Tottenham began their post- Andre Villas Boas era by crashing out of the Capital One cup at the hands of West Ham United last night, as the ‘Hammers’ secured their second victory at White Hart Lane this season, winning 2-1 courtesy of goals from Matt Jarvis and man of the match, Modibo Miaga, cancelling out Emmanual Adebayor’s opener.
Tottenham, led by Tim Sherwood, clearly where playing to impress, with the 4-4-2 being introduced for one of the first times this season, with Adebayor and Defoe partnering upfront.
Continued defensive frailties meant that we started without a defensive midfielder, yet in the first twenty minutes they wouldn’t have anything to do anyway. Tottenham shot out the blocks showing clear attacking intent. Our wingers, Aaron Lennon and Andros Townsend stretched the play and the West Ham defense and for once this season we pushed the ball into the box and made things happen. Adebayor the main catalyst, demonstrating what Spurs fans will remember from when we had him on loan. He dropped back to create chances and then pushed forward to add extra numbers in the box.
We took the lead in the 66th minute, where after a good run from Defoe on the left, Adebayor found himself in space to volley Jermaine’s cross into the back of the net. We always had a man in the box during the match, something which we haven’t seen as far this year, whether it be Adebayor or Defoe dropping off, the other would surely be amongst the West Ham centre halves, trying to carve a hole.
Despite our positive attacking intent, we looked very open at the back, with a complete lack of defensive discipline across the back four and the midfield two. Yet the players looked far more interested in than the drubbing against Liverpool on Sunday. However the front six where all given an attacking license, therefore removing the defensive shackles placed upon them by AVB, resulting in them obviously being more happy and creative.
Our overall game plan was clearly back to basics, giving each player a role and stick to that. Removing the dynamic structure we saw under AVB and introducing the 4-4-2. But we decided to play this old fashioned style of play against the masters of the old fashioned style of play, West Ham and once again Sam Allardye caught us out tactically.
The amount of players who were given the license to push forward left us very open at the back, with West Ham scoring on their only true chances. After our goal, Big Sam threw on Maiga and turned to Route 1 football and this was disastrous for us.
West Ham equalise when their Spanish goalkeeper, Adrian kicked the ball down the field, where Maiga showed us how poor Vlad Chiriches is in the air, knocking the ball down to Mark Noble who played the ball wide to Matt Jarvis who had the simple task to swipe the ball into the top of the net.
Things then went from bad to worse, as once again, Maiga powered up above Etienne Capoue and Kyle Walker to nod the ball into the back of the net from Diame’s cross which would prove to be the winner.
There were definitely positives to take from the game, but Sherwood’s clearly attacking intentions to entertain Levy with the hope of getting the manager role on a permanent basis failed, with us being far too open at the back and this was against a second string West Ham side! If we use the same tactics against Southampton at St. Marys on the weekend, we’ll be ripped apart. The overall impact from Les Ferdinand and Tim Sherwood is basically a shadow of the Redknapp era. We need a manager in soon. Whether they’re British or foreign, attacking or defensive, we need stability.
At the moment the club is in Limbo, we could so easily slip into mid-table mediocrity without decent management, whilst with positive, structural integrity, with this group of players, our training ground, the new stadium; we could go far. Keep singing.