A Cow, a Banjo and Tottenham
25 shots. 15 off target, 10 on target. 1 goal.
Lets, go through that again. 25 shots, 15 of those off target. 1 goal.
And this is from a team in the Champions League, who beat AC Milan, competing for the same competition next season.
Part of me is laughing, the other half is crying.
Who do you blame? Everyone, lets try that. Tottenham’s strikers this season have scored eight goals in the league. Eight. That is less than Rafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale, two midfielders. Six of these goals have come from Roman Pavlyuchenko, two from Peter Crouch (puts him level with the likes of Niko Kranjcar and Alan Hutton) and zero from Jermain Defoe.
Cast your mind back to the 2009-10 season, Chelsea at home in April, when they won 2-1. There you can find Defoe’s last goal in the Premier League. A penalty in the fifteenth minute, dispatched into the left corner. If you want his last goal in open play, well, that would be March 13th. That is eleven months ago. For a striker, that is simply inexcusable.
Fair enough, Defoe did miss the first three months of this season, but since November has had three months to make an impact. And all I remember him doing is winning a flick on to van der Vaart for the first goal in Spurs comeback against Arsenal. The rest of the time he has been hopeless. He’s not been the same since his injury? Fair enough, maybe that could be reason, just needs a bit of confidence, score a goal, then he’ll be back to his best.
So explain the two goals against FC Twente in the 3-3 draw. Or maybe the two in the FA Cup match against Charlton. Was that not enough, he seemed clinical enough then. Defoe needs a rest, there is no way he has lost quality since last season, heck, those five goals against Wigan, that was only fifteen months ago. I know a lot can change but it is hardly three years. He is only 28, in theory, at the peak of his career, and for some reason, it is just not happening. His shooting against Blackpool was woeful, chances in the past he would have buried were ending up in Row Z, it was a pain to watch. Pain to see a quality player playing so badly.
Alongside Defoe against Blackpool was Roman Pavlyuchenko. The Russian, who this time last season was having a resurgence, the popular player everyone wanted to see play, he did, and my God he was good. 9 goals in 6 games at one point, then he inevitably stopped scoring for a bit, but hey, who cares about that eh. What a man, give Pav a chance, he got it, took it, and decided that since he was up there, he thought he could stay there forever, no one will change their opinions on him.
Six goals, he might be the best striker at the club, but for a striker who has played all season. No injuries, no problems. Two of his goals were tap ins, though two of them were beautiful (the volley against Bolton and the one against Chelsea). He is the player who doesn’t turn up for 89 minutes and for that 1 minute does something pretty good for once. The prime example being Young Boys away, dire, I mean dire for the first 85 minutes then scores a right screamer to make it 3-2. But most times this season, he doesn’t turn up for those 90 minutes. A whole game. He’s often anonymous, every first touch he makes, a cute little rabbit cries.
He did score against Blackpool, albeit a long range effort deflected in. Nothing really you can shout about.
He’s useless frankly. No use at all for Tottenham. And the same can be said of Peter Crouch. Crouch is useful for those games in Europe. He was dangerous against Werder Bremen in Germany, the hat-trick against Young Boys, and was dynamic against AC Milan. But the rest of the time? His first league goal came in November, his second at the start of February. 6’7 of a waste of a space in the 25 man squad.
Why didn’t Spurs get a striker in January? It was plainly obvious they needed one, yet only ended up with Steven Pienaar and Bogani Khumalo. Two players they didn’t really need. Two players yet to make a mark on the team. They spent the last two days bidding for every striker in Spain, coming close to both Forlan and Rossi. Yet the neglect to remember the other 29 days in January, in which it was very easy to buy a striker.
And my word has that shown. Against Blackpool they needed a clinical striker, and they didn’t have one. Same can be said for the game against Manchester United. Poor business all round by everyone.
Spurs have a brilliant midfield (when fit). Which team wouldn’t want Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart and Luka Modric playing for them. And then there is Tom Huddlestone who plays the defensive midfield role far better than anyone else.
So why can’t the strikers score for toffee? Confidence? Maybe, but all three lacking from confidence at once is a big coincidence.
Basically, I don’t think Crouch or Pavlyuchenko are good enough for Tottenham. They should be sold in the summer and make way for two new, world class strikers. Karim Benzema, Luis Fabiano, Diego Forlan, I don’t care who. Anyone.
But they could still all score, why not? I mean, shouldn’t the coach who helps with the strikers also be held responsible here?
Come on out, Les Ferdinand, what exactly do you do? How is it since you came in to Tottenham the quality of the strikers has gone down hill. That means Defoe, Pavlyuchenko, Crouch even Robbie Keane. What do you do?
I’d love an answer, because I’ve seen nothing. It is getting worse and worse, and Blackpool showed a Champions League side a lesson in finishing. They had seven shots, scored from three. Spurs had twenty-five, scored from one. That one being in the last minute which will only slightly improve the goal difference.
Remember at the start of the 2008-09 season, 2 points from 8 games and all that. Gomes was looking hapless and Spurs couldn’t drop him (well, they could, but that would mean playing Cesar Sanchez, no thanks). In came Tony Parks, new goalkeeping coach, and suddenly he started playing like Gianluigi Buffon. The same can be applied to the strikers, get a new guy in, and they will start scoring again. We will all be happy, Champions League here we come.
Maybe not that extreme, yet.
It is a blip on the highs this season has to offer. But I fear it will grow, there will be games like Blackpool coming up. I admire Blackpool, they were battered, but were clinical, the counter attacking football they played was excellent, setting up the second and third goals (even if one of them was offside). Change needs to be made, and goals need to be scored.