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Missed Chances: Did Tottenham Deserve Better Than The 1-1 Draw With Monaco?

 Match Reports  Comments Off on Missed Chances: Did Tottenham Deserve Better Than The 1-1 Draw With Monaco?
Oct 022015
 

After the 4-1 defeat of Manchester City, another win could have been in the cards for the Spurs, but no.

The first half of Tottenham Hotspur against AS Monaco saw some great plays from Erik Lamela, who scored Tottenham’s only goal against Monaco. Lamela started the move with a pass to Chadli, who set up Dele Alli but was denied by Danijel Subasic, but Lamela followed up on the shot and tapped into an empty net. Both Nacer Chadli and Harry Kane could have also netted in the opening period but wasted a couple of opportunities.

Most of the second half was more blah in comparison, with the Spurs seeming to lack a sense of urgency and taking fewer risks. They didn’t defend well enough and could not find the freedom to hit Monaco on break like the first half.

Nabil Dirar was introduced minutes before Monaco’s goal and sent in a fine cross to Stephan El Shaarawy on the goal, with El Shaarawy stumping Lloris by heading it into the back of the net after taking a slight deflection off Kieran Trippier.

The Spurs came within 10 minutes of beating Monaco. Monaco gave a solid performance in the second half, but the Spurs should still have swept them. Maybe Tottenham did a bit too much dreaming after smashing Manchester City…

Next: Michael Owen’s prediction of Sunday’s Spurs vs Swansea?

 Posted by at 09:13
Dec 022013
 

The Spurs put in a much needed, much improved performance against defending champions Manchester United yesterday to come away with a 2-2 draw. Before the match, I made the point how a strong performance in this match could lead to a revival in the Spurs fortune, and the Spurs delivered on that front. The football was quick and attacking, Paulinho was ‘triffic’ in his role up front with Soldado, and had he converted that glorious opportunity in the first half hour of the game, United in all likelihood would have been unable to come back in the game. Lennon to was brilliant and kept Evra on a tight leash. So, yes, the positives are many and going into the match I would have taken a draw with open arms. Now, however, I am still unsatisfied.

We were better than Manchester United for majority of the game, with only Rooney lifting Manchester United to equality. Instead of winning a draw from Manchester United, we lost a ‘win’. Our defense too was not bad. Yes, we lost the lead twice, but really both the Manchester goals were a bit fortunate. Villas-Boas’s tactics to strengthen the Spurs defense clearly still have a long way to go but the balance between defense and ‘the spurs way’ looked closer to being achieved this game.

A team does not go from being good to terrible to good withing two weeks ( which if your read the coverage Spurs have received over the last few weeks is exactly what has happened). The fundamentals are strong and now us Spurs fans need to back our club to the fullest and give them the confidence to build on this performance. With games against Fulham and Sunderland up next, AVB has a good opportunity to further tweak the side while picking up points. The league table was already close and got closer still courtesy Hull. We now need six points from the next two games.

Anything less will be a disappointment. We played like equals to Manchester United and I believe we can match that quality on a consistent basis. Let us not be satisfied with draws anymore.

 

 Posted by at 17:28
Aug 252012
 

This is exactly how I felt after the match today. Slightly humbled by West Brom’s second-half performance as the first half for them was nothing to blog about. Let me start by saying it wasn’t a loss, it was a draw. Obviously it won’t wash with a lot of you though. It certainly didn’t wash with the 7,000+ Spurs fans I sat with in the South Stand either. Our maiden home game under AVB was sweetened at half time by an appearance from our new club ambassador and all-out legend, Ledley King. It then appeared to blossom into something gaining momentum when Assou-Ekotto’s ‘have-a-bash-son’ volley broke the deadlock 3/4 of the way through. But cometh the one-and-a-half hour mark, cometh the Morrison from West Brom, who slid a neat shot low  into the right hand side of the net to make everything sour on the stroke of 90 minutes.

In the first half our football was again very tidy and the defence was organised, save for a slight miscalculation by Vertonghen at the back. He made up for his mistake spectacularly with some dogged defending later on.

Livermore did surprisingly well in centre midfield with a hybrid of Parker’s ball-hungry defending and his playmaking which – if I may inflate his ego to bursting point just  for a few seconds – had hints of Modric vision.

Maybe West Brom were given the better half time team talk. They sat back too much in the first half to no avail as Spurd peppered their box with attack, just without the goal to prove it.

In the second half they made use of the counter attack like Spurs did and with Lukaku as the spearhead it looked to be working. Only our centrebacks and Friedel stood in the way and did until the final few minutes when a well earnt three pointer for Spurs turned into despair and a reaction similar to when we lost 0-1 at home to Wigan one summer…in fact, come to think of it, it might be exactly 2 years to the day! Someone please check that…cheers.

All the work we believed AVB had done was unravelled during a frantic defensive scramble to clear the ball from Spurs’ penalty box but it was being pinged around like a hot potato in a pinball machine. Morrison leveled the score for West Brom, cue Arsenal-style mass exodus…

Towards the end, our formation (looked like a 4-5-1) began to deteriorate with Vertonghen moving too far up on his own and Livermore taking his place which opened up a massive void in centre midfield for Lukaku to roam around in; a void so massive that I thought at any moment, he could swing his arms around, twirl and sing a the opening song of ‘The Sound of Music’ on our nice new turf while the subs were coming on.

