Ramos Revolution Still Has Some Way to Go

17 August 2008

Two goals in the span of fifteen minutes saw Middlesbrough kickoff the new campaign with a 2-1 win.

Interesting game from my point of view. There's a reason why Justin Hoyte's moving to Boro. They need a reliable left back. David Wheater on the day was a bit on the poor side leaving Brad Jones out to dry on a couple of occasions and looking very shaky on a couple more. However it was his involvement in the attacking third where he came good for such a bad performance at the back.

Juande Ramos claims the side he has is capable of competing with the top four. If that's so, they need to come together as a team and fast. That includes everyone on the roster, Dimitar Berbatov included. In fact there is an argument that can be made that when Berbatov came on in the sixth-fifth minute, Spurs looked a little better. Though it can also be argued that Berbatov was also playing on the selfish side, playing one too many touches on the ball and being dispossessed in key areas of the park.

A few key things in this game stand out to me.
1) The disallowed goal in the thirty-second minute. It sure didn't look like David Wheater was fouling Michael Dawson. In fact from my vantage point it was the other way around and the goal should have stood out. It was only poetic justice that it was Wheater who got the opener.

2) The passing from Spurs. While it was fine at the back and the midfield, it was their final balls that were sorely lacking. The fact they only got eight shots off while having sixty-five percent of the possession was bad. Middlesbrough did an exceptional job soaking up pressure.

3) Alfonso Alves is looking more and more comfortable by the day in the Premier League. His work up front Saturday caused havoc for the Tottenham defense.

4) David Bentley for the most part was extremely poor. His set pieces looked like they took the summer off as well. The only one that was anywhere near close to decent was the one at the end.

5) Middlesbrough needs to work on their counter attack. They had two clear breakaways they should have finished and did not.

6) The second Middlesbrough goal was questionable in how the sequence began. It looked like Didier Zokora kept the whole ball in.

I think it's safe to say that it's still an unsettled time at Tottenham right now. The mixed reports that Berbatov has handed in a transfer request hasn't helped. The fact that Spurs need more forwards is evident. It's also a side that despite playing well in the preseason, still need time to come together. Luka Modric didn't look like the player we saw at Euro 2008 and Giovanni Dos Santos was incredibly average. The back four for the pressure they were put under did not play well.

You can say with Tottenham that until the issue with Dimitar Berbatov is settled, we will see Tottenham play like this. I tend to agree with that logic. Juande Ramos knows he can't let Berbatov go, but his hand I think has been forced about as far as it can go. If Ramos caves in, all the column inches devoted to Tottenham this summer will definitely be for naught. While the core is there, if there's no one of quality up front (Darren Bent can do it, but he's too inconsistent for my liking), this could be another year where they play for the next.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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