For about 20 minutes I felt rather privileged to be sitting in row number one on the lower east stand closest to the action of the game. However, in hindsight, I'd have wanted to be as far away from it as possible. I thought that Spurs could never outdo themselves by losing to a lower-standard northern team, but hey, this is Spurs we're talking about - the surprise team which never stops surprising on both ends of the spectrum! Today - for me - was on the less-appealing end. Spurs, in rather typical fashion caved in to a team [a northern team at that] which they should have beaten with ease. But how and why? For a while, this will sound like a typical Spurs rant about everything else apart from our terrible football, but I WILL cover the terrible football after I've ranted about everything else.
1) The referee was a total twonk!! - Phil Dowd is an absolute disgrace and shouldn't referee again. He showed a total bias against us and gave us no benefits of the doubt whatsoever. He was so quick off the mark to book Dawson for a challenge but shyed away from two fouls from Wigan players.
2) Al-Haabsi was a total twonk!! - We are now starting to see the tactics of some of these lesser Premier League teams, one of them was timewasting. Al-Haabsi, Wigan's goalkeeper, was extremely slow to resume play whenever a goal kick was given to them. Highly frustrating and very unprofessional. Injury time did not cater for this despite it happening every time it was a goal kick! Totally unfair play if you ask me.
3) Northern Tactics! - It's happened before with Stoke, Hull and Wolves. When they come to the Lane, they expect and receive a battering, but still manage to narrowly escape concession of a goal either by a keeper having 'The Game of His Life!' or throwing everyone behind the ball and then catching Spurs on the counter attack for a late winner. It's because they know that they can't play like Spurs do without being caught out themselves. But it sure is strange how they're more open when they're away though!!!! >.< It's annoying, but would only expose them as teams who can't play football the proper way when it comes to facing us to be brutally honest with you.
I'll now finish with some inconvenient, but accurate home truths:
1) Harry's player choice was off again! - If you have an injured striker playing alongside another in a standard 4-4-2 formation; and he had to receive treatment on the pitch in the first half, forcing you to make a substitution, which of those strikers would you take off?...the injured one?...in the world of Harry Redknapp, you'd be wrong:
Defoe has been carrying a groin injury since being selected for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was supposed to go into surgery a week ago. Credit to him for playing through the pain for his club. However, when he needed treatment off the field, you'd naturally think that Harry would take him off and replace him with Keane or Pavlyuchenko. He didn't.
Instead, he took CROUCH off. That pretty much blunted any further attack from Spurs.
The Wigan defence consists of tall, chunky players who could match Crouch in the air, but still leave him with a chance of winning the header, whereas Defoe and Pavlyuchenko would have no chance against them. By removing Crouch, Harry left Defoe open to further wear-and-tear on his groin and no target man for Huddlestone, Assou-Ekotto or Dawson to fire the ball up to for the late winner. What was Harry thinking!!??
2) COMPLACENCY! - Time and time again, Spurs rest on their laurels after they've won a big match, thinking they're forever invincible from then on. Ok, it was a magical night on Wednesday when the Young Boys of Berne were humbled 4-0 on our patch, but that doesn't mean every team will capitulate like that without Spurs having to work for the win.
As long as Spurs continue to underestimate certain teams or not put in enough effort just because of who their opponents are, the glass ceiling will not be broken.
3) Spurs were simply awful! - The play was slow and the passes were aimless in both senses of the word. The transformation from invading Young Boys' boxes with their balls (what dirty minds you have!) to a kickaround in the park had been swift and painful. Palacios is the player I hold most responsible for preventing the Spurs attack force getting the goal(s).
Instead of pushing the line forward by running forward himself and ploughing through players like we'd expect, he passed to lonely blades of grass and also passed backards/ to the side which slows the play down, allowing Wigan to think, regroup and carry on pressing. None of this happened against the Young Boys. Spurs swarmed the Swiss team with constant forward pressing, leaving them no time to think about anything apart from 'defend with your life'.
Assou-Ekotto messed around too much at the back. He gave the ball away in the ugliest of fashions and almost single-handedly lost us the match half an hour into it! Meandering with the ball like a sidewinder snake facing your own goalline does not always equal a clearance.
Why do we always give struggling teams their first away win/goal of their season!!? We'll never know, but it needs to stop before we become the laughing stock of the Premier League yet again. Losing home and away to Wolves will not be forgotten by me very easily and will for now be a symbol of Spurs' biggest problem - Mentality!