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Dec 312011
 

You can watch the match live in the FORUM, just log in or create an account to get access.

Great away win in the week away to Norwich and more impotantly a great performance. Next up it’s Swansea before a little run of home games.

Tottenham Starting XI

Friedel; Walker, Gallas, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Parker, Sandro; Van der Vaart, Modric, Bale; Adebayor.

Here are our subs – Cudicini, Dawson, Rose, Kranjcar, Livermore, Pienaar, Defoe

 Posted by at 14:15
Dec 302011
 

The transfer window opens in just a few days and with Tottenham sitting pretty in 3rd in the Premier League some might say it would be foolish to not improve the squad and pretty much guarantee a top 4 finish as the CL revenue will cover the costs of doing so.

There will be players looking to leave, Gio, Pav, Kranjcar and maybe Pienaar and it is unfair to keep some of them any longer as many have served their time on the bench and deserve the opportunity to play elsewhere. This should bring in some funds and Harry has hinted that we could possibly expect something big to happen in January.

If you cast your mind back to the summer transfer deadline day we were heavily linked with a late swoop for Kaka, this would be my tip for what we might get in January. Harry and Levy know they can attract a big name player due to our league position. We know Harry would also like Tevez but I can’t see it happening. As previously said bringing in a player that would improve the squad and all but see us home in the race for 4th might well be worth the gamble of releasing extra funds especially if we let one or two move on.

I have no ITK crap to spout off about, I just have a gut feeling that previous opportunities have gone by when we had the chance to push on and maybe we have learned our lesson, bringing Kaka to The Lane would be my tip but even if I am wrong I still expect and hope that without rocking the boat we can bring in someone to help take us to that next level as well as possibly sealing a permanent deal for Adebayor to remain at Spurs.

 Posted by at 10:59
Dec 292011
 

Christmas is gone. New Year is next. In the footballing world this means the January transfer window is due to open. Spurs are sitting 3rd in the Premier League, 7 points behind the Manchester clubs with a game in hand. We have a very talented squad with the likes of Bale, Lennon, van der Vaart and Modric to name a few and even have players like Pienaar and Kranjcar on the bench. But what do we really need to improve on if we are to stay in 3rd or even push for the title?
Now, I find it quite insulting seeing Manchester City top of the league. I remember the days when Villa, Everton and ourselves were pushing so hard and doing everything we could to break into the top four. To see City who were just a mid-table team, a bit like Stoke or West Brom are now just luckily get rich owners and now believe the league is theirs to lose is pretty annoying. We have had to endure dodgy lasagne, infuriating decisions and exasperating performances to get to where we are now, something City know nothing about. But I’m glad both us fans and players had those experiences because without them, we wouldn’t be the team we are today. The whole point of my mini flashback is to show how far we have come as a club but to also explain why this January is a time for Spurs fans to demand a bit of payback from our beloved club.

If we want to become the best Samba, Holliet and Zamora are simply not the answers. We have not waited all this time to be one of the best teams in the country for us to simply buy Junior Holliet who is a good player to be fair but is he really going to make us better? Townsend who has recently signed a new contract could probably do a better job. We deserve the best. I’m not saying going out and making ridiculous bids for Messi or Ronaldo or Kaka because we obviously can’t afford that but the Daily Mail (I know, I know they are pretty unreliable but still…) are reporting that Chelsea and Liverpool could make a £25 million move for Gonzalo Higuain in January. If Liverpool who hardly look like top a 6 side and Chelsea who are a shadow of the team they used to be can make a bid for Higuain then why not us who are better than both sides? Higuain is one of the best strikers in the world and Redknapp said he wanted a big signing- well there he is and having just turned 24 and having played with both van der Vaart and Adebayor, we couldn’t be in a better position to offer him a chance to become one of the best strikers in the world if not the best. At the reported price of £25million he would break our transfer record but he would be worth every penny and for a player who has scored 20 goals a season consistently bar last season’s injury, is a real bargain.

I know we cannot offer the same amount of wages as some of the big teams can but if we want to be amongst the best we need to find a way to get world class players without having to really break our wage policy. It can be done because we are currently doing just that. A player like Higuain, who joined Real Madrid when he was 18, is probably not on the same wages as someone like Ronaldo or Alonzo and I’m sure Levy could give him similar wages or if not sort a deal out. Anyone we bring into the club needs to be able to improve the current team not just join it.

I know we still have a few defensive worries and I think Jan Vertonghen is just the man to stop them. He is Ajax captain and has already won more than Samba and Cahill put together. He is a left footed centre back and can play left back equally as good which I’m sure Assou-Ekotto would really appreciate. At 24, he is young for a defender but to be captain of Holland’s best side at such a young age speaks volumes of his ability and personality. A reported fee of £10 million, Spurs would have to pay relatively nothing in this day and age for simply a world class defender.

