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Happy Birthday Tottenham, Indeed.


JohnCresswell
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Tottenham Hotspur 4 Aston Villa 4

White Harte Lane

FA Barclays Premiership.

Not sure what to say about this, really. Other than having just watched Martin O'Neill's after match interview, I think he must have been watching a totally dfferent game to me.

Now, the liklihood is that you know what happened in the game, so we'll keep the detailed analysis out of this for now, and concentrate on why certain things happened.

For eighty minutes of the game, Villa were under heavy pressure. Yet, after 60 minutes Villa were 4-1 up, goodness knows how, and should have been awarded a penalty.

It didn't take long for Villa to go 1-0 down, Berbatov with a header from a poorly defended corner, a mistake by Laursen who had let the Bulgarian get free. And just as I'd finished txting all who would listen that Laursen was having another poor game, he popped up and scored after another howler from Paul Robinson. He totally flapped at a corner and Laursen volleyed in. It was two moments later - another flap by Robinson, Zat Knight headed it onto to Laursen's chest and he bundled it in. Somehow, we were 2-1 up. Again, a mistake by Robinson who let the ball through his legs.

But it didn't stop there - and this time it was actually a decent goal. Agbonlahor took on Kaboul, won and placed a fantastic shot past Robinson. And the Villa fans began singing "Happy Birthday Tottenham", due to their rather ridiculous silly kit and the constant talk of their 125th aniversary celebrations being constantly droned on about in the talk up to the game.

Second half, and it could have been four, Robinson brought down Agbonlahor but the referee waved play on. whilst I'm reporting the Villa moves, it's worth saying that Spurs were also on the attack - Carson made two or three very, very good saves.

We then made it four, a cracking shot by my Man of the Match Craig Gardner. Young laid off the free kick, and Gardner hit it hard. Brilliant. Yet, at the same time, I didn't feel too comfortable. I actually said that I still felt it could be 4-4.

And it was. So why? Well Spurs continued to dominate with the possession. Villa's shape began to get worse and worse - Gardner began to struggle against Bale, and Mellberg is no right back. Up front, Luke Moore who had been anonymous but holding the front line fairly well was subbed for Marlon Harewood, who went on to lose the ball every time he touched it, and then Petrov came on for Gardner.

Reo-Coker was no longer having a influence and these two substitutions led to the team not only giving the ball away too much, but it lost yet more shape and looked tired. If we are looking to dish out blame, whilst there is another man who will be the obvious choice, Martin O'Neill needs to stick his hands up and admit his substitutions were 100% incorrect.

Suddenly, it was 4-3 and Villa were under pressure. A foolish, silly, stupid error by Marlon Harewood gave Spurs a penalty. Harewood attempted what could almost be described as a Wrestling move on one of the Spurs attackers on the edge of the box where it wasn't needed. If one was being particulary harsh, one may describe it as the actions of a man who failed to think about what he was doing at all. I've wanted to give the bloke a chance, I have. I was disappointed wth his signing as I felt it was the wrong player, the wrong type of player and wouldn't work out. Well, he's got a lot to make up for now - this, along with him berating young Gabby agbonlahor for daring to shoot instead of passing to him this week means I wouldn't be too disappointed if he didn't wear a Villa shirt ever again. His act of foolishness put the pressure on when really it was not needed. Another five or ten minues at 4-2, the Spurs fans would have become restless again and we'd have three points and be in fifth place.

But the fact that we have the likes of Harewood, and Knight - who made the mistake that led to the equaliser, is the reason why we are, and will contiinue to be midtable in my opinion.

The fourth came, as everyone knew it would. O'Neill claims it was offside, possibly so, but so was our second. Kabul took advantage of Knight sitting down in the penalty box and rifled into to the back of te net. Disappointment all round for Villa fans, and Martin O'Neill's Villa had self destructed when they were relatively comfortable.

O'Neill later when on to complain about the referee and linesmen. I'm sorry Martin, when you are 4-1 up and don't win the game, you only have yourself and the players to blame.

Before the game, I'd have snatched a point. Spurs fans, probably very happy with a point, should actually look at themselves and be thinking a point is a poor result for them. I'll take a point, and I'll be happy with it. It doesn't stop me being disappointed that some silly mistakes meant that it wasn't three points. And that would have been a bloomin' great result.

