Unsurprisingly, well to me anyway, there is talk of unrest in the Spurs camp. Tim Sherwood it is reported is unhappy and very frustrated with the attitude of some of his players. He has questioned their professionalism, which is code for laziness, for not trying, for not caring, for going through the motions.
Having had a full week to prepare the players to play a side they struggled to beat early in the season, Lennon winning a penalty for Soldado to score, the team who came out clearly didn't want to put any effort in. Effort is a given, you don't try when you don't want to and if only a few do that then the whole performance is affected.
Our punt forward and a fast asleep Palace defence directly after the break was the cause of our improved second half performance. Players could relax a little, feel more confident and it meant Palace coming at us which opened up the space for us to play. Without that early goal who knows what sort of performance we would have seen. With a whole week to prepare we shouldn't have seen the performance in the first half in the first place, a performance which meant the game should have been dead and buried at half-time.
Teams play bad, that is accepted, what they don't do is play as if they are the worst club in the league, which was the standard of our first half performance. To ignore that and shrug it off as a blip, pretending similar bad performances won't happen is unrealistic.
The signs are worrying.
There is a band of supporters who do not see the countless mistakes Chiriches makes every game. This affects others, he is putting enormous pressure on Dawson to try to do two jobs and get him out of trouble. But let's take a look at the whole of the left side of our defence and see how this is affecting the right side.
Being the best player in one of the worst teams in the league does not make you a top 4 standard player which is what we need. I was quite vocal that Danny Rose was not the answer and that if he played we would not finish in the top 4. I nailed my colours to the mast in that respect.
If he has someone in front of him helping him out then he has less to worry about. However he rarely has that and with Eriksen in front of him it's hit and miss whether he gets help. Sigurdsson is just the same but then he is not a winger, Townsend has been the same to date as well, so has Chadli.
Lennon on our right shows how it should be done providing an attacking threat but still getting back to make our right side the tightest in the league last season. We need to discover which left sided player can add the defensive side to the attacking side consistently pick them. Injuries mean we don't know who that will be but I suspect in the end it may be Townsend, hopefully we have seen the last of him on the right.
Danny the Wanderer is frequently out of position and like Chiriches is poor at reading a game. When I say out of position I don't mean when he has gone upfield as that is part of the job profile but he is not sure where he should be when he is defending. The area between him and Chiriches is an open invitation to sides.
He is still learning how to be a defender, it's not natural for him but when he gets forward should he not be in his element? As a former winger should he not be able to cross the ball because his delivery into the box rarely seems to beat the first man.
Chiriches has weaknesses galore. He is poor in the air which should be a centre-halves strength. West Ham for instance just punted the ball at him and won it every time. Frequently he tries to be too clever one on one having to resort to fouling opponents and has been lucky to come away with the ball on a number of occasions this season.
Manchester United failed to take numerous chances they created by simply passing the ball past him into the space behind. Chiriches didn't track back he simply looked around and watched United score their first and the their players overrun the ball and fluff golden opportunities, usually Hernandez.
That happened on at least 4 occasions and has been a common theme since his arrival. His passes out of defence are frequently straight to the opposition putting us under immediate pressure in our own half.
Couple his glaring deficiencies with those of Rose and it is no wonder that Dawson is drawn constantly away from Walker. Last season the Dawson Walker combination was tight, they were close together. Now having to cover for Chiriches that gap has widened to become a weakness. Walker is in fact now having to be prepared to cover for Dawson knowing he will frequently be pulled too far left.
Will Chiriches improve with a better left-back? Will he have to provide less cover and be able to concentrate on improving his own game? Will that close the gaping hole between him and the left-back? It should, a left-back may be what he needs to settle down and grow.
The weakness in the air isn't going to go away though so we will always be vulnerable at set pieces and corners or from long balls. Will he learn to read balls in behind him or even learn to react in time to them? I have my doubts, grave doubts.
He is not going to be able to improve his speed so he has to improve his reading otherwise too much danger lurks for him to be reliable. Vertonghen is not the quickest but his reading of the game is brilliant, he anticipates and moves to cut out potential not simply react to it the way Chiriches does at the moment.
Reading the game is key to defending. It separates players and keeps them in a certain standard brackets. It is better to have a player who can naturally read the way Dawson and Vertonghen do then a reaction player like Chiriches.
It causes too many problems and it takes years to learn the art.
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Monday, 13 January 2014
Rose/Chiriches disrupt the Dawson/Walker partnership