If we do buy Higuain and Vertonghen we would have spent £35million in transfer fees. I know that is quite a lot for Spurs but to put that into perspective- Liverpool spent that on Andy Carroll who is not in the same league as Higuain and Chelsea spent that plus £15million extra on Torres- Enough said! If we want to compete with the best we need to look at what they are trying to do. Would Manchester United buy Bobby Zamora or Chris Samba? Would A.C Milan even look twice at Junior Holliet? These are our competitors and if they are going for the best then so should we!

I am enjoying every minute of our fantastic season at the moment but I want it to continue for more than just this season. We need to build from what we have and our squad is so good that a couple more world class additions like Vertonghen and Higuain could really help us challenge the world’s best or even be the worlds best.

Dec 272011
 

You can watch the match live in the Triffic Tottenham Forum, streams will be provided there.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City have all dropped points over the past couple of days and tonight is our chance to capitalize on their bad results. With a trip to East Anglia to face newly promoted Norwich surely the players will have taken notice of other results and go all out to pick up another away win.

Harry makes just one change from the draw against Chelsea as Younes Kaboul comes in for Ledley King. Rafa fit.

Tottenham Starting XI

Friedel; Walker, Gallas, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Bale, Parker, Sandro, Modric; Van der Vaart; Adebayor.

Good enough to win tonight?

 

 

 Posted by at 18:37
Dec 262011
 

Tottenham  Hotspur travel to Norwich on the back of a frustrating draw against fellow title challengers Chelsea. (title challengers I know it still sounds too good to be true). And although both sets of fans, Spurs and Chelsea alike would probably argue their team might have edged it.( Tis true the goal line clearance by John Terry still with rankles me|). A draw was a fair result.

Enough though of yesterday, let’s take a look at how we aim to take advantage of  Chelsea (1-1) Liverpool (1-1) and Man City (0-0) only managing draws today. A positive result at Carrow Road could see us edge a four point gap between ourselves and the blue flag flyers from South London.

TEAM NEWS:

Harry Redknapp says he’s hopeful of Rafa van der Vaart featuring at Norwich tomorrow night (Tuesday, December 27).

The Dutch forward was forced off at half-time of Thursday’s draw against Chelsea with a hamstring problem but has been back in training at Spurs Lodge.

Meanwhile, Harry reported that Ledley King came through the Chelsea match okay but he wouldn’t have enough time to recover to feature at Carrow Road.

Harry also ruled Jermain Defoe out with his hamstring injury and that he’d ‘wait and see’ on Younes Kaboul’s hamstring problem.

Speaking after training on Boxing Day, Harry said: “We’re hoping Rafa will be fit and it looks like there’s a chance he’ll be okay.

“Jermain isn’t fit though, Ledley was okay after the Chelsea game but this one has come around too quickly for him. He’s not fit.

“We’re not sure on Younes yet, we’ll have to see how he is.”

Michael Dawson is on the road to full recovery from his Achilles injury while Tom Huddlestone (ankle) remains sidelined.

ADEBAYORS RUTHLESS STREAK:

With Defoe again being absent, it seems likely that Harry will continue with the tried and trusted front pairing of Adebayor playing off Rafa.

“If you want to be in the top four those are the types of games that you have to win home or away. We have to do what it takes to win those games. Otherwise, forget it.”

Adebayor, on a year’s loan from Manchester City, scored in last Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea and said Spurs should take heart from drawing with a title rival.

 ”Five or six years ago we know what would have happened [against Chelsea], which means, the club is going forward and we are improving,” he said.

MIDFIELD CONUNDRUM:

A more perplexing issue will be whether Harry continues with the same midfield that started against Chelsea with Sandro Parker Bale and Modric or will he opt for a little more pace and go for the young lad Townsend or perhaps Pienaar?

Pienaar will always give you that extra work rate. Something that cannot be underestimated on away days. Whereas Townsend will in my opinion offer more speed and directness, something we cannot have enough of.

DEFENSIVE ISSUES:

Another tester for Harry will be the centre of defence with Kaboul (hamstring) King (swelling to knee) and Dawson (achilles) all missing the game. (though Kaboul does have an outside chance). This leaves us with Gallas and Bassong. The former performing admirably in his last appearance though the latter has a lack of game time so far this season.

SOME GAME STATISTICS:

Spurs make 120 more passes per game than Norwich and complete 11% more. Spurs also run with the ball three times more often and Norwich have been dribbled past 146 times. With Kyle Naughton ineligible against his parent club, the questionable Richie de Laet may deputize at right back. Norwich have made a total of nine defensive errors with de Laet making two in just five appearances. If Gareth Bale is fit, the Welshman will relish running at the Manchester United loanee. Bale created four chances against Chelsea, including the assist for Adebayor’s opener.

