Seven Days @ Spurs: Back-To-Back Wins But Bale’s ‘Diving’ Needs To Stop

By on December 31, 2012

Tottenham Hotspur fan Steve Jennings gives us his latest installment of his ‘Seven days @ Spurs’ series, where he sums up the weeks events at White Hart Lane.

Gareth Bale

“Back-to-back away wins” is not a familiar phrase at Tottenham Hotspur, but after impressive victories at Aston Villa and Sunderland, Spurs find themselves in fourth place going into the new year.

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There have been a fair few positives over the festive period in addition to our good form. No one is playing particularly badly. Kyle Walker gave the ball away in the build-up to Sunderland’s goal, but didn’t let his mistake curb his performance. The full-back also played well at Villa Park, producing a beauty of a pass for Gylfi Sigurdsson to set up Gareth Bale’s hat-trick strike.

In my opinion, Walker has been the team’s biggest disappointment so far this season. However, when the team is playing with confidence, so is Walker. At times I doubt his ability, seeing his pace as an attribute that gets him out of trouble on numerous occasions, but Walker has recently shown just enough to warrant his place is the team.

Emmanuel Adebayor’s goals were key to any success Spurs had last season. The Togolese striker is yet to find his goal-scoring form of last term, but it’s fair to say he is playing reasonably well in an unfamiliar position. It may appear that he is being used in a 4-4-2 formation alongside in-form strike partner Jermain Defoe. It appears to me, however, that Adebayor is dropping in to the Van Der Vaart/Dempsey position. Obviously, goals in this position may not be expected – but Van Der Vaart often found the net when playing in the hole, and even Clint Dempsey seemed to improving in front of goal before a groin injury hampered his progress.

The fact is Adebayor is still finding himself in areas of the pitch from where he bagged a few goals last season; he needs to start upping his stats in order to stay in the side. The other side of the coin could suggest that Ade should be tried in Defoe’s place, with either Dempsey or Sigurdsson in behind him. Sigurdsson still hasn’t had a fair crack of the whip or an extended run of games, whilst Adebayor found most of his goals and assists from a more advanced position in the previous campaign.

It will be interesting to see the centre-back pairing against Reading tomorrow (Tuesday). Whilst Jan Vertonghen and William Gallas started at Villa, Andre Villas-Boas decided to take them both out for a Michael Dawson/Steven Caulker combination against Sunderland. My ideal partnership would be Vertonghen and Caulker – surely the future of a sturdy Spurs defence. However, Dawson and Gallas have performed admirably of late. A range of centre-backs is something that has been needed for years at Tottenham, and with the return of Younes Kaboul only a month away, an array of talent will soon be available at the back.

Spurs will come up against Reading (H), QPR (A) and Manchester United (H) in their next three league games, with a third round FA Cup tie against Coventry (H) in amongst those fixtures. With Reading and QPR seemingly lacking quality and form, six points are expected. With Hugo Lloris in fine form, clean sheets may also be a realistic target for those two matches. Manchester United will obviously be a challenge, but going into the game in-form would massively increase confidence and our chances of a rare three points against the league leaders. An early season win at Old Trafford might also mean AVB’s men will fancy their chances.

Gareth Bale picked up his fifth yellow card of the season at the Stadium of Light, meaning he will miss the Reading at White Hart Lane. This could be an opportunity for Andros Townsend to impress the coaching staff on the field. Townsend has shown flashes of talent in a Spurs shirt, but the winger really needs a run of games in order to convince AVB that he has a future at the club. Bale’s almost automatic starting place in games he is available for obviously makes Townsend’s task much more difficult.

Welshman Bale was superb in last week’s 4-0 thrashing of Villa. After the match, I saw a tweet from an Arsenal fans that read something along the lines of… “I suppose Bale is better than Ronaldo again now then?” I replied, “Yes.” Obviously I was simply trying to wind the Gunner up, but it got me thinking – Bale may not be as good as Ronaldo, but he is just as influential to his team. The winger’s hat-trick at Villa Park was proof of his hard work on the training ground as he proved he doesn’t have to stay out wide to be effective. Taking all three of his goals brilliantly, Bale moved up to a tally of ten for the season.

