Werder Bremen vs Tottenham Hotspur: What Have Spurs Learned?
They haven't learned anything.
If I could start and finish the article like that, I would. However, website powers-that-be demand that I expand on my point. Therefore, I shall.
During the first half, Tottenham appeared to have put the horrors of Young Boys and their artificial pitch behind them by swarming Bremen from the wings. Van Der Vaart played in the hole behind Crouch in a shiny new 4-5-1 formation. It was working very well. Lennon was causing problems on the right while Bale did his usual Giggs imitation on the left. Bremen
The first goal came within a quarter of an hour as Bale made a surging run and crossed in towards Crouch. The ball actually went in off of Petri Pasanen, the defender who was deputising for Bremen vice-captain Per Mertesacker.
Spurs shortly followed up with another goal a few minutes after the first. Another cross was fed in to Crouch who towered above everybody else with a powerful header which arced over into the left side of the net.
Before Bremen could blink, they were 2-0 down within half an hour. One more goal would've put the game away in the first half, but we're talking about Spurs—a team who fall hardest when they're on a high podium.
Hugo Almeida scored just before half time to put Bremen's foot back in the door. My prediction of typically letting the lead slip was about to come true. Just minutes into the second half, Marko Marin equalised for Werder Bremen; credit to Marin, who looked sharp throughout and was a major thorn in the sides of Kaboul and King.
Spurs let a well-earned lead slip away. If it wasn't for Cudicini making a great save against Aaron Hunt's mid-range drive, it would've been just as embarrassing as losing at home to Wigan.
Already I have seen someone ask on facebook when the first 18 minutes of tonight are coming out on DVD (seriously). This team needs to learn that just because there's a two-goal cushion, it doesn't mean that it will stay that way.
The game lasts for 90 minutes, not 45 minutes; and in a competition like this, such a mantra should be ingrained in the mind for its entire duration!
Harry needs to learn better substitution choices. Van Der Vaart for Keane and then Lennon for Palacios?? In what universe is taking your main source of pace off for a struggling player a wise choice? With Bale and Lennon on the wings, there was pace and more forward motion.
With Palacios and Keane on, there was a mix of nervousness and blatant stagnation of play. Palacios did OK this time and set up a chance which Crouch should've converted, but Keane slowed down the play by backing himself into a corner and passing backwards rather than trying to cut into the Bremen defence like the first half.
Corluka should've been substituted too. He pushed too far up and inwards trying to link with Lennon that he took himself out of the game leaving the left wing [from Bremen's viewpoint] exposed to counter attack. The link wasn't present in this match.
What we have seen tonight is "Typical Spurs Syndrome" or "ASpurger's" for short. It is a very rare condition in which a team controls an entire first half and scores goals in quick succession, but then lets the opposition regain control and draw or worse—steal a win.
Spurs need to learn to keep fit and sharp for 90 minutes WHATEVER the scoreline is. The Champions League contains teams who will keep going until the final whistle if it means equalising/winning at the end. Much like any team in the Premier League. Same poop, different flies.
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