|photo by GriZ â™¥â™¥
Jonathan Wilson's article in The Guardian yesterday touched off a spot of debate around the office water cooler. In the article, Wilson credits Gareth Bale's rampaging "purple patch" of form to Spurs' more compact shape, a development the author attributes to -- of all things -- the fact that Tottenham no longer employs a "reactive style" US goalkeeper.
Some of us beg to differ, as shown in the following exchange. It was ultimately a debate that raged to oblivion and back -- and like all good debates, ended with the enticing prospect of a cold beer:
[Correspondent James]: That Jonathan Wilson article from this morning was interesting....
[farlieonfootie]: Yeah. I was with him until he credited Bale's recent form to the fact that Brad Friedel wasn't playing anymore, i.e., Bale is a better player because of Hugo Lloris. So let me get this: Spurs' poor form to begin the season was because they had an American in goal. That's a bunch of plonk, as they say over there....
[Correspondent James]: Well, his logic is sound anyway. Although the more compact style of play could be equally attributable to Spurs' loss of Luka Modric. I mean, if there's no one on the team capable of completing longer passes then you've got to be more compact, right?
[Correspondent Ed]: It’s a stretch to credit Lloris for anything other than great goalkeeping.
Ultimately, Bale is being given tremendous freedom to roam central, right, left, back, wherever. This is allowing him to find pockets and make runs from deep in the backfield.
That said, just as it’s hard to give Sir Alex much credit for RVP's play, when he was was pretty much the same amazing player at Arsenal, it’s similarly difficult to give AVB too much credit for b=Bale's form. Sometimes with talent like that the best thing you can do is not interfere -- which, fortunately, AVB has not done.
By the way, that shot on Monday night was the first shot I think I’ve seen Adebayor take since returning from African Cup of Nations. Let me repeat – the first SHOT. And of course he half-assed it and didn’t get it in the goal. That guy is so bad when he’s not in a contract year it’s hard to believe. And yet the press (even FOF!) is blaming Scott Parker!! Seriously, our high priced striker hasn’t scored since what, Labor Day 2012, and it’s Scott Parker’s fault? So Adebayor needs Sandro falling all over the ball in front of the back line in order to score? Come on!!!
And what about Lennon, does he also need a Sandro yellow-card tackle to score? Does Holtby? Somehow, Gylfi can manage to put one in (or even two) without the help of Sandro. Right now Gylfi has earned a spot in the starting lineup. Get him out there, he’s the best Icelandic player we’ve got.
Final note – third place is pretty rarefied air at this point in the season. And if I recall, that includes a win and a draw from an overrated United side (Fergy has a hammer lock on beating the Readings of the world, it seems). I still think City has a shot at this thing as that United midfield and back line is frail.
[farlieonfootie]: That final comment proves that you don’t watch United closely enough – three league shutouts in a row hardly represents a “frail” defense; the fact is that the Reds' defense is coming into form at exactly the right time of season (remember when Stoke’s defense used to be good? Look at them lately…). The League is over and done, contrary to your fondest hopes.
[Correspondent James, completely ignoring the boss, and still upset about Spurs]: You could have Eric freaking Cantona up front - if he's not getting service he will not score. Adebayor's in a slump, no doubt, but he's not completely slagging off as some have said. Spurs have horrible build up play, can't play through balls, are not attacking from the wings and launching crosses anymore. All he can do is what he did a lot of last year with VDV to great effect and that's hold up play. But VDV is gone, and the offense centers rightly around Bale.
Adebayor will score against the Gooners. I'll bet you a six of dogfish head.
This is farlieonfootie for February 27.