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Monday, September 29, 2008

The Palacios Show; Now Ramos is to Vamos?

Portsmouth 2 - 0 Spurs

It didn't work again with Spurs yesterday away at Fratton Park. The set-up to me looked, once again, unusual. Whispers are now circulating on whether it will be about time when Spurs chairman Daniel Levy calls time on Juande Ramos' White Hart Lane future as manager. For me, it's the selection of players within the formation that strikes odd. The back four was not stable and consistent with Vedran Corluka, Michael Dawson, Jonathan Woodgate and Benoit Assou-Ekotto. They were put under good pressure mostly in the second half and they struggled particularly down their right, Pompey's left, against Arsenal and Lens loanees Armand Traore and Nadir Belhadj respectively..

I would have preferred Jermained Jenas and Didier Zokora central, David Bentley right and Da Silva Melo 'Gilberto' (yet another in North London) left-midfield, pushing Jamie O'Hara up with Roman Pavlyuchenko. The Russian was battling on his own and getting little dividend. Ramos maintains Spurs played with one striker against Newcastle in the League Cup win in the week, albeit with a line-up that included Aaron Lennon, Ledley King and Gareth Bale. Lennon and Darren Bent were benched yesterday.

The Spurs fans made known their discontent at the substitution of Pavlyuchenko for Bent, as it seemed far more constructive to have both on with Spurs chasing the game. Crucially they had a penalty appeal turned down as Lennon crossed and the ball struck Lassana Diarra on the right hand, which was a handball and could have changed the ending of the game more in Spurs' favour. It was one of a handful of decisions that unfortunately were not rightly given over the weekend. Is it time for Ramos to go, already? No doubt the current position is precarious but Ramos did arrive on the back of a prosperous run with Seville. Does he have the credentials to pull Spurs out of the current rut?


The current climate about referees has been highlighted and produced a number of comments against the officials and their officiating. Notoriously the decision to give a goal in the Watford v Reading match last week when it seemed clear to all the ball went out for a Reading corner. The ref was Stuart Attwell who went on the advice of his linesman, but for me he should be positioned to see the ball bounce wide of the goal in the first place.

Everton v Liverpool: Fernando Torres had scored twice already before an Andrea Dossena cross went over Joleon Lescott and Dirk Kuyt, falling to Torres who scored from an angle. The goal was ruled out for Kuyt fouling Lescott, and at the time Lescott held his hands up briefly, but replays showed little to nothing of contact and Lescott had not made an attempt to jump for the ball in the first place to be hindered.

Tim Cahill's challenge on Xabi Alonso was not a straight red, but I wonder if, with the focus on Kevin Davies' challenge on Gael Clichy last week, and Emmanuel Pogatetz' on Rodrigo Possebon in the week, the referees were cautioned to give those challenges the sanction of serious foul play, as they could result in serious injury. Therefore the straight red. It has been mentioned that with Cahill not responding to Riley's repeated whistles and calls for him to return to the referee until very late, the red was for added dissent but I don't agree.

Man Utd v Bolton: Christiano Ronaldo comes inside from the right into the penalty box, he aims to go across the path of JLLoyd Samuel and the left back makes for me a superb interception on the ball. Ronaldo goes down and the penalty was given, by Rob Styles. Styles gave the penalty last season to Chelsea at Anfield for Flourent Malouda running onto Steve Finnan that resulted in a 1-1 finish. Here, Styles was perfectly positioned that the decision he gave must call into question the sharpness of his eyesight.

And Ronaldo did dive. I have Sky+ and the privilege of slowing down the viewing, watching Andy Gray on 'Super Sunday - The Last Word'. Mr Gray claimed the penalty was wrong AND Ronaldo did not dive, despite the many technological facilities at his disposal. Under Sky+, I saw Samuel tackle, get the ball cleanly or enough, Ronaldo goes to bring his right leg forward but then stops halfway (Samuel's limbs have not made contact with Ronaldo at all) and goes down. Now a few Utd fans I have heard from said Ronaldo did not appeal, but he didn't have to. Styles had blown for the penalty almost immediately. Further, he looked too embarrassed to appeal in case he was booked for diving.

