Just some quick comments on this game which I watched in its entirety:
• The loss in this one goes to Harry Rednapp and the Spurs fitness trainer. Hotspur played rather evenly through say about 65 mins, after that both Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Wilson Palacios tired immensely. The impact we’ll discuss…
Harry for his part failed to recognize his side was tiring, brough in Aaron Lennon, but failed to get him the ball. Didn’t realize that Bale was gassed leading to Nani’s second and decisive goal. Bringing on Crouch was an excellent move, but…
• With Modric tiring, Tom “Heavyweight” Huddlestone was moved further up the pitch. Crouch must have laid off about 5 potential goals to the big man (not his fault, not his skillset) who needed to take one touch then a shot. That’s a role that Modric would have been much better in…where was Modric? Still jogging up the pitch. Blame to Harry on that one…you bring in Crouch, but fail to complement his service layoff.
• Gareth Bale is looking like a star now on the west side for Tottenham. Continuously challenging both middies and wingbacks alike. Good move by Ferguson to move Fletcher back there and take off a very confused Rafael who was guilty of leaving the post on Ledley King’s single score for Hotspur.
However, Gale was gassed to and Manchester United kept finding space behind him. Better move by Rednapp, not sure, but he needed to do something.
• Best goalie in the Premiership not going to South Africa? Edwin Van Der Saar–his impact on the game should not be denied. Continuously moved his defenders around and was–something I’d like to more out of Howard (remember, I am a fan)–calm in his leadership.
A few other things that Van Der Saar did that oozed class. Moving the ball around when Man United had an advantage or were getting beat on a site. Beat, he went the other way. Advantage, kept distributing. Finally, on balls played back to Van Der Saar the elder keeper–who wears a fanny pack on his days off–rushed out to meet them giving him multiple options and time to make the right pass. Impressive day from the Dutchman that should not go unnoticed.
• Nani, expressing himself in Rooney’s absence. Did Sir Alex’s threat to send him somewhere in the middle of nowhere during the Januury transfer window awaken the Portugese winger? Looks so.
• Finally, John O’Shea was brought in and given the chore of quieting Aaron Lennon. O’Shea got beat and issued fouls on the not-100% Lennon in one-to-one combat. Did Bob Bradley take note today that Carlos Bocanegra is an O’Shea clone, but also a drop slower. Hope so.