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Infidel 1:38 Mon Nov 21
Infidel's match notes
A miserable end to the afternoon on Saturday, especially sitting among the Tottenham STHs, but not as bad as last year's debacle - and I had a different take on the game to the media.

First, we went to WHL with two strikers and an attacking formation. We had ambition, something that was badly lacking in the long dark Allardyce years. A lot of clubs will park the bus at WHL but you have Bilic credit for putting out a team to win the game.

The formation works with the players we have. The wing backs, Cresswell and Antonio, both have good engines and can run for the whole 90 mins, essential in a wing back system.

The midfield has plenty of creative spark and although Lanzini and Payet are not natural pressing players Obiang is there to put a foot in when needed. With two forward players I thought we suffered far less from that familiar sight of our one isolated striker receiving a Hail Mary pass miles from a team mate.

Another big positive was the work rate. One of the reasons we have failed to make an impact this season IMO is the sheer laziness of some of our players. That was not the case on Saturday.

Sakho's touch may have been poor - maybe not surprising as he lacks match sharpness - but he hassled and pressed brilliantly. So did Ayew. They forced Tottenham into making mistakes and as they did so the crowd turned on their own team. The atmosphere, especially in the first half, was like a 12th man for us. We made them uncomfortable on the ball and as the nerves crept in we were able to exploit it.

So amid all the gloom there was some encouragement. That was very close to a first choice starting XI (Noble obviously would have played if fit) and it looks pretty good to me. It muscled its way into a lead against a top 5 side away from home not once but twice. We need to see more of this.

Now the bad news: we lost the game because of Bilic. When Zaza came on for Sakho all that hassling of Tottenham's back line came to an abrupt halt. Those who watched on TV would not have seen that Zaza just stands in the centre circle and lets the opposition play the ball around unchallenged. He was an onlooker, a passenger.

You could very easily criticise Payet for slacking when the opposition has the ball too, but at least with Dimmi you get quality when he has the ball at his feet. Zaza is even worse with the ball than without it. He is robbed of the ball far too easily and his first touch is abysmal. His arrival on the pitch handed the initiative back to Tottenham, it's that simple (I excuse Fernandes who I thought did much better)..

What does Bilic see in Zaza that we can't? Why was he a better choice to come on than, say, Fletcher? It's a mystery to me.

But even worse was to come. Nordveidt for Payet has to be one of the worst tactical substitutions I have ever seen. Payet is our talisman and when he left the field there was a palpable lift in the mood, on and off the pitch.

And Nordveidt? What was Bilic thinking? This is a player who is far from being Premier League quality and has failed to show any glimmer of promise in his previous outings. His signing was a mistake, it's that simple.

Surely the right thing to do was to bring on Collins and put some steel and experience into the back line to close the game out?

I will never understand what the manager was trying to do. I can't figure it out. It's a bit harsh to say he threw the game away but his awful substitutions tipped the balance back in their favour and handed Tottenham the momentum.

Losing 3-2 when you are 2-1 up after 88 mins is about the worst kind of game to attend as a fan. I was absolutely gutted. But the papers got it wrong. That game wasn't won by Harry Kane's brilliance, it was tossed away by Bilic. He should hang his head in shame.

Let's hope he learns from it. As I said in the beginning there was much to feel good about - and if we can play that starting XI or something very like it week in week out we will start winning games.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

BillyDe7 1:39 Fri Nov 25
Re: Infidel's match notes
I dare say this, but do you think BFS would have allowed these turkeys more game time. No. Because for all his faults he's RUTHLESS.
---

I'm not sure BFS was RUTHLESS in his continued picking of Nolan and Carroll in his final half season. Truth is all managers have ideas that they think will be successful and perservere with them despite early failures. Sometimes things turn-around and everything is great (Henry as a central striker for Wenger is an example), sometimes they don't.

I'd be delighted if ZaZa turned out right - he looks better and fitter to me than previously at least - but I don't see it happening. Nordtveit I've more hope for - there's a classy footballer in there - but I think his confidence may be shot for this season and his composure in decision-making lost. His situation reminds me a little of Mascherano when he was at West Ham.

Godwinson 12:17 Wed Nov 23
Re: Infidel's match notes
southwoodford, I'm afraid the signs were already there from March last season when Antonio was moved back. Apart from a few big games under the Boleyn lights, we were fairly poor. Being thrashed at home by Swansea was a real shock, and unfortunately, a taste of things to come.

I like many things about Bilic but his judgment in several areas has let us down. That it took an intervention by senior players on the training pitch (allegedly) to force him to back down on Antonio speaks volumes. His defence of his ridiculous decisions against Spurs suggests to me that his judgment is seriously flawed and that he should be replaced by a proven PL manager.

camel-with-3-humps 12:07 Wed Nov 23
Re: Infidel's match notes
Sir Alf

He probably is emotionally committed to these turnips.

I dare say this, but do you think BFS would have allowed these turkeys more game time. No. Because for all his faults he's RUTHLESS.

