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Feb 132011
 

Heurelho Gomes – 6

William Gallas – 7

Benoit Assou-Ekotto – 7

Michael Dawson – 7

Vedran Corluka – 7

Jermaine Jenas – 7

Steven Pienaar – 7

Sandro – 6

Jermain Defoe – 6

Roman Pavlyuchenko – 6

Niko Kranjcar – 8

So these are the ratings from Sky Sports on the squad that won at the Stadium Of Light. It’s only the 3rd time this season that Sunderland lose at home so it is quite of an accomplishment.

Last game there was a debate for man of the match and some said Niko most said Lennon for his 90 minutes hard work. This time I think we would all agree that man of the match is Niko Kranjcar. He really deserves it and Sky rated him the best in the team aswell.

What do you think about the ratings from skysports? Are they accurate in your opinion? And what about man of the match? Do you agree it’s Niko?

Just to make this clear: these are not my ratings! They are from skysports.

 Posted by at 08:19
Feb 012011
 

Why oh why couldn’t there be just ONE crumb of comfort after being thrashed by a sharp Fulham team in the FA Cup, having Dawson suspended, having Bale out with a back injury and getting ever closer to moving away from North London!!?? It would’ve cheered me up at least a little bit if Levy pulled his finger out [of his ear] and tried to solve the problem of ‘our current strikeforce have scored sweet FA’.

The FA Cup becoming a FUC-Kup wasn’t a result of a lack of striking prowess, but mainly because we never got a chance! Fulham unleashed wave after wave of attack without reply, despite Spurs’ attacking formation also being present.

The result signified what was wrong with this club at this moment. It reflected us being absent from pretty much every important thing we needed to do to move forward as a team and club. The strikers were absent so we needed a striker!

Usually Levy pulls something out of the bag at the last minute, but this month, he’s screwed up, further trying my patience. The stadium bid was painful enough without losing the FA Cup in the most humiliating fashion and not getting the striker we need.

With a complete obliviousness to Luis Suarez being ripe and ready to move from Ajax, Harry’s fetish for creative midfielders and two half-arsed attempts to appeal to the likes of Diego Forlan and Giuseppe Rossi, our hopes of any further success this season have been ruined beyond repair. The gravy train has left us behind and the blame has to be distributed proportionally.

Neither Redknapp or Levy should be immune from criticism and certainly on this occasion, they are not. They were lazy this time round. Levy was too engrossed in thoughts about the Olympic Stadium, probably more intensely than SebCoe at times, while Harry continued to be blind to the fact that Crouch is terrible at playing centrally. Then, to cap it all off, at 11pm, when Sky Sports revealed that Harry had finally done something, it turned out to be the player we’d all been waiting for to sign for Spurs…..Blackpool’s…..Charlie Adam!!! ANOTHER F*CKING MIDFIELDER!

Absolutely ridiculous. We need a striker to progress but get sod all.

I’ve defended Crouch to the hilt owing to his rather nifty footwork, but I’ve come to realise that it doesn’t lead anywhere in terms of goalscoring. He relies too heavily on service from Bale and Lennon on the wings but not enough in the centre, which reduces more centrally-played attacking options and chokes the life out of our famous attacking edge. Something which Berbatov and Kanoute maintained in their great spells here and something which every fan misses in some capacity, whether or not they think Berbatov was a ‘traitor’ for jumping ship to United.

Forlan, Rossi or Suarez have the finishing ability to capitalise on service from the wings as well as central play involving Palacios/Huddlestone, Modric and Van der Vaart. How one of the finest managers in the game can’t see that this prong of attack is missing is beyond me!! It’s no wonder every fan thinks they can do the job better, because managers sometimes give them a reason to!

My conclusion is that Crouch should’ve been sold as makeweight towards a new striker; Pienaar shouldn’t have been signed; Levy shouldn’t have got sidetracked so much by something so far ahead like a pending OPLC decision; Spurs should’ve signed a better physio and Defoe and Pav should’ve watched that Jimmy Greaves DVD together with Russian subtitles!

Same time next season people. Let’s enjoy the Champions League while it lasts as it won’t last long if our squad revolves around wingers. There’s nothing wrong with being defeatist if there’s some clout to such a prediction, so I won’t give counter-arguments a response. Agree to disagree. But we can all agree that big opportunities have now been missed.

