Bentaleb Man of the Match & free-kick was legal

I see Richard Keys, the man thrown off Sky Sports, is about the Spurs free-kick vs Everton stating that it was illegal.

'Spurs' goal shouldn't have stood versus Everton, Mark Clattenburg should've ordered a re-take,' continued Keys. 'The ball was some ten yards from the original offence when Walker took the kick.

'Full marks to him - black mark to Gareth Barry for giving the ball up so easily. But law 13 states the kick should be taken from the place of the offence. Spurs got a distinct advantage because it wasn't.'

Kyle Walker free-kick vs Everton
Kyle Walker free-kick vs Everton with thanks to the Daily Mail

Ian Snodin in the Liverpool echo writes:

'Mark Clattenburg didn’t do much to improve his standing in the eyes of Evertonians on Sunday.

He waved away a decent claim for a penalty, prevented Everton from taking a quick free-kick because he wanted to book Mousa Dembele – then allowed Spurs to score the only goal of the game from a quickly taken free-kick ... 10 yards from where the original offence took place.

 But that’s all so much nit-picking.'

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Yesterday's Article: Will Sherwood be asked to take on Levy's Project?

In fairness to him he complains that Everton created nothing in the second half and switched off at the free-kick. What neither point out is that the free-kick was taken 10 yards BEHIND where the offence took place, not in front so no advantage was sought to be gained. It was where Everton themselves put the ball.

A throw-in for instance can be taken from behind the offence, Kyle Walker takes most throw-ins from behind where the ball went out. These people should be applauding a brilliant piece of vision and awareness from Walker and Adebayor. Walker delivered the perfect ball, shame his crosses weren't of that standard, Ade was pointing to where he wanted the ball and was onside for once.

Walker has many critics and his crossing was sub standard on Sunday but his one moment won us the game. The ball still had to be delivered right and it was.

Incidentally I listened to an American commentary on the game and they gave the Man of The Match to Nabil Bentaleb.

With Dembele and Paulinho going forward together, they were frequently in the Everton box at the same time, Bentaleb was left holding the fort and in the first 8 minutes was run ragged. Then as they pointed out he grew into the game, adjusted his position, got closer to his opponent and cut the Everton threat out at source. From that point they didn't create a great deal.

Cutting a threat at source is a factor overlooked by many who look for mistakes later at the end of a move and blame that individual. This is often where Dawson and Walker get wrongly criticised. I can tell you a coach looks to find the source of a problem and prevent it there.

Prevention is better than cure. If you keep treating the cure (the end result error) then it will simply keep occurring but if you treat the cause it doesn't happen in the first place. That was what Bentaleb did so well and why he was far more deserving of Man of the Match than Adebayor.

I'm not sure fans have grasped Bentaleb's role or indeed the gun-ho way Spurs are playing with on Sunday two central midfielders attacking at the same time. It was a switch from Sherwood's normal system and shows that he is adaptable to the opposition. After the first 8 minutes our defensive set up was good and easily contained Everton in the second half although it did mean we had little attacking threat.

Games like this often revolve around one moment of brilliance so Adebayor and Walker deserve the applause along with Bentaleb.

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