Not sure if AVB wanted a more total-football approach or Vertonghen thought he’d try one anyway but it almost cost us another game. The substitution of Defoe for Jenas was a daft one to say the least. I know Adebayor needed a position but maybe it could’ve been modified to a 4-4-1-1 to accommodate both strikers. It looked too much like Redknapp’s choice of Parker coming in against Aston Villa when we were trying to take a lead rather than keep one.

I would like to hope that we go from strength to strength – From a loss to a draw to a win. But it will take some major tweaking of the midfield and what should be simple close-range passing.

Saying all that, I would like to say I won’t be too happy if I have to come on here after every loss and defend AVB from fans who already had he long knives out for him before his first pre-season friendly. His building of a team will take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, Roman never gave him a day. It is one occasion where if we are in such an equivalent as Rome, we should NOT do what that Roman did. It helps neither the team or the media’s coverage of the team. They are the pied pipers leading the torch and pitchfork parade towards AVB on a daily basis just because it’s easy to and  he hasn’t already led Spurs to a 10-0 away victory against Newcastle.

I’m sorry AVB-haters but if you no longer want to ride this roller coaster of stress, despair and appreciated celebration which you’ve come to know well as a Spurs fan, you know where to get off.

Good things come to those who wait. Ain’t that right Abramovich… :-#

Aug 182012
 

 

Naaahhh not really; I was getting your attention so that I can somehow ‘bunny hop’ to the defence of AVB on our 2-1 defeat to Newcastle…
I was on a day trip to Liverpool today, which was potentially a perfect destination to rejoice in that wonderful city’s football team suffering at the might of West Bromwich Albion. Case and point – Spurs overall weren’t THAT bad. However, yes a loss is a loss and I’m waiting for the haters to just let rip on Spurs forums across the land about how AVB should already ‘fxxk of and do one already’ along with Levy and Co. Investments Ltd Plc BBC ITV and sons for not bringing a striker in.
The open play at times was quite marvellous. Spurs now have a three-man weave in use which almost led to Defoe scoring a much needed goal early on – something which unfortunately I saw as a key moment in the game. He burst into the box and slid a shot past a wrong-footed Tim Krul. However, it rebounded off the left post and Sigurdsson couldn’t reach it.

The counter attacking where that weave was formed has much improved. After what I’ve seen today, the tactics are almost down to a tee which diverts attention away from our lack of firepower up front. Mind you, Defoe showed his quality with a poached goal after a misfired header from a Newcastle defender got Krul mixed up again and he fumbled the ball towards the right post with Gallas and Defoe closing in. Jermain came in to meet the bobbling ball and equalise for Spurs. The fist-pumped celebration from AVB was slightly heartwarming if not a little overdone.I think that after our shaky defence cost a penalty and eventually the game, fellow fans may now ask either where a new centreback is or more appropriately – Why didn’t Jan Vertonghen start. But that isn’t a question for Levy and Co. Still, the defence tactics still worked this time around, save for Walker ending up out of position when defending after attack and giving too much space to Demba Ba.

It was a tough game, a bad result which will cue cries of ‘there goes our silverware’ or ‘told you we need a striker’, but I don’t think as a team Spurs played a bad game, Demba Ba’s neatly curled goal was one which even Spurs just had to sit back and compliment. And two-on-one defending brought down Ben Arfa in the penalty box. So no real howlers on the goalkeeper’s part or any others.
Defoe – our main striker – did his bit with a poached goal

Just one of those days I guess….oops – shouldn’t say that.

 

We are doing ok. I judge by home games more as these are usually when the team are much more entertaining to watch and are morally obligated to put on a match-winning performance for the hard-done-by away fans who come home to The Lane where they prefer to be. Wait for our first home game before you get the knives out (if you really need to get them out).

 

I’m still an AVB-liever. Who’s up for a cuppa (FA or Capital One…)?
Jun 072012
 

Hi guys.

I play fantasy football regularly on a site called Picklive.

It has been known as ‘fantasy football on crack’ with their ‘live games’ where you pick five players from the teamsheets in a particular televised matchand those players accumulate points in real time based on what they do during the 90 minute game.

OPTA, the statistics company are involved in tracking that activity and logging it for the purpose of converting it to points which can win prizes.

Picklive cover premier league, champions league, europa league and international tournaments like this one.

There are great cash prizes up for grabs using stakes ranging from FREE [no cash prize there] to upwards of a few grand…

But as it’s kind of an ‘off-season’ at the moment and there’s an international event on, Picklive are just holding the normal kind this time. The £2,500 prize pool is one where you pay £15 to make a team of 11 players across ALL TEAMS. But here’s the difference – NO TRANSFER BUDGET LIMIT! 

You heard it right, there isn’t a set budget like the others. So if you want Van Persie, Ronaldo, Nani, Terry and Klose in the same team, you can have them! The only restraint is that you can’t have more than three players from the same country.

PLUS – The prize-pools are only a MINIMUM. If the number of entrants exceeds a certain number in any cash tournament, the prize-pool increases. Prizes are paid out to the top-three places.

In a £1000 Fantasy Football tournament for the final day of the season (£10 Stake).

1st Place – £600
2nd Place – £200
3rd Place – £100

(Picklive took a rake of 10% from the total prize pool)
If you can’t spare £15, which many of u can’t, you can play in a £10 tournament, join mine (£5) , or even create your own and invite others! Choose the stake and the phase in the tournament, pick your team, invite a few mates/office colleagues and away you go.

You can even have a tournament ‘for fun’ and just compete for bragging rights. No cash required.

