Tottenham certainly didn’t spend $18 million for a reserve goalkeeper, so Brad Friedel is clearly a man under pressure around White Hart Lane.
Hugo Lloris, among the world’s finest men in goal, was a surprise transfer deadline acquisition for Spurs.
But handing the job to Lloris might not be such a slam dunk. Not after the former American international absolutely saved his club Saturday in north London. His first half save on a Robert Snodgrass header was nothing short of stunning. (For a chaser, Friedel scrambled to his feet and snuffed out a second effort as it came back near Spurs goal.)
So, while we’re all yipping and yapping about Clint Dempsey’s transfer and how he might slot in around the Lane, there’s so much more to talk about regarding the man they call AVB, Andre Villas-Boas, who is already taking a roasting. And deservedly so.
Spurs, a team with Top Four ambition, will go into the international break with two draws and a loss. Blek! Furthermore, it probably would have been two losses and a draw if not for Friedel.
It definitely would have been two losses and a draw if not for Moussa Dembélé, another deadline day find. His halftime introduction added some midfield punch to an attack that lacked much of it. Dembélé’s second-half goal was the cherry on top.
Still, this against Norwich, a team that Fulham clobbered (5-0) two weeks ago.
FSC analyst Warren Barton, like most of us, was clearly unimpressed, laying the blame squarely at the feet of Villas-Boas.
You can tell the players are not playing for him already. … You can tell, from preseason preparation, a lot of them are going, ‘I don’t get this guy. I don’t buy into what he’s doing.’ You can tell. Gareth Bale looks the shadow of the player we spoke about. [Aaron] Lennon keeps drifting inside. And as I said before, you play two holding midfielder players, leave [Emmanuel] Adebayor on the bench, you’re going to put yourself under this kind of pressure.”
Today, it’s probably fair to ask the question: What has Dempsey gotten himself into?