Date: 10th November 2020 at 12:55pm
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It’s pretty obvious really …. football is a game of two teams. It is not logical to expect that the team we support will have everything its own way.

Spurs have dropped points against teams where all supporters expected a win. This often leads to frustration, even anger, from many supporters. But, despite this, we sit in second place on the table, above such fancied clubs such as City, United, Chelsea, and Arsenal (although, to be honest, I’ve never fancied Arsenal).

A mid-table or bottom club can take points from a top club …. on any given day. This happens more and more as many teams decide it is better to play defensively and get a point rather than play to win and end up with nothing. it’s a practical theory, and it works. We see that every week.

But many teams also realise that by sitting back and defending they could steal a win from a fast break. We see that most weeks as well. Every PL team has at least one or two players that are above average. They can turn any game, and they sometimes do. That is the way the PL will play out in future years. That is why predicting results can be so difficult.

Some supporters seem to see this as a problem that only Spurs have. This isn’t true. Supporters, generally, fail to give credit to the opposing team when they win or force a draw. We are more prone to pick faults with our own team. To demonise the team or the manager because of a poor result does not make sense because …. there are two teams on the park. To demonise the team or the manager after a series of poor results is a different matter.

The reality is that every top team will lose points they should not, on paper, lose. We beat Brighton but could have easily lost as they missed three completely open goals that ‘Arry’s missus’ would have scored (she was some kind of player)! Sometimes teams play well and lose. Sometimes teams play badly and win. It’s the unpredictability and competitiveness of the PL that makes it the most exciting competition in world football. How lucky are we to be in the mix.

If I’m not mistaken I think we all agreed that the recent Transfer Window was a great success and we now have (arguably) two players for every position. Given the amount of games on the horizon that was crucial for the rest of the season. It’s also pretty obvious that team rotation is a significant aspect of the game for the clubs fighting on many fronts. Clubs like Spurs.

This is where the manager, any manager, needs to make the right decisions. But those ‘right decisions’ are not easy to make. A manager has to ‘mix and match’ his players for specific games. He bases his decisions on what he sees at training. He expects that his players will perform at their optimum level when he picks them. But sometimes they don’t. That is not the manager’s fault although he often gets the blame.

When to use the bench during a game is a decision managers will, in hindsight, be vilified or praised for. But it’s a fine line of distinction. Again, many supporters are quick to demonise a manager when things don’t go as expected (or desired). Even during a live match thread, many supporters start calling for heads before the match is over. What is that about? How does it help …. especially when we often go on and win the game in any case. What those supporters forget is …. there are two teams on the park! The other thing to remember is that it is not the manager’s fault every time a player does not perform.

Most league games so far this season have been against lower clubs who elected to defend. Those games were often a struggle. But we sit in second place. We have only played one match against a perceived major rival … a team intent on attacking. It was away from home. How did that turn out!

Spurs cannot play the same way against every team because those other teams will play differently. There are two teams on the park. We will play much differently against United, Arsenal, Chelsea, City, etc, than against, Fulham, WBA, Brighton, etc. As supporters we can provide a better service to our club by recognising, and accepting, how modern day PL football works. Knee-jerk reactions aimed against team members or the manager are far from helpful or supportive. Of course, it might be a different story if Spurs were in the bottom six instead of the top six.

But we are second and will remain there until our next game against Manchester City at home …. a game that will see two attacking teams on the park! Whatever happens, it’s worth remembering that one game does not define a season. Gotta love football!

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204 Replies to “Tottenham: Football Is A Game Of Two Teams”

  • Geoff /HT
    Thanks for the comments.
    On the last thread re Ericsson (off Topic sorry) re Modric great player but just too old now even by his own admission.

  • Niall… another good post. There will always be negative people in any group of football fans, or any other sport etc. That is the way of human life.

  • Thanks B 108.
    There is an option for them to come out now.
    There’s no match to discuss.
    I would like some justification on their stance re Spurs at present.
    Some evidence to back it up.
    Other than as HT says they are just perpetual moaners end of.
    Or what they will do is wait until we do eventually get beaten in a game, then it’ll be told you, told you we were rubbish.
    It must be a ball living or working with em.

  • Very good well thought through article. I’ve already said that it wouldn’t surprise me if all our best performances this season were against better teams. For teams towards the bottom it’s financial life or death, relegation is a disaster so you stay in the division any way that you can. Questions about performances don’t get asked, just about results. For teams like ours its different. There’s no way Solskjaer would have set up his team to defend even if he’d thought it was the right thing to do, the backlash from the fans would have been too much. United have at least as many whining fans as we do and I suspect all the largest clubs are the same. Maybe you can divide the managers of those clubs into two groups. Jose is pragmatic, he’ll set us up any way he thinks he needs to in order to win, I suspect Klopp would as well. It doesn’t seem to be in Guardiola’s DNA to think like that.

