Good morning all!
I’m going to dive into things this morning rather than start off with a pretty interlude as we have a lot to get through this morning, starting with Tottenham Hotspurs’ recent collapse, confounded yesterday by Manchester United.
Despite having been much the stronger team offensively, it was Manchester United won prevailed 3-1. How Tottenham can lose by such a score despite having three times the number of shots to Manchester United eludes the minds of many this morning. Should a team lose 3-1 despite having eighteen attempts on goal? No. Theoretically, Spurs should have battered a Manchester United team which only managed six shots all match.
The key to Manchester United’s win, was being clinical with the six shots they did manage, five of which were on target. Despite having been run ragged by Spurs for the entire first half, Spurs conceded to Manchester United in the 45th minute when Wayne Rooney headed home from a corner.
Within fifteen minutes of the second half, Spurs found themselves two down, then nine minutes later, three down. Despite such a clear dominancy in the favour of Spurs, they were 3-0 down.
A North London club out-playing Manchester United sounds all too familiar. Spurs’ rivals, Arsenal, suffer from a similar defficiency and whilst Arsenal teams over the past few years have been regarded as average compared to teams of the past, it must be a worrying admission for Spurs fans that their best team for fifty years, is barely as good as the more average Arsenal teams.
I read in The Times this morning that this season, Harry Redknapp has seen his charges concede six goals to Arsenal, (over two games) eight to Manchester City and another eight to Manchester United.
Whilst the press do indeed admire Harry Redknapp’s bold style of, ‘beautiful football and lots of goal’, his team are vulnerable at the back, naive in how they defend and more importantly, bare a mental block as to how good they are.
I don’t see such a trend changing either, as although Redknapp is a fantastic motivator of men, he has himself admitted he’s not the best tactician, rather favouring the power of his attack, speed and directness within his starting to XI to pin back opposition. This is a tactic which does indeed work, though only against teams not able to boast a high calibre attack and that’s not a theory, but indeed a fact which is backed by the fact Spurs have conceded twenty-two goals to three of the league’s top teams.
Spurs’ next three fixtures see them travel to Everton, host Stoke City and then travel away to Chelsea, which is a very tricky run of fixtures.
Redknapp made the highly worrying statement that he’d now ‘settle for fourth’, despite having harboured ambitions for the title, declaring Spurs could indeed win the damned thing just two months ago. Spur’s flirtation with such an ambition has been all too brief for a team lauded as Spurs’ ‘best for fifty years’, lasting just two months and now, after such an effort to reach the position they currenty hold, Spurs are embroiled in a battle for third with an Arsenal side lauded as the ‘worst in fifteen years’.
I’ve said it before, but being dragged through the press as a great team and superior to Arsenal, only to be potentially overtaken in the league, despite such ‘superiority’ is disheartening, as much as it would be for Manchester City and in both cases, I’d expect Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspurs to suffer next season if they don’t finish above their respective rivals this season, despite both being described as the greatest teams to represent their clubs in some time.
This brings us nicely on to Manchester United, who having beat Spurs, now remain just two points behind league leaders, Manchester City.
In Roberto Mancini’s post-match interview following his side’s consummate 2-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers, the BBC journalist interviewing Mancini stated, ‘five points clear now and and equalling Manchester United’s record…’. This was a statement cut short by Roberto Mancini as he replied, ‘no, two, as Manchester United will win tomorrow’.
I find that statement highly intriguing as you can disect it into little parts and really pick it apart before you find the meaning behind Mancini’s words. What Mancini said echoes of the mind games previously enjoyed between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger. Mancini was undoubtedly trying to put pressure on to Manchester United but at the same time, it was an acceptance of Manchester United’s tenacity and attitude in that they will never relent from chasing Manchester City and as the Match of the Day commentator said of Mancini in the match, ‘he looks a tired man’. Largely, this has to be attributed to the title race and the pressure being applied by Manchester United. Mancini’s statement of Manchester United beating Spurs was one of acceptance that this battle will end only when these two sides meet in April.
Manchester United’s victory over Tottenham Hotspurs yesterday was clinical and bore the ruthlessness displayed by a killer Whale trying to capture it’s prey.
Like the ‘Type B Orca Whale’ shown in the video to ruthfully kill it’s target, Manchester United beat opponents with precision, not outrageous shows of skill. Ashley Young’s curling effort put aside, United got two of their three goals from a corner and a throw-in. Whilst United are indeed capable of the outrageous, they similarly know had to pull off the simple things to superb effect. Spurs shouldn’t be losing goals to corners a throw-in at this stage of the season.
Such was the precision of Manchester United yesterday against Tottenham yesterday equates to Roberto Mancini enduring many sleepless nights until this season reaches it’s dramatic climax.
Finally, we must pay homage to Chelsea’a now ex-34 year old Manager, Andre Villas Boas, who was sacked at precisely 12.45pm yesterday, as the match between Newcastle United and Sunderland was played.
Whilst I’m not surprised in the slightest by AVB’s dismissal, I am disappointed that Roman Abramovich has pulled his trigger finger once again and has denied Chelsea, once again, the security of a long term vision.
Six Managers in five years is a devastating account of just how dangerous it is to be employed by Roman Abramovich and a sign that mere promise is not tolerated at Stamford Bridge. I can’t help but feel Chelsea are really relying on Champions League money to meet the FFP rules and that Abramovich has acted on Chelsea’s poor results to try and meet the problem of Chelsea not qualifying for the Champions League and thus being £30 million out of pocket.
It’s not AVB’s fault that Chelsea are reliant on this money and if good decisions had been made at the beginning of Abramovich’s reign, then not qualifying for the Champions League could be tolerated for maybe a season or two whilst the club finds it’s feet during transition.
A constant sacking of Manager’s is ultimately very harmful for a club and Abramovich’s man-handling of Chelsea must stop before they dig a hole so deep, it’s impossible to get out of.
That’s all from me today, I’ll see you in the comments…