However, if you sign up using my link – https://www.picklive.com/r/YJNHHRNTZFDADXSJAEZD and deposit some cash into your Picklive account, you can get an extra £3 on top. Sounds meager but that is enough for one cash entry where the prize pool is a minimum of £30.

Go to the homepage and scroll down to see the many free, low stake and stupid stakes tournaments available.

Tournaments I’ve set up:

GROUP D:
https://www.picklive.com/weeklyff/remote_games/446
Euro2012 Phase  – Group D
Stake – £5
Prize Pool – £10 (increases if more people join)

BUDGET EURO2012 TOURNAMENT FF:
https://www.picklive.com/weeklyff/remote_games/490
Euro2012 Phase – ENTIRE TOURNAMENT
Stake – £5
Prize Pool – £10 (increases if more people join)

Email support@picklive.com and ask anything you like about how it fully works and
what’s what 🙂

Have fun if you join up!

Good luck!

Apr 152012
 

Firstly a message for Martin “Double-Vision” Atkinson:

‎”Referee” Martin Atkinson, you are a disgrace to the game. You watched that ghost-goal from a better angle than the linesman and you still give it even though it was NOWHERE NEAR the line!

I hope you can’t sleep tonight after once again propping up the ‘bigger club’ for your own ends and theirs.
I hope you realise the need for a few more refereeing lessons on what is defined as a goal.
I hope you hang your whistle up or put it somewhere really really safe!
I hope you know what I meant by that you double-vision, biased blueblood.
You got it wrong wrong wrong and you know it.

Not taking anything away from Chelsea and Didier Drogba who ravaged us in the end, but that’s not to say
that the second goal (ghost-goal) wasn’t a veritable tipping point for it!!!

Martin Atkinson had the best view of it where there were no players blocking his view, and he gives the goal regardless. Time and time again, we have been screwed over by referees, whether it be over a bad penalty claim, miscommunication of a free kick or goals which in reality were or were not.

How many big games do we have to lose before goal-line technology gets implemented in football or an appeal system is put in place to help referees make better-informed decisions???

I had a look at FIFA’s rather weak arguments for keeping technology out of the game and will demonstrate them one by one, using mainly England’s World Cup defeat in 2010 to Germany as an example. A goal which should’ve been given in one scenario; and a goal which shouldn’t have been given in another scenario.

Apart from pure penny-saving, FIFA have no other valid reason for rejecting every call for such technology to be introduced.

I will make holes in every point FIFA have against it so that they eventually look like Sepp Blatter’s native cheese type—Emmenthal for those enquiring further. For even more information on the topic of Swiss cheese with holes in it, google “Swiss cheese” or alternatively “Diego Maradona’s liver.”

But before that, let us look at their mission statement and what they stand for, besides profit like any business does (even though sport was never meant to be commercialised):

1) THEIR MISSION:

A) “Develop the game…”

HOLE— They have not developed the game much beyond the “silver goal” rule in extra time, as implemented by current president Sepp Blatter.

B ) “touch the world…”

HOLE— Rather than just touching the world, they’ve given it a nasty poke in the eye with full force by trying to save money any way they can, notably by rejecting goal-line technology.

C) “and build a better future.”

HOLE— Any new technology is for the future!

In the past and in the present, officials have had to bare the brunt of outrage when they get a decision wrong and also have to live with it for a long time afterwards (ask that Soviet linesman from the 1966 World Cup Final for more details).

Introducing technology like this will ensure that officials’ decisions are corrected if wrong the first time and prevent backlash because decisions are final and they can change everything in a game.

2) WHAT THEY STAND FOR:

…Integrity— They ‘ believe that, just as the game itself, FIFA must be a model of fair play, tolerance, sportsmanship and transparency’:

HOLE— Fair play goes out the window when a legal, above-board goal isn’t given and also when a total non-goal is given.

Tolerance?

That’s a funny one, considering that they’re not listening to good ideas put before them.

Sportsmanship isn’t there if players are allowed to dive without being disciplined for it by referees being too gullible to deal with weak South American or Ibero-American players in particular.

Transparency means you can see what their true agendas are. Judging by their persistence with rejecting goalline technology, one has to ask whether there’s a hidden agenda somewhere. Their reasons which I’m about to blow holes in don’t ring true to me, hence me blowing holes in them.

So here we go then.

Fresh from the 124th meeting on March 6th of the IFAB regarding FIFA and their position on technology in football are FIFA’s reasons for not implementing goal-line technology.

Take everything written by them with a pinch of salt. You certainly will after you remember all the duff decisions made by officials over the years:

POINT 1)

FIFA SAYS:

The universality of the game: one of the main objectives of FIFA is to protect the universality of the game of association football. This means that the game must be played in the same way no matter where you are in the world. If you are coaching a group of teenagers in any small town around the world, they will be playing with the same rules as the professional players they see on TV.

I SAY:

It’s still the same rules! It’s just with technology introduced to verify officials’ decisions.

If they mean ways of officiating the match should remain universal, that is also flawed.

Lower tiers of tennis and rugby do not have “Hawk-Eye” (tennis) or audible dialogue (rugby), but even though hawk-eye in professional tennis was initially opposed by purists, Hawk-Eye has now been widely accepted, but with the compromise of limited challenges against an umpire’s decision.

Technology in professional rugby has been welcomed without the call for it in grassroots rugby. Still, officials presumably confer with each other on giving tries at grassroots level if needed.

