Old Futbol Buffet–Spuds Baked by Toffees

This weekend was supposed to be relaxing, and it turned into a complete blur.  A relaxing Saturday went sideways with a phone call.  I cleaned the house in the morning and got some work done on assorted tasks (starting soccer paperwork for the upcoming season, planning a community event, scheduling watch parties for the rest of the season) so that I could watch Everton against Spurs and Malaga versus Levante.  While sitting in the pub, my wife called me to let me know that our son was in another floor hockey tournament.  Result?  The evening was spent at a local gym cheering on my son’s team.  I didn’t get to all of the articles and pods and stuff I had saved for the evening, therefore, I’ll just spill my guts on Toffees and Spuds and go from there.

Everton 1  Tottenham Hotspur 0

The game kicked off with interesting choices from Spurs.  Bale started on the right, presumably as an inverted winger, and Harry went with Defoe and Adebayor up top, with Saha warming the bench.  As for Everton, Jelavic, started up top, and as I hadn’t seen him play, I was interested to see him play.

Spurs were well off the pace in the first half.  Except for a Parker ball to Bale in the right hand channel and Defoe making a great run off thrown in, there wasn’t much in their attack.  Would have been nice if Defoe and Adebayor had been playing the same game, and I wondered as the half progressed what their plan of attack was.  ‘Aarry must have heard me from the pub because I told James I would switch Bale and Modric to provide some better width and getWalkerinvolved.  By the way, Bale has no right foot.  Two times in the right hand channel he chose the inside/out option rather than serve with right foot.

The second half saw more energy and sharpness from Spurs but still no goals.  Started with the same group with Bale back on the right hand side.  Immediately they created chances but could not score.  Eventually Harry subbed in Saha, VdV and Livermore but everything was a no go.  Defoe had a woeful game.  Scored but offside, put several shots into the stands, and just didn’t have it.  Saha almost equalized but hit the post.  Spurs are now in freefall and, if Arsenal beats Newcastle, then ‘Arry’s world could completely collapse.

A couple of notes on Everton.  I assume that the Coleman on the Toffees was Seamus Coleman, who I believe is Irish.  Had a nice game.  Great work from Osman to set up Jelavic with a tricky finish that Friedel almost saved.  Jelavic had two attempts on goal, one went in and one challenged Friedel.  Cahill was practically invisible.  Finally, it was my first time seeing the Howard GK kit in living color .  Yeesh!!

In the world of the mundane, why did Harry keep changing seats?

Zonal Marking broke down the game into 5 points, each one showing why the Toffees won the match instead of the Londoners.  This was a game where the absence of VdV really cost Spurs, as they never got control of the middle.  Combine that with a lack of width and Everton was able to stay compact and pick their moments.  Good read.

Spooky was slightly more restrained this week, trying to keep Spurs’ mini-crisis in context, but he pinpointed what Tottenham is lacking—desire and guile.  Maybe they start a recovery this weekend in the FA Cup.  Hint to Harry, play Bale on the left.  Spooky also discussed the Welshmen’s role in this squad.


Other stuff

Manchester United went top of the table as City crashed to Swansea.  Truly unbelievable when you think of the injuries and loss of form from the first couple of weeks of the season.

Phil had Doron Salomon (@DoronSalomon) on the Beyond the Pitch pod to talk about recent results, youth players (including Pogba and Petrucci), United’s wage, contract and transfer policies, and the upcoming run-in. Really informative and I highly recommend it.

Meanwhile, on the Manchester United Redcast, Eddie and Robert took a pulse of the fans after an entertaining loss to Athletic Bilbao and and a vital win over WBA which took them to the top of the table.  Also, they looked at the impact of Scholes, Rio and Rooney.

The SI Soccer Roundtable this week looked ahead to the upcoming MLS season, with thoughts on key story lines in the US First Division.  Speaking of MLS, I read an article that talked about how NBC plans to broadcast games: a split announcing duo, one up in the stands, one in a booth on the field.  Isn’t that what a sideline reporter is supposed to do?

With Michael Davies on vacation, Roger held down the Men in Blazers fort, talking with Don Garber and Timber Joey.  I wasn’t aware of Garber’s background in the NFL and have to say he has done well guiding the league to this point.  I also learned about Portland’s unique goal celebration, which has Timber Joey slicing off a bit of a log for each goal.  Now that I have to see.

Ernst Bouwes ran the ruler of the title contenders in the Eredivisie, with several teams in the hunt to dethrone Ajax.  With each team flawed and suffering injuries, the title is still up for grabs.

Finally, Juventus drew again.  That makes it six draws in their last seven matches, and the Old Lady is now four points behind Milan.  If Lazio win their next match, the Romans will close to within two points of second.

Adam Digby returned to Juventiknows.com to recap the match against Genoa, with the Bianconeri drawing again.  The title is probably just beyond them and Conte has real work to do in this offseason in order to increase the creativity and finishing in the squad.

Paolo Bandini looked at Lavezzi’s recent run of form for Napoli as the team make a late push for third place in Serie A.  I read this article just after checking the score againstChelsea in the Champions League, a crushing 4-1 extra defeat that knocked the Italians out after they looked all but in the quarters.

  1. This is how Tim Howard looks to strikers:

  2. Your comment about Bale and his complete lack of right foot is dead on and it boggles my mind. He’s a professional athlete for goodness sake. It’s like an NBA player who can’t finish on the left side. It’s ridiculous. He can prefer his left; he can be better with his left; but he needs to be able to at least make a cross in stride with his right. Otherwise, he needs to spend some more time on the training pitch.

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