Another factor is that Ronaldo does not look to skip over Samuel's tackle if he suspects he will get the ball past him and the defender will be late. Instead he goes to touch the ball past Samuel and then goes down, looking for the decision but then having realised Samuel got the ball decides to keep quiet.

Newcastle v Blackburn: Blackburn's free-kick over the Newcastle wall came to Christopher Samba, who headed it in. Samba was sticking out in an offside position, along with Matt Derbyshire, and when the Frenchman made contact with the ball, the offside was not given.

Portsmouth v Spurs: The handball against Diarra I already mentioned above.

Wigan v Man City: This was practically as big as the one at Old Trafford. Wilson Palacios goes into the City box on the attack and Javier Garrido makes contact, as you would do when challenging for the ball. It wasn't a charge into Palacios, more a shoulder-to-shoulder coming together, yet the Honduran then went down, twisting his body in gymnastic fashion with his right side going down first.

If Garrido had made such heavy contact against Palacios' right side, then the Honduran should have gone down over onto his left rather than his right. Very disappointing decision by Steve Bennett, even if he took counsel from his linesman.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ronaldo the diving bastard!! How can any stupid Man U twat not call that a dive? We get one given against us by another blatant dive, couldnt believe it. WTF?? Ronaldo gets away with them all the time and Utd always get it at Old Trappond and it's always Ronaldo doing it! Dont they ask the bloody question why Ronaldo always goes down when tackled? But you wont get anything from Rob Piles the shit. He couldnt see daylight even if he woke up in the morning!!! About time these refs get some advertisment, like bloody Specsavers! Teams should boycott Mould Traffic or Old Motha Hubbard for fear oflosing because the diving girl is back!! Gets 9.0 from me, wasted up North, bugger off to Madrid and get in the diving team!

9/29/2008 12:31 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt Dawson was an England Scrum half dick head, Michael Dawson is apparently a Centre Half!

9/29/2008 12:42 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You would play bentley, Jenas and Gilberto - wow. All three were absolutely rubbish - along with Ramo's team selection and tactics. At least Lennon and dos Santos drive forward

9/29/2008 12:52 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We don't have the players to chase and put their foot in. Why not put players in like Ghaly who is prepared to put his foot in and chase players down. May not be the best player and maybe he let the club down with his antics but we need players who are prepared to do the basic things at the moment. We have lost our two most hard working players in Malbranque and Keane, both not replaced. We are a far weaker team with and without the ball this season. With the players we have, I think the defence picks it self when all fit....
Chorluka, Woodgate, King, Bale
Midfield needs to be more hard working
Jenas, Zakora, O'Hara, Dos Santos,
The suprise is up front where this seasons best player Lennon teams up with Bent or Pavlyuchenko. Someone like Ghaly should be on the bench should we need someone to close people down, when we are trying to protect a lead (I can only dream of being in the lead).

9/29/2008 2:01 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Anon (12.31PM), I'm assuming you're a Bolton fan? I dislike diving and particularly if they get to prosper from it. Do you think, having held off Utd for an hour, that you would have continued to do so for the remainder of the game, even at OT?

"Matt Dawson was an England Scrum half dick head, Michael Dawson is apparently a Centre Half!"

Goodness, Anon, get a grip and wise up. It's a simple mistake, can be corrected but it's the only thing you focused on. Didn't you have an opinion on the subjects written in the article or you just felt obliged to pass up some of your bile, to help with the stress of a Monday afternoon??

All the best, Anon.

"You would play bentley, Jenas and Gilberto - wow."

No, not particularly. I stated where I would play them if I were Ramos, given that he chose them in the starting line-up yesterday. Considering Lennon and Bent were available, along with Giovanni, my choice of starting players would probably have been quite different.

For me, Lennon has the pace that hardly any other player in the EPL can cope with and I dont see why he is not utilised enough. People speak of Walcott's pace and I see little difference in Lennon doing for Spurs what Walcott has done.

