In British newspaper match reports of Aston Villa’s 2-1 away win against Tottenham Hotspur, almost all of the stories lead with sentences similar to this one found in The Sun: “Calamity keeper Heurelho Gomes messed up to leave Spurs rooted at the foot of the table.”
True, yes, but it doesn’t provide a complete accurate picture of what really happened last night at White Hart Lane.
All of the blame should be placed on the players at Tottenham Hotspur, not on the shoulders of Gomes. One blunder by Gomes was the difference in this game, but the scoreline could have easily been 4-1 or even 5-1 to Aston Villa. Spurs were that awful.
The three things most missing from Tottenham are desire, confidence and rhythm. They’re not hungry to win. They look lacklustre when going in for 50/50 balls. They look beaten, partly due to a lack of confidence. And lastly, they’re having a lot of difficulty establishing a rhythm. Three or four passes in a row were a rarity for Spurs last night. Plus, the team weren’t getting into open spaces to provide options for Spurs players to pass to.
Spurs were completely outclassed by Aston Villa who were by far the better team last night. Villa had a much easier time creating goalscoring chances while it seemed like rocket science for Spurs. It was a fantastic team performance by Villa, who passed the ball around with ease and lots of one-touch passes. Plus, Villa had a lot more pace down the wings with Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor in tremendous form. Gareth Barry was incredible, too. In fact, it’s not fair to the rest of the team to single out just Barry, Young and Agbonlahor. The entire team performance was amazing. If they continue playing like this, they’ll soon be in the top three.
Most football supporters ignore the league tables for the first few weeks of the season. But, after four games, it’s no surprise that Tottenham are bottom. Juande Ramos has a ton of work to do with this team, but the first thing he needs to get them to do is to play with desire. Right now, they look like a confused team with no leader. Jonathan Woodgate was their captain last night, but he’s no John Terry. Spurs needs someone who can command respect and fear. Someone who can single handly change a game by taking control and setting an example for a team to play better.
Luka Modric still hasn’t come to grips with the English game and is making far too many mistakes. Debutant Roman Pavlyuchenko showed glimpses of brilliance but Villa’s defenders did a terrific job of limiting his chances in and around the penalty area.
Don’t forget that the one goal that Spurs scored in this game was a fluke rebound off Darren Bent. The striker had a terrible game with few clearcut chances, but when he did get a chance, he couldn’t score.
Also don’t forget that while the headlines victimize Gomes as the culprit who “lost” Spurs the game, it was Gomes who pulled off several herculean saves to prevent Villa from scoring.
In response to the defeat, Ramos told BBC Sport that “I’m not going to carry out an assessment after one game. Hopefully with calmness and experience we’ll get a positive result.”
To me, Ramos’s response is as passive as his Spurs team. This was another woeful performance from Tottenham. The third of the season thus far (the exception being against Chelsea where they played at a much higher level).
At this rate, with Ramos’s laissez faire atmosphere, Tottenham could be in for a very long season. After playing Wisla Krakow in the UEFA Cup on Thursday, they face a must-win match at home against Wigan on Sunday followed by a trip to Fratton Park to play Portsmouth the week after. Six points from the next two Premier League matches is a must for Juande Ramos. Otherwise, the Tottenham fans will start to turn on him.