Well, that was sort of icky.
Okay, so I didn't expect to get a result against Man United. I'm assuming most of you didn't either. But to have the deal sealed on a goal like that...wow. Sucks. I don't think that Mark Clattenburg screwed us, and even if he did it's half Gomes' fault anyway, but it's still a crappy way to go out. If you have no idea what the hell I'm talking about, I'll fill you in on what exactly happened in the match shortly.
The first goal of the match came in the 31st minute from Nemanja Vidic, and it was a nice one. Nani hit a perfect curling free kick from the right side of the pitch into the box that Vidic brilliantly headed past Gomes. There wasn't a whole lot the defense could do about the goal itself, but the opportunity shouldn't have happened in the first place.
United had a free kick in the first place thanks to a silly challenge by Younes Kaboul. For those of you who have been keeping up on things, that would make two consecutive games where a silly foul by Kaboul has directly led to a goal. Sebastien Bassong isn't the savior or anything, but he can't possibly screw up as much as Kaboul does. World class athlete or not, Kaboul unnecessarily trips people when they're posing no danger, getting Spurs into dangerous situations, all the damn time. When is Dawson getting healthy again? End of the month? Ugh.
Despite United going up early, we looked pretty good. We had a lot of the ball and tried to defend against United by keeping the ball as opposed to camping nine or ten men behind the ball. It was a pretty successful strategy, Kaboul and Gomes just found a way to screw it up. Of course, we didn't score a goal, so it's not like they lost the game by themselves, but we played some pretty decent football. This is, of course, with a couple of noticeable exceptions.
Even if you didn't see the match, you should be able to look at the team sheet and pick out the two more forward players who performed poorly. With Inter Milan looming in Champions League and a few shots of Jameson in his coffee, Harry Redknapp made the audacious decision of selecting Robbie Keane and Jermaine Jenas. To absolutely no one's surprise, both of them did f--k all and were generally f--king useless. I would like it a lot if both of these players were sold. Sandro on Brett Favre's ankles is better than Jermaine f--king Jenas. Sorry for all the F words, but this really pisses the hell out of me.
Aaron Lennon was solid while Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart, and Luka Modric were brilliant, but they had no help. Jenas and Keane gave the ball away over and over again. Statues would have been more useful. Adel Taarabt would have been more useful. Can't we just play with the corpse of Danny Blanchflower in the center of midfield? Jesus.
Okay, rant over. On to the second goal, which came in the 84th minute. Basically, if you didn't see it, Nani handled the ball in the box. Gomes assumed that a free kick was given even though Mark Clattenburg didn't see the handball and didn't give a free kick. Gomes picked up the ball, threw it in front of him, and looked around for options like he was going to take a free kick. Of course, this free kick didn't exist. Nani stood over the ball, waited for confirmation from Clattenburg that the ball was, indeed, still in play, and then tapped it past Gomes. Was it unsporting? Possibly. Should a free kick have been given? Of course. Is Gomes a jackass for not playing to the whistle? YES. This is the biggest problem. Gomes screwed up, big time. He is more to blame for the goal than anyone else, and the bitching about Clattenburg needs to stop. The goal was fair and should have stood.
It was a really unfortunate blow. By that time, we had taken off both of our useless players and were starting to look really decent. We weren't dominating the game or anything, United were still very much in it, but an equalizer had looked very possible for the entire second half, and especially since Roman Pavlyuchenko came on for Keane in the 62nd. It really was a classic Spurs performance. Play good football, have a couple flashes of brilliance, and ultimately shoot yourself in the foot multiple times.
So, even though the goals were icky and Harry didn't put out a starting eleven that gave us a good chance to win, it's not a huge deal. We lost a game that we were supposed to lose. It happens. We're still in fifth place, which is where most of us expected to be. The sky is not falling, although Rafa almost turned me into Chicken Little.
When van der Vaart pulled up lame, clenching at his hamstring after about 75 minutes, I thought he had torn it. With no Defoe and no VDV, our attack would become totally impotent and we'd be playing an absurdly slow Crouch-Pav combination up top or praying that Geovani Dos Santos could finally fulfill his promise. Fortunately, Rafa trained today and will, at the very worst, be available off the bench against Inter.
I'll be previewing that one Tuesday morning, so stop back. Inter were pretty meh against Genoa at the weekend, but they have Cambiasso back, so there should be a lot to talk about.