long after Corluka’s limitations were again exposed as a ball out to the right totally negated him and the cross fired into the area about 8 yards out bypassed the central pair, who barely looked interested for a tap in by Athanasiadis. It was all far too easy and looked like being repeated time and time again as Spurs repeatedly gave the ball away with sloppy ease as the defence were all over the place.

Corluka wants out of the club because he doesn’t want to fight Walker for a first team place, after this there shouldn’t be anyone shedding a tear when he leaves. Dear god it is painful watching him attempt to run. Can’t remember where I read but someone once said they couldn’t work out if he was the front end or the back end of a pantomime horse. Walker certainly isn’t the finished article as a defender but at least his pace can mask some faults. With Charlie that lack of pace just exacerbates the errors.

Bassong also wants out and again I can’t see many shedding a tear if he does go to QPR in January.

A lifeline came just before the break as a Kane prod at goal was judged to have been handled on the line by Stafylidis. Tough one, he had tried to move his arm behind his body but had still stopped a goal with the arm and once the ref had given the pen he had to send the player off. Modric stood up for the spot kick. It’s Spurs, it’s a penalty, anyone confident? Anyway he coolly slotted it home.

From early on in that first half Bale and Walker had been warming up on the sideline. An early change of personnel was required if ‘Arry was serious about wanting to win. The pair should have replaced Pienaar and Corluka respectively. It would have sent a message and it would have also rid the side of two bums.

The second half was all Spurs, it should be at home against ten men. Unfortunately though things were being run by Modric the ball all too often found it’s way to Pienaar and Corluka. The former we were told was trying too hard to show us his worth. He was succeeding. This is what he’s worth. Somewhere around the region of bugger all, certainly not the £3m forked out for him. To be fair he made one decent run in the second half but he followed this up with a shockingly awful attempt on goal. Rest of the time he just dithered about and gave the ball away. When Falqué was finally introduced he showed more in 20 minutes than Pienaar did in 70. One should have started and be on the bench for other games the other shouldn’t and shouldn’t.

After some odd substitutions, that involved Corluka switching to left back instead of the bench he kept seeing far too much of the ball and failed completely to link with Bale for anything meaningful.

Then the officials intervened again. The assistant assistant, .i.e. the bloke that is placed next to the goal on the wrong side of the pitch – should be on far side off the linesman – took some stick from the dolts on Channel five for doing nothing when the penalty was given for Spurs. How could he, the ball hit the PAOK defender on the opposite side to the official. He couldn’t definitively say what happened.

For the disputed goal his opposite number again did the right thing. He was shouting that Defoe had fouled the PAOK and he was correct. Ref should have blown then and there and not let things go on until Defoe eventually put the ball into the net. Normally refs are let down by the incompetence of their assistants this time it was the other way round.

In the end PAOK deserved to win, they took their chances for the two early goals, played well and defended well when down to ten men. Spurs had all the possession in that second half but the PAOK ‘keeper really didn’t have much to do. Not as much as he should have.

OK so they’re not technically out of it, PAOK beat Rubin Spurs stuff Shamrock and it’s all smiles again. But some are saying it’s a good thing to be out. Why? To concentrate on the league. But it’s not like the Champions League last year the first teamers aren’t regularly being picked for the Europa games so they’re only playing the Premier games. And these games are good for playing the kids and giving those coming back from injury a run out and the others just games to keep them in some sort of shape.

Though with that if we don’t see Corluka, Bassong and Pienaar again even in the Europa maybe that’s what folks are thinking about being better.

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