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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

AVB's tough test.

Withdrawal symptoms had more than taken its' toll as I already find myself with itchy feet, eagerly anticipating the start of what should be another interesting season. A dodgy fan underneath my laptop ensured that my chances of watching the LA game fell at about 32%. Nevertheless Tottenham's pull on the heart strings saw me up at 3, just on the off chance I could see the game; I got lucky. Although, I left the match report for @Charlie_Bowsher.

The following match report below is from 


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With my alarm set and rearing to go I awoke for 3.30am for AVB’s first competitive fixture on the USA tour. With the Modric saga casting a shadow - once again - over the proceedings it was a chance to see how new signings Jan Vertonghen and Gyllfi Siggurdson would impress as well as what formation AVB would adopt. With a starting XI of; Cudicini, Walker, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Bassong, Townsend, Livermore Sigurdsson, VDV, Bale and Defoe, AVB documented what he had made his name with at Porto blending both youth and experience to good effect.

The game started with me head butting my laptop in order to gain connection and I joined just as Gareth Bale led a charging run to the left byline and delivered a low cross to nobody. Bale, described after the match by AVB as “physically a beast,“ looks to have bulked out a bit. Spurs looked to be playing a 4-3-3 with Livermore and Sigurdsson working deeper behind VDV in the middle of the pitch.

Spurs started the brightest with long range effort from Andros Townsend and Jermain Defoe, testing Perk in the Galaxy goal. After 20 minutes it was new signing Sigurdsson who acted as the talisman providing a deep cross which Bale headed home powerfully. This sparked L.A. Galaxy to life who started to keep the ball, playing in the area in front of the defence and behind the midfield which, without Scott Parker or Sandro, looked incredibly vulnerable. It was only when the opposition began to spray balls behind the new high line which AVB has implemented did things start to fall to pieces.

After failing to clear the lines from a corner, the ball was squared to centre back Lopez who had a simple task of slotting in from 10 yards to equalise. A lack of communication between Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul led to poor attempts at playing the offside trap allowing us to be exploited through simple over the top balls. Furthermore Bassong - playing in the position of left back - was absolutely appalling, this meaning Vertonghen had to cover both centre back and left back - something fixed at half time with the arrival of Benoit Assou Ekotto.

Spurs managed to hold on until half time, Kyle Walker saving us repeatedly after Keane was set free one on one. The only other concern was that of VDV being substituted before half time with a groin injury yet replaced by the equally skillful and masterful Jermaine Jenas who faded into obscurity quicker than last years X-factor winners. AVB rang the changes at half time in an effort to overturn our woeful defensive display in the first half. Lennon came on for the impressive Townsend and BAE for Bassong.

The second half was a lot more impressive BAE providing stability to the back line and looking a lot sturdier and less exploitable. Defoe had an early chance set free by a long ball from Kaboul and rolled his shot narrowly wide of the post. Bale was then denied a penalty so blatant the challenge bordered on assault, Martin Atkinson’s American cousin clearly in charge of this one. Bale continued to look dangerous and pulled the ball back for Sigurdsson who missed virtually an open goal.

As the game progressed as did the substitutions; Harry Kane on for Defoe, Kyle Naughton on for the injured Kyle Walker and Michael Dawson on for Younes Kaboul. Spurs continued to press with half chances a plenty however L.A. Galaxy stood firm. Tom Huddlestone came on late on for Livermore, David Bentley for Bale and Tom Carroll on for Sigurdsson. A late deflected Lennon volley was the closest Spurs came to finding a winner with further penalty claims from Kane waved away.

Despite the poor defensive display in the first half, overall, this was a decent display from an off form Spurs side in blistering heat against an on form L.A. Galaxy side. We were lacking some key players as well the likes of Sandro and Parker whom both would’ve had a positive impact on the side as well as Adebayor as Defoe looked isolated at times. The back line can be improved and worked on over the remainder of the pre season fixtures as well as more transfers incoming that would improve the team, the likes of Moutinho, Damaio and Lloris all targets.

Steven Caulker, Sandro, Dos Santos and Danny Rose are all featuring at the Olympics and so could be part of AVB’s plans next season yet were absent last night. On a positive note, Sigurdsson looked threatening and played numerous fantastic balls into the box, something which Spurs lacked last season. Bale looked impressive and Vertonghen looked very comfortable on the ball which would fit in to AVB’s philosophy of a high back line.