POINT 2)

FIFA SAYS:

The simplicity and universality of the game of association football is one of the reasons for its success. Men, women, children, amateurs and professionals all play the same game all over the world.

I SAY:

If it’s the same game, it should be the same rules. As in the ball being over the line means a goal, regardless of whether it hits the back of the net or not!

POINT 3)

FIFA SAYS:

The human aspect: no matter which technology is applied, at the end of the day a decision will have to be taken by a human being. This being the case, why remove the responsibility from the referee to give it to someone else?

It is often the case that, even after a slow-motion replay, ten different experts will have ten different opinions on what the decision should have been.

I SAY:

Who says the referee would need to be stripped of responsibility at all?

There are at least two giant video screens at every major stadium which play replays and follow the game on camera. All the referee would have to do is watch a short replay of the issue at hand. Maybe the referee can alert the 4th official who can ask the screen-operator for a replay of the desired event.

I mean, all the 4th official does is hold up an LED monitor at certain points in the match (OOPS, MENTIONED TECHNOLOGY AGAIN. MY, MY, AM I NAUGHTY!). It’d give him something else to do. Seriously though, those LED thingies aren’t seen at grassroots football, yet FIFA and all other professional football governing bodies use them at matches.

What’s more, LED indicators aren’t vital, hence grassroots games getting by quite easily without it.

At stadiums, substitutions and injury times are announced on a PA system anyway! That too is technology used by FIFA. So basically, they haven’t lived up to their mission statement of universality of the game. If they truly had, there’d be nothing electronic at stadium matches.

One more thing, technology is made by humans, so technically, human arbitration is always present in football. This type of human-made intervention (goal-line technology) in football would help to REMOVE ALL HUMAN ERROR.

POINT 4)

FIFA SAYS:

Fans love to debate any given incident in a game. It is part of the human nature of our sport.

I SAY:

THAT DOESN’T MEAN WE’RE JUMPING FOR JOY WHEN OUR TEAM GETS SCREWED OVER FOR A LEGITIMATE GOAL!

Fans also love to call governing bodies of football money-grabbing fat-cats because of their commercialising football through countless adverts without caring for the spirit of the sport itself.

Fans would still have other things to debate like team selection and individual players. If anything, some fans no longer want to talk about goals/offsides that weren’t or officials that aren’t!

POINT 5)

FIFA SAYS:

FIFA’s goal is to improve the quality of refereeing, making referees more professional and better prepared, and to assist referees as much as possible. This is also the reason why refereeing experiments (such as with additional referees or the role of the fourth official) will continue to be analysed, to see how referees can be supported.

I SAY:

ANOTHER WAY TO IMPROVE REFEREEING IS STARING YOU RIGHT IN THE FACE!

Goal-line technology would save an awful lot of earache for referees and assist them as much as possible like they aim to do. FIFA aren’t even prepared to experiment with goal-line technology. Despicable stubbornness prevails here.

POINT 6)

PART A

FIFA SAYS:

The financial aspect: the application [or testing] of modern technologies can be very costly, and therefore not applicable on a global level. Many matches, even at the highest level, are not even televised. For example, we have close to 900 preliminary matches for the FIFA World Cup™, and the same rules need to be applied in all matches of the same competition. The rules need to be the same for all association football matches worldwide.

I SAY:

The cheek of it: FIFA have made MILLIONS from international tournaments, enhanced further by giant sponsorship/advertising deals.

For the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, ticket prices have been astronomical! It makes Category A ticket prices at White Hart Lane look like a couple of pounds! Take a look at the following link:

http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/organisation/ticketing/pricesandmatches.html

Pay attention from here:

As you can see on their site, the best pitch-side seats (Category 1 ) for a group game cost $160 each! That’s over £100 per ticket!

Taking an average of the South African stadiums in use for the event—with both capacity and attendance considered—they take in 50,000 fans every time. 30,000 of those tickets would be Category 1 (along the pitch) while the other 20,000 would be behind the goals or in the corners (Category 3 ).

30,000 Category 1 tickets (pitch-side seats along the touchline) sold per match at $160 each take in $4.8m (nearly £3.2m) every match. 20,000 Category 3 tickets (behind the goals/in the corners) sold at $80 each (approximately £53) take in $1.6m (just over £1m).

$4.8m + $1.6 = $6.4m ~ £4.2m per game.

$6.4m multiplied by the number of group games to which this pricing applies (48)
equals a massive $307.2m (around £200.4m) just for that phase of the tournament!

It begs the question of—apart from paying for energy bills (surely not all of the revenue goes towards that) and staff—where does the rest of the money go!?

Surely some of that revenue could be retained for use in experimenting with goal-line technology at least, otherwise people may get suspicious of FIFA board members simply lining their own pockets.

Wouldn’t look very good seeing as their aim is to contribute to the “good of the game”, would it?

PART B

FIFA SAYS:

The experiments conducted by companies on technology in football are also expensive. The decision of the IFAB, after careful consideration and examination of studies conducted in recent years, to give a clear answer on technology in football is also positive in this regard as these companies will now not spend significant amounts of money on projects which in the end will not be implemented.

I SAY:

You need to test technology before deciding to implement it anyway! Duh!

POINT 7)

FIFA SAYS :

The extended use of technology: the question has already been raised: if the IFAB had approved goal-line technology, what would prevent the approval of technology for other aspects of the game? Every decision in every area of the pitch would soon be questioned.

