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Spurs Odyssey Academy Friendly Report - Arsenal v Spurs - 08.08.09
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List.

            Academy Friendly Match
                   London Colney
           ARSENAL    v         SPURS
         (Red/White)         (White/Blue)
         4-4-2/4-3-3             4-4-2

             2                     0
Team:- Butler(Ranieri 76), Byrne(Nicholson 26), Carroll, Mokotjo, Durojaiye, Blackwood(Byrne 46), Waller-Lassen(Oneyuga 56), Parret(Ekim 45), Kane, M'Poku(McBride 76), Zongo(Lancaster 63)

This morning Spurs' Academy players went to play a friendly at Arsenal's training ground. Possibly due to the warm weather they arranged to break up the 90 minutes into four quarters (30, 30, 15 & 15) as well as having rolling substitutions. While Inglethorpe did not take advantage of this the home side did to the extent that most of their players had two sessions. Inglethorpe did use his squad and also played two young South Africans, Kamohelo Mokotjo & Masibuzane Zongo.

Spurs lined up with Durojaiye and Blackwood at the back with Byrne on the right and Carroll on the left side. Parrett and Mokotjo were in the centre of midfield with Waller-Lassen on the right and Zongo on the left. M'Poku and Kane started up front in a 4-4-2 formation.

Spurs started the first period and looked to play more through balls to Kane than the one touch quick passing style of the last two seasons. The home side were more up for the game as they closed down quickly, tackling hard and cutting out any under-hit ball. M'Poku drew the first save before the home side tested Butler. Waller-Lassen put a cross into the near post for Kane but the keeper was across to block. Kane was continually caught offside by the Arsenal back line, such as when he got behind to head the ball which the keeper saved.

M'Poku fired a free kick over the ball before the gooners scored thanks to a mistake by Byrne. With the big home striker bearing down on him, he tried to control and turn a through ball and lost his footing to let him in to score. Byrne consequentially made way for Nicholson at right back. The Spurs lads were not finding the game easy and were not happy with the ref's handling of the game and when the ref blew up on the half hour we thought it was to speak to one of them and not to end the period.

Arsenal made three changes for the next period and increased their lead three minutes later. Again it came from a Spurs mistake as Blackwood failed to control the ball just inside the area and the striker took it away to score his second. Kane latched onto a through ball but was denied by the keeper diving to his left. The home side made another four changes during the remaining fifteen minutes and Spurs made three. Ekim replaced Parrett, Oyenuga came on for Waller-Lassen to support Kane up front and Byrne came back on to play at the back in place of Blackwood.

At the start of the third period Lancaster came on for Zongo with M'Poku dropping back into a more right midfield role. There was a lot of mixed play in the middle of the park with both sides threatening to break through without any final product. The only attempt on goal came from Oyenuga which the keeper saved easily.

Inglethorpe made two changes for the final quarter with Ranieri going in goal and McBride replacing M'Poku on the right wing. The home side finished the game the stronger with three shots at goal. Two went over and the other was wide of the mark.

The home side gave much more of a team performance than Spurs who are still looking for the right blend of players. Spurs need a stronger presence in the centre midfield area to support Parrett and need to work more on passing to feet. There are a lot of new faces and it looks as if it will take more time for them to gel as a team.

Next week Spurs' youngsters are off to Eindhoven to take part in the Otten(Moore) Cup playing the first of three group games on Friday against FC Twente. Then the team will play the other group teams Heerenveen and Pao de Acucar on Saturday. There are then play off games on Sunday for the final placings. On the 22nd August Spurs open their Academy League programme with a trip to Middlesbrough.


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