Form Guide September 2008
P W D L F-A GD Pts
5 2 1 2 5-6 -1 1
2 Cup Matches
· August 2008 figures
· Last year's figures
Game 1 - Spurs 1 Aston Villa 2. Team:- (4-4-2):- Gomes; Corluka, Dawson (sub Giovani, 61), Woodgate (Capt.), Bale; Lennon, Huddlestone, Zokora (sub Bentley46), Modric (sub Jenas, 29); Pavlyuchenko, Bent
So much was wrong with Spurs. The first and uppermost error was the team selection. We all know that Villa are a team with loads of pace. The presence of Huddlestone and the absence of Jenas from the starting line-up was therefore both a major surprise, and ultimately one of the most costly factors in this game. Debutant Vedran Corluka is a strong but not pacy full-back, and whilst he obviously needs time to settle in, he suffered significantly against Ashley Young in the first half.
The second major factor was the decision to “rest” key players ahead of Thursday’s UEFA Cup tie. This game should have been the priority. Although of course Corluka and Pavlyuchenko are “cup-tied” for the UEFA Cup, perhaps Chris Gunter would have been a wiser choice at right back.
Game 2 - Spurs 2 Wisla Krakow 1. Team:- (4-4-1-1):- Gomes; Gunter (sub O’Hara, 56), Woodgate, King (Capt.), Bale; Bentley, Jenas, Zokora, Lennon (sub Campbell, 56); Giovani (sub Ekotto, 70); Bent
Spurs gained a much needed first win of the season, and a slender lead to take to Poland, thanks to an improved performance but largely thanks to the insertion after 56 minutes of Manchester United loanee, Fraizer Campbell, whose exciting and energetic play gave an edge to the last half-hour. Campbell capped his performance with a perfect cross to tee up Darren Bent’s winning goal. This was Bent’s third goal of the season, so statistically, he is doing well! (How strange it seems to write the name Campbell in a Spurs team again)
As expected, and as demanded because of the enforced absence of Corluka and Pavlyuchenko, Juande Ramos rang the changes, with Ledley King making a welcome re-appearance beside Jonathan Woodgate to give the Spurs defence strength, except for the one moment of weakness when Krakow got a quick equaliser to David Bentley’s opener. Chris Gunter played at right back, and Bentley played in position, with Lennon on the left and Giovani supporting Bent.
Game 3 - Spurs 0 Wigan 0. Team:- (4-4-2):- Gomes; Zokora, Corluka, Woodgate, Ekotto; Bentley (sub Lennon, 63), Jenas (Capt.), O’Hara, Bale (sub Huddlestone, 79); Pavlyuchenko (sub Campbell, 46), Bent
Bentley (and Spurs) fail to deliver again
Spurs managed only their second league point of this season, but still seek that precious first win. This was yet another disappointing team performance from a group of men who are still playing like strangers. That’s no surprise really, as Juande Ramos made no less than five changes after the Krakow win. We also saw three different captains in one week. Jonathan Woodgate led the team out against Villa. Club Captain Ledley King made one of his guest appearances against Krakow and Jermaine Jenas wore the band against Wigan. There are still so many problems with Spurs, but one of them is the issue of leadership, and I feel that of the three Woodgate is the most appropriate leader, bearing in mind the perpetual absence of Ledley King.
Game 4 - Newcastle 1 Spurs 2. Team:- (4-5-1):- Gomes; Corluka, Woodgate, King (Capt.), Ekotto; Lennon (sub Campbell, 62), Jenas, Zokora, O’Hara, Bale (sub Giovani, 52); Pavlyuchenko (sub Modric, 75)
Spurs fans were rewarded with a composed if rarely exciting performance by Ramos’s men. Spurs went with a game plan to pack the midfield, and operate on the break. Ramos played a five man midfield, with Aaron Lennon on the right and Gareth Bale being his attacking partner on the left. The idea was for them to support the lone striker Pavlyuchenko, but he had little service until he got his debut goal in the second half. Jenas, Zokora and Jamie O’Hara were the central midfield. Jenas’s performance was much improved after Sunday, with some incisive passing, and whilst Zokora operated well in his own half, we know he comes up short on the creative stakes. Jamie O’Hara was rewarded for what for me was a man of the match performance with a well taken gift of a goal from Steven Taylor, which really sealed the win for Spurs, despite Owen’s late consolation.
Game 5 - Portsmouth 2 Spurs 0. Team:- 4-5-1):- Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, Woodgate, Ekotto; Bentley, Jenas (Capt.), Zokora (sub Giovani, 57), O’Hara, Gilberto (sub Lennon, 46); Pavlyuchenko (sub Bent, 73)
Spurs suffered their fourth defeat in 6 Premier League games this season to remain at the bottom with just 2 points to their name. This is their worst start for 53 years. Manager Juande Ramos first mystified many travelling fans with the removal of Zokora in favour of Giovani after 57 minutes, and was then subjected to chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing”, when replacing Pavlyuchenko with Darren Bent, rather than playing two strikers in tandem.
Ramos abandoned pace in the midfield, by using Bentley on the right side, where he did at least have an improved game than of late, but Gilberto on the left was anonymous for the 45 minutes he lasted before Aaron Lennon took over. Ramos might claim that Zokora was being preserved for the UEFA Cup game in Poland, but Zokora had arguably been Spurs best player up to that point, neutralising many attacks just outside the box. Another criticism would be to question the presence of Lennon on the left and Giovani on the right (not that Gio full realised he was supposed to be there some of the time), as opposed to letting them play to their strengths. The lone striker was given little service, and James was rarely tested. These are statements that can be applied to most of our games to date.
The overall Spursometer figure for September is clearly the worst under Ramos, and the worst figure recorded since August 2006, which came after just three opening games. When the Labour Government was elected in 1997 they used the theme of "Things can only get better", so that must apply to Spurs predicament too, mustn't it?
Don't forget to check out the cumulative appearances and grades for the squad below.
...if you want to remind yourself of the matches played during this month, then See the Fixtures page here. By working your way back through the previous month's figures, you can review the performances over the last 8 years!
S Skill levels
P Pluck (ie effort)
U Unforced errors*
R Resolve (defensive ability)
S Score ratio (goals to shots)
= Overall mark Total Percentage
Percentages given for each category.
* less errors equals a higher mark
The Spursometer was brought to you by Spurs Odyssey in association with My Eyes Have Seen The Glory.