Sunday, December 9, 2012

AVB: Witness the unfitness

Hatem Ben Arfa, James Morrison, Robert Snodgrass, Hal Robson-Kanu, Daniel Sturridge, Simeon Jackson, Jan Vertonghen, Edin Dzeko, Theo Walcott, Andy Carroll, Gregorz Raziak, Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic. The roll call of late goalscorers against Spurs continues to grow. Okay, Rasiak didn’t score, but even a static Pole with a criminal haircut might net against Tottenham in the last 10 minutes.

The grim but unsurprising statistic that Spurs would be top of the Premier League (and in the League Cup quarter-finals) if games finished on 80 minutes highlights a trend that shows little sign of relenting.

Inevitably some will blame William Gallas for chain-smoking by a goalpost or Hugo Lloris reading Proust to a ballboy, but perhaps a simple lack of fitness is the key. When Sebastien Bassong left Spurs just before the end of the transfer window, he was asked the difference between the training regimens of new boss Andre Villas-Boas and everyone’s un/favourite ex-gaffer Harry Redknapp. The answer was unusually illuminating.

According to Bassong, most of Spurs’ training under Redknapp focused on ‘running’ with new coach Villas-Boas concentrating on playing football through which the team would ‘naturally’ gain fitness. Has AVB failed to witness the unfitness?

Of course, Saturday’s late reverse against Everton came against a quality side, away from home, several days after Spurs had played in the Europa League with the likes of Gareth Bale, Younes Kaboul, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Scott Parker still missing and the talismanic Mousa Dembele, almost inevitably, off the pitch.

Yet disappointment should be diluted by the previous three league wins on the bounce, progress to the last 32 of European competition and that Spurs remain on equal points with fourth place Everton. Away fixtures against five of last season’s top six sides (excluding Spurs) have also been fulfilled.

In the words of the late Whitney Houston, ’it’s not right, but it’s okay’ (except in the last 10 minutes).

*Regular readers of this blog may have noticed my absence over the last 10 days. Like Alan Partridge before me, I am currently living in a hotel after a crazy home move (into storage), heinous work deadline, emotional wedding and an early hours brush with Brighton’s knife community. Regular service will hopefully be resumed soon.


Barrie Rouse said...

Fitness comes into it but just look at the bench, it's the subs. Rose should be out on loan, Verts isn't a left back.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Cheers Barrie. I agree about Rose. It is his natural position so it seems weird to have so little cover at left back yet be happy to take the money for the loan. 'Classic' Levy.

Anonymous said...

I can't remember the last time we came so close to winning at Goodison. I even thought we controlled the game well until they got their first.

Sounds like you're in the midst of quite the adventure yourself. Hope it all works out for you. (I thought they were guns of Brixton?)


Steve Diamond said...

We can't lose sight of the fact that we lost against an in-form Everton. It's always a tough ask at Goodison.

The manner of defeat is disappointing, and hopefully AVB addresses our issue of conceding so many late goals. If we could have shown the resolve we dis against United, then the 3 points could have been ours.

Oh well, there's always next week, and at least we didn't rely on cheating and diving to score.

IKnowAlanGilzean said...

I didn't think we looked unfit on Sunday, indeed given the exertions of the past 2-3 weeks and relatively little turnover of players I was struck by how fit they looked! Of course I've been wrong many times before, often spectacularly so.

Just the bounce of the ball here and there and a little lapse of concentration (which could be down to tiredness rather than gormlessnes I admit) really and we were worth a draw overall which gives me much hope.

I like the way things are shaping up and think it is between the ears as much as the feet and lungs that we need to focus on.

Very Brighton Rock, albeit razor blades gangs rather than knives per se IIRC.

More seriously, I trust you are well and things quieten down soon. Good to have you back.

Up the Spurs!

'Lust Doctor' said...

Cheers Jax. Spurs had a great record at Goodison for many years, just not of late. In the 89th minute leading 1-0 it takes something special to lose 2-1...truly defeat snapped from the jaws of victory. Crazy times with the Lustdoctor as is standard ;).

'Lust Doctor' said...

Thanks Steve. Certainly no disgrace losing at Everton. Home wins against Swansea and Stoke will wipe it from the memory. Still well placed.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Thanks as usual, IKAG. Losing to Everton is certainly no cause for long-term dispair, but the pattern of late, conceded goals certainly needs addressing. Physically or mentally, we seem to run out of steam all too regularly. I am still living in a hotel. These cooked breakfasts are killing me :)!!

Walter said...

I agree that fitness is an issue, but there was only so much AVB could do in less than one summer. With much of the team either injured or not yet purchased.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Cheers Walter. Injuries, and AVB not being fully backed by Mr. Levy, are factors. But I am happy with the season so far.

Walter said...

Oh, by all means a happy season so far. At times frustrating and perhaps lacking the heights I was hoping for, but firmly moving in the right direction with some good signings and good player development.

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