Tottenham Hotspur's season is not off to a terrific start. They've followed up a 2-1 loss at Newcastle with a 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion. To their credit, WBA are a heck of a lot better than anyone thought they were going to be this season, and have claimed two stellar results to start their year.
I am extremely annoyed, and I am trying to be rational about it. It's the second game of the season, we're short in midfield, it was Jan Vertonghen's first start and Emmanuel Adebayor was not yet ready to start. I am in no condition to write a match report that is remotely coherent, level-headed and informative, but everyone has to pay the rent.
As much as I want to jump down everyone's throat after watching an entirely avoidable stoppage time equalizer go in, Tottenham were not bad until the final 20 minutes of the match and were the much better side throughout the first half. They had a Jermain Defoe goal disallowed (correctly) by offside, and it was only offside by a few centimeters. The team had plenty of chances in the first half and dominated possession in the first 45 as well. West Bromwich Albion did not look dangerous for most of the match.
Then, there was the sub. Everything was fine for 63 minutes before West Brom brought on Romelu Lukaku, who is essentially a truck moonlighting as a footballer. He's still a teenager and can't play for a Chelsea team with no good strikers, but he caused Vertonghen and William Gallas to absolutely soil themselves. For a half-hour, he completely terrorized the Tottenham back line to the point that, when the equalizer came, everyone felt like it was deserved for the Baggies.
Spurs' goal was a lucky one. Benoit Assou-Ekotto netted it in the 74th minute, following a corner kick. A poor corner by Gylfi Sigurdsson was cleared, but fell to Assou-Ekotto. He unloaded on a shot and it took a deflection that fooled Ben Foster before going into the net.
Then, the derps started. Spurs' defended poorly on every West Brom set piece for the rest of the match and needed multiple clearances off the line to take a lead into stoppage time. James Morrison eventually scored a well-deserved goal for the Baggies, sending them home with a great point.
- Jake Livermore followed up the 3000 word post I wrote about him with a very lackluster day. Not that he was poor, but he just wasn't great distributing the ball.
- Sandro is a very good defensive midfielder and had another solid game.
- Jermain Defoe is what he is. He's a good bench option for when we want to go to two strikers. He should never start. This team needs a backup for Emmanuel Adebayor, because Defoe is not it.
- Vertonghen's debut was bad. I have faith that he will improve, but this was a poor performance.
- Brad Friedel was at fault for the last goal. He could have easily come off the line to claim the ball, and he did not.
- Rafael Van der Vaart was good in his time on the pitch, but once again, he could only go 60 minutes. This will never cease to annoy me.
- Assou-Ekotto was the man of the match by a wide margin. In addition to his goal, he was a terror down the left, defended well, and had a goal line clearance. It was a spectacular performance that stuck out like a sore thumb among everyone else's very mediocre game.