But Saturday’s game at Sunderland saw the other side of Bale. Despite a good performance, all people could talk about was another dive and another booking for simulation. For me, technically it was a foul; Craig Gardner obstructed Bale on purpose. His arm was across him and there was a clash of knees. But Bale dragged his right leg despite no contact in that area. There is the argument that no one knows how easy it is to go down when running at that pace, but it is clear to me that Bale often reacts in an over-dramatic manor. There is no need, and he is getting a reputation that is going to damage his career.

Regardless of this, Gareth Bale is integral to Tottenham’s potential success this term. It is difficult to criticise him in any way due to his influence and form. Cutting out diving, though, could be the best thing Bale does all season.

If you have any feedback or opinions, use the comments section below or contact me on Twitter @SteveJenn93

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7 Comments

  1. SP

    December 31, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Bale’s diving’ needs to stop…but the lat three yellows have all been given after he has been fouled. Is there any definitive proof that the contact isn’t enought to knock him over, because, otherwise this is a horrible message to giv out – it is okay to foul him, even though one of these tackles could end his career, but heaven help him ifit even looks like he has been theatrical in going over.
    Real, real divers are the ones who throw themselves over from a standing position when there is either no contact or they, themselves, ave initiated the contact. Adam Johnson did that twice in the first 15 minutes of a City game last season – he was awarded two penalties, which killed the game, and there was no witch-hunt about it (but they are a mega-rich club, so what do we expect?). Louis Suarez commits nasty, nasty fous and then emerges rubbing his head when replays show that nothing has touched his head. Why is all the focuson Bale?

    • Steve Jennins

      December 31, 2012 at 6:16 pm

      You make some good points. I just feel that Bale is the one who’s going to get himself hurt. Always goes drags one of hs feet, causing him to go down – one day he’ll injure himself.

      I suppose technically he isn’t diving – he usually is fouled. But the reason he doesn’t get the decisions is because of his reactions, wouldn’t you agree?

  2. OfftheShelf

    December 31, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Why when Michael Owen stated ‘If I feel contact I will go down: and won a penalty for England was there no condemnation?
    The arm across Bale as he ran through was enough to turn a good shooting position into one where he could have only been able to turn the ball back from the line, so when the contact on his knee was felt he went down as he is rightly allowed to do to highlight the foul.
    Players cannot stop him fairly, so they try the ‘professional foul’ way a sly arm to slow him down or minimal contact to put him out of his stride, this is where the cheating goes on, unfortunately bad officiating allows inferior players to get away with it.

    • Steve Jennings

      December 31, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      I wouldn’t put it all down to bad officiating. If an official sees Bale drag a foot that hasn’t been fouled, they’re going to think he’s dived.

      • OfftheShelf

        December 31, 2012 at 10:04 pm

        Assistant refs wait for the referee to give a decision on a throw in, you see it often enough, they are supposed to work as a team and this does not happen nearly often enough.
        Maybe Bale did drag his foot somewhat, could this have been because of the contact to his knee which seemed to be backed up by all the professional pundits that I have listened to except one, he admitted contact but felt that it wasn’t enough to bring Bale down.
        I refer to my point about Owen and England and constant and consistent bad officiating where the two assistants are scared to disagree with the referee and nearly always follow his lead.
        I refer to a recent Ginola comment on TV ‘there are players out there who do not play football they are there to stop you from playing’ he named a player or two, shame the refs’ do not see this early on in the game and put an end to it.

  3. Robert

    December 31, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Bale goes down to easy with minimal contact.
    Players collide with each other many times in a game this does not make it a foul. When you compare the Aguera goal to win ManC the title. His standing foot was taken out and he stayed on his feet to score. He wanted to stay on his feet and he did. Whereas with Bale he always looking to go down. At Villa he went down like he was shot even though he was hardly touched. He rolled over and over on the floor got the Villa player booked, even his own team mates ignored him, then got up a limited away. Straight away the ball was played to him and he was off and running like a grey hound and scored a goal.
    Bale had no honour as a sportsman, like Ashley Young, and the sooner they are booked, red carded will this behaviour stop.

  4. Gary Fox

    January 1, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Bale has dived in the past but is now getting booked for being fouled. Its easy for defenders to do enough to send him off balance then protest their innocence. Walcott Hazard Carzola have all won penalties this season that had less contact than bale is getting. I don’t like to see players go down when they could stay on their feet but why is Bale being singled out for what 90% of forwards do?

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