David Bentley. You are not sodding Pele. Rafael Van der Vaart is Pele.
It’s very tempting to focus on the glaring deficiencies of one individual rather than a generally flat and lifeless team display. And that’s exactly what I am going to do.
We dominated the first half but created little, a Hudd rocket that hit the angle of the goal the one notable exception. It was clear that we were going to have to grind this one out. I’ve no problem with that. Grinding out results is good. It’s what teams who achieve things do. Last season probably saw less sparkling football at home than we remember through our CL tinted, err, memory spectacles – but we knew how to win ugly. There may have been a 9-0 demolition (I don’t recognise Scharner’s handball goal) and a couple of glorious derby victories, but there were more closely fought – perhaps even slightly lucky – wins.
Sunderland being a prime example. We were outplayed for large patches last year but stole the points. This time round they were a pale shadow of their former selves. Shorn of confidence as you would expect of a team that has just been destroyed by their resurgent local rivals, they came here to defend, and they did it pretty well. That was the limit of their ambition, but luck was a lazy overrated floppy haired lady for them tonight
Scrap we had to, and scrap we did. Harry’s half time change came up trumps as the now obligatory Crouch assist was pounced upon by vdv who showed great skill to twist from close in and prod the ball home for two yards. None of our actual strikers would have had the control to even get the shot off. That should have been that. No one goal lead is ever certain in the Premiership but we’d done the hard part. We knew they’d come at us, and it should have suited us just fine. All we had to do was exploit the inevitable gaps, pick them off and stay solid at the back.
And we would have done had David Bentley not taken matters into his own hands.
It’s not that he was single handedly responsible for a disappointing result – he wasn’t. The Guardian report says that our central defenders ran into each other to allow Gyan to score – perhaps they did. It’s just that on a night where eleven players on the park were struggling for their top form, ten of them still at least came close to putting in a bloody shift. How can I not single him out?
What irks me is this: I bet he really believes he is better than Lennon. I bet he IS the most skilful player in training. I bet he does things with a ball no other player can do. Except fvondevfoort. I bet he nurses a secret hatred for fvondevfoort. A flair player who knows about end product. Stealing the glory that is rightfully his.
Bentley needs to go to a team where even when he’s bad he’s the best thing there. Where when he’s off song, it doesn’t matter because he’s worth indulging. West Ham. Hull. Coventry. Let’s send him there. Let’s see if QPR will swap him for Adel sodding Taraabt. Sell him to Soccer am and he can show us his unbelievable arsing tekkers on an irritating light entertainment program. Anywhere. Anywhere but in a lilywhite shirt. He’s not David Beckham. He’s just a very naughty boy. He’s a less good 21 year old Joe Cole but without the heart or ability to progress. He’s a wasted talent. But not that much of one.
Character assassination. Sorry. But, really. All he has to do is realise his place. He is a squad member. Come in, keep it simple, get your crosses in when space allows. Give and go. Be a cog in the wheel. That’s all. he. has. to. do. He managed it for long spells last season, but tonight he was at his most frustrating. What looked like a blatant dive (Howard Webb agreed so I might be wrong) aside, he shot at every opportunity, took his man on when his man was not for the taking, and was sloppy in possession. It’s ok to score a wonder goal against Arsenal over two years ago, and by the law of average he will probably get another one some time soon. But it won’t disguise the wastefulness, the lack of team ethic, the lack of respect for his team mates and, yes, I’m going to say it, himself. David Bentley, I am very disappointed in you. You are grounded. Forever. Piss off to Fulham. Where your next wonder goal will no doubt be against us.
Well, that’s it really. I didn’t see the Bolton game so I can’t comment. Probably a good thing. I could calm down and write a measured critique of the team but for once I’m going to go with being Mr Angry Internet Man. One point worth making though – one injury to Lennon and our supposed squad depth is really shown up. We are letting this season slip away without even putting up a fight. We need a run from somewhere and we are capable of one but we are doing ourselves no favours. Things would look so different if some silly muppet could just have kept it simple two minutes after we’d finally wrenched control of a must win game, and not gifted Sunderland possession.
I’m sure he gives a lot to charity, and loves his mum. In which case, please treat ‘David Bentley’ as a symbol of the whole team performance, rather than a reference to one man.
Sloppy. And annoying. And capable of being as good as it thinks it is but not really prepared to roll it’s sleeves up to work for it. And would be so much better if it had Michael Dawson’s attitude. I think I’ve hit upon an endless metaphor. Tottenham Hotspur at it’s worst IS David Bentley. And I don’t want to see it at the Lane ever again.