Sir Alf 11:37 Tue Nov 22
Re: Infidel's match notes
Bilic may not have the emotional fortitude needed. He keeps playing the summer purchases despite everyone of them except 3 (Arthur, Fernandes and Fletcher) being largely abject in all the games they have played. Is that because he is the one that persuaded them to join and feels an obligation? Zaza and his Dad had been in to talk about the future only a week or so back and no doubt Bilic was there and perhaps made a promise that he would get more chances.

Slav simply finding it hard to admit he or whoever recruited this batch, got it wrong.

He should be picking the players who have the most experience or have shown some potential as his subs not 2 players who have not been able to have any impact in all there minutes on the pitch. Nordtveid some might claim had an ok against Bournemouth at RB but it was "ok" at best.

There is no room for sentiment and for believing it will come right when there is no evidence to suggest so. Zaza and Nordtveit, Ferghouli, Tore and Calleri have been awful additions to the squad. We may never know who recommended them or pushed for them or if it was a collective decision but either way our recruitment was a big fat failure last window. I suppose that was inevitable after the success of the previous summer? :-(

Great report Infidel and agree it would be good if this could be a regular feature again.

, 10:04 Tue Nov 22
Re: Infidel's match notes
southwood 12.11, it's a bit much to suggest we had the game already won. We were 2-1 up with time to go and everyone knows in football that until the final whistle the team with the initiative and nothing to lose is in with the chance of an equaliser. We were not playing mugs we were playing the only unbeaten side in the PL.

Hermit Road 2:56 Tue Nov 22
Re: Infidel's match notes
That's a decent report and hits most nails squarely on the head. Good observation about Sakho pressing the defence.

camel-with-3-humps 1:12 Tue Nov 22
Re: Infidel's match notes
I-Ron

You are a miserable cunt. Why don't you just fuck off.

southwoodford 12:11 Tue Nov 22
Re: Infidel's match notes
Agree 100%. The game was already won - our manger blew it. Something has gone wrong with Bilic this season. His judgement, the quality that stood out last year, has simply deserted him. One has to wonder what has caused this?

Coffee 11:38 Tue Nov 22
Re: Infidel's match notes
i-Ron 11:12 Tue Nov 22

Because it's an engaging and well thought out report that avoids any mention of economic theory.

i-Ron 11:12 Tue Nov 22
Re: Infidel's match notes
Dunno how infidel gets so much praise for this

He couldn't even work out our formation for 90 minutes

camel-with-3-humps 10:07 Tue Nov 22
Re: Infidel's match notes
That was an excellent, excellent post - enjoyed it.

Now can we get rid of that lazy Italian cunt?

Stranded 7:19 Tue Nov 22
Re: Infidel's match notes
Enjoyed that Infidel, thanks. As others have said, it would be good to see it every week. The site could do with getting some regular features back, to go along with Charley's match thread and Coffee's 'other football.'

Mickey Rat 1:29 Tue Nov 22
Re: Infidel's match notes
Spot on Infidel but Alf's right about watching it on TV, my wife started watching a few minutes after Zaza came on and said who's that player up front, he's useless, so why the fuck can't Bilic see it! The worst two substitutions I can remember in years and God knows I've seen a few!

Trevs Header 12:33 Tue Nov 22
Re: Infidel's match notes
great read infidel
if Payet was knackered and needed a rest and Zaza shows no goal scoring threat what so ever would the better decision been to swap them over so that Payet is at top. what we definately need as a back up option in our striker department is someone with lightning pace that you can bring on with 15-20 mins left in the game to push the opposition defence back towards their own goal.

Alfs 9:54 Mon Nov 21
Re: Infidel's match notes
I echo the many comments. Agree with nearly all of that. The only bit you got wrong was "Those who watched on TV would not have seen that Zaza just stands in the centre circle and lets the opposition play the ball around unchallenged".

I did watch on TV and saw exactly what you described. Not for the first time either, unfortunately.

Hammer and Pickle 4:56 Mon Nov 21
Re: Infidel's match notes
Good report - would read again. But why do you only ever go to games at WHL and sit with the yids? Nice choice of icon by the way.

Gavros 2:46 Mon Nov 21
Re: Infidel's match notes
Was in the Little Driver for this.

Soulless, Spurs pub. Dont bother with it.

Eddie B 2:44 Mon Nov 21
Re: Infidel's match notes
I'd have more respect for Bilic if he came out and said for that mistake Zaza will never play for WHU again, in a Houllier/Ginola and Redknapp/Omoyinmi style.

Sven Roeder 2:41 Mon Nov 21
Re: Infidel's match notes
If the defender was jockeying him a bit by trying to stand closer to Payet and cut the angle you could understand him delaying.
But the defender faces him up and leaves a yawning gap

There was one option
And he didn't take it

Gavros 2:38 Mon Nov 21
Re: Infidel's match notes
Fernandez is young enough and has shown enough to be forgiven.

Zaza can get fucked.

Brucies_Star_Prize 2:34 Mon Nov 21
Re: Infidel's match notes
Zaza's failure to play in Payet when through was the most infuriating thing about the game on Saturday. I mean I can understand a player low on confidence and not playing well, but there is no excuse for an Italian international to show that level of stupidity. Absolutely mindless.

Shortly followed by Fernandes who appeared to check back inside when through on goal. I haven't seen a replay so happy to be corrected, but it looked like another really poor decision.

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