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”

  • 123
    My point 123 is that I’m simply enjoying where we currently are in the league, compared to where we were this time last season and where it was predicted by the “professional pundits” who listed Chheksea, Liverpool, Man C, but had us no where.
    Thats all, currently, yes currently we are in the top 2, as I said I’ll take that.
    We are by no means the finished article, so to be where we are (for me) is a massive bonus.
    That’s where I’m coming from m8.
    Not winning the league, but I do think we’ll take a trophy, and hope we will be in and around top 4
    Thats my hope, my goal this year.
    If you want me to put our team down, we’ll until we’re sitting mid table with no hope, it ain’t gonna happen.
    Have to admit don’t understand much of what you’ve written. Maybe spell corrector has messed with your post.
    I just think we are currently doing better than many of us thought, and I’m trying to evedence it. Probably comes from my background.

  • As I’ve said before, we don’t need to worry about the teams around us if we focus on getting 2 points per game average.

  • Geof – I would say that there is a massive difference regarding when you score that decisive goal. Once you are leading, you are in the driver’s seat and you can simply manage the game. When you are chasing a game, trying to score that winner, you are having to take risks you wouldn’t otherwise take.

    From a player’s perspective, there is a huge degree of emotion that goes into a game as well – it’s not just the fans. When as a player, you are being held by a team you should be beating, the longer the stalemate continues, the more frustration sets in. Players start to rush things (which usually only leads to more mistakes) or try to take matters in their own hands, throwing team tactics out of the window. I have lived it countless times on a pitch.

    If you score early, it settles the nerves for the players too.

    • BS …. I agree with you but that wasn’t my point. I was simply saying that if you win 1-0 it doesn’t make any difference when the goal is scored …. it’s 3 points.

  • TQ2Spurs – the issue is how are we going to create more scoring opportunities and/or attempt shots on goal without being more adventurous? And being adventurous will automatically come with the downside of being more vulnerable.

    I feel that it is hard to have it both ways. Either we attack the opposition, which will greatly improve our attacking stats but will also undoubtedly lead to more conceded goals, or we try to be patient, which will lead to frustration with the lack of chances, but will make us that much more solid defensively. Jose has obviously gone for option 2 at the moment, hoping that we’ll convert one of the few chances we create. With 2-3 world class finishers in the side, he is backing them to take chances when they fall to them. I can see the merit of that thinking.

    As much as I was frustrated with how late Jose left it, he got the result he wanted. Against Antwerp, Jose threw caution to the wind at half time and we still lost. I suppose there is no universal rule.

    The only other way to stay solid at the back and take shots is long range strikes. They are an option, but they have a very low success rate. I’m not sure how much that would really impact our results over the course of a season.

  • Morning BS……your last two posts to Geof and myself seem to be a bit contradictory, you suggest to Geof that the ideal is to score early yet you suggest to me it is folly to attempt to do this for fear of giving a goal away on the counter attack.

    Your last paragraph regarding long range strikes is basically what I’m suggesting as a means to break down bus parking teams and in my view is something we very poor at, they might not have a high success rate but tell that to Manuel Lanzini!

  • TQ2Spurs – I was merely pointing out to Geof two things:

    1. There are advantages to scoring early, conceptually speaking – however that first goal comes. But that first goal could be a fluke goal scored on a set piece, and not necessarily the result of “throwing the kitchen sink at it”.

    2. That scoring early does make a difference to players, not only fans.

    In my post to you, I wasn’t so much speaking conceptually as I was talking about the reality of Spurs’ last game, which can be 2 entirely different things. So while I was talking up the merits of scoring early, theoretically speaking, with Geof, I was debating whether that was credible for this Spurs team, with you.

    In an ideal scenario, in any game, scoring often and early is the best outcome. That goes without saying. But how a team manages to do this will depend on many things ranging from tactics to players (to… VAR).

    But there will always be a big difference between football theory and the reality of the players we have at our disposal.

    I am fairly sure that Jose would feel a lot more comfortable attacking more freely if he has 2 of the best centre backs in the world who could bully strikers when 1 v.1, and a world class defensive midfielder protecting them. The reality is that while Alderweireld, Dier, Sanchez and Hojbjerg are all solid players, I’m not sure any of them qualifies as “world class”.

    With those players, we are vulnerable to counter attacks when we push hard – games in the last few months tell us that.

    In order to solve this, either we need to go out and spend 250 million on 4 players, which is never going to happen, or we can take the pragmatic approach of catering to the players we have, while accepting the downsides of that decision.

    As far as Lanzini’s strike goes, tell me when he scores a second from that sort of position. Lighting can strike once, but it never strikes twice in the same place…

    For every goal he’ll score from that sort of distance, he’ll waste 25 chances when a pass to a better-positioned teammate would have been a better option.