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A foolish, silly, stupid error by Marlon Harewood gave Spurs a penalty. Harewood attempted what could almost be described as a Wrestling move on one of the Spurs attackers on the edge of the box where it wasn't needed. If one was being particulary harsh, one may describe it as the actions of a man who failed to think about what he was doing at all. I've wanted to give the bloke a chance, I have. I was disappointed wth his signing as I felt it was the wrong player, the wrong type of player and wouldn't work out. Well, he's got a lot to make up for now - this, along with him berating young Gabby agbonlahor for daring to shoot instead of passing to him this week means I wouldn't be too disappointed if he didn't wear a Villa shirt ever again. His act of foolishness put the pressure on when really it was not needed.

think you are being too lenient on that muppet scarewood. pathetic. he lost us that game. the guy is USLESS.

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You have to once again question MON'S squad selection and substitutions. No way should we surrender a 4-1 lead. Where was Patrick Berger tonight, an extra bit of experienced flare to work Spuds defence. No we have to find a spot for Petrov or Harewood. 2 points lost and 5th place. Just like last weeks debarcle against the Foxes.

Come on Martin you can do better than this.

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Nicely written piece John. You are right in your assessment - at half time we were 3-1 up but incredibly lucky to be so. Our luck didn't hold. My overriding question: Why did we defend so deep? I can understand we want to hit teams on the counter, but we basically were playing rope a dope. Strange.

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.....I simply seen it like this..... too many of our players just surrendered possesion too easily and i think it is a major concern....at 1-4 up the manager look concerned you were concerned and i equally was concerned..... the reason they came back in to it is simply this .....we can't keep hold of the ball.

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Agree with your comments John. I watched the game live in Australia, there last goal Defoe was offside clearly, so harsh that we dropped 2 points. I didn't think when Gabby was brought down was a penalty though, he played for it too much.

I keep harping on it, but again the inexperience of the young players again shone through. Brilliant to get up 4-1, but they dropped off after and were awful for the last 30 minutes. O'Neil needs to take a lot of the blame, as i wouldn't of made the substitutions until the last 10 minutes, if it's not broke don't fix it, and both harewood and Petrov were the wrong players to bring on at that time. (hindsight??) We sat too far back, instead of what was working well.

I thought we were going to get a touch up before this game, Tottenham looked prime to batter someone. For the first 50 minutes of this game, we looked like a Chelsea or Man utd, not playing particularly well against a good team, but taking our chances. It does show that this team is on the right path, but for two or three top class players, that game could of been 5-1 to the Villa, than 4-4. It's frustrating, but the positves far outweigh the negatives.

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Pretty much agee with what's been said already. Strange game - don't think we've ever played so badly and been 3 goals up. Given that we were we should have been able to hold on and Jol would now be redundant. Can't believe that in a game where we scored 4 goals we failed to have a period of dominance.

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You have to once again question MON'S squad selection and substitutions. No way should we surrender a 4-1 lead. Where was Patrick Berger tonight, an extra bit of experienced flare to work Spuds defence. No we have to find a spot for Petrov or Harewood. 2 points lost and 5th place. Just like last weeks debarcle against the Foxes.

Come on Martin you can do better than this.

Agreed--Berger was sorely needed. Our midfield was too timid and let them penetrate too much, when we should have wrestled control and pressured them more. I'm baffled at how much possession they had.

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You have to once again question MON'S squad selection and substitutions. No way should we surrender a 4-1 lead. Where was Patrick Berger tonight, an extra bit of experienced flare to work Spuds defence. No we have to find a spot for Petrov or Harewood. 2 points lost and 5th place. Just like last weeks debarcle against the Foxes.

Come on Martin you can do better than this.

Berger was in jured in the pre-match warm-ip according to MON. He was going to have been on the bench. Walking sicknote if you ask me, who you'll be lucky to get 6 or 7 games out of per season.

Having said that, Scarewood (and MON) cost us the game. Wasn't heppy when we signed him as i think he's sh*t. Strangely, he hasn't changed my mind.

this sort of result adds to the pressure on the home gomes when there's no need for it to. we could have gone into the West Ham game on the crest of a wave high up the table. Now we play the game midtable and needing a win more badly. It just adds pressure.