    When you are talking about tactics and rotation its not always obvious. Jose made the point after the West Brom game that even though Vinicius didn’t score or assist in a goal bringing him on attracted the central defenders and created space for others. So even though the stats would say otherwise he did have an effect. It can be fine margins, last season I thought Sheffield United were about the best organised side in the league and they won more games 1-0 than anyone else. This season that organisation isn’t quite there and they are struggling, they never had much of a goal threat but their defence no longer makes up for it. There are anomalies, I can’t see Leeds playing defensive football regardless of their situation. Its the manager’s job to assess each opponent and set his team up specifically for that game, what’s gone before and what comes after isn’t relevant.

    As Belgian Spur has said on a previous post the two games a week issue is more acute than ever this time with a shortened season. You can pretend overplaying players doesn’t affect their performance levels and moan when they fall away at the business end of the season. Or you can try and rotate cleverly, picking teams that can win each game while maintaining fitness. That of course is a lot harder but it does give us the possibility of actually winning something.

  • I also think that regardless of team selection and tactics, there is a certain flow to each game which can totally affect both how the game is played, and the result.

    An individual mistake, an own goal, a dodgy VAR decision as Niall mentioned – regardless of how you set out to play, those things can/will throw all plans out of the window.

    I find that the really successful managers are the ones that can recognise how a game is going, and react quickly. I remember a game we lost against City a few years a go. This was at the height of Spurs under MP, going up against Guardiola in his first season. Pep’s team had been playing beautiful tiki taka up to that point, with great success. Pep picked his normal team, so MP probably assumed that City were going to play like they always did.

    Pep sprung a surprise and decided to go direct. We conceded 2 “route 1” goals with Gabriel Jesus outrunning our CBs for both.

    I remember that as a prime example of MP failing to recognise what Pep was doing, and seeing his game plan completely go out the window after 5 minutes. Had MP identified the issue sooner, both his and Pep’s game plans would have been nullified, and it would have become a chess match on the fly, with both managers trying things throughout the game.

    Similarly, had we managed to score early against WBA, their game plan of parking the bus would have had to change quickly..

    In every game, we are going to get things from the game that we have to capitalise on. Having a manager who can recognise opportunities quickly, and act on them, will go a long way.

  • Geofspurs, you spotted it, my dizziness that is or should it be doziness, well done lol! after some very good reasoning/debating of opinions, yes! I got lost could not disagree with any of the reasonings, thus head going dizzy, but am firmly now with my original post as in NO THANKS.

    In my opinion, yes I have one, the discussion regards the way our team should/shouldn’t/could have been set up is very much “after the horse has bolted” but all opinions do make it very interesting to say the least.

    Regards fans esp on here, as I do not read other teams Vital, it is true the nay sayer’s do come out in droves after a defeat or even an “ugly win”, for me I am confident that we are going in the right direction, and are going to have a very good season, the open minded if watched correctly can see many many differences in the way we play/attitude etc. COYS

  • Morning folks
    Some great posts here.
    BS you nailed it ref the ManC game at that time and it just about summed up the negatives(there weren’t too many) in Poch’s tactics, he was poor at changing his Tac at times.
    We may not be brilliant at the moment, as many have said we’re in transition and we are much the same as Bale, we are gradually getting back to near our best, but we aren’t the same as a few years ago, we are playing differently. As PY says going in the right direction.
    And as Jod said, I agree tactics, rotation, and, playing each game on its own merits will be the key to (hopefully) some success.

  • Niall D, just because some people call it as they see it, it does not make them negative moaners nor does it mean that “must be a ball to live with or work with”

  • It goes without saying that, when playing against a defense minded team, the idea is to get an early goal and force them to come out more. That means starting those games by pressing hard, but with a defensive awareness. Much easier to say than to do. It goes without saying …. but I said it anyway! lol

    • Geof……..that was my point about not having a shot on target until the 58th minute at WBA, if we can’t manage that with the three front players we had then we are hardly going to force the defensive team to come out and play are we?

      • TQ …. All games are different but how often do you think that will happen. Our attacking players will deliver more often than not I would imagine. Obviously there will be games like WBA for all clubs.

        • Geof….I think it’s an area we have been very poor at for some time, we have struggled to create scoring opportunities even though our goals scored record would suggest otherwise. Even going back to Poch’s era it has been noticeable that few of our players, other than Kane and Sonny, have the confidence or even technique to take shots from distance which are often the stalemate breakers when playing defensive sides. It nearly always feels like we are searching to find the perfect goal rather than having a crack when the opportunity presents itself.

          • TQ …. I fully agree about our reluctance to take more shots on goal. I always thought Dembele should have backed himself more. But look at the stats of other top teams in many games. They often have around 20 shots with a return of 4 or 5 on goal and only one score. I’m lazy so this is just off the top of my head but I’m often surprised by the number of shots compared to the conversion rate. That is why most teams are below us. We’ll win a few 5-0 and a few 1-0. Sometimes the ball won’t go into the net for a number of reasons no matter how superior we are playing. Some we won’t win at all. The most important stat for any PL team is to maintain a 2 point game average, or as near to that as possible. That would result in CL football and also give us a shot at the title. It would be nice if we could cruise along winning 3-0 every game but …. it is what it is.