Eight of the 18 goal assists made by Norwich so far this season have come from set pieces. Spurs have also made nearly 50 more shots than Norwich despite playing a game fewer. They have scored the sixth highest number of goals and Grant Holt is in the top ten goal scorers in the league. Grant Holt scores at better than a goal every two games for Norwich. He also has committed more fouls than any other player in the division, despite making only eight starts. 

Norwich have a simple style of football. It’s predictable, but it’s hard to stop. They are aware of their limitations and so tend to sit back and defend until they get their chance. They love to use width (making 23 crosses every week) and they create 10 chances per game. Spurs press the ball when they are out of possession. They make more challenges per game (98 to 87 despite Spurs much higher possession average) and less tackles. Because Tottenham try to close the ball down all over the pitch, they have won the ball nearly twice as often in the final third (54 to 28).

Statitional credit to (SAMROOKE89) English Premier League Index. Many thanks.


 Posted by at 19:23
Dec 252011
 

We are of course all perfectly aware of how the game has changed over the last decade or so. And of how much more importance is now laid at the feet of squad players. Gone are the years of first elevens with “back-ups” to cover for the odd injury here or there.

No, within these heady times of the multi-million pound earners, the depth and more importantly the quality of their number must be forever improved upon to ensure continuing success. With managers not only tactically rotating footballers to avoid injury, but to directly exploit an oppositions weakness by bringing in a “squad player” for a specific game, the importance is relevent now more than ever. Unfortunately though and this is the point of my article. As we know the Premier League only permits the naming of seven substitutes with the use of three of those during each game. 

I began to wonder then if it were not time for a change too in how the allocated numbers are used. Below are the given specifics of the squad ruling. 

  • At the close of each transfer window teams must announce a squad list of 25 players. 
  • Eight of these 25 must be “home grown,” meaning they have been associated with the FA or Welsh FA for three seasons (or 36 months) prior to their 21st birthday. Home-grown does not refer to nationality, simply how many years spent in England as a youngster.
  • In addition to their 25, teams can include an unlimited number of players under the age of 21. Players under the age of 21 in this context were born on or after January 1, 1989.
  • Clubs can change their squad list only during transfer windows, with a provisional rule in place for extenuating circumstances (like goalkeeping crises). The registered squad can be changed freely during transfer windows.
  • These squad rules are in effect only for Premier League matches. These rules do not apply to the Champions League, Carling Cup, or FA Cup.
  • Of these numbers seven shall be named as substitutes on match day, with three permited to be used on the field of play.
Seeing then how such importance is placed upon the squad, both by the FA and the Premier League would it not benefit the game to allow the manager to work from the entirety of its number on any given match day? Whilst raising the amount of substitutes from the current three to a more useful six. In my opinion this would go some way towards helping prevent further player unrest, as it would allow many more players to ply their trade at your club on a much more regular basis.
With debates then raging over goal line technology, the usage of the fourth officials and replays to more effect, both of which I am fully behind. I wish to add another ingredient to the recipe that makes us all drool with anticipation. 
 Posted by at 13:20
Dec 252011
 

2 tough away games just around the corner for Spurs, starting Tuesday night against newly promoted Norwich. The Christmas period will see teams like this wanting and fighting to pick up points and this will be no easy game simply because we are away from home and have 1 or 2 injury problems which may unbalance the side.

I would happily take 4 pts from Norwich and Swansea as they are both on the road and after only drawing at home to Chelsea it’s vital we get back to winning ways. Norwich are a team that if we don’t play to the top of our game we could come unstuck. Lennon is out which you can see just one injury can unbalance the side as Harry will usually play Rafa or Modric out wide which means their influence on the match is usually limited to that of what they can usually produce. There is a chance Rafa might be fit but we all know his hamstring needs a good rest. Ledley might be a doubt having played 2 games last week. We should still have enough quality to get a result at Carrow Road.

The Swansea match in my opinion will be tougher, they are a tough nut to crack and I think have only conceded something like 1 goal at home and that was against United. Next Saturday you can expect Swansea to have a lot of the ball and we might end up having to catch them on the counter. Both matches will be tough as we don’t have the best record against newly promoted sides and with games coming thick and fast over the festive period we will do well to pick up results and not pick up any more injuries.

Once these 2 are out the way we have a home match against West Brom just after new year to round of the festive period, it’s getting tight at the top now and we can’t afford many slip-ups between now and the end of the season.

Norwich away on Tuesday followed by Swansea next Saturday, can we get maximum points or like me would you take 4?