Jan 232011
 

Match Report

Newcastle United 1 – Tottenham Hotspur 1

(0-0)

Coloccini 59

Lennon 90

Aaron Lennon had a moment of brilliance in the 90th minute to secure Spurs a share of the spoils from their trip up to St. James Park after a sublime goal from Fabricio Coloccini and a resilient Newcastle kept the high-powered Tottenham under wraps for the majority of the match.

Coming into this match, much was made of Spurs inability to win at Newcastle in recent years with the home side taking maximum points in 8 of the last 9 meetings. There were some changes to Tottenham’s line-up due to injuries with Carlo Cudicini replacing Gomes in goal, former United captain Jermaine Jenas in for Wilson Palacios and Gareth Bale moving to left-back for Benoit Assou-Ekotto, which allowed for Steven Pienaar to make his Spurs debut in Bale’s usual position.

First Half

Right from the whistle, one could sense this was to be a different story altogether. Within the first few minutes, Spurs made their intentions known as Jermain Defoe lashed a shot narrowly wide after some good work from Man of the Match Aaron Lennon. Tottenham was flying around the pitch, playing some attractive football, until Gareth Bale had to be subbed off due to injury at the 11 minute mark. He was replaced by former Newcastle player, Sebastian Bassong, much to the delight of the home crowd. Alan Pardew must have been pleased to see Bale not being able to cause headaches to his side for the remainder of the match. The majority of the first half consisted of Tottenham trying to break down a stubborn Newcastle team who, when in possession never seemed to threaten. Only once during the opening period did Newcastle ask questions of the Tottenham back-line and to be honest, they were unlucky not be a goal up when Leon Best clipped the underside of the crossbar after some neat work and a fine cross from Jonas Gutierrez, who gave Alan Hutton problems all throughout the entire 90 minutes. For the remainder of the first 45, it continued to be one-way traffic and should have been 1 nil to the visitors when Rafael van der Vaart, after some neat work from new signing Steven Pienaar, played the ball into the path of the on-rushing Jermain Defoe. He seemed destined to score, but some excellent keeping from Newcastle keeper Steven Harper denied the England striker. This opportunity was basically a microcosm of Tottenham’s strikers inability to finish chances this season. The halftime whistle came and I am sure Defoe’s miss was the first thing Harry Redknapp spoke about in the dressing room.

Second Half

While the first half was all Tottenham, Newcastle came roaring back from the start of the second 45. More good work from Gutierrez allowed Best another free header, which he pushed wide as Newcastle brought men forward. These openings almost led to some counter-attacking chances for the visitors, but Spurs wasted these chances with poor passes and lapses in concentration, with new signing Pienaar being guilty of many of these opportunities. Tottenham were left to rue these spurned chances as Newcastle took the lead, against the run of play, after a long ball from Danny Guthrie into the box that was controlled well by center-back Coliccini, who took a few touches to take tortured right-back Alan Hutton out of position and make space for him to fire in a shot, that should have been beaten away by Cudicini, but instead went into the back of the net. With their backs against the wall, Spurs pushed forward and almost equalized shortly after when more good work from Lennon made space on the left, and only a fine save from Harper at the near post prevented the diminutive winger from getting on the score-sheet. The disappointing Jenas was replaced by striker Peter Crouch as Harry rearranged the team into a 3-5-2 with Lennon and Hutton as wing-backs, as he felt a more direct approach might result in a goal for the visitors. Unfortunately, this almost resulted in a second goal for the visitors. Only a fine save from Cudicini prevented substitute Peter Lovenkrands from putting the home side out of reach. At the other end, midfield maestro Luka Modric rattled the crossbar with a stinging drive after another fine move by Lennon. At this point of the match, it was strictly Tottenham attacking and Newcastle playing the counter, which they did to almost perfection when a four on two resulted in a wasted cross that put Gutierrez out of play. As it looked like the match was Newcastle’s, the ever-pesky Jermain Defoe managed to knock-down a long-ball, get the ball out of his feet and to an on-rushing Lennon, who jinked back and forth, turned Danny Simpson the wrong way, and fired in a low shot past Harper and low into the near post. It was at least what Spurs deserved after controlling most of the match.

