View from the Tottenham End...
As promised, Rob from THFC1882.com has given us his views of the game on Sunday. Very complementary towards the R's it is too...
So I believe the term that sums it up best after the game on Sunday is that we got away with one.
After a dreadful first half display in which we were rightly trailing at the break, we have to give Andre Villa-Boas and the players due credit for turning it around in the second half and getting our first home win of the campaign. In truth it didn’t look likely as an awful opening 45 minutes meant Villas-Boas left the pitch at half-time to a chorus of loud boos AGAIN! Now I am not going to get on my soap box again as by now you know how I feel about fans booing their own team but it has to stop. This is a new manager who is implementing new techniques and playing style, it needs time to fall into place and getting on their backs isn’t going to help. RANT OVER
Bobby Zamora, who scored one goal in 18 appearances at Spurs, put QPR deservedly ahead after Alejandro Faurlin’s brilliant slide-rule pass, and had it not been for a couple of brilliant reaction saves from Brad Friedel (AVB once again saying after the game that Brad will rightly stay no 1 for now), we could have easily gone in 3-0 down at half-time.
Spurs just never got going and full credit to the visitors as they quickly settled into their rhythm and started pushing for an opener from the off. Their game plan was spot on to close down and hurry us into giving possession away, which we did repeatedly. Friedel pulled off a brilliant save to deny Clint Hill after four minutes and nine minutes later the American again produced a world-class save from Junior Hoilett from 10 yards after some poor defending from Kyle Walker. It only seemed a matter of time before QPR broke the deadlock and it came just after the half hour when Zamora found the net and who could argue against it. Friedel was at full stretch moments later to deny Hoilett as Rangers pushed for a second.
We failed to test Julio Cesar once during the first half and we started resorting to long shots that failed miserably. The one time we had the ball in the net, Clint Dempsey’s effort was ruled out after Defoe was given offside in the build-up.
Something had to change and at the break AVB pushed Gareth Bale back to his natural left wing position, putting Jan Vertonghen to left back and bringing Steven Caulker on for Gylfi Sigurdsson. The game completely changed from that moment on.
If one thing AVB gets from this game alone it should be that Bale cannot play left back anymore. If Assou-Ekotto and Naughton aren’t available then Jan needs to play left back as Bale helps us play with more speed, power and fluidity, plus Vertonghen looked excellent and very comfortable in the position. He should have also noticed how easily Caulker eased into the side and played very well at both ends of the pitch.
The 20-year-old powered a header from a Bale corner towards goal that was cleared off the line, before his header from the back post, from another corner, flew in off the chest of QPR midfielder Faurlin to get us back in the game.
Sixty seconds later and we were ahead with the in form Jermain Defoe getting it with a cool finish. Vertonghen charged at the Rangers defence and laid the ball off at the perfect moment to Bale, whose shot ricocheted onto the bar after Cesar got a piece of it and fell into the path of the England striker, who calmly controlled the ball and then slotted it home through a sea of QPR defenders on the line. It was a lead that we barely deserved and didn’t look like we could keep hold off it with any certainty.
Our confidence did grow from then on though and we looked threatening when we attacked. Dempsey fired a 20-yard shot just wide of Julio Cesar’s goal and Bale’s powerful run and cross somehow wasn’t tapped in.
At the other end Hoilett then wriggled free from his marker on a rare QPR attack but Vertonghen came to the rescue with a heroic sliding tackle to dispossess the former Blackburn man.
The match was turning into a thrilling end to end encounter. QPR, mindful that we had conceded in the last 10 minutes of all our league games, threatened through Hoilett and substitute Djibril Cisse.
We poured forward, mainly on the break, looking for a third, however, and almost got it when Dempsey and Defoe had close-range headers blocked. Defoe raced through with five minutes left but he was forced wide by Park Ji-Sung.
QPR came forward in injury time looking for an equaliser that most fans would say they were value for but the nearest they came was a curled shot from Faurlin that went a yard wide.
Defoe almost added his second when he raced through in the last minute of added time but Julio Cesar saved well to his right.
On the second half display, which was as good as the first was bad, you could say we didn’t deserve to lose the match and you have to give plaudits to the players for showing character to turn it around 2nd half. A lot of the team have played 3 games in a week and looked jaded so hopefully there will be wholesale rotation on Wednesday in the Capital Cup to give some of the players a break. Remember this is a project by AVB and it won’t be perfect straight away. The past is the past, let’s all look forward and give the team we all love the support it needs.
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