 Posted by at 11:04
Dec 242011
 

2011 started with a New Year’s Day home victory over Fulham which was a sign of great thing to come in the year. With a Champions League tie against AC Milan already lined up, I couldn’t wait to get 2011 up and running. I’m sure that none of you would need reminding about what happened that night – but because it was just brilliant, i’m sure it wouldn’t hurt anybody if I said that a late goal from Crouchy meant that we managed to come back with an historic win. And then we got a really nervy and painful draw back at the Lane!

After that, the rest of the year was pretty average. As if!! Our amazing Champions League run was pretty much over at the Bernabeu with (of all the people) Adebayor scored two of their four goals after Crouchy got sent off quite early on. The return leg was quite a good night at the Lane, being able to watch the Real Madrid at Tottenham in the Champions League and hearing the music for what would be the last time in a long time. However another Gomes howler meant the Madrid would go away with a 1-0 win.

With the Europe campaign over, we had to really go for it in terms of the league and get back into the Champions League again. The first league game after the Madrid game was a home game to Arsenal. As you probably remember, it finished 3-3 after Rafa scored two important goals for our slim fourth-spot chances – we were in fifth place, two points behind Man City but a much worse goal difference to theirs. The only consolation was that we ended the Arsenal’s chances of being title challengers, every cloud eh? Although we were two points behind City, there was a very important game in May that would surely determine who would get that fourth spot.

Before that game, we experienced a lot bad luck and frustration. The most obvious was THAT Chelsea goal which did not clear the line – this goal meant that we would go on to lose that game 2-1 and made our Champions League hopes the more unlikely. So after that game and a very frustrating 1-1 home draw to Blackpool (which another Gomes error cost us), it was simple: lose against Manchester City and we do not get fourth. Win: it was still in the balance. I’d rather not say what happened that night and I’m sure I don’t need to but a Crouch own-goal meant that City would win 1-0.

The season finished on a good run: a 2-0 away win to Liverpool and a final home win to Birmingham. Luka Modric and Gareth Bale said that there were not looking for a move away, Defoe was back in the goals: I was looking forward to the next season.

 

The whole summer was about one player, Luka Modric. It seemed like there was a new story about him every day of the transfer window and he never commenting on it. And then he eventually said the words that we didn’t want to hear, he said that he wished to join Chelsea. I, along with many others, thought this was the end of our player of the season and possibly the end of our Champions League hopes. Daniel Levy managed to keep hold of the playmaker which was a massive turning point in showing how far we’ve come as a club. In terms of players in before the start of the season: the main players were ex-gooner Adebayor on loan and then 40-year-old Brad Friedel.

 

Our season was planned to start on the 13th August, but was postponed due to the riots. This meant our season kicked-off against the two Manchester teams which, inevitably, didn’t end in much luck: United finished with a 3-0 loss and City was a 5-1 defeat.

It wasn’t looking good for our season but ‘Arry brought in a “triffic” player before the transfer deadline: Scott Parker. Now be honest, like me, a lot of you said that he was overrated and that there’s no way that he’d be our missing part. But he has proved that he is what we needed, at £5m he has become one of the best English central midfielder today. His work rate is great and his tackling ability is priceless.

 

So with a couple more players added to our squad, could our season finally get up and running? We had a tricky game away to Wolves which we comfortably won 2-0 and Adebayor got a debut goal. But what really kicked us off as a home game against Liverpool which we dominated throughout (even before the two Liverpool red cards). We went on to win 4-0 after Modric opened with a blinder and Adebayor added two goals to his tally, finished with a Jermain Defoe goal.

Our decent run continued and the North-London derby soon came up in early October. Many pundits were saying that it was the first time that we were the favourites going into this game, but I wasn’t so sure. Anyway, the game started and ended with a Tottenham goal and an Arsenal goal in-between. A great VDV goal started the game and an unbelievable goal from Walker won us the game, 2-1 Tottenham!!

After that, our unbeaten run continued and we reached a 13 unbeaten run, drawing just one of them to Newcastle.

The big test after Arsenal was a home game to Chelsea which was hard to call. Adebayor opened the scoring after 8 minutes which made a victory seem likely. Chelsea weren’t really in the game however, a counter-attack put Daniel Sturridge through who grabbed the equaliser and the game finished at 1-1. In my opinion, it was a great result. It put us 3 points clear of fifth position with a game in hand.

 

2011sums Tottenham up fairly well, there were many great ups and disappointing downs. I think that the team and the squad we’ve got here is the best I’ve ever seen (I’m only 16 so I haven’t seen too many). All I know is that the end of 2011 is a good sign of things to come and that 2012 is going to be a very special year for Tottenham Hotspur.

I feel like I shouldn’t finish this before the end of the year (there are two away games to go against Norwich and Swansea). But I want to go and enjoy Christmas!

Thank you for reading this, and I apologise that this is a fairly lengthy! Have an awesome Christmas and a great new year!

Cheers.