Bent was scoring for Charlton, the rumour of the summer before Spurs picked him up. Surely they didn't spend £16.5m to bench him when they are trying to get out relegation, much less the bottom half of the table? And having bought Pavlyuchenko, they two should combine regularly.

Anon (2.01PM), my feelings are Spurs need to secure their defence. King seems to be a liability injury wise and his fitness cannot be guaranteed on for a half season, let alone a full one. As I said earlier, Pompey enjoyed a monopoly of attacks mostly down their left, where you had Corluka and Bentley and it was at this side where Spurs were exposed for the second goal. Even when Traore shot and Gomes blocked, who was running in anticipating the loose ball? No one more so than Crouch.

One thing Spurs need to do is stop leaking goals, they need another central defender, quick, strong, perhaps another King but obviously less injury prone. Corluka is interim until Hutton is back and boy, the former Rangers man is needed. Bale and Modric are needed too (though I'm to be convinced thoroughly the Croatian can pull the same football ability in the EPL as he showed in Euro2008) and Lennon should be starting, along with Bent.

The next thing is to change the strategy used in attack, for on Sunday they looked devoid at times of how they were going to get at Portsmouth. While in doubt, Pompey would easily hit back at them on the counter. Pavlyuchenko needed feeding and he received scraps. Little from the left, hardly anything from the right. Work on their deliveries, and more importantly use players who can break past their opponents near to goal. So preferably the side would be:


[Central Defender]



Spurs need a 4-4-2, not a 4-3-3 or 4-3-2-1, and I don't rate Jenas, but with Huddlestone and Zokora as other options, it would depend on who reacts the best in training. Spurs pulled in some good revenue with the sale of their three strikers, passing on Kaboul, Tainio and Malbranque. I think they will need to bring in a few more players to booster their prospects right now. Either that or the players will start pulling in some new zest and play their hearts out to raise themselves out of relegation, and the chances of Ramos' further and future WHL employment.


9/29/2008 9:10 pm

Blogger Abdul said...

What I did not understand about Spurs' transfer policy over the summer was the failure to pursue a defensive midfielder. It seemed and still seems obvious to me that the gap between midfield and defence is the issue for Spurs and has been for a while. Zokora is not up to it and never has been - and I really think that with the attacking array at spurs' disposal they were a solid defensive midfielder away from being a very decent outfit this season. But what do I know...

9/29/2008 9:11 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Hey, Abdul.

I think I and T mentioned before in a previous article on Spurs' progress, or lack of, that they need a defensive central midfielder to help behind Modric, if indeed Modric is to be let free on attacks, a Mascherano/Hargreaves/Makelele type. Huddlestone is for me of a good build for that role but lacks the acute aggresion needed to be quite dominate. Zokora would be good but he is unorthodox, and Jenas doesnt impress me. As I said, they need a few more players to beef up and install more guile into the team.


9/29/2008 9:34 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, mate, Bolton fan and proper proud. We work hard to keep out the MAncs and they go and get a bloody penalty, what is that about? It was another day at the office for Fungus and his lot and he says Knob Styles was good? Paid him enuff has he? Twats, the pair fo them.

9/30/2008 2:46 pm

Blogger T said...

Redsman, like the way you focused on the aray of referee decisions made at the weekend - many were game changing and it was a poor weekend for the men in black (or is it illuminous yellow?!)

Spurs. Boy, they are an interesting team to watch! Commoli, the sporting director, seems to buy individuals like he is playing fantasy football. There is a problem with this - why buy Bentley for an eight figure sum if you have a great talent like Lennon already on the right (by the way I couldn't agree more with the under-rating of Lennon and comparison with Walcott!). Why buy Modric if you have Huddlestone or Jenas? Geovanni is very left footed and again I don't understand why he was bought and for what position. And why not buy a solid Defensive CM when it is clear that Zokora is not good enough for the role.

I think Commolli has a lot of explaining to do - he not only buys players that Tottenham don't need - but he overspends on them too! £16m for Darren Bent still has me shaking my head.

