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Tottenham 1-2 Aston Villa: Don't Blame The Loss On Scapegoat Gomes


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.

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  1. lsmetana

    September 17, 2008 at 10:03 am

    I agree with your article Gaffer, Gomes bailed out Tottenham on several occasions prior to the mistake on Villa's winning goal. He was getting almost zero help from his back four. To be fair to Spurs they've changed a lot of players over the summer and were changing right up to the deadline…it's going to take a while to get up and running. I don't think they'll finish in the bottom spots but at this rate a 7th or 8th place finish would be a big achievement.

    i disagree with your assesment of Ramos though. I think his response is appropriate. He's not ready to hit the panic button just because of a few reporters/pundits/fans calling for wholesale changes and sounding doom all around. There are plenty of points still to be had and he knows it'll take a while for the squad to gel.

    I also agree with Michael that John Terry should not be the standard for captains. You want someone who has experience and is a calm head in the midst of a storm. I think Woodgate has that potential and no one else on Spurs jumps out as a natural replacement at the moment, maybe Huddlestone in the long term view?

  2. artist formerly Alex Hleb

    September 16, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    their results make me smile.

  3. artist formerly Alex Hleb

    September 16, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    looks like st totteringham day will come extra early this season, hopefully before christmas so then i can celebrate even more.

    knock on wood

  4. ihuy01

    September 16, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    I think darren bent has had a harsh beating from media pundits/journas all round. His barely been given a sniff and he was scoring like no tomorrow in pre season. Case in point he gets once chance against Chelsea and he puts it away. He was winning balls in the air yet there was no support. To preface my point i didnt see this particular game but Darren Bent's greatest trait is his pace, he loves the space behind the back four. Yet noone has given him any decent service in all the games ive seen this season. Pav? the other russian bloke who injured his knee pre euros is apparently a much better player. Pav misses bags of chances but no doubt has potential.

    I've followed modric for years since he starred for Zagreb v Arsenal in UCL qualifying, and his best position is up close like a number 10 to the strikers. He likes to play in that little hole playing his delicate passes and shoot. I've seen him play way too deep at times for spurs.

    The real missing ingredient in my opinion is the defensive midfield position. Zokora played his best game against Chelsea but has been useless (and that's not being harsh) for Spurs since he has signed. His been found missing in action countless times. Add to the mix Dawson is shambles, King who is a great defender cant get himself fit and they still havent signed a good enough left back (gilberto? assou?) well you can tell why defensively they have problems. Bale is a phenomenal talent and he has done reasonable well playing at left back. He has a big physique, technically very good which means he can play in various positions. I dont think Ramos has found him his best position.

  5. The Gaffer

    September 16, 2008 at 5:35 pm


    What Spurs needs is someone to inject some grit into the squad and to get fired up when the chips are down. While I agree with you that John Terry is hardly a model captain, Spurs are in need of someone with his balls-to-the-walls energy. Screaming at Petr Cech last Saturday was a good example.

    Someone should be doing the same thing to the back four to keep them in line.

    The Gaffer

  6. Michael

    September 16, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    To be quite honest with you, I think it's a good thing that Woodgate is ” no John Terry” with the armband on. I understand your point, obviously, Chris, but saying Woodgate is no Steven Gerrard or no Michael Ballack or no Fabio Cannavaro would be more accurate. John Terry certainly shouldn't be the standard for captains.

  7. Weston

    September 16, 2008 at 7:27 am

    My excitement for this season has now been fully deflated – it looks like it is going to be a long winter. Youre right, Woody isnt the guy who should be wearing the armband and frankly I dont know who should – I dont see any natural leaders on the pitch other than Gomes, but the No.1 can only do so much from his box.

    Modric and Bent both need to grow a pair and Zokora should be banished from playing in lilywhite.

  8. Kyle

    September 16, 2008 at 1:35 am

    If you can blame a loss on one goal, what about Bale's poor marking that led to the first?

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