Anzhi Makhachkala 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Europa League – Group Stage)
Until a few months ago, this game would have been viewed as a real test in the Europe League group stages. However, it’s a struggle to describe just how bad Anzhi have become since the likes of Willian, Eto’o, Diarra and Samba departed the club. This could easily have been more, AVB deciding to keep it nice and smooth for the second half especially. We played decent stuff, but had we been bothered a bit more, this one could have been five at least.
Performance Rating: Grade B; Overall, a much easier game than expected, was disappointed not to see more goals.
Tottenham Hotspur 0-3 West Ham United
As bad as Anzhi were in the previous game, this game put that in the shade. This was an abject performance, and nobody in a white shirt could hold their head high at the final whistle. Not that we deserved to lose 3-0, but it was almost hurtful to watch our continental, European trophy-winning manager getting completely tactically outplayed by Sam Allardyce. Without doubt Jan Vertonghen’s worst game in a Spurs shirt, and a game that should be showed to any Spurs fan wanting Defoe up top on his own. Selfish to the end, no link-up play whatsoever, and he must have frustrated most of the midfielders he’s played with in his entire career. All in all, sombre reality checks for the, “best defence in Europe.”
Performance Rating: Grade U; The worst home performance I’ve seen since we lost 1-5 to Man City. Everything went wrong, and gutting that it came against West Ham.
Aston Villa 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Coming back after the international break, a certain Andros Townsend was now flavour of the month after some remarkable performances for England. He returned to the Spurs fold with his first goal of the season at Villa Park, ironically a cross after previously having the most shots in the league without scoring. We controlled large parts of the game, Villa had chances but never anything that worrying, and Roberto Soldado managed to get a small monkey off of his back with his first Spurs goal from open play.
Performance Rating: Grade B; After being worried the West Ham game would open our defensive floodgates, the main positive was keeping a clean sheet. Was never worried about losing this after we scored, controlled the game very well.
FC Sheriff Tiraspol 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Europa League – Group Stage)
Back to the Europa League this time, travelling to Moldova (not Northern Ireland, as Lewis Holtby for some reason believed) to play one of the best named teams in football, FC Sheriff Tiraspol. Who, to be fair, were better than most Spurs fans had been led to believe.
They really gave us a game, for the first 20 minutes especially, and Vertonghen’s goal from Eriksen’s cross really helped us settle. Defoe added a routine second, and we now only need a win in the reverse fixture to qualify with 2 games to spare.
Performance Rating: Grade B; Good to keep a 100% record in Europe, without conceding. It’s hard to judge how happy I should be with a Europa League group stage win, but 3 points is 3 points.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Hull City A.F.C:
A game that will never be remembered for the footballing reasons by fellow Spurs fans. It was dreary, nearly sending me to sleep on my birthday, and it took a very fortunate penalty decision to give us the breakthrough. The game was followed by criticisms of the atmosphere by our own manager, and Andre has been lucky to avoid too much of a backlash from that, despite me agreeing with him to an extent. Andros Townsend managed to give a Daily Mail reporter a cut to the head though, which is always nice.
Performance Rating: Grade C; While it’s 3 points on the board, it’s worrying that this isn’t enough for most Spurs fans. We like to be entertained, as do I, but I’d take 25 1-0 wins if we won the league at the end of the season.
Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Hull City A.F.C. (Capital One Cup, AET) (Tottenham win 8-7 on penalties):
We had a bit of a Hull marathon in the last week, getting drawn against them in the Capital One Cup, playing the same fixture only three days previously. A game in which history was made, as Tottenham, finally, won a penalty shootout for the first time since 1994. Another sluggish performance, but this time with the White Hart Lane crowd in healthy voice. It’s not ideal to go the distance in a cup tie, with a tough game against Everton to follow, but winning that penalty shootout was the most satisfying part of this season so far. The major disappointment of the shootout being from Erik Lamela, whose confidence has been visibly low since his arrival from A.S. Roma for £30million, and his miss will have done him no favours.
Performance Rating: Grade C with extra credit; Happy to have won a penalty shootout for the first time, when you follow Tottenham and England it’s a painful existence when it comes to that. But it should never have gone that far, and more than likely will have impacted on our game at the weekend, playing 120+ minutes.
Overall Rating: B for boring; We must try harder. Spurs fans, myself included, like and respect AVB, but if really wants to build something at Tottenham, it’s going to take a little bit more high-tempo. He knows he needs the fans onside, and we are for now.