character assassination

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.


8 responses to “character assassination

  1. One mention of ‘Arry, and a positive one…

    To me, he picks the team and tells players what to do and where to play, but you focus on one player from (another) overall shoddy performance?
    Too many issues, but if ‘Arry wants to claim all the good he is doing at the club, he has to take responsibility for our recent poor league performance as well. If he really doesn’t rate / like Bentley, why play him at all – aside from the fact that most fans appear to be only blaming Bentley for last night – what about the other games we have lost where he didn’t play.
    Had we started Pav and Crouch I think we could have won it by half time.

  2. No-no-no. Usually I really enjoy reading your blogs, but this one….. Somehow I have to wonder if this was allready written before the game even was played?? If you are going to place all the blame for these lost points on one single player, which you actually do here, please at least give us some examples of what you think he did so wrong. What you belive he thinks of himself, and of VDV is far off the point. Why not concentrate on what he did on the pitch? Yes, he had a couple of wide shots, and yes, he should have played the ball earlier a couple of times. But hey, the man has been sidelined for the whole season, who can blame him for trying to make an impression – maybe trying to hard…
    I think Bentley and Hutton really played well together (this from a person who def is NOT a fan of Hutton), and in the Bolton game it was Bentley who made the room for Hutton when he got his goal…
    Last night was not a good game for any of our players. If we are looking for single persons to blame, I have a couple of candidates too, but I don’t see the point.
    Saturday is a new game, and another 3 poins to collect. Maybe this game the supporters will support ALL our players?

    (I’m not from england, so please excuse my writing errors – think you get my point anyway 😉 )

  3. Bentley is crap. Why play the simple ball when you can try the money shot? Why play a first time ball into the box when you can check back and disrupt the flow of an attacking move?
    He is too slow, too soft and to big headed. Ship him out!

  4. Curses – I could’ve used this comment as a post, but never mind! Maybe read Davey’s comment if you can’t be bothered to read this!

    Thanks to the new commenters and sorry if the post wasn’t to your liking – hope you’ll keep reading and commenting though. I don’t mind anyone’s writing errors if you don’t mind mine!

    I have never booed my own team. I’ve never left a Spurs game before the final whistle in my life. Give me a bloody medal, eh! Point is: I DO get behind the team, and unless they read my blog I don’t think my views are affecting the players in any way at all, certainly not negatively.

    I don’t blame one player for last night’s result. Well I do and I don’t! I do have an issue with Bentley’s attitude – on the pitch. I think you earn the right to try the Hollywood move. I think you earn the right to take on your man when there’s a simpler and better option on. I think that you earn the right to shoot direct from free kicks when a cross is what’s needed. I don’t think you ever earn the right to dive. I don’t think Bentley has earned the right to any of the above, but he plays as if he has.

    So yes, if any other player played like Bentley last night I would cut them a bit more slack. Modric gets so much more involved in games these days so I will overlook it to an extent when not everything comes off. If a player isn’t quite at the races then I can live with that.

    What annoys me is that Bentley’s first instinct always seems to be about individual glory. That must be true of lots of players but either you develop the ability to know when to give that instinct free rein and when to curb it, or you just make sure you are so bloody good no-one can complain. Vdv strikes me as someone who has done the former (maybe not enough to make it at Real Madrid though, I don’t know). Ronaldo is the obvious example of the latter.

    Ginola was probably someone who took the latter option but had to play for a mid-table premiership team to get away with it. We forgave him because we needed him and because he was so clearly an entertainer. If he’d curbed his natural instinct just a little bit, he could be remembered as truly world class. Maybe it was never in his make-up to be able to do that.

    Bentley isn’t good enough to be in the latter category – not for where we are aiming for, anyway. And I don’t think he has worked out that he should try to develop in the other way. Maybe, like Ginola, he simply can’t.

    So do I blame him for last night? Kind of. I stand to be corrected having only seen it in real time but I thought he gave possession away cheaply for their goal, or at least didn’t chase back. I could definitely be wrong about that, but I stand by my view of him as a player which is that he wants to showboat waaaay too much. When it comes off perhaps he will cup his ear to the crowd as if he has proved something. If so it will prove nothing – we know he has it in his locker to score screamers. I want him to see him get his head down and work for the team. He managed it in spells last season, but last night he was back to the old routine.

    The others are to blame too, though. I tried to make it clear I knew I was being a bit unfair in singling him out (the title of the blog, the acknowledgment that the rest of the team’s display was flat too, referring to myself as Mr Angry Internet Man!). But part of being a fan is getting frustrated with certain things, and I admit to having an ‘issue’ with Bentley that goes beyond this one game. I just chose to focus on him last night – it’s quite true I could have made other criticisms of other players. They have a bit more goodwill stored away than young David though!

