Date:Monday December 27 2010
Spursex in the forum came up with an opinion on Villa! (see 100% Villa match thread)
I hope I can add a little perspective here, as reading the last few pages it seems to me a number of you have lost yours.
First off, overall you didn't play badly at all., Houllier is trying to get you to play a different type of flowing mobile passing football and despite what so many seem to think here, it looked to me as if you aren't too far away from being pretty good at it..possession football comes from confidence and it's far harder to build that during a season where you've suffered injuries and had to rely on kids. None the less, all the signs appear to me (despite what so many seem to feel here) that you have the players to put it all together - given the time and chance. No doubt you also need a bit of luck to make it happen, and you're not getting that at the moment.
You are suffering from what we've suffered from for a large part of the season; a defensive 'unit' that's not settled and lacking in confidence. PL teams that do well consistently have a well organised solid back four - you simply don't have that at the moment, but my money is on that correcting itself over the next few games. Mon had you very well drilled at the back, and that seems to have been lost a bit lately.
Who knows what would have happened if Defoe hadn't been harshly red-carded; but what was obvious was that it forced us to play deeper and organise ourselves quickly to play counter-attacking football and to close down the spaces, and you simply didn't have creative guile upfront to break us down the way you should have.
You've bloodied and stuck with what appear to me to be some very good kids, but it also seemed to me that their inexperience showed in a number of ways; when you needed composure and calm heads you didn't have it., they will pick it up now that Petrov and NRC are back, in the same way as I expect those two will now help you pick up the points.
Tactically, I think Harry got our substitutions right whereas I thought that Houllier made a huge mistake, namely putting Pires on the pitch - he just looks a pale shadow of the player he once was, but by putting him on he gave us respite from the pressure as he contributed nothing.
I suspect he will be your managers Achilles heel as he will persevere with him to try and prove a point - but it will be a massive mistake if he does.
Upfront you need a targetman with some craft, guile and movement, both Heskey and Agbonlahor were lacking in this respect. It could just be that Gabby is still not fully fit as in previous seasons I have been hugely impressed with him, but at the moment he just seems to be a static headless chicken that's too easy to defend against, you can read exactly what he's going to do before he even does it himself.
You won't be in a relegation battle, my guess is you'll take 5 points from your next 3 games and confidence will flood back both on and off the pitch. With one possibly two additions in January I think you'll finish the season strongly and on the up.
Albrighton is your ace in the hole, he never stopped trying, even if he was for the large part kept much quieter than I've seen him before his illnesses - he knows how to put a punishing ball in.
I've no reason to paint the result anyway other than I saw it, but as a Spurs fan we've recently been were you are mentally now, I've still got the scars to prove it, but you're closer to being a decent side than most of you seem to think.
right, I'm off home!
Date:Monday December 27 2010
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