This back-of-shirt photo is exactly how I felt after the match today. Slightly humbled by West Brom's second-half performance as the first half for them was nothing to blog about. Let me start by saying it wasn't a loss; it was a draw. Obviously, it won't wash with a lot of you, though. It certainly didn't wash with the 7,000+ Spurs fans I sat with in the South Stand either. Our maiden home game under AVB was sweetened at half time by an appearance from our new club ambassador and all-out legend, Ledley King. It then appeared to blossom into something gaining momentum when Assou-Ekotto's "have-a-bash-son" volley broke the deadlock three-fourths of the way through. But cometh the one-and-a-half hour mark, cometh the Morrison from West Brom, who slid a neat shot low into the right-hand side of the net to make everything sour on the stroke of 90 minutes.
In the first half our football was again very tidy and the defence was organised, save for a slight miscalculation by Vertonghen at the back. He made up for his mistake spectacularly with some dogged defending later on.
Livermore did surprisingly well in centre midfield with a hybrid of Parker's ball-hungry defending and his playmaking which—if I may inflate his ego to bursting point just for a few seconds—had hints of Modric vision.
Maybe West Brom were given the better half time team talk. They sat back too much in the first half to no avail as Spurs peppered their box with attack, just without the goal to prove it.
In the second half, they made use of the counter attack like Spurs did and with Lukaku as the spearhead, it looked to be working. Only our centrebacks and Friedel stood in the way and did until the final few minutes when a well-earnt three pointer for Spurs turned into despair and a reaction similar to when we lost 0-1 at home to Wigan one summer...in fact, come to think of it, it might be exactly two years to the day! Someone please check that...cheers.
All the work we believed AVB had done was unravelled during a frantic defensive scramble to clear the ball from Spurs' penalty box but it was being pinged around like a hot potato in a pinball machine. Morrison leveled the score for West Brom, cue Arsenal-style mass exodus...
Towards the end, our formation (looked like a 4-5-1) began to deteriorate with Vertonghen moving too far up on his own and Livermore taking his place which opened up a massive void in centre midfield for Lukaku to roam around in; a void so massive that I thought at any moment, he could swing his arms around, twirl and sing the opening song of The Sound of Music on our nice new turf while the subs were coming on.
Not sure if AVB wanted a more total-football approach or Vertonghen thought he'd try one anyway but it almost cost us another game. The substitution of Defoe for Jenas was a daft one to say the least. I know Adebayor needed a position but maybe it could've been modified to a 4-4-1-1 to accommodate both strikers. It looked too much like Redknapp's choice of Parker coming in against Aston Villa when we were trying to take a lead rather than keep one.
I would like to hope that we go from strength to strength—from a loss to a draw to a win. But it will take some major tweaking of the midfield and what should be simple, close-range passing.
Saying all that, I would like to say I won't be too happy if I have to come on here after every loss and defend AVB from fans who already had the long knives out for him before his first pre-season friendly. His building of a team will take time. Rome wasn't built in a day, Roman never gave him a day. It is one occasion where if we are in such an equivalent as Rome, we should NOT do what that Roman did. It helps neither the team or the media's coverage of the team. They are the pied pipers leading the torch and pitchfork parade towards AVB on a daily basis just because it's easy to and he hasn't already led Spurs to a 10-0 away victory against Newcastle.
I'm sorry AVB-haters, but if you no longer want to ride this roller coaster of stress, despair and appreciated celebration which you've come to know well as a Spurs fan, you know where to get off.
Good things come to those who wait. Ain't that right, Abramovich...