Harry has hit out at the booing that could be heard at the end of last night’s match, but then he was being paid to watch that frustrating performance, whilst we were paying through the nose.
For that reason alone, I think that football fans are always entitled to boo if they feel like it. The professional football community shouldn’t be so sensitive to it. It just means that we’re annoyed by what we’ve seen and it’s an immediate way to express that. Take it on the chin and move on.
If I went to see a play that was absolutely terrible, I would probably apologetically applaud at the end of the performance and then make sure that I never went to anything else by that writer again. In contrast, no matter how many duff performances I witness from Tottenham Hotspur, I will be there the following week, ready for more misery. You’ve already got us over a barrel Harry, so don’t make us suffer in silence as well.
The reason that we were so frustrated wasn’t because we were completely terrible. We were the better side, had most of the possession and created the odd chance. It took us a long time to break them down, which is a familiar experience in recent seasons, but the expectation was that when we did finally score, we would go on to win the game quite comfortably.
Instead, after Van der Vaart did eventually break the deadlock, we held on to our lead for just three minutes. Bentley gave away possession cheaply and Sunderland waltzed through our ‘defence’, as Kaboul and Gallas indulged in some Keystone Kops-style buffoonery.
After that needless equaliser we folded like a pack of cards and never really looked capable of scoring a winner. As the minutes ticked down, even the likes of Modric and Huddlestone were misplacing passes, as we struggled to build with any fluency.
Our central midfielders weren’t the only reliable performers who had an off day. Bale looked as if he was over-thinking every decision and was hitting first time crosses straight into Sunderland defenders, when he’d have been better off rampaging into the box.
While we might have been surprised by the poor performances of our best midfielders, our strikers lived up to expectations. Unfortunately though, we no longer have any expectations of our forwards. Pavlyuchenko was replaced at half-time after a quiet display, while Crouch created another goal for VDV but looked no closer to actually scoring one himself.
By far our worst player though was David Bentley. I’d been encouraged by his cameo against Bolton, but once again he flattered to deceive. What makes Bentley such a frustrating player is that he retains so much confidence in himself, even against such compelling evidence to the contrary. There he was having a ‘mare, yet he’s still shooting from 35 yards when he has plenty of passing options and insisting on taking every free kick, when Bale and Van der Vaart were also on the pitch.
No one exactly covered themselves in glory and yet we still should have won the game quite comfortably. That’s why we were frustrated Harry – the three points were there for the taking. It’s not that we’re not grateful for how you’ve turned our team around, but when you’re beating Inter Milan 3-1, it’s hard to think that next season we’ll be playing Lech Poznan.
If we carry on slipping up (literally in Kaboul and Gallas’ case) then the horrors of the Europa League is the best that we can expect next season. Fail to beat Blackburn and we might as well start planning those glory, glory Thursday nights.