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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
Tottenham Hotspur may have taken their place in the draw for the second round of the UEFA Cup, but not even the most ardent of their fans will have been convinced by this lacklustre, disjointed performance. Despite taking the lead in the second half and, in doing so, wiping out the danger of the away goal, the London side never looked safe.

You can talk about the damage caused by Daniel Levy's foolish decision to try to squeeze more cash out of Manchester United for Dimitar Berbatov, and you can point to the enforced sale of Robbie Keane, but Juande Ramos is going to have to start taking his share of the blame for this dreadful start to the season. Tottenham have no shortage of quality in their ranks, the only question is whether or not their manager actually knows how to use them.

Luka Modric is one of the finest attacking midfielders on the continent, yet Ramos started the season with him in the Makelele role, has experimented with him on the flanks and, for this vital clash, put him on the left side of a central three. Modric is a talisman. He needs to be given the space and the freedom to attack, to surge forward and to create chances. Seeing him like this is like watching a racehorse pulling a cart full of coal. He can do it adequately enough, but it seems a bit of a waste.

The flanks are the greyest area. Ramos seems overwhelmed with options and can't settle on a preferred line-up. Aaron Lennon got the nod here but, while David Bentley and Giovani sat on the bench, on the other side was centre-forward Frazier Campbell. The plan seemed to be to push one winger up as a secondary striker in support of Darren Bent whenever the other one had the ball, but it just never looked like working. Giovani has been Tottenham's most potent threat this season, but in a game where just one early goal would have settled the nerves, he was sat kicking his heels on the bench.

Confidence is so low at the back that the usually calm defensive pairing of Jonathan Woodgate and Ledley Kind disintegrated under a routine ball down the middle, allowing Krakow to equalise and set up a nerve-jangling final ten minutes for Spurs. They survived, but only just.

This was Tottenham's ninth game of the season, but has anyone got any idea what Ramos' preferred starting line-up is? Or even his favourite formation? Do you think he knows? Tottenham need some stability, they need some confidence and they need to turn this season around. Tomorrow they face Hull City, conquerors of Arsenal. It could get a lot worse for Tottenham fans before it gets better.

NO FIREPOWER - Do you remember when Darren Bent used to run onto through balls and crash home goal after goal? Tottenham have ruined him. There was one moment in the second half when he turned, fired in a shot and you caught just a glimpse of what he used to be. Aside from that, it's all just a distamt memory now

SURPRISE - What on earth was Didier Zokora doing making a 50 yard run on Wisla's goal in the second half. Usually he passes out if he crosses the halfway line. Obviously he blasted the eventual shot wide of the far post, but credit to him for going out beyond his depth.

GAPS IN THE DEFENCE - Where was Joanthan Woodgate for Wisla's equaliser? What was the system for marking at set-pieces? Why did no-one seem ot be taking the game seriously? Lots of questions for Juande Ramos and Guy Poyet to answer on the way home.

MAN OF THE MATCH - This was a truly dreadful game until the last ten minutes, but Gareth Bale was one of the few bright spots for Tottenham. It was his cross that set up the opening goal and, had his team-mates been sharper, he could have added to that single assist.

PUNTERS RANT - I suppose the sight of Tottenham actually winning a game must have been a bit of a shock, but then if you do get involved in these games, you can get burned. On paper, Spurs are a good side, but on grass they're terrible. One of these days they'll click, but they'll do it without my backing.


Heurelho Gomes 7, Chris Gunter 6, Ledley King 6, Joanthan Woodgate 6, Gareth Bale 7, Jermaine Jenas 5, Didier Zokora 6, Luka Modric 5 (Tom Huddlestone 6), Aaron Lennon 6 (Michael Dawson 6), Frazier Campbell 6 (Jamie O'Hara 6), Darren Bent 6

Mariusz Pawelek 6, Marcin Baszcynski 6, Arkadiusz Glowacki 7, Guedes Cleber 6, Piotr Blozek 6, Junior Diaz 7, Rafal Boguski 7 (Marcelo Filho 6), Roberto Cantoro 6 (Marek Zienczuk 6), Radoslaw Sobolewski 6, Tomas Jirsak 6 (Wojciech Lobodzinski 6), Pawel Brozek 7

Yellow Cards - Lobodzinski, Cleber (Wisla), Woodgate, Modric, Bale, Lennon, Zokora (Tottenham)

Red Cards - None

Attendance - 15,000