Talkng Points/ Questions

I ask this question almost after every loss or draw, why is it that individual errors continue to haunt us? How could Cudicini not have stopped the Coliccini goal? How many times did Hutton need to be skinned before Harry realized that he should not be our starting right-back? Why wasn’t the ineffective Pienaar replaced earlier as we have the ultra-talented Niko Kranjcar who loves playing on the left side of midfield? How many times are we going to let our best striker, Roman Pavlyuchenko, sit on the bench and stick with the ineffective Crouch and Defoe? Why wasn’t Sandro played as a defensive midfielder as Newcastle is quite the physical side? And the number one question…..WHY DOES HARRY INSIST ON PLAYING JERMAINE JENAS? We loan out good players and keep the bad ones, why?

Jan 092011
 

Two halves, two different games, three goals let in by Charlton in the second half.

The first half was to say the least…terrible. Evidently, if you remove Van Der Vaart, Bale and Modric, the creative midfield play which we expect from Spurs flies out the window faster than Roy Hodgson’s England Manager prospects.

It was rather stagnant as Ekotto could think of nothing  more than simply passing to Kranjcar on the wing or Palacios in the middle. If Charlton hadn’t been below par, they could’ve gone 3-0 up. Spurs encouraged danger to come to them but luckily it didn’t cost us dearly – It was like licking a 9 volt battery.

Onto the crowd atmosphere for now. I’ve worked out that the amount of noise we tend to make at White Hart Lane is proportional to the quality of the football we see in the opening minutes. It wasn’t anything to shout about at first, so we didn’t shout about it. Charlton on the other hand gave me something to listen to in the first half so all credit to their spirit. Chanting like they had won already wasn’t wise though, as they were about to learn from the addition of Luka Modric to centre midfield at half time.

I saw that substitution work wonders for us with immediate effect. Modric’s extra invention had turned the tap to release the chances and run at Charlton from every corner (even if there were only two). I have to give a special mention at this point to Andros Townsend, who opened the scoring with a fantastic low strike into the left side of the net. As I said before, who needs Beckham!!?? That deal seems to have fallen through anyway.

Ok, so Townsend doesn’t have the pace of Lennon, but it’s not all about pace and sometimes Lennon falls over himself. Sometimes his legs work faster than his brain does, but that’s a separate matter. Townsend showed his potential today, regardless of the rickety defence Charlton may have exhibited at times. He even threw in a few pieces of skill for good measure. The whole team worked around Modric though. The second half was a major improvement on the first.

A brace from ex-Charlton schoolboy Jermain Defoe sealed the win for Spurs to the further detriment of the Addicks.

Hopefully, the pre-Modric lineup was just a one-off to give Lennon and Bale a well-deserved break rather. Unlike the League Cup, the FA Cup is not a lager marketing ploy so where possible, Harry and the players should pull out all the stops in this competition. They did today and Modric turned out to be the missing link in this chain of Tottenham highs.

My man of the match – Andros Townsend. Opened the scoring to fire up the Yids’ voiceboxes and ran the leftback ragged for a solid 90 minutes. Sorry for getting a bit Andro-centric there *BA DOOM TSSSH*.

All that’s left to do now is write a chant for him and our new signing Bongani Khumalo….

We certainly have a player of the future in Townsend, let’s hope it doesn’t ‘-end’ there.

Onwards and upwards. COYS!

Dec 012010
 

Once again, Emmanuel Adebayor has been linked to Spurs. A year has passed and the newspapers have run out of players to link Spurs to. Therefore all the names go back into a hat and they pull goodol’ Emma out again.

But if Harry is serious about bidding for him, will our pure white club turn a shade of pink with the influx of ex-Arsenal players in recent years? And if we don’t want him, do we still need him?

Adebayor has reportedly had another scuffle with Mancini in the dressing room and is close to exiting Eastlands. And when a player wants to leave a club or is reported to have fallen out with their current manager, guess who the papers think they’ll sign for?

Yep you’ve guessed it – Spurs who must have already written out Ade’s first £160k cheque – NOT!

City would expect the Togolese hitman to receive his full wages or close to that at his next club, should he move there. But Tottenham Hotspur have a strict cap on wages at the 80k mark, only half ofAdebayor’s current pay. So surely this would immediately blow any speculation out of the water before any misguided, schizophrenic sports writer can link him to Spurs.

But assuming that he would be prepared to halve his pay to move to Spurs, is it what we want or need?

It’s not what most Spurs fans would want, but to me, he’s the type of player we need!

The fact he’s an ex-Gooner has put a majority of Spurs fans off him anyway, despite Gallas earning favour from fans with a solid, world-class captain’s performance against his old club to win 3-2 from 2-0 down.

