Tactically the team was set up in excellent balance. We may not be able to get our heads round exactly what Roberto Martinez came up with, but what he did was pure genius. Instead of panicking and recalling the slow Gary Caldwell, Martinez used the pace and exuberance of his two James’s to devastate the Tottenham midfield.
The idea was that one would drop into the back line when it got tight as a pair of fast legs to chase after the speedy forwards that Tottenham have; or more importantly keep the potent Gareth Bale in check. With the two James acting in a defensive style partnership, Jordi Gomez was given free reign in the midfield.
Good idea? It is exactly how Jordi should be played. He got stuck in when he needed too, and was able to find the pockets of space in between the lines, when Shaun Maloney and Callum McManaman pulled their players wide.
In truth it shows the two options we hadagainst Tottenham when going forward. We could either look to play through the middle, or get the ball wide and get it in across the goal. In the second half we did exploit this too its fullest as Arouna Kone, Jean Beausejour and Callum McManaman managed to get into some excellent positions.
The problem was only one of those three managed to score or find that final crucial ball.
It was though the coming of age of a Callum McManaman who set the bar against Tottenham. The winger, who was unlucky to be brought off for Franco Di Santo, kept the Tottenham back line busy all afternoon. You always felt if anyone was going to score it would be Callum. There are a lot of positives we can take from the game. A lot of players had very excellent games, and many will be expected to continue their form for the remainder of the season. The problem is the lack of goals that we have got.
While other teams are finding the net drastically (Aston Villa’s 6-1 romp of Sunderland has to have us worried) we don’t seem to have that killer touch. Where we are excelling is in our defensive and midfield departments. If they can perform to the same high standard as they have in recent week against West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City in the next two games, then maybe we can sneak six points.
Shoots of hope are appearing, but are they coming to late in the season to bud into anything serious?
Keep the Faith!