Irresistable force vs Immovable object: 5 Things I Noticed – Spurs v United
Spurs Midfield: Modric (77 attempted passes, 64 successful, 5 interceptions, 3 tackles), Palacios (44 attempted passes, 37 successful, 4 tackles won) United Midfield: Fletcher (45 attempted, 36 successful, 2 interceptions, 2 tackles) Carrick (39 attempted, 32 successful, 1 tackle won, 2 interceptions).
Apparently our midfield were defensively excellent. Well positionally, they were pretty sound but in terms of bite.. it was more of a whimper. As the you can see above, even the supposedly lightweight Midfield Maestro Modric made more tackles and interceptions than either of our notoriously industrious pairing of Carrick and Fletcher.
It was abit of same old same old, from the both of them today, unable to control possession in a high tempo game against a genuinely dangerous side (Arsenal and Italian sides don’t count!) who put us under serious pressure. There was alot of passing back under pressure and few moments of genuine creativity from either of them, not that they’re particularly reknowned for bringing such aspects to the United side, but a concerted effort to be positive with the ball wouldn’t go amiss.
The arrival of Anderson provided some much needed drive from midfield, but with Rafael getting sent off.. it was too little too late and the focus was on the midfield reinforcing the defence and bringing home 1 point to Manchester which they did. One hopes serious reinforcements are found in the summer for this problem area either through promotion through the ranks or parting with some serious moolah.
4. Where can Spurs improve?
Now Spurs are the neutrals favourite to take the League, will it happen? To put it bluntly, no not a chance in hell. Great to watch and all but they have some serious structural problems and severe lack of top class ability across a number of positions, in fact its remarkable that Harry has got them playing such a fantastic brand of football.. I mean credit is given to the likes of Holloway and Di Matteo for encouraging journeymen footballers to produce art on the football field but surely Redknapp deserves even more credit than he is given normally in terms of his coaching/man management ability especially in comparison to his much lauded eye for bargain transfers.
What issues do they have, say in comparison to the current United side? well first of all their GoalKeeper.. Gomes, a good shotstopper but not in the class of VDS, across the back four they’re vastly inferior to the United backline and would do well to refurbish the backline with serious defensive talent, and up front… I mean come on, are they serious? Defoe, Crouch and Pavlychenko, the mind boggles on how much more efficient Spurs would be if they had a Tevez/Torres up front. This summer Redknapp needs to be at his wheelin dealin best and strike while the irons hot, 4-5 great signings this summer and he could set this club on the right direction for a long time.
5. Opposition One2Watch: Luka Modric
If you didn’t catch it the first time, Modric completed 64 passes out of 77 attempted. Considering the electric paced nature of the game and the fact a) no one in the United side was anywhere near as influential in possession & b) the unverifiable amount of yards he spends carrying the ball through dribbling, it was an exceptional performance by anyones standards.
Blessed with quick feet, fabulous vision, low centre of gravity and flawless technique… one can only imagine what an addition he’d be to the United midfield. Even the question marks that were once asked of him physically have been answered over the past few seasons and a great illustration of this point was found today when he shrugged Fletcher aside having turned on a sixpence and eat up ground before deceptively playing in a wideplayer in space. He is a creative dynamo and such a presence is sorely lacking in United’s midfield when Anderson is off form or Scholes is injured.
I look forward to seeing how he fares in the Champions League latter stages and if he along with Bale and V D Vaart have enough about them to mask Tottenhams serious shortcomings. One thing for sure watching them will be one hell of an adventure.
Well Spurs, won’t face much tighter defences than the rearguard they came up against today and I wish them the best of luck and hope they finish in the top four and make a mark in Europe.
As for United time to take stock… well it was an ultimately very important point towards reclaiming the Title and its hard to see who can beat us having faced the onslaught of North Londons finest , but no on a serious note it was an incredibly brave if at times fortunate defensive display and we will look back on this result with fondness if not the performance.
Barclays Premier League – Match Facts
Score: 0-0Venue: White Hart Lane Date: Sunday 16th January Kick-off: 1610 GMT
Man Utd: VDS, Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Fletcher, Carrick, Nani, Giggs, Berbatov, Rooney. Subs: Anderson, Hernandez.
Tottenham Hotspurs: Gomes, Hutton, Gallas, Dawson, Ekotto, Lennon, Modric, Palacios, Bale, V D Vaart, Crouch Subs: Defoe.
Referee: Mike Dean