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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
Another day, another miserable result for Tottenham Hotspur. The pressure will continue to build on the beleaguered Juande Ramos, but with performances this self-destructive and stupid, is it really any wonder? Spurs were the architects of their own downfall on a cold, windy night in Northern Italy, gifting Udinese the opening goal and then suffering their third red card in five days, as Jamie O'Hara was dismissed for a reckless tackle, just 52 seconds after being booked for dissent.

Ramos must be banging his head off the wall at Spurs' shortcomings. His team actually started the brightest , but just as they were establishing themselves, as Aaron Lennon and Jermaine Jenas were stretching the Udinese back four, Gomes gaffed in spectacular style. Under no pressure at all, he turned a routine backpass in a full scale disaster, allowing Quagliarella to steal in before hauling him to the ground for a penalty. Di Natale smashed home the spot-kick and with that, Gomes' confidence crumbled. Every cross was dropped, every shot palmed back into danger. The Brazilian goalkeeper can be the best in the world on his day, but at a club struggling for form, his eccentricities must be infuriating.

It wasn't much better at the other end where Darren Bent ruined Jermaine Jenas' dazzling run by only heading weakly at the goalkeeper and, later, when Aaron Lennon tripped over the ball as he burst through the backline. This was a team running on the faintest vapours of confidence, bullied and hassled by the Italians who pressed at every opportunity, knowing that they could force errors. There was little support for the isolated Bent, and chances were few and far between. Intriguingly there was no sign of David Bentley, even on the bench, and with Luka Modric and Giovani left on the sidelines, you wonder why Tottenham spent so much money in the summer for players that Ramos is clearly not comfortable with. Was it tactical to leave so many tens of millions of pounds worth of talent out? Does he even know his best side?

O'Hara's expulsion should have ended any hope of a comeback, but there is still some heart in this Tottenham team somewhere. Gomes began to start his repayments for his horrific error, saving superbly from a deft Di Natale chip and then heroically from point blank range as the game began to slip away. The eventual introduction of Giovani and Modric gave Spurs some outlets of creativity, but fortune is no friend of this team. With five minutes to play, Bent saw his powerful header saved by Samir Handanovic and then Udinese broke through their lines, with Pepe slotting home off the post for the coup d'grace.

There may yet be a way for Tottenham to turn this catastrophic run around, but it won't happen while they continue to gift their opponents games like this. Discipline is a distant memory and form is fading fast. A vast improvement is required by the weekend. If Tottenham thought that Udinese pushed and pressurised, wait until they take the field against Bolton Wanderers on Sunday. It could still get worse for Ramos before it gets better.

STUPIDEST MOVE - Why spend all that money on Giovani, Luka Modric and David Bentley and then not start with any of them? There's a midfield three who could play for a Champions League side and none of them were on the pitch when the game kicked off!

CLUELESS - Gareth Bale was woeful on the left flank. His set-pieces were appalling, his positioning almost criminal and he buckled under the pressure, slicing clearances into the crowd and passign erraticaly. He is still young, but this is substandard from the Welshman

DODGY KEEPER - Gomes can be a match winner or a match loser and he was the very much the latter here. He almost fell over while taking a touch on a backpass and then gave away a penalty in his panic. Better in the second half, but by then the damage was done.

PUNTERS RANT - Never, ever bet on Tottenham. I've warned you about this before. If you were silly enough to back them to win against a team second in Serie A then you deserve everything you get.

MAN OF THE MATCH - Antonio Di Natale was a constant unsettling presence for the Tottenham defence and he deserved a goal for his glorious chip in the second half. A first class performance from the Italian front-man



Samir Handanovic 7, Maurizio Domizzio 7, Aleksandr Lukovic 7 (Giovanni Pasquale 6), Andrea Coda 7, Marco Motta 6, Gaetano D'Agostino 7, Gokhan Inler 6, Mauricio Isla 6, Fabio Quagliarella 7 (Antonia Floro Flores), Antonio di Natale 8, Alexis Sanchez 7 (Simone Pepe 6)


Gomes 6, Jonathan Woodgate 7 (Giovani 7), Ledley King 7, Alan Hutton 5, Benoit Assou-Ekotto 5 (Luka Modric 7), Gareth Bale 4, Jermaine Jenas 6, Didier Zokora 6, Aaron Lennon 7, Jamie O'Hara 4, Darren Bent 6

Yellow Cards - Lukovic, D'Agostino, Isla (Udinese), Gomes, O'Hara, Bale (Tottenham

Red Cards - O'Hara (Tottenham)

Attendance - 22,000