I SAY:

What the hell is the difference between investing in goal-line technology and investing in LED thingies, earpieces to communicate and signals in the linesmen’s flags which alert the referee of an offside call (the latter three technologies already being in force throughout professional football) besides the degree of usefulness!?

The flags with signals are the least useful. The referee does have eyes (in theory) and it’s out of line with what Sepp Blatter said about “keeping the human aspect of refereeing in football.”

If FIFA wanted to keep refereeing so human-based, why did they need to blow millions on flags that make a sound using one-button signal technology when the referee should be able to see the flag being raised/waved by himself?

Hypocrisy I say!

POINT 8)

FIFA SAYS:

The nature of the game: association football is a dynamic game that cannot be stopped in order to review a decision. If play were to be stopped to take a decision, it would break up the rhythm of the game and possibly deny a team the opportunity to score a goal. It would also not make sense to stop play every two minutes to review a decision, as this would go against the natural dynamism of the game.”

I SAY:

Union rugby is a “dynamic game.” Tennis is a “dynamic game.” I’m guessing what FIFA mean by dynamic is that it’s fast-paced and would look very lacklustre if it stopped too often.

Maybe so, but in football, referees may choose to play advantage on fouls. That’s enough to keep a game flowing as much as possible.

In rugby, the game always stops for scrums and throws but that’s one of the rules and fans of that particular sport still maintain enjoyment. Only boring people get bored quickly and FIFA representatives sound like that right now.

It doesn’t take a massive chunk of a referee’s life to reconsider and look at a video replay (another good idea in my opinion).

In rugby, tries can be reviewed. Can take a while but as I said, fans of that sport do not mind because it’s all in the name of totally fair and impartial refereeing.

In tennis, players can challenge a call (up to a MAXIMUM of three times in a game) and it’s a simple 10-second clip of the ball’s path and point of landing. A substitution of a football player takes longer than that!

What do FIFA want to do next?

Deny throw-ins because they “stop the game”?

Are you going to have all the subs just randomly throw a ball back onto the field to keep the game “flowing” or will the game just be abandoned because it “slowed down too much?”

Give me a break…

IN CONCLUSION

Compromise is something FIFA missed out in their mission statement. My proposal would be to introduce it but, like in tennis, have a limited number of challenges (I would accept just one as that’s the usual number of controversial decisions in a match if any).

It’s not just the ball which had crossed the line at the World Cup, it was the level of FIFA’s stubbornness and unwillingness to discuss the issue with advocates of goal-line technology. I call it a “Blatter problem.”

There is absolutely no point in having rules or professing them if you’re just going to forget those rules, one of which states that a goal is granted if the entirety of the ball crosses the line.

Why does the net have to ripple for it to be a goal?
Why does there need to be a scuffle on the goalline for it to be difficult to make the right decision?

You might as well not have a “back of the net” and instead stick a badminton net there!!! At least it ripples immediately when something hits it!

PLUS…

It doesn’t need expensive testing (more money in FIFA’s pockets and pensions, eh?), the ripple is more “visible” to even the most Uruguayan official’s eyes and doesn’t involve “TECH-NOLOGY”, that word which—when said in the company of Sepp Blatter himself—constitutes one euro being put into the company swear box.

I bet Sepp Blatter still sends messages to FIFA colleagues via homing pigeon! Get with the future you want to build, not the past which you evidently want to live in.

I am now going outside to catch a pigeon with strong-enough legs to carry this much writing to Switzerland and back…

Jan 142012
 

We were held to a 1-1 draw by our bogey team Wolves, and much against the run of play I might add. A controversial corner became a controversial goal after Steven Fletcher – always a thorn in our side – tapped in a rebound despite Spurs peppering Wayne Hennessy’s goal up the other end of the pitch. A Spurs equaliser would’ve been deserved minutes afterwards but Adebayor’s tap-in was flagged offside. However, we had yet another case as replays showed a Wolves defender playing him onside.

In the second half, we continued the pressure and it paid off quickly as Luka Modric salvaged a point with a clean strike at goal – the LEAST we deserved after the first half. But even with the addition of in-form Jermain Defoe (subbed on for Lennon), we couldn’t get the goal needed to tie with Manchester City on points at the summit of the Premier League table.

I’m just writing to say ‘cheer up lads!’ and give a bit of a pep-talk:

 It wasn’t a loss and we all know the Northern teams tend to park the bus. In he first half, Wolves had about three attacks compared to the ones we had.

I couldn’t see the second half of the game as I had to get on a train to Northampton for a party. Had to make do with BBC live text. As a matter of fact, I’m on that very train as we speak.

We are still very much in the title race with us being at the most [if they beat Wigan on Monday] five points behind Manchester City. In terms of Spurs’ quality of football, the performance today wasn’t much different from the ones we’ve been thoroughly enjoying lately, it just had less League points and you can’t win them all.

There is still time to close the gap. We have the PLAYERS; we have the TEAM; we have the MANAGER and – long time coming this one – we have the BELIEF to just dust ourselves off, get back out there and grab some more points against all the top teams in the coming months.

We have won away at Man City and Arsenal even when we weren’t as good as we are right now (but we were still pretty good back then!!), so it’s possible to repeat it.

This weekend, I won’t go round with a raincloud over my head as so far this season, the team have done us proud and will surely continue to do so in the tail end of this wild-ride season.

If you are going to slate anything on your chosen forum this weekend, slate fate, nothing/nobody else.