    Being very strong on set pieces is about the only credible alternative I can think of – think Stoke City, who were a threat every time a free kick, corner or Delap throw in could be launched into the opposing box. But is that really how we want to play?

  • Hi folks
    Good Post here once again Geoff thanks for the thread.
    I still think that the best /most successful teams seem to have that”predictable” back 4 or 5.
    The Successful Chelsea /ManU and even Arsenal teams seemed to have this.
    I feel that this is now the area where we are at our weakest currently, JM can’t seem to get the right balanced back 5 (I include the goalkeeper).
    I feel he wants to move away from Tobs due to his age, but, Dave and Dier aren’t quite good enough.
    Doherty needs more time, Regs and Davies (for me) are good enough.
    I would Argue that Hoj has been an excellent acquisition and if not world class, certainly not far off.
    I hope if Bale finds his feet a bit more, we will see an odd pop at the goal from outside the 18 yard box.
    It would be a good addition to our “arsenal” if you excuse the pun, and to a degree will keep other teams on their toes not knowing where we are going to strike from.
    But as BS (I think said) there is an ebb and flow to a game on the day and sometimes no matter how you set up, a slip, a VAR decision, a free kick, a worlide, can change your tactics and how we play.
    For me this was borne out in the Everton game last season when Sonny was sent off and the injury also affected Aurier (mentally) who then had to be subbed, we subsequently lost a winning position.
    Only my thoughts.

  • ND …. Your thoughts are always worth sharing, mate. Hog is certainly an exciting prospect. I’m on the fence in regard to Bale but I hope it works out for him and us.

  • Agree with most of that Niall.

    I am not as high on Davies as you are, and I think Hojbjerg still needs to prove himself at top 6/European level, but those are details.

    We still haven’t decided who our best CB pairing is. All of the players have pluses and minuses, and finding a complementary pair is hard. Sanchez is a beast physically but Jose doesn’t seem to trust him. Toby and Dier make less mistakes, but both lack pace. I’m quite high on Rodon and I hope he will be a good option in the future, but I still think upgrading at CB will become necessary at some point.

    Lloris, Hart and Gazzaniga all have contracts expiring at the end of next season. Something is going to have to happen there as well.

  • BS…..I’ve never really thought of football as conceptual, maybe that’s the problem – we complicate it too much. I’ve always thought of it being a game where you simply aim to get the ball in the onion bag by any legal means! 🙂

  • Whilst I’ll watch it TQ.
    This is what I dislike about these games.
    What really is the purpose of it. Particularly in this (COVID) climate.
    No fans very little money (in real terms)
    This was supposed to be England V Aussies. But called off. Why even play them, what is the benefit
    It just breaks up the League season and could lead to injuries as almost happened to Rondon last night.
    It gives the managers a chance to look at fringe players, But in a “nothing” game?
    I dunno
    Just not a fan of it at this stage of the season.

  • We seem to have forgotten young Japhet Tanganga as a CD. WIth Leadley coaching the back line as well.
    I think in posts above… we are trying to over think various things, as we can’t influence the situation…Jose / coaches know what is needed in players, and work with Levy to improve staff. HK10 has said the players are with Jose (track record & confidence) and the results are proving this (2nd in PL ) with confidence of Bale, Hart, Hugo having won big trophies sharing their experience helping players.

    So I am looking forward to the games coming up over next 8 weeks which will indicate our position in PL / Europa / L Cup / FA Cup. COYS

  • Couldn’t agree more Niall, I commented before the first international break that I thought the Nations League competition should be scrapped so that club bubbles weren’t compromised by players joining national squads. This would have applied to friendlies as well of course.

  • Well there’s 90 minutes of my life I’ll never get back. Now I know why Doh gets it in the neck playing for Eire there’s no body else to give it to they’re all kack.

  • Not forgetting he was also played out of position at left back out of necessity, I thought he did ok considering.

  • With regard to the comments on whether our defenders are good enough I’d ask the question – how many world class defenders are there currently ? I’d say a lot less than there used to be. I suspect most teams would like to improve their defence but are struggling to find the players to do it.

  • At the moment, our defence is no worse than any other PL team, having conceded 9 goals. The same as the Foxes, Man City, Wolves, Arsenal and Villa. No other team has conceded less. And only one of those clubs is above us and, by just the 1 point… Liverpool share 17 points with Spurs but have just a +2 goal difference to our impressive +10. Equal to Chelsea’s, as the best.

    Our defence, as a unit, I can only see them improving as the season goes on.

    With Spurs being second top PL scorers as well with 19 goals, (Second to Chelsea’s 20)., I’m a little confused as to why any of us should be at all down with the team so far this season.

    We could always do better. But we are doing rather well right now… Along with the Saints, we are the PL’s best in form performers of the last handful of matches. (And we thrashed them away from home, 5-2!)

    Up the Spurs!

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