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Monday, 22 February 2016

Palace defeat raised a few issues

There were a few issues that came to light in the defeat to Crystal Palace, although we played well enough to have won the game, we were ultimately undone. 

It was always going to happen and will do every now and then, that Michel Vorm and the defence are not as one. A long punt upfield caused havoc in our defence and Walker headed back to Vorm who had come into no-mans land. He has partially come out in case the striker got the ball but it did mean Walker's header then went over him towards the net. Presumably, that means Walker or the defenders didn't receive a call. He scrambled back to save the day.

The defence have to have total confidence in their keeper and the communication between them has to be excellent, just as in any other area of the field, everybody needs to know what each other is doing, it causes confusion at the back when they don't. In a separate incident, the ball flashed across our 6-yard box from a corner with suggestions that Vorm should have collected the ball. He possibly could have done, but if you give him the benefit of doubt and say he could see there was no striker anywhere near the ball, then it was safe to simply let it run out of harms way.

We then move onto Danny Rose who was excellent going forward but was making some rash decisions in defence. As for the goal, his cross-field ball was inexplicable. He is left footed which means if he hits the ball with his instep it will curl to the right, Walker, who he was aiming for, was to his left. He would have had to hit the ball perfectly for the ball to go straight, but his body was in the wrong position to do so, the ball was coming at him from the wrong angle for the pass he attempted. His execution was 30 to 40 yards out.

That throw in led to their goal, it was the root cause. He does a lot of good work but at times he makes the wrong decisions, doing so when you are under no pressure can, as we have saw, lead to a goal. The same happened to Nabil Bentaleb at Old Trafford.

Talking of Bentaleb, he was the biggest worry in the game. Defensively there wasn't a problem, even when we took Dembele off and played with one defensive midfielder defending wasn't the issue.

Last season Pochettino asked him to work on his passing and I highlighted it before the game. There were quite a few instances during the game when he didn't know what to do with the ball, several times he received it just beyond the half way line and couldn't find a pass, The result he resorted to trying to ping long balls. Switching play is part and parcel of the role, but that happens quickly. It shouldn't be a slow decision, not a last resort decision. Players were making moves for him, sometimes you have to play a ball to receive it straight back as you draw an opponent out of position and create a hole for someone to exploit. Benteleb seemed reluctant to play a forward ball that could be bounced straight back to him.

He looked short of what we require. That may have been ring rustiness although players have to perform when they come in and take their chance. He passing and decision making were suspect and he'll need to work on them.

The defeat leaves us challenging on two fronts, the defeat will hopefully give everyone a kick and remind them games have to be won, they aren't given.



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  1. Agree totally on all counts. For me, Bentaleb has shown he will be in the Spurs shopfront window come the end of May.
    Why Poch decided to sub Dembele instead of Bentaleb can hopefully be put down to protecting Moussa for Thursday.

  2. Agree totally on all counts. For me, Bentaleb has shown he will be in the Spurs shopfront window come the end of May.
    Why Poch decided to sub Dembele instead of Bentaleb can hopefully be put down to protecting Moussa for Thursday.

  3. Blaming Rose for giving away a throw-in, is fine - but, that's not why we conceded... No-one tracked Kelly's run - that was the key issue (not a misplaced pass...)

  4. Agree about Bentaleb: he needs to keep things as simple as possible (like Dier does in the role) - all he needed to do is find Dembele/Eriksen/Mason with a simple ball and let them find the trickier pass...

  5. Without a throw-in there is no goal, thus the Rose pass is the root cause of the goal. There were mistakes after, but they come after the root cause, He stop the root cause the rest doesn't happen.



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