Today had that echo of glory which Sir Billy Nick mentioned; surely you heard it and saw it too (in the premiership table). So dust yourselves off and look forward to next week’s showdown with Man City.

Well, this is my stop; but it’s on the train, not on supporting Spurs until the bitter end, WHATEVER HAPPENS!

COYS!!!

Nov 072011
 

I think Harry’s doctor had to turn Harry’s hospital bed back around and wheel it back inside after that match on Sunday!

It was another fantastic clash between Spurs and the real club in South West London – Fulham. Our old boss Martin Jol was in charge of our opponents yesterday. It was a game of two halves for us once again.

We were repeating our current match form in the first half. Lovely tippy-tappy football from Bale and Lennon in particular, the scorers of the two goals we deserved from the game.

But in the second half, many of us felt like joining Harry in the cardiac unit! Fulham came back firing on all cylinders and far exceeded Spurs’ shot tally within the space of half an hour. Dempsey, Murphy, Zamora, Hangeland, the nearby pigeons, you name them, they were there in the penalty box! Fulham started piling on the pressure and our defence lost track of the fact that you never get a 2-0 first half lead at Craven Cottage and expect to keep it for very long.

Even The King lost his way which may have rubbed off on Kaboul when a frantic corner led to Kaboul being Fulham’s only way past a [insert exaggerative profanity here] heroic Brad Friedel. The ball bounced off the heads of both our centrebacks to give Fulham a lifeline and bring the score to 1-2.

The mayhem didn’t stop there as another corner scared Spurs again. Kyle Walker cheekily got his hands on the ball while Friedel was down after a parry. One commentator said of this crucial incident – ‘Walker has done everything with that ball apart from sign it’ after seeing him handle it like a goalkeeper. All appeals for handball were waved away by the referee as the crowded area made it difficult to see the ball at all. Modric was a saviour of a goal too, clearing the ball off the line near the right post.

2-1 to Spurs looked like the final score and considering the second half we had, it looked like slightly more than we deserved. We were already past four additional minutes and it looked like a close game.

Cue Jermain Defoe – Our diminuitive dynamo officially killed the game off using a well-worked cross from Adebayor to volley a straight shot just past Mark Schwarzer’s outstretched hand. However, this would be Adebayor’s only significant contribution for the entire game.

About the defence, I don’t know what got into the back four in the second half. It’s another classic case of score two and relax if we’re keeping a clean sheet.

At times, the fullbacks were too far forward and not getting back quick enough to reach the likes of Dembele, Dempsey and Riise who were going hell-for-leather at our goal with shots flying from all directions. Modric was in two minds about whether to cover the right flank or move to the centre to defend, leaving open space for any Fulham player to fill.

Fulham had their fair share of set-pieces around the penalty box and in corners. It took reflex saves from Friedel to prevent upset and the defence couldn’t cope with so many Fulham players, flooding the penalty box like bees round a honeypot. They should’ve taken the victory from under our noses.

But hey it was probably one lapse, a blip, even if it’s not supposed to happen with King in the centre 😛

May 112011
 

It seems I wrote that previous Crouch article a little too early 🙁

Generally, the team put on a solid performance. Gallas saved Spurs’ blushes with one defensive header against fellow ex-Gooner Vieira’s shot on goal which would’ve sealed the deal convincingly for City. Lennon also made his mark by cutting into the box regularly. It’s just a shame the crosses were not up to scratch.

Modric confirmed why he isn’t a striker by putting a rather easy goal wide. Finding himself in acres of space on the edge of the box he should’ve made more of the chance, but put it just wide of the right post.

Danny Rose took on double the work by making brilliant tackles and then pushing forward to cross into the box. Sandro again put a great shift in. Cudicini made a fantastic save early on. Would Gomes have saved that? I’d say yes, but feel free to debate amongst yourselves.

Crouch scored again, but in his own net. It was the only goal that Manchester City could speak of which cemented their place in the top-four. It’s looking more and more tempting for me to openly say ‘sell him’. Even though I should back all players all of the time, it’s made difficult by the mistakes they make which cost dearly. Crouch already got himself an early exit from the Champions League by being gung-ho with slide tackles in the opposition’s half and tonight he scored in his own net to give City the narrow 1-0 lead which ended Spurs’ hopes of another top-four finish.

The heroes of yesteryear (2010) have become villains. Gomes has appeared on Soccer AM’s ‘Taxi’ segment twice in the same season whilst Crouch scored Manchester City’s only goal to secure the Citizens’ place in the Champions League [Playoffs]. Time for a chorus from Alanis Morisette:

“…And isn’t it ironic
Don’t you think?

It’s like rain on your weddin’ day
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid
It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take
And who would’ve thought, it figures….

If I had that ringtone and Harry’s mobile phone number, I’d send that after the full time whistle.
It’s the good advice [‘get a striker’] that he just didn’t take. And who would’ve thought it figures.

Now that this season is pretty much over for us, the knee-jerking will begin and not stop until after pre-season. In fact, I’m doing some now I’ll admit. But if it is a valid point which has to be repeated until accepted, then so be it.

I still remain faithful to Harry and Danny Boy (Levy), BUT the fact remains; such a simple thing like buying a striker would have turn this season a full 180. Not seeing what was [or wasn’t] right in front of them has annoyed me the most. It was obvious we needed another striker to get the goals which would win games; but Hthe two powers-that-be will forever be too full of pride to admit that leaving the striker vacancy unfilled was the biggest mistake in their tenures here.

