Irresistable force vs Immovable object: 5 Things I Noticed – Spurs v United

3. Meek Midfield

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

17 responses to “Irresistable force vs Immovable object: 5 Things I Noticed – Spurs v United”

  1. RedScot says:

    Fantastic summary of the match and the plus and minus points of both teams and the key players in the duel.
    Seconded Namanja was a pillar of rock.

    Luka Modric would seriously give us a fighting chance in Europe.

    • Sir Alex says:

      what is your sick fuck doing on this site you bloody idiot.

      • RedScot says:

        Sir Alex Reply:
        January 17th, 2011 at 5:45 pm

        what is your sick fuck doing on this site you bloody idiot?
        I dont normally react to Children but in your case I am going to make an exception!
        If you imbecile care to enlarge on your very well thought out informative arguement, go for it?

  2. Folkestone_yid says:

    Quite a fair write up, it was a very exciting nil niller and shows that we are improving…I feel we would have easily got the points that our endevours deserved if it had not been for the monster by the name of Vidic…he can win you the title making you so hard to beat even though your not playing that well as a team
    Agree about Modric, class act and would fit in any team in the league
    Man U need to sort out Rooney, he is crap and you only looked dangerous when Chiceretto (??) came on!!
    Good luck for the rest of the season and do us a favor and kill Chelsea, smash Man shitty and destroy arse-nal

  3. Shannon says:

    Bale came, saw and ulitmately failed, such was Rafael’s continued adeptness in dealing with the World’s best wingers and coming away with his burgeoning reputation more than intact.

    You must have been watching a different match.

    • RedScot says:

      Shannon Says:
      January 17th, 2011 at 1:02 pm
      Bale came, saw and ulitmately failed, such was Rafael’s continued adeptness in dealing with the World’s best wingers and coming away with his burgeoning reputation more than intact.

      You must have been watching a different match.You have already tried this anal provacation on ROM and you left with your tail between your legs on that Forum.
      I suggest you do one or construct an arguement that holds water and can be debated?

    • Sir Alex says:

      what is your sick fuck doing on this site you bloody idiot

  4. Dave says:

    Finally, An honest and accurate report of the game from a ManU perspective. I am a Spurs fan (in peace). I’m glad theres some manu fans who realise that, yes the 2nd yellow probably wasnt a yellow, but Rafael should have been off before that anyway. ManU’s defense was immense at worst. I couldn’t see why Manu were unbeaten until I saw how impenetrable the defense was. Even our magical modric couldnt work it out. Good luck to you guys, I hope you do win it, unless it us :-). Certainly don’t want Chelsea, Arsenal or city winning it.

  5. seb says:

    Although a spurs fan this is a really good read and great analysis, especially of our failings (apart from our CB which despite ‘popular’ opinion have superb strenghth in depth). Unusually for spurs-united both managers were a little negative with team selection which harmed what was a pottentially great game

  6. reno says:

    Vidic is a great defender, but also cheats like hell…very well!
    Pulling VDV off the ball in the box! Penalty. Sending off?
    Stopping Gallas jumping in the dying moments.
    All right in front of the ref but just out of sight, should he be commended for that?
    You know Spurs were the better team on Sunday.
    Cheating saved your asses.

  7. shelf esteem says:

    Reasonable copy for a football blog. Thanks. I agree that Man U’s defence was admirable, but Rafael did not put Bale out of the game as well as at Old Trafford. Bale got several quality crosses in which Spurs’ strikers and VdV should have done better with converting. BA-E also did a much better job of marshalling Nani than before. In fact he was my major concern prior to the match as Spurs’ weakest player. He might even have showed a little awareness at how ripe Rafael was for a red card in his deftly timed tumble. Not that I approve of that sort of thing any more than scooping the ball out of the net and claiming that the ball never crossed the goal line! I was amazed at how little Berbatov and Rooney were involved and though they are not nearly in top form, I also think it shows how much better Spurs are at defence these days. This was never going to be a repeat of 3-5.
    Even if Man U did manage to prise Modric away, they’d have to pay upwards of £40M and then he might waste away like Berbatov and Carrick.

    • RedScot says:

      Even if Man U did manage to prise Modric away, they’d have to pay upwards of £40M and then he might waste away like””””””” Berbatov””””” and Carrick.
      You mean the top goal scorer in the premiership currently and on target to overtake his best goal scoring season achievments in the league at Spurs and Bayer Leverkusen? That Dimitar Berbatov?
      If United wanted Modric he would not resist to play for the biggest Club side in the World.
      I am sure he will love playing in East London Spurs football club natural home.Innit. lol

  8. anon says:

    Bale raped Rafael once again

    Rafael: “Help me please, save me from the Bale force by doubling and trebling up on him”

    • MONK says:

      ANON: you serious? Bale raped Rafael once again? Bale Failed epically in the game at OT. Rafael didn’t even break a sweat. Yesterday was a different matter. Bale had a few good crosses but he didn’t rape Rafael. Did you see rafael rip Bale and ekotto apart in that glorious run into your box?? Also a clear fact you are missing is that bale was until recently classed as a left back thus effectively giving you better cover on the left with 2 left backs both who are able to go forward. Rafael was alone with the ever lazy nani in front offering very little defensive aid and to be honest fook’all going forward yesterday.

      Bale is good but Rafael offers a lot more than just pace with a good cross/shot.

      Bale:- all pace with a good shot and good crossing ability.

      Rafael: good pace,passing ability, crossing ability, shot capability and excellent ball control to be able to skip through/past players.

      Rafael also trumps Bale on his ability to defend against considered “world class” wingers (Ribery anyone?)

      Bale does however present less of a red card risk as Rafael for all his quality does have a tendancy to be slightly over aggresive with his tackling.

  9. jonathan says:

    Terrific analysis Rae and I hope to see you more on this site.

    I’ve been one of the more relunctant fans calling for changes to our central midfield, but it’s looking more evident as time goes on. What Anderson did in his 30 minutes proved what he’s been showing over the last couple months that he should be in our preferred starting XI. I don’t think we should sell Fletcher as you need a deep squad to succeed, but I’d generally pick Anderson ahead of him when all things equal. I’d like to see what an Anderson/Scholes pairing looks like.

    Fair enough, the problems weren’t only in central midfield. Nani had a poor game throughout and Giggs IMO did not look very good until the 2nd half.

    We won’t need to overhaul the squad, but it’s pretty clear we need a couple new (and proven) faces this summer.

  10. bharath honnegowda says:

    very well written. I totally agree with the notes on Rafael. I’m sure he’ll mature into a world class full back…