Hopefully Maloney will be fot for that game and can replace scarewood on the bench.

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Rather reactionary this.

1. Laursen was outstanding.

2. A point at Spurs is a good result.

3. We have a plan for the future. We have Knight and Harewood because no-one else wants to come to Villa at the minute.

4. Berger was injured.

5. Luke Moore was terrible, as he has been all season.

I was bloody disappointed too, but lets not be too downhearted. 2 years ago I wouldn't have expected a shot on target there, let alone 4 goals and a point.

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Rather reactionary this.

1. Laursen was outstanding.

2. A point at Spurs is a good result.

3. We have a plan for the future. We have Knight and Harewood because no-one else wants to come to Villa at the minute.

4. Berger was injured.

5. Luke Moore was terrible, as he has been all season.

I was bloody disappointed too, but lets not be too downhearted. 2 years ago I wouldn't have expected a shot on target there, let alone 4 goals and a point.

Mart did OK but was at fualt for the first spurs goal.

No one wants to come to villa at the moment? You sure? Can you back that up? Don't agree at all with that point.

Luke Moore terrible all season? again, can't agree at all. Just my opinions though.

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Rather reactionary this.

1. Laursen was outstanding.

2. A point at Spurs is a good result.

3. We have a plan for the future. We have Knight and Harewood because no-one else wants to come to Villa at the minute.

4. Berger was injured.

5. Luke Moore was terrible, as he has been all season.

I was bloody disappointed too, but lets not be too downhearted. 2 years ago I wouldn't have expected a shot on target there, let alone 4 goals and a point.

Mart did OK but was at fualt for the first spurs goal.

No one wants to come to villa at the moment? You sure? Can you back that up? Don't agree at all with that point.

Luke Moore terrible all season? again, can't agree at all. Just my opinions though.

I don't think Laursen was at fault, it was Mellberg (again). Laursen is a top rate defender - by far our best. He wins everything in the air and has balls of steel. Mellberg could learn a lot from him.

It was a general point about Villa not being very attractive at the minute. Players of Knight and Harewood's capability is about our limit at the minute. We are not in London and not in European competition. It may be possible to buy Schneider, Babel and Saviola on Football Manager, but not in real life (I am serious! People on here actually thought we could buy those actual players! Jeez.....)

Luke Moore - what exactly has he done this season? Goals? Shots? Beat a player? Won a header? Chased down a lost cause? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Can't hold the ball, can't pass. I thought he was a prospect, but Gabby is embarassing him at the minute.

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I diagree with a lot of the remarks made above, to be honest.

Where I do agree is that our inability, collectively, to look after the ball was essentially the cause of our dropping some points. There was a lack of collective calmness or maturity in the team, that meant we were playing, at times, desperation football, rather than playing with the authority a big lead should have given us.

Basically when a team is set up to play on the break, as we are, it is essential that when you get the ball, you don't just hoof it up the pitch as we did too often, but pass it to the players with pace and skill.

I also agree with the comments about the substitutions having an adverse effect, but equally I can see why Luke went off. He'd worked hard, but was not much of a threat. I guess he needs a goal, having had a couple of good ones wrongly disallowed this season he's yet to get off the mark.

The manager can't know that Harewood was going to be so utterly blunderingly stupid as he was.

Taking Gardner off for Petrov, rather mystified me. Gardener was doing OK, and had a decent game - he did look after the ball - but he was already booked, so maybe that was why he came off? but then why move the also booked Reo-Coker out wide into Gardner's position?

Although we let in 4 goals I don't blame either of the central defenders, or the goalkeeper who to me all played pretty well. The problem was that Spurs were allowed to get at them so many times, through our midfield and down their left.

I think in the end you simply have to learn the lessons from the mistakes, accept that the result was fair, whatever order the goals came in, and move along. I don't think we should worry about it as a team. It was just a crazy game, in what's been a pretty unusual weekend for goalscoring.

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3. We have a plan for the future.

That does not excuse making poor substitutions and surrendering a 3 goal lead.

Of course not, but things are not as bleak as they seem today.

We were playing against one of the most expensively assembled strikeforces in Europe. Work is still needed, but we all knew that. More will come in January. Harewood and Petrov are only stop-gaps. They are not the future.