Of course I’ve been told by someone to ‘apply for the job of manager as I obviously know more than Harry’, but I would seriously call his bluff. At least I’d notice that we’re missing a 20-goal-a-season striker.
I’m not calling for heads on plates. I’m calling for a striker signature on a paper contract.

Was one more striker really that much to ask from our management/chairman???

I’m hoping that big important lessons are learnt from this, as well as hoping to see how Manchester City fare in the playoffs. If they get through to the quarter-finals/beyond, it’ll be a mockery and rub salt in the wounds for Spurs. If they fall at the first hurdle, it’ll still be a mockery by being a waste of a space.

The ball’s now in your court Mancini; and there’s no need for goalline/Hawkeye technology on that.

Apr 212011
 

That has to be the best North London Derby I’ve seen in my life. Yes it did help it being a draw,
but it was more than that this time. It had drama, bite, and some wonderful football from both sides.
A draw was a fair result, but an unwanted one when you look at what both teams were playing for.

Tottenham were looking to get level with Manchester City in the final strait of the Second Battle of Fourthplace. But the draw means that Spurs will have to win every forthcoming game and hope that Manchester City slip up somewhere.

Arsenal were looking to save face after Emmanuel Eboue [‘surprisingly’ absent from the squad tonight] threw two vital points away and the title along with it on Sunday. A win against Tottenham would’ve put the pressure back onto League leaders Manchester United after the goalless draw with Newcastle United last night.

A lot to play for ahead of this game, but neither got one over on the other tonight. A perfectly balanced game.

Walcott opened the scoring just five minutes in. Van Der Vaart replied two minutes later with a perfect right-footed drive into the bottom right corner. Nasri replied for the Gunners by striking a sweet shot under Dawson’s legs into the net to make it 1-2 to Arsenal. Modric was brought down in the penalty area by Diaby, but the referee didn’t give the penalty.

It got more frustrating for Spurs as Gallas did a ‘Rocha’ (tried to clear a ball at feet-level using anything other than his feet) allowing an opposing player to score. Gallas knocked the ball with his chest and straight in to trouble. Walcott picked it up near the six-yard box and chipped it in for Van Persie to head it. Gomes to his credit did pull off a great save against the header, but the Dutch striker had another bite of the cherry and knocked it in to make it 1-3 to Arsenal at 40 minutes.

Spurs had it all to do now. But four minutes after Arsenal made a two-goal cushion, another response from Tottenham had been made. Huddlestone pulled off his patented back-lift strike which fortunately went under Van Der Vaart’s shorts and into the net leaving Szcezny to watch in awe. Huddlestone hadn’t really been at his best. A lot of his cross-field passes were, if I’m honest, a bit crap.

The half-time score resembled that of a nail-biting full-time score: 2-3 to Arsenal at half-time.

The second half didn’t let up at all. Both teams got straight back to work.

Bale got injured in the first half after having his legs taken out form under him by Arsenal goalkeeper Szcezny in a challenge for the ball. The goalie didn’t even wince. He winked, in fact.

Aaron Lennon came on for Bale in the second half.

Fabregas was put through on goal and scored, but was considered offside by the linesman.
Replays showed that he was actually onside by half a yard. A relief for Spurs, but an annoyance for Arsenal.

Spurs’ long-awaited equaliser came about when Lennon was tripped up by Szcezny in the penalty area.
Van Der Vaart stepped up to take it and struck it in cleanly to draw Spurs level with Arsenal.
It was a frantic race for Spurs to get the fourth goal. Modric had a clear shot from just six-yards after a cross from Kaboul (on for Corluka), but Szcezny had a lucky escape as his trailing foot prevented him from conceding another goal.

A point each then. But it could’ve gone either way.

On a sidenote, Wenger is fast losing respect from me. At full-time, very limply shook Redknapp’s hand after such an exciting hard-fought game and then stormed off. What’s more is that when I was in the pub watching it, at full-time, a Gooner came over and shook MY hand properly *cue jokes about disinfectant use*.

If your garden-variety Gooner can be decent enough to respect opponents (in some cases), why can’t the manager do so?

Apr 152011
 

Once again, there’s been another call by the FA to clamp down on football-focused racism, but a more specific type. Another can of worms has been opened about the term ‘Yiddo’ being used simply because opposition fans have been known to chant anti-Jewish songs at Spurs fans. However, this is ruining it for Spurs’ own fans who adopted the term ‘Yiddo’ to defuse the racist element behind the original insult.

Take a look at the video here:
Kick It Out….

In the advert, there are Chelsea fans featured chanting an anti-Jewish take on ‘Spurs Are on Their Way to Wembley’. They have used the word ‘Yids’ in the lyrics. Let me remind you now that had the word ‘Yids’ been replace with the word ‘Jews’, the snippet would not have been featured and the chant would go on unnoticed as it has done for the last 30 years!

As both a Spurs fan and a descendant of Adam, Eve and everyone’s favourite biblical drunken-Uncle – who takes the command ‘sacrifice’ way too seriously – Abraham [in Lehman’s Terms – Jewish], I feel that the term ‘divine right’ couldn’t be better placed as I am the ideal type of fan to listen to on this sticky issue.

Tottenham Hotspur waded in to personally help David and Ivor Baddiel create that rather hypocritical short advert about what shouldn’t really have been an issue. Ledley King and Gary Lineker starred in that advert, two Spurs legends who were constantly referred to as the very thing they’re so ‘disgusted’ at!