Still, there have been a couple of other players who came from Arsenal in David Bentley and RohanRicketts. Maybe it’s because they weren’t well utilised at Arsenal, but the principle is the same. They wore a red shirt in their career before moving.

I can’t be hypocritical here. I didn’t mind Gallas coming over as we were desperate for some cover at the back. Currently, the situation here is we’re desperate for cover at the front, so I don’t mind either way whether Adebayor comes here.

We need a physical striker with presence AND shooting quality. Someone who has the combined qualities of the current strikeforce we have and more.

Crouch – Mixed bag. Holds the ball well with his feet but can’t kick the ball in the goal for toffee at the moment.

Pavlyuchenko – Great striker, but is too easily muscled off the ball.

Defoe – Has toughened up and is our sharpest striker, but would benefit greatly from a counterpart to double the goals. Remember Kanoute?

Keane – Well, insert your own concerns here lol.

Adebayor is the complete striker. You can say what you want about money focusing attitude on the pitch, etc. but if we’re going to be picky about strikers, we’ll never get anybody and we need somebody who takes a larger % of the service given to him and convert it into goals. Berbatov looked lazy on the pitch at Spurs no doubt, and still does at United; but look at the moments of brilliance he conserves his energy for when he has the ball. Up until the toys-out-the-pram saga with Manchester United, Berbatov was a god to every Spurs fan who came to the Lane to watch him.

Sure it’s fun to dream about Suarez, Dzeko and the like, but if a player is happy at his current club, he’ll stay no matter what bid Levy comes up with. If a player is unhappy, and loves football more than money, he wants to move and will be more likely to join unlikely clubs.

No point poo-pooing Ade if we’re all going to say f**k off to Luis Fabiano for turning down a move to us last summer and then regretting it 3 weeks later.

Sep 222010
 

I have quite a few thoughts on this game. I didn’t put them forward last night because I needed the night to recover from what ended up as a pretty depressing experience. It was just the scoreline more than being knocked out of the cup. It looks as if God was still on his Jewish High Holy Days and therefore unavailable to help out that particular night.

Redknapp fielded an extremely inexperienced team, but in it were the more experienced debutants in Stipe Pletikosa and Sandro. Wenger, being his usual self-even from the directors’ box where he was serving a touchline ban-fielded the same kind of team, adding the senior players as the game went on.

It really was a game of two halves. Spurs’ first half was terrible. Let’s face it, please. I’ve heard of Total Football, but their movements were Total Crap. I could see it from the Upper North Stand. There was no structure and no organised forward passing movement. Players were running anywhere and everywhere whilst having no end product from it. Arsenal’s passing was more concise and they kept their formation better.

Worst of all, Spurs kept giving the ball away unnecessarily, allowing Arsenal to continue domination of possession and grab the first goal through Lansbury. Arsenal’s new boy got on the end of a well-placed cross that flashed past Pletikosa leaving the net wide open, sending the rather large collection of Arsenal fans into raptures. That was arguably the loudest cheer that we’ll ever hear from them for a while.

Spurs from then just seemed to be waiting for half time to be called. Score was 0-1 to Arsenal.

In the second half, Spurs came out with more gusto than when they began. Keane entered the fray in the place of Giovani Dos Santos who wasn’t as involved in attacking as I expected him to be. Spurs finally had a player upfront to pass to.

Keane got onto a through ball and struck low to the right to equalise. Arsenal’s goalkeeper-Lukasz Fabianski-got a firm hand on it, but it slipped through like his hand was a swinging door from a Wild West movie. Keane’s equaliser not only lifted the roof off the stadium, but for me it stirred a memory or two of his heyday; a period where his finishing ability was second to none and he relished every goal he scored for us.

Lennon (in place of Jake Livermore) missed a GOLDEN-and I mean GOLDEN-opportunity to put Spurs ahead when he was put through on goal by Keane. All he had to do was strike first time, but he dawdled on the ball and was subsequently well challenged by Koscielny.

A last-minute 20-yard strike from Samir Nasri forced the first important save from Pletikosa.

The score was level at full time, so extra time was on the cards. Never a dull moment with this club is there, apart from being convincingly knocked out of a cup by Arsenal of course. Both teams threw on their big guns at this point. Andrey Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh replaced Tomas Rosicky and Carlos Vela while Spurs brought on Niko Kranjcar for Sandro.

Two penalties in the opening minutes finished Spurs’ League Cup campaign prematurely. Nasri went down in a heap as if he had been zapped with a tazer, but strangely had the resilience to pull himself to his feet and slot home his penalty. Chamakh went down in the same fashion and Nasri slotted that penalty into the same place as before to put Arsenal completely out of sight.

Bentley and Keane had chances to get Spurs back into the game, but both their shots hit the outside of the post. It was over before we knew it. Arshavin nailed Spurs’ League Cup coffin with another goal later on in the extra half-hour of play.

MY THOUGHTS:

As I said earlier, the first half was embarrassing, but the second half looked to be a bit more respectable and almost champagne football compared to the first. I mainly wrote this article to give my opinion on our debutants and which players did a good job for us despite the heavy loss.

Arsenal were definitely the better team because they wanted it more (first piece of silverware in five years and all that). Funny how the entire away seat allocation was filled for this match yet the Arsenal fans generally, up until beating us, didn’t give a monkey’s about this trophy as they thought they could [easily] win any of the other three out of the FA Cup, Champions’ League and the Premier League.

They are a funny lot.
Debutants:

Sandro was IMMENSE; a no-nonsense player who won the ball every time. He already looked like someone for Palacios to look up to I think. Naughton looked comfortable taking up a sweeper role, but needs to be careful not to let too many opponents flood the empty space.

Caulker – Eeeeek, still young and needs a bit more work; looked very nervous at the back.

Pletikosa was fine, made a few good saves, but nothing really for him to work for so to me he’s still an unknown quantity at the Lane. Wouldn’t mind seeing what he can do against West Ham. Could become a hero over the course of Saturday afternoon…we’ll see.

Seniors:

Bassong really stepped up for us and put a good shift in barring the penalty conceded. Kudos to him.
Nasri trips over his own shadow and so does Chamakh.

I also think (prepare yourself for this) Lennon lost his spark. His attacking mentality wasn’t there, or at least it was shut out for a long time. The wingers all floundered too much I’m afraid; and it reduced attacking options dramatically.

Pavlyuchenko had a terrible first half. He isn’t a good holding player like Crouch is upfront. Long balls either came to nothing or ran away from him. If you’re going to play Pavlyuchenko, you need 4-4-2, otherwise he’s no use.

Final Thought:

Don’t worry, I’m not about to go all Jerry Springer on your hinies.

The North London Derby is about bragging rights. Arsenal have the majority of these rights for now, but I guess that we can still brag about scoring one more than Arsenal in a romp 😉

To all Gooners ready to brag, all I have to say to you is, ‘meh…’ we played our reserves and don’t care about this trophy as much as the others. Sound familiar? Oh yes it does.

Sep 182010
 

Highlights at the bottom

The match started in a pretty dull fashion, in fact I am not even going to try to write an in depth write up on this one; watching the match alone took up enough of my time that I will never get back. Gareth Bale was as usual the best player in a Spurs shirt. Bale delivered two great crosses for Crouch to see his header saved by Hahnemann and another for Keane who didn’t even hit the target. Van der Vaart had a good half-volley saved by Hahnemann. Kaboul was playing well at right back but pulled up just before half time and before Harry could get Hutton on to replace him, Wolves took the lead when Fletcher beat Kaboul to a low cross and slotted the ball home. This was proving to be similar to last season, credit goes to Wolves. They were hard to break down then and again this time around.

The second half surely must see Spurs go for broke and take the game to Wolves right? Wrong! The start of the second half was just as boring as the first, there seemed to be no urgency to get the ball forward. Van der Vaart had another turn and shot go just wide but to be honest with you I don’t particularly remember much else that got me excited until the 75th minute when substitute Hutton went on a great run which lead to him being brought down in the box for a penalty, Rafael Van der Vaart stepped up to slot it into Hahnemann’s bottom right as cool as a cucumber. Spurs level 1-1 and now there finally looked to be some urgency and belief….. for about 30 seconds! The equaliser only seemed to piss Wolves off more, I was sitting there thinking now we are back in it let’s go for the winner but I was wrong it seemed as if Wolves thought they were the better side and decided to take the game back to us. This was the case until Harry decided to show he can manage tactically too and with only 5 mins left brought on Arron Lennon for Van der Vaart and with his first touch done a one-two triangle with Huddlestone around the Wolves defence to then cross the ball and after a scramble it fell kindly to the feet of another Spurs sub Pavlyuchenko to slot it beyond Hahnemann. If you would then believe it in the 90th minute Hutton went on another run and scored a freak goal, a bit like the goal West Ham conceded last week it bounced up and hit Hutton and looped over the keep to make it 3-1.

The game came to life in the last 15mins, until the penalty the players looked a bit tired and not all that interested, even after the equalizer the ascendancy was once again with Wolves. The Pav goal killed Wolves off though, they dropped their heads. If I am honest with you I didn’t see this coming, Wolves deserved something from this game, they were hard to break down and 3-1 is a very flattering result for us. So if any Wolves fans are reading this then you can be proud of your team and feel rather hard done by.

Now I have written more than I planned to, this is because I was actually going out in a bit so started to write this report after 70mins but typical Tottenham had to go and score a few goals and completely change the complexion of my report; so if I do confuse you at any point, please ignore me and my spelling errors. I will correct them later.

Give credit to Hutton because I thought he done a very good job when he came on, I will write a blog on this guy later or tomorrow because I feel he deserves more of a look in than he gets at the moment, I aactually think he is our best right back all round.

 Posted by at 16:54
Sep 152010
 

They haven’t learned anything.

If I could start and finish the article like that, I would. However, website powers-that-be demand that I expand on my point. Therefore, I shall.

During the first half, Tottenham appeared to have put the horrors of Young Boys and their artificial pitch behind them by swarming Bremen from the wings. Van Der Vaart played in the hole behind Crouch in a shiny new 4-5-1 formation. It was working very well. Lennon was causing problems on the right while Bale did his usual Giggs imitation on the left. Bremen

The first goal came within a quarter of an hour as Bale made a surging run and crossed in towards Crouch. The ball actually went in off of Petri Pasanen, the defender who was deputising for Bremen vice-captain Per Mertesacker. Spurs shortly followed up with another goal a few minutes after the first. Another cross was fed in to Crouch who towered above everybody else with a powerful header which arced over into the left side of the net.

Before Bremen could blink, they were 2-0 down within half an hour. One more goal would’ve put the game away in the first half, but we’re talking about Spurs – A team who fall hardest when they’re on a high podium.

Hugo Almeida scored just before half time to put Bremen’s foot back in the door. My prediction of typically letting the lead slip was about to come true. Just minutes into the second half, Marko Marin equalised for Werder Bremen; Credit to Marin who looked sharp throughout and was a major thorn in the sides of Kaboul and King.

Spurs let a well-earnt lead slip away. If it wasn’t for Cudicini making a great save against Aaron Hunt’s mid-range drive, it would’ve been just as embarrassing as losing at home to Wigan.

Already I have seen someone ask on facebook when the first 18 minutes of tonight are coming out on DVD (seriously). This team needs to learn that just because there’s a two goal cushion, it doesn’t mean that it will stay that way. The game lasts for 90 minutes, not 45 minutes; and in a competition like this, such a mantra should be ingrained in the mind for its entire duration!

Harry needs to learn better substitution choices. Van Der Vaart for Keane and then Lennon for Palacios???? In what universe is taking your main source of pace off for a struggling player a wise choice? With Bale and Lennon on the wings, there was pace and more forward motion. With Palacios and Keane on, there was a mix of nervousness and blatent stagnation of play. Palacios did OK this time and set up a chance which Crouch should’ve converted, but Keane slowed down the play by backing himself into a corner and passing backwards rather than trying to cut into the Bremen defence like the first half.

Corluka should’ve been substituted too. He pushed too far up and inwards trying to link with Lennon that he took himself out of the game leaving the left wing [from Bremen’s viewpoint] exposed to counter attack. The link wasn’t present in this match.

What we have seen tonight is ‘Typical Spurs Syndrome’ or ‘ASpurger’s’ for short. It is a very rare condition in which a team controls an entire first half and scores goals in quick succession, but then lets the opposition regain control and draw or worse – steal a win.

Spurs need to learn to keep fit and sharp for 90 minutes WHATEVER the scoreline is. The Champions’ League contains teams who will keep going until the final whistle if it means equalising/winning at the end. Much like any team in the Premier League. Same poop, different

Aug 292010
 
For about 20 minutes I felt rather privileged to be sitting in row number one on the lower east stand closest to the action of the game. However, in hindsight, I’d have wanted to be as far away from it as possible.
I thought that Spurs could never outdo themselves by losing to a lower-standard northern team, but hey, this is Spurs we’re talking about – the surprise team which never stops surprising on both ends of the spectrum! Today – for me – was on the less appealing end. Spurs, in rather typical fashion caved in to a team [a northern team at that] which they should have beaten with ease. But how and why?
For a while, this will sound like a typical Spurs rant about everything else apart from our terrible football, but I WILL cover the terrible football after I’ve ranted about everything else.

1) The referee was a total twonk!! – Phil Dowd is an absolute disgrace and shouldn’t referee again. He showed a total bias against us and gave us no benefits of the doubt whatsoever. He was so quick off the mark to book Dawson for a challenge but shyed away from two fouls from Wigan players.

2) Al-Haabsi was a total twonk!! – We are now starting to see the tactics of some of these lesser Premier League teams, one of them was timewasting. Al-Haabsi, Wigan’s goalkeeper, was extremely slow to resume play whenever a goal kick was given to them. Highly frustrating and very unprofessional. Injury time did not cater for this despite it happening every time it was a goal kick! Totally unfair play if you ask me.

3) Northern Tactics! – It’s happened before with Stoke, Hull and Wolves. When they come to the Lane, they expect and receive a battering, but still manage to narrowly escape concession of a goal either by a keeper having ‘The Game of His Life!’ or throwing everyone behind the ball and then catching Spurs on the counter attack for a late winner. It’s because they know that they can’t play like Spurs do without being caught out themselves. But it sure is strange how they’re more open when they’re away though!!!! >.< It’s annoying, but would only expose them as teams who can’t play football the proper way when it comes to facing us to be brutally honest with you.

I’ll now finish with some inconvenient, but accurate home truths:

1) Harry’s player choice was off again! – If you have an injured striker playing alongside another in a standard 4-4-2 formation; and he had to receive treatment on the pitch in the first half, forcing you to make a substitution, which of those strikers would you take off?…the injured one?…in the world of Harry Redknapp, you’d be wrong:

Defoe has been carrying a groin injury since being selected for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was supposed to go into surgery a week ago. Credit to him for playing through the pain for his club. However, when he needed treatment off the field, you’d naturally think that Harry would take him off and replace him with Keane or Pavlyuchenko. He didn’t.
Instead, he took CROUCH off. That pretty much blunted any further attack from Spurs.

The Wigan defence consists of tall, chunky players who could match Crouch in the air, but still leave him with a chance of winning the header, whereas Defoe and Pavlyuchenko would have no chance against them. By removing Crouch, Harry left Defoe open to further wear-and-tear on his groin and no target man for Huddlestone, Assou-Ekotto or Dawson to fire the ball up to for the late winner. What was Harry thinking!!??

2) COMPLACENCY! – Time and time again, Spurs rest on their laurels after they’ve won a big match, thinking they’re forever invincible from then on. Ok, it was a magical night on Wednesday when the Young Boys of Berne were humbled 4-0 on our patch, but that doesn’t mean every team will capitulate like that without Spurs having to work for the win.
As long as Spurs continue to underestimate certain teams or not put in enough effort just because of who their opponents are, the glass ceiling will not be broken.

3) Spurs were simply awful! – The play was slow and the passes were aimless in both senses of the word. The transformation from invading Young Boys’ boxes with their balls (what dirty minds you have!) to a kickaround in the park had been swift and painful. Palacios is the player I hold most responsible for preventing the Spurs attack force getting the goal(s).

Instead of pushing the line forward by running forward himself and ploughing through players like we’d expect, he passed to lonely blades of grass and also passed backards/ to the side which slows the play down, allowing Wigan to think, regroup and carry on pressing. None of this happened against the Young Boys. Spurs swarmed the Swiss team with constant forward pressing, leaving them no time to think about anything apart from ‘defend with your life’.

Assou-Ekotto messed around too much at the back. He gave the ball away in the ugliest of fashions and almost single-handedly lost us the match half an hour into it! Meandering with the ball like a sidewinder snake facing your own goalline does not always equal a clearance.

Why do we always give struggling teams their first away win/goal of their season!!? We’ll never know, but it needs to stop before we become the laughing stock of the Premier League yet again. Losing  home and away to Wolves will not be forgotten by