  • I’m sure DH underneath you’re just a little Ray of Sunshine.
    Coz when I read your post match comments, it fills me with enthusiasm for Tottenhams’ future this season.

  • What if at the end of it all, Jose doesn’t actually win anything with Spurs?

    Because if being Spursy really is a thing, then why should he make it any different? How does he make it different? Do we then blame the players or the manager? Or should I say the managers tactics.

    It’s been said that against a team like Man City, Spurs will get to play more of an open game, as City will be more open themselves. But in the past this is often the type of team and game that Jose will revert back to being the bus-parker himself. The Defensive One!

    What if he parks the bus but we lose anyway? Should he park the bus? To park, or not to park?

    As is usual for me , I want to see a strong defensive line but a positive attacking strategy. I would like to see Spurs impose our game on them and not just let them have the ball , sit back and try hard not to lose. We are Spurs after all, not Burnley…

    Anyway, I’ve jumped ahead of myself there… This is not the City match-day thread.

    As you were…

  • Niall D – I wonder what sort of person you must be to live/work with as you seem to have the Donald Trump outlook of putting down anyone who dares disagree with your happy clappy view of Tottenham.

    For the record, the points I have been making are that I don’t think we will get anywhere with Jose. His ability to drag our performances down the the level of our last three opponents (one win between them all season) is not the way forward. I sincerely hope I am proved wrong and as Jod says, we may have our best performances this season against the better teams. The next six games will answer a lot of questions.

  • DH
    First of all Unlike you I did not call you personally by name.
    However if the cap fits…
    Also if you read my posts , even my last post, my actual statement was.
    We may not be brilliant at the moment, we are in transition.
    Hardly happy clappy.
    As I said, if we are poor I call it, if we are decent I call it.
    I may try to put a positive slant on it at times.
    But I think I am fairly balanced in my view.
    I said I preferred how we entertained with our last manager.
    But will accept our new ones negative side for the short term if he brings results.
    We won against Ludo scored 3 goals, you said nothing
    We beat ManU 6-1 at Old Trafford after them being given a pen.
    All you could say is we beat 10 men.
    We’re second in the league you say this is a false/fake position (who’s the Trump sound alike now)
    I agree we all have our opinions, but I just feel that to be negative when we win, Im asking you where do you go if we lose a game in your comments if we’re already rubbish.
    BTW m8 If you read all these last threads I’m not the only one calling posters negative.
    Are you calling them out or just me.
    Or are you being Trumpy in bullying one person.

  • Hey folks
    Just looked at Talk sports team of the season so far.
    I note we have 3 entries. Sonny, HK10, and Hoj.
    Liverpool only 1 Salah, Villa, have 3 and Chelsea 2, Leicester1, Everton 1
    No Manchester clubs feature.
    Pretty good standing. Or am I being too positive.

  • Whats ur point ND, Leicester are top with only one player spurs 2nd with 3. Calm down, there a long way to go as others have said let’s see where we are after we played everyone once. Realism more so then been negative that’s an optimistic getniut card. People has stated if we play like we did in last few games will be punished. Performance over points and we have been under performing against weaker teams. And dont use the bus parkers excuse. All I’m saying we could be top of the league if we played to what the players are capable off. Yes top if the league. Coys.

  • TQ2Spurs – the problem coming out with all guns blazing against a team parking the bus is that it leaves you vulnerable on the counter. Defending for dear life usually is a lot more tiring than dictating the play, so there is also merit to being patient, wearing the opposition down, and striking later in the game.

    Against WBA, I wasn’t concerned that our first shot on target came in the 58th minute. That is how long it took to wear them down and start creating chances. Fair enough. What bothered me is that from the 58th minute onwards, it took another 30 minutes to score. At the hour mark is when Jose should have been more positive, in my opinion.

    • 123 …. Realistically there are supporters of about 8 clubs who would say they would be top of the league if their players played to their capability.

    • BS …. If you win 1-0 does it make any difference if the goal is scored in the 1st, 40th, or 85th minute. The game lasts for 90 minutes. All supporters want a goal in the first minute but when it doesn’t happen the tension starts to rise and we start down the ’emotion’ road.

  • BS……I don’t think I suggested we played all guns blazing, I said I thought we have been poor at creating scoring opportunities and even poorer at attempting shots on goal, with the exception of Kane and Sonny. I thought it was actually well beyond 58 minutes before we showed any urgency in attack, in fact not until we made the two subs including Vinicius. I wouldn’t advocate all out attack from the beginning myself knowing how susceptible our defence has been to counter attacks of recent times.

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