Spurs: A Loss Worse Than Liverpool, Worse Than City, Tim's Bottled It
This was the worst display of the season. Outsiders might find that absurd given the scale of the thrashings by Liverpool and Manchester City but those were excellent teams at the top of their games who scored early. Before yesterday Norwich had achieved one win in fourteen and Chris Hughton was assumed to be on the brink of the sack, yet they outplayed Spurs comprehensively and could have won by more.
Sherwood’s team selection was exasperating. Paulinho, Bentaleb and Capoue all played 90 minutes on Thursday in Ukraine but started again in a line up that suggested Sherwood is doing what a lot of managers do when their bottle starts to go - resorting to graft over craft. The fresher legged Townsend and Eriksen, attacking players capable of seriously worrying opposition defences, were once again left on the bench.
Consequently the first half saw not one shot on target thanks to a midfield that completely lacked energy and ideas. The second half was barely any better save for a ten minute spell in the middle in which Adebayor, Chadli and the increasingly forlorn Soldado missed chances. Townsend had joined the action by then but Eriksen, the one lock-picker in the squad, remained unused throughout.
Right from the start Sherwood has insisted that football is a simple game and that tactics and formations are over rated. This crude philosophy may have its roots in his playing career the highlight of which was winning the Premier League in a Blackburn side that remains by far the least sophisticated ever to do so. It had two trundling wingers in Ripley and Wilcox, two big centre forwards in Shearer and Sutton and two tough tackling engine room midfielders in Batty and Sherwood. It was a team that hustled, bustled and muscled its way to the top. There wasn't a playmaker in the entire squad. Chillingly, it’s starting to look like Sherwood is trying to create a Tottenham in their image.
Happily, he’ll not get the chance to further the damage beyond the end of the season. Next month Spurs face Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool in the league so any lingering hopes of a top four finish will be a distant memory by the start of April. Barring unexpected success in the Europa League, the fans will be left with only one thing lto look forward to, the arrival of a proper manager in the summer.
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