What happened on March 2nd?

It's nearly 9.30 here in sunny Kent and I have been engrossed writing a series of articles about the mental side and the mental approach to football, so much so that I nearly forgot we had a game today. 

This is exactly the type of game aspects of these coming articles cover, if memory serves last year we lost to Fulham at a crucial stage of the season. This season it is simply about developing players for us despite the bravado for the press that we are trying to get Europa League football.

Mousa Dembele is back in contention for a place two weeks after first returning from injury. He seems to have perennial hip and thigh problems which were not always apparent at Fulham. There was talk that he was a bit of a hypochondriac, not wanting to play at the merest twinge and digging his heels in about it.

What happened on March 2nd?


During his comback game he was substituted off at half-time not being anywhere near the pace of the game. Clearly he wasn't fit but such was Tim Sherwood's desire to play him then you would expect him to start against his former club today.

He had 90 minutes under his belt for the Under 21 side on Monday when they lost 1-0 to Manchester United with a young team.

One Spurs player definitely not taking part and a player who seems to have the right mental approach is Lewis Holtby. He is on loan at Fulham and can not play against his parent club but has been a big supporter of ours none the less.

He has posted many pictures from Spurs mid week games when he has attended with his girlfriend and constant tweets. I'm not the only Spurs fan who feels he should have stayed at the club and been in a the team as a player we can rely on to give 100%.

Michael Dawson and Roberto Soldado have resumed training but neither is in contention for a place. They remain with Etienne Capoue, Erik Lamela, Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker on the sidelines, so just the 7 injuries this week.

Last week I highlighted a lot of stats and took a look at the first goalscorer market. The stats indicated a draw but the first goalscorer whilst on paper looked like Adebayor, couldn't be selected as we don't try in the first halves and concede the first goal to many times, especially of late.

When was the last time we scored the first goal in a game?

It was the 2nd March against Cardiff, a Roberto Soldado winner for which he was ludicrously benched for the next 3 games. Since that game we have conceded the first goal in the next 8 games in all competitions.

Chelsea a (4-0)
Benfica h (1-3)
Arsenal h (0-1)
Benfica a (2-2)
Southampton h (3-2)
Liverpool a (4-0)
Sunderland h (5-1)
WBA a (3-3)

Prior to the Cardiff game we also conceeded first against
Norwich City a (1-0)
FC Dnipro h (3-1)

That takes us back to the 12th February and Newcastle United away when Nabil Bentaleb starred in a 4-0 away win. We have scored first once in 11 games since early in February.

Going behind is not about ability, it's about our wrong mental approach, we only start playing when it looks like we might get embarrassed. Surely this run has got to come to an end soon.

Fulham are as big as 2/1 (3.00) to score the first goal with Tottenham 2/5 (1.40), would you put £5 on to get £2 plus your stake back on Tottenham to score first when we have only done it once in 11 games? I certainly wouldn't whoever the opposition are.

I can see us going behind again and then overturning it with perhaps Christian Eriksen scoring the last goal at 6/1 (7.00).




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