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Review: Tottenham 2-2 Werder Bremen

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Obviously, if you would have told me the match was going to be a 2-2 draw before it started, I would have taken it. In fact, that's exactly what I predicted a mere 20 minutes before the match. Werder and Spurs are pretty evenly matched teams, but that's not what it looked like in the first 30 minutes of the game.

No, in the first 30 minutes, Spurs absolutely dominated. The first goal, an own goal, came as a result of the brilliant work of Gareth Bale and would have been finished easily by Peter Crouch if it wasn't tapped into the back of the net by Petri Pasanen. The second goal came just six minutes later off of a brilliant header by Peter Crouch. Spurs continued to create opportunities, but would fail to score again. Of course, they would come to regret this.

Despite struggling to create opportunities while Spurs dominated in the first half, Werder were able to find their breakthrough in the 43rd minute. In a move that was completely against the run of play. Hugo Almeida headed home a perfectly placed cross that dropped just between Ledley King and Benoit Assou-Ekotto and was too far out for Carlo Cudicini to reach. It was that goal that gave Werder the motivation to press on and take over the game.

Only two minutes into the second half, Marko Marin equalized with a brilliant strike from 25 yards away. Only two minutes later, Rafael van der Vaart was subbed off because of fitness issues. That substitution would allow Werder Bremen to dominate the midfield for the rest of the game.

Both teams created a fair number of chances with Werder dominating the play in the second half, but the match would end 2-2. It was a fair result, as both teams had played well enough to earn a point and neither had played poorly enough to lose.

While the substitution of van der Vaart was obviously motivated by fitness, not tactics, and had to be made, the decision to bring on Robbie Keane was a curious one. Actually, I'm being generous. The decision to bring on Robbie Keane was a poor one. Unsurprisingly, it took all of five minutes for Robbie Keane to singlehandedly kill three separate attacking moves with his atrocious passing. For the better part of 45 minutes, Keane was absolutely useless. Every time I heard the color commentator use the words "positive" or "skill" in reference to Robbie Keane, I felt as if I needed an antacid. The only appropriate sentence using those three terms would be "I am positive that Robbie Keane lacks the skill to play at this level."

Say what you will about the deficiencies of Peter Crouch, but he worked his tail off today. This is more than can be said about Roman Pavlyuchenko on most days. In the departments of technical ability, tactical acumen, and pace, Pav is superior to Crouch by a fair margin. When it comes to work ethic, Pavlyuchenko's ability is...sporadic? In the games where he runs and fights as hard as he can for every ball, Pavlyuchenko is Tottenham's best striker. This happens about once every four appearances. Today, Crouch's work ethic was a massive contribution to Spurs' great first half and it was encouraging to see that they are able to play with him as a lone striker.

As good as we were in the first half, I think we have to consider what might have been if Thomas Schaaf had the [balls/brains?] to start all three of Marko Marin, Wesley, and Aaron Hunt. It was obvious that the game began to change when Hunt was brought on for Bargfrede, but it really changed in the second half. Having all three of those players on the pitch was just too much of a demand on Jermaine Jenas and Tom Huddlestone, making the Keane for van der Vaart substitution even more puzzling. It's not like Aaron Hunt entered the game after Keane did, he was brought on in the 37th minute. Harry saw how much Hunt changed the game and brought Keane on for VdV? Mind-boggling. The fact that we got straight-up creamed once Werder had their best team on the pitch is not encouraging.

Negatives aside, a point is a point. Getting a point on the road against Werder is a great result. The 2-2 draw between Twente and Inter Milan was a good result for us as well. Nothing that happened today changed the qualification prospects of any of the four teams in Group A. All four teams have reasons for concern and reasons to be optimistic.

Hopefully, Spurs forget about all of the things they screwed up today and take the momentum from their play in the first half into this weekend. A home match against Wolves should be three points, but based on what we've seen this season, it's nowhere near a lock, especially if Kevin Doyle and Steven Fletcher are both 90 minutes fit.