Definition of the word ‘shoehorn’ – An implement of metal, horn, plastic, etc. with a troughlike blade, inserted at the back of a shoe to aid in slipping the heel in.

Notice that nowhere in that definition did it mention a shoehorn as an aid to squeezing Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch into the same Tottenham starting lineup.

A football manager is paid a lot of money to make decision. Harry has to start making them. If he wants to pair Crouch with Defoe then that’s fine, but it should mean that Robbie Keane is put on the bench.

Against Sunderland our whole formation was altered again, to create a midfield diamond, with Keane playing behind Crouch and Defoe. The result was a very disjointed performance from a team lacking any width. On another day we’d have paid the price with a loss.

We all know that when Crouch plays that there’s a natural tendency for our defence and midfield to launch high balls up to him. This problem is exacerbated when the team plays with no wingers. We want to see Crouch getting on the end of crosses, not big punts down the middle.

When we’ve looked good this season it’s been when we’ve played with a 4-4-2. On every occasion that Harry has tinkered with the formation, we’ve played badly. It’s not rocket science and we immediately looked a lot better as soon as Kranjcar came on for Keane.

On the subject of Keane, he scored a goal to give us the lead, but overall he disappointed once again. He’s now our top scorer in all competitions, but if goals told the whole story, then Darren Bent would have been playing for us on Saturday instead of Sunderland.

Defoe and Crouch were also quiet, while in midfield Palacios was wasted playing on the left side of the midfield diamond. International breaks are generally not welcomed by me, but at least with Lennon and possibly Modric returning for our next game against Wigan, we should be assured of a return to 4-4-2 and start playing people in their correct positions again.

The star of the show was undoubtedly Gomes. He saved a penalty from Bent that Sandra could have probably got to, but some of his other stops were top drawer.

We scarcely deserved to be 1-0 up, when Huddlestone rattled one in off the crossbar to make it 2-0 and effectively kill the game. It was a beautiful goal from the Hudd and his second in consecutive home games. He’s a real danger when he get’s into those sort of positions, but his lack of mobility makes it a too rare occurrence. Perhaps we could buy him a little golf cart to get around the pitch on.

So eventually we ended up with a win that we didn’t really deserve and are now back in the top four, thanks to Manchester City’s ineptitude. There’s no point in looking a gift-horse in the mouth and we didn’t get any points against Stoke having deserved to win.



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