Workplace Nightmare

Post 41

Spurs 2 West Ham 3 (Carabao Cup)

Spurs are now P3, W1, D0, L2 against West Ham since this Blog began. We lost 0-1 away in the league last season (May, Post 8), won 3-2 away in the league this season (September, Post 32) and lost 2-3 at Wembley in the league cup last night (October, Post 41).

Let’s face it. To be 1-0-2 over six months against West Ham is NOT good enough. And this was the most shocking performance of the three. I am not a knee-jerk fan who rants and raves the moment anything goes wrong. But last night was pathetic. Particularly after leading 2-0 at halftime.

So what went wrong? Firstly, arrogance. Over-confidence at a minimum. We were playing in 2nd-3rd gear throughout, more like a training ground exercise than a boisterous London derby cup-tie. I get that Pochettino is trying to change Spurs mentality. To make us league title candidates rather than our easier-option heritage as cup kings. It’s financial priorities too. You don’t sell more shirts in Asia by winning the Carabao Cup.

But it would still be nice for us all to win a cup in the meantime. To win something. At Wembley. This Season. And above all not to lose to effing West Ham. Our players must surely know that of all the football tribes we detest gloating at us, or trolling us, it’s the Hammers? Their rabid enmity for us is tangible, even if we’d rather focus on bigger fish. It is a ‘workplace nightmare’ to have to suffer them after a defeat. Twice in six months is not acceptable.

Somehow I knew.

‘Gut’ is an amazing thing. You know something in your gut. Gut feel. That instinct that man has been refining since prehistoric times.”

(And it Came to Pass, Post 8)

That’s what I wrote before we lost 0-1 last May. In my gut, I somehow knew we’d lose that match, despite how well we were playing (our only defeat amongst 12 wins in the final 13 PL matches of last season).

Last night, I had the same feeling. Even after Dele scored, I resisted text-taunting my West Ham colleague who was in the away section. My gut knew at 2-0 it still wasn’t over.

So, apart from arrogance, what else went wrong? Poch’s selection. I understand the need for rotation, resting key players for Saturday against Man U, blooding youngsters, etc. It was a good enough team to win, no doubt. But there was one glaring error I recognized before kick-off.

With Sanchez in our back-line, we win that match. Tactically, West Ham had one chance. Fight. And that old English classic of ‘put it in the mixer’. They’re a big team and they have decent set piece delivery. That’s it, apart from Lanzini. It was obvious what they’d try and do to us, especially with their selection.

A back-three of Foyth, Alderweireld and Davies wasn’t big enough. And certainly not with Trippier and Rose as the wing backs. Vorm’s a decent reserve keeper but he’s not dominant in the air. The selection of those six as our defensive combination for this particular match was misguided.

Dier, Sissoko, Dele and Llorente add height and bulk against corners and freekicks but we somehow had Trippier and Son marking Ogbonna for the 3rd goal. Vorm spills the first goal, the defence gets in an almighty muddle for the 2nd, we give away the 3rd. Then, with 15 minutes to go, we start hoisting crosses into West Ham’s box to try and save the game. After we’d already taken Llorente off. In fact, I don’t remember Llorente heading the ball all game. I hope the final whistle hurt the players as much as it did me.

Bad attitude, bad tactics, bad execution.

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