    So sorry, I simply wasn’t going for an ‘overall’ match report last night. Spurs Simon, you are quite right I made one (positive) comment about Redknapp. Again, I just didn’t choose to focus on him. I could have done, perhaps I will soon. I am not his biggest fan, believe me. It’s just a case of having approximately a 1000 words and only being able to focus on a limited number of things. David Bentley got my goat, so I chose to write about his goat getting ways!

  5. Sorry but I stopped reading half way down because you’re the type of person who boo’s the team off. At least that’s how it seems from reading that.

    Bentley had a good first half. The entire team had a shocker in the second. Yes Bentley stood out too in the 2nd half but was that because he was worse than the other 10 men on the pitch of because he was getting a lot of the ball? The latter.

    Therefore to say he didn’t even put a shift in is complete madness. There’s nothing worse than fans who have their favourites and the players they don’t like. They can’t see when their fave’s have a shocker and always blame the same players.

    Is it really any wonder why players tend not to stay at Spurs for their entire career when they’re constantly getting stick? Ekotto, Hutton, Bentley, Jenas, Crouch. Are they good enough? Maybe, maybe not but the constant bad support they get no matter how they play is ridiculous and childish.

  6. i think it was hard not to put the playercam on Bentley last night – he was so obviously out of sorts. Clearly he has crossing ability – but under pressure he flounders (and the previous parallels with Beckham cease). First half yesterday he couldn’t beat his man and his play came across (on TV) almost in slow motion and heavy-footed – as opposed to VDV who is so blessed at reacting quickly and manoeuvring his body to shield the ball away from his marker(s). The number of mis-placed passes – long and short – and failed crosses particularly in the first half just looked hospital. However, I figured that with the marauding Hutton, we’d be ok as he would be the one to penetrate the final third on the overlap and work well with Bentley, but at times they both seemed to have no creative clue and ended up repeatedly passing back to one another. Bentley + Corluka however? forget it.
    I did think it was a pen however and not a dive. The problem was that it happened at a sufficiently slow pace that it look borderline to a dive and so Webb was never going to give it- but the defender got the man and not the ball.
    Bentley doesn’t fit into this new Spurs team for the same reason as Keane no longer does – neither have the pace for the Prem. They may fare better in Europe conversely – but this wont do for us any longer. Pace on the flanks is one of most potent weapons – and with Hudd’s ability to distribute so accurately to wide positions we have to have this pace to capitalise (his sprayed passes out to Bale last night were breathtaking again). Bentley gets the focus and rightly so – but the defensive error for Gyan’s goal was a joke and really highlighted how much we miss Dawson in there. Where was the communication?! A shocking goal to concede. Nothing easy coming up – there is now big pressure to pick up points against Blackburn – but let’s keep the Bentley in the garage for me. Surely it’s time to give Krancjar his minutes – or at least give him time in the shop winda – eh ‘Arry?

  7. Dr W you may have me typecast as a certain type of Spurs fan I don’t regard myself as being. Possibly due to a (half-read – tut tut!) post that is certainly atypical of my normal musings.

    Everyone has their favourites, and although I (by my own admission) went off at the deep end a bit about Bentley, I’ve given him credit in the past and will do so again if he delivers the goods.

    I was a staunch defender of JJ for a long time. I changed my mind about him last season and since then, ironically, he’s been good for us. I only criticise when I think its deserved, and I certainly don’t boo. Ever.

    Davey will back me up when he says I almost got in a bit of trouble the other week for defending Crouch from someone booing him!

    Ultimately though I’ve brought this on myself by having a rant to let off steam. The point is – I let steam off in the blog, rather than in the stadium!

    I shouldn’t have called it a Sunderland review on twitter I guess! If you want a more measured summary of last nights game (I didn’t meant to give the impression this is what I was trying to do with my post!), and to show I take Dr W’s comment in good spirit – check out his rather good write up of last night:

    I stand by my criticisms of Bentley though!

  8. Oog did indeed lay into a fan who was sitting behind us who was booing Crouchie. Oog does not boo at Tottenham. He never has done. Believe me – we have seen some crap games over the years as well!

    I think we will come good. It is still relatively early and it is a very competitive league. Anyone can beat anyone on their day.

    I want a Good result against Blackburn. A good performance at the Gooners – not even a win necessarily, last year we just rolled over and let them tickle our tummy. I do not want to see that again.

    I know people are getting frustrated. I don’t want not to have Champions League football next season either but it is Tottenham we are talking about here. We dont like to make things easy..

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