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In a bit of a surprising move, neither American started for Spurs, as Andre Villas-Boas favored an Emmanuel Adebayor-Jermaine Defoe strike partnership up top and Clint Dempsey was dropped to the bench.
AVB also made the dubious decision to start Hugo Lloris in goal over Brad Friedel. Lloris ended up getting shellacked by Arsenal for five goals.
While Emmanuel Adebayor’s 18th-minute red card certainly didn’t help and Lloris didn’t commit any overt howlers, it is reasonable to say that Friedel may have made one or more of the saves Lloris didn’t.
Friedel has been in great form the last few weeks, and the decision to go with Lloris smacked of the poor, inexperienced decisions that AVB made repeatedly at Stamford Bridge last year before being fired.
Dempsey’s exclusion was more understandable considering that he has struggled in the withdrawn striker role AVB has consistently placed him in.
However, after Spurs went down two goals in the first half, Dempsey was introduced at the halftime break.
In his 45 minutes, Dempsey played well even though he failed to help Tottenham back into the match.
Playing higher up the pitch, Dempsey created a couple of half-chances for himself and played a great through ball to Gareth Bale that went unconverted.
One wonders if Dempsey would be a better option than Aaron Lennon out wide. While Lennon has loads of pace, his service, vision and finishing all leave something to be desired.