By the way, if I was Ramos my team would be this:




A word on O'Hara - I like this player. One to watch for me - plays the game with good character and he has ability too.

9/30/2008 7:34 pm

Blogger T said...

By the way, it is right that we highlighted the issue of Spurs not acquiring a defensive CM in the first EFT article of this season.

And good comments from anon 2:01pm - didn't know Ghaly was back at Spurs.

9/30/2008 7:38 pm

Anonymous Spursfan said...

Yeah, good points mate. Ghaly is with us but he wants to go and he's a liability. Would be more fights than players to fight with him. The Geordies have it bad but we are there with a side who should be knocking bells out of teams like Pompey, know what I mean? It's a joke. I mean, why sell Keane and Berbatov after letting go Defoe? Thought Levy was standing up to the demand and keeping those two but next thing he's turn yellow like Riley's cards and let them go with millions and no good strikers. Pavly is alright but we wouldnt have had a look at him in the Euros if Pogrebnyak was fit.

Bentley was doing nothing on Sunday and why have Gilberto in the first place when you have Bent and Lennon waiting on the bench? Like Ramos is afraid of his strikers getting hurt and having no one else. Tell you what, though, like the idea of another centre back because King is not getting fitter and next thing you know Woodgate gets injured next and then we will have Corluka and Dawson!! Not good, not good.

Gomes looks like he's trying but the defence is giving us headache. I like O'Hara myself and he should be on left wing and have Lennon behind Pav, got to have Lennon and O'Hara and Bentley on at the same time but Bentley wants to show some form right now.

We cant go on like this bt getting rid of Ramos now is not good. Give it the season and then see.

9/30/2008 10:07 pm

Blogger alex butterfield said...

My take on Spurs transfer policy:

They can't let even a half decent player pass them buy. I have a friend here in the States who bought a piece of land to build a house on. Her neighbour put their lot up for sale, she couldnt resist, so put the house on hold and bought that land. Then she did it again. Now she owns 33 acres but lives in a mobile home, with no water supply, only car batteries for electricity. If you see what I mean.

Bent, Dos Santos, Modric, Bentley, Pav, the list goes on.

I get the impression Ramos had say on one of transfer - Gomes.

It was not an effort to build a team, just filling a shopping kart with bargains, only to find out you've been ripped off, and you never needed those stuff anyway.

Abdul is spot on that Spurs need a DM, why they didn't pursue one is beyond me.

Letting the players leave who they did was tough also.

Berbatov demanded he was sold. Through a stubbornness over a couple mil, and the vain hope that he might stay another year, they held on too late. If they'd sold him 3 weeks earlier they could have built a team with the money.

Keane was a shock, only Liverpool would have made that offer out of nowhere (because he was a missing piece at Anfield - just wait) and Liverpool were the only team he'd leave for. It's more tough luck.

The mistake was letting Defoe leave - they should have had the foresight that Berbatov was going to leave back when they sold Defoe, and held onto him.

All that said. I still think they are very close to a quality first team.

Hutton Woodgate King* Bale
Bentley Jenas* Modric
Lennon Dos Santos/O'Hara

That has real potential, the weak link is Jenas (he can be great on his day), he needs replacing with a world class player in the Makelele position. And King is a stopgap.

Modric is a key player for me, Ive seen enough against chelsea to know he's going to succeed in the Prem. But he needs giving free reign. Which means Jenas needs to be disciplined and very hard working.

Lennon is the other key, he can win games for spurs, but he's so inconsistent. But that is something a good coach needs to remedy. Inconsistency is not inherent, it's a result of low confidence, poor concentration, and tactical unawareness. He needs to be coached well - as Walcott has been.

it's an absolute shocker to me that they have done so badly. they'll pull through though, but they might have blown Europe already. need to win a cup.

Stick with Ramos. (I dont know if they will though. Jol got fired for doing better than this)

10/01/2008 6:37 am

Blogger alex butterfield said...

My take on refs an diving.

the only way to improve refs is to help them with technology. i'm all for a Video ref who analyses the game in real time and relays to the ref if the ball has crossed a line, a player deserves a red card, or it was or wasnt a penalty.