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3. We have a plan for the future.

That does not excuse making poor substitutions and surrendering a 3 goal lead.

Of course not, but things are not as bleak as they seem today.

We were playing against one of the most expensively assembled strikeforces in Europe. Work is still needed, but we all knew that. More will come in January. Harewood and Petrov are only stop-gaps. They are not the future.

£12M for stop-gaps?

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Very well written John. 100% accurate though personally I think the buck should lie more with MON:

1. Substitutions: As written earlier where was Berger? I wish also we had kept hold of someone like McCann. He would have been great after we were 4-1 up last night!

2. Defending so Deep. Spurs are known for scoring goals not keeping them out. Their defence was awful yesterday. So why play to their strengths and let them attack and attack? It was only a matter of time and he could see the lads were tiring.

Moving on at 5pm if you had told me I would leave work to watch Villa Score 4 at Spurs but only to leave with 1 point I would have taken it. Especially at the start of the season they were seen as potential challenges for European places. In the last 8 weeks people need to remember we have beaten Chelsea, Everton, drawn to Newcastle and Spurs all European contenders. We should all take a positive from this.

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I diagree with a lot of the remarks made above, to be honest.

Where I do agree is that our inability, collectively, to look after the ball was essentially the cause of our dropping some points. There was a lack of collective calmness or maturity in the team, that meant we were playing, at times, desperation football, rather than playing with the authority a big lead should have given us.

Basically when a team is set up to play on the break, as we are, it is essential that when you get the ball, you don't just hoof it up the pitch as we did too often, but pass it to the players with pace and skill.

I also agree with the comments about the substitutions having an adverse effect, but equally I can see why Luke went off. He'd worked hard, but was not much of a threat. I guess he needs a goal, having had a couple of good ones wrongly disallowed this season he's yet to get off the mark.

The manager can't know that Harewood was going to be so utterly blunderingly stupid as he was.

Taking Gardner off for Petrov, rather mystified me. Gardener was doing OK, and had a decent game - he did look after the ball - but he was already booked, so maybe that was why he came off? but then why move the also booked Reo-Coker out wide into Gardner's position?

Although we let in 4 goals I don't blame either of the central defenders, or the goalkeeper who to me all played pretty well. The problem was that Spurs were allowed to get at them so many times, through our midfield and down their left.

I think in the end you simply have to learn the lessons from the mistakes, accept that the result was fair, whatever order the goals came in, and move along. I don't think we should worry about it as a team. It was just a crazy game, in what's been a pretty unusual weekend for goalscoring.

I largely agree with your comments blandy, but i have one concern.

One of the most common lines in football is " we will learn from this" if it is meant with sincerity and a damn burning ambition to right the wrongs on the trianing ground then fine, but all too often it is actually a cop out.

I have had faith in Martin O'Neill from the outset and something tells me he will get it right, but we are way off just yet..... However I do not share his views on last nights game, according to his comments in the B,ham Mail.

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I largely agree with your comments blandy, but i have one concern.

One of the most common lines in football is " we will learn from this" if it is meant with sincerity and a damn burning ambition to right the wrongs on the trianing ground then fine, but all too often it is actually a cop out.

I have had faith in Martin O'Neill from the outset and something tells me he will get it right, but we are way off just yet..... However I do not share his views on last nights game, according to his comments in the B,ham Mail.

I think, TRO, that what MON said in the paper, and what he actually thinks are, in this instance, not the same thing.

Watching on the telly, during the game, I'm absolutely certain that MON felt like we did - we were not doing some of the simple things right. Now after the game, he can either say as much, knowing perhaps that his young side were already well depressed and to do so would make it worse, or alternatively, as he did, kind of brush off some aspects, stress some positives and put the "misfortune" down to "one of those things" - HE knows, we know, it wasn't really unavoidable. There was a lot we could and should have done better. The players know it too.

To my amateur psychology at least, he did the right thing. I saw his interview, and uncharactersitically he commented on the ref as a main point. That's atypical.

He knows full well what the cause was. He has to stop it, the players have to stop it. Part of that is the avoidance of "panic" - Spurs have that panic, and it's doing them no good, for example.

So you're right, but on this occasion I think MO'N isn't in denial. Good point, though.

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