They never complained about it when they were playing for us; and they shouldn’t even complain now. When Spurs fans chant ‘Yiddo’ at their players, it’s meant as a sign of affection for that player and an indication that they are fan favourites there, one of ‘us’. Surely Lineker and King couldn’t forget that so speedily.

What’s even stupider is that this harmless term is considered as offensive as the N-word (which is really just an abbreviation of ‘Negro’ which is the Spanish word for ‘black’) and the P-word (which is really an abbreviation of ‘Pakistani’ that got out of hand). The very assumption that those two words are comparable to the ‘Y-word’ is RIDICULOUS, particularly when the supposedly ‘offended’ group are NOT offended by the term anymore and additionally call THEMSELVES that!

I think that whilst there is an unsavoury connotation with the term ‘Yid Army’ being the name for the hooligan fan firm of Tottenham Hotspur, the terms ‘Yid Army’, ‘Yiddo’ or ‘Yids’ are used regularly by SPURS FANS THEMSELVES to give themselves a nickname which is as harmless as ‘Gooners’ (Arsenal), ‘Luddites’ (Leeds United), ‘Hammers’ (West Ham United’ or ‘Fans-who-are-getting-annoyed-with-wasting-millions-on-going-nowhere-and-laying-off-good-managers’ (Manchester City).

Judaism is a religion, not a race. So technically racism doesn’t encompass anti-Jewish references. But that’s just me splitting hairs.

The term Yiddo was coined by us to defuse the anti-Jewish connotation behind the original insult, so there’s really no issue if the group the club think they’re helping never raised the issue in the first place!

I could do a better job than that! Tottenham Hotspur’s suits need to listen to fans more to gain a more realistic perspective of what’s really going on and how serious something may be. Otherwise backlashes occur.

The quotes from different clubs’ executive make me laugh so hard I want to vomit:

Spurs’ Executive Director Donna Cullen said: “We are committed to eliminating all forms of racism and we shall support efforts to kick anti-Semitism out of the game….”

What kind of club representative doesn’t know their club’s own history and demographics!!!??

“…A small number of both Jewish and non-Jewish Spurs fans use the Y word in what they consider to be an inoffensive manner…”

Well that would be true if you consider 30,000 as ‘small’! What a naive assumption. It’s more popular than you think.

“…We look forward to an informed and proper debate with Kick it Out, stakeholders and the key authorities to raise greater awareness….”

Why not consult the actual fanbase as well? Or do they fear losing the argument? I mean, they recently had the nerve to pursue legal action after the OPLC decided to let West Ham have the stadium which 2/3 of Spurs fans don’t even want. Spurs would have nothing to lose now that they’ve further alienated those around them.

Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck said: “Chelsea FC has been campaigning about issues around anti-Semitism for many years. We have, and always will, take the strongest possible action against anyone found making any kind of discriminatory chant or taunt. It is great to see the football world come together to support a project that will raise awareness of the problem.”

Well that worked didn’t it! It has continued to this day without retribution. Your own manager in 2008, Avram Grant and his wife were receiving death threats from YOUR own fans. How vigilant of your club, Mr. Buck.
Stay out of it if you’re going to remain inert. Thank you!

On a footnote, I will say that naming the hooligan firm ‘The Yid Army’ has thrown a real spanner in the works. THAT is what I don’t like about the term ‘Yid’. It has been attached to what is an unnecessary and unsavoury part of football – Effectively a football-bourne type of extremism.

Whoever named the club’s hooligan firm ‘The Yid Army’ is the real idiot/are the real idiots in all this.

Still, it seems that we as Spurs fans are less easily-offended than others. It looks like the ‘Yid’ badge is one of honour and of great effect rather than one of vulnerability. I swear, if there were sackings for naivety and a lack of initiative in consulting those affected by policy changes, our club would save enough to pay Robbie Keane’s pension!

Apr 022011
 
Another deserved result for both teams. Wigan were dangerous because Assou-Ekotto was put in N’Zogbia’s pocket the whole time, but we defended against it well.Spurs in the second half had 2/3 of the possession most of the time, but could finish the job in front of goal as usual. It’s either one or the other with Spurs these days.
Either we pepper the opposition’s goal with shots but get caught out defensively or we defend against attacks but can’t convert any of our attacks into goals. Yet we still end up with a possibility of reaching the top-four again if Manchester City fluff their lines tomorrow. We were without our wingers, which forced us to play more centrally. I liked it. It was a form of training to play using a different tactic rather than be over-reliant on wingers to provide crosses which almost never get converted at present.
It has to be one of the most ironic periods of football. To be honest, it makes us look like we should swap places with West Ham whose scoreline against United today didn’t do them justice following their efforts, but don’t tell any other Spurs fans that I said that……oops….
However, maybe 0-0 against Wigan was a good result IN A WAY. Real Madrid may look at this result and ask ‘who dee fak is Atletico Weegan’ and think we couldn’t hit a barn door (which we can’t in the Premier League, but can in the Champions League), leading them to get a bit too cocky ahead of Tuesday. Anyway, it’s up to Madrid what they want to think of us on Tuesday. So let’s now look forward to that.

People here are going to say ‘But we should be challenging more strongly to maintain a position in the top-four for next season’.

To that, I say – Can’t we just be happy for THIS season’s CL campaign at the moment??? No point systematically getting into it if we’re going to forget about it every time we’re in it. Makes no sense and is pointless to me.

COME ON YOU SPURS!!