People argue that even through tv replays there are still disagreements. I agree. But that's not the point, all you are doing is transposing the final call to a different fallible person - except this one has the benefit of replays.

Other than that, refs need to be trained to not succumb to pressure exerted by reputation.

I dont think theres any bribing or conscious bias at all, but what I think sways the ref is their own expectations. they know Man u should be able to break down Bolton and so when they are getting frustrated, it frustrates the ref too, and they are more ready to give a borderline decision. I reckon because its a given that refs cant be biased, they never mention it in refs meetings and training. They need to coach refs into detaching all prior knowledge of teams. I dont know how, maybe theres a bit of the brain we can remove ;)

About Ronaldos dive. He's a diver, everyone knows it, but what hes done is convince himself that if he lets contact happen its not a dive.

I think theres a subtle mistake in his reasoning. It's not a dive if you let yourself be fouled, if you dribble across your defender so that its difficult for them to keep up without tripping you, thats fine, if you get into the box so that when the tackle comes in you can shift the ball meaning the player kicks you instead - thats all fine, but pushing the ball past someone and then running or worse, falling into them, is not on. Thats what ronaldo does.

To be fair in the latest incident i think the ref got carried away with the scissors motion of the defender's left leg, he did appear to wrap it around ronaldos ankles. the problem was that the ball was taken cleanly, and it was only because ronaldo 'fell' into the tackle that the contact was made.

If not a penalty if the contact is your fault.

I think even moments after the incident the ref knew he got it wrong. he probably didnt even have to see the replays before apologising.

10/01/2008 6:50 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

".....brits crying about diving in football a wilson palacios dive first was a ***** foul second he got the foul to beat man city so i say pretty smart lad and you all well know that over reacting a foul has always been done in footbal do not act like it was started yesterday. and for those that say that the Brits dont over act fouls well maybe you should you might win something or even make it to the ***** euro you ****** ****** and for all that are pissed a at WILSON PALACIOS ***** ******* VIVA Honduras"

This was from Anon at 7.27AM this morning. Moronic comments like this will be either amended or completely deleted. Tolerate your profanity or do not leave comments. To answer Anon, the above is his/her opinion but with any reasonably analsis of the foul, no one could categorically state Palacios dropped in the box as he should have, having been fouled.

Garrido merely touched him and he went down. If any Wigan and/or Honduras supporter, or anyone else who saw the moment, thinks otherwise, do try to convince me differently.

Officials dont need to necessarily know the reputations of players, they need to understand the probabilities of a player being actually fouled and budged to the ground and understand whether a player can actually withstand certain contact.

Meanwhile people like Anon (both of them) need to learn to express themselves without being vulgar. Can only imagine (I prefer to do that than find out in person) how they can be personally.


10/01/2008 10:31 am

Blogger T said...

Good stuff SpursFan and Alex.

Thanks Redsman for dealing with the comment you deleted. I didn't see it myself but we definitely can't keep on comments that are over the top in using bad language - its just not on for our site.

10/01/2008 5:20 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...



Anon, following on from 7.27am on the 1st October, has appeared once again, this morning at 6.27am. I'm appeasing your 'gradeur' manner for the last time, Anon, your comments will simply be deleted in future, because you are being an idiot. Nothing against Wigan Athletic, looking more attack-minded under the spearheading inspiration of Amr Zaki, looking another good signing of someone unknown.

But plenty against the likes of you who seem very deranged, susceptible to criticism, quite manic, sore yet just in need of a little TLC. Thing is this isn't the site for that kind of treatment. Restrict and correct your grammar and it's not a problem. Continue and remain to suffer within your own realm.

You can do it. Considering you have the will and freedom to use communication technology to leave messages, millions around the world do not have such privilege. I advise you refrain from wasting it before you regret taking it for granted. Just try to comment more civilly. Or look again at the amount of your caffeine consumption, carrying such a deluded mind into the public at the hours of 6 or 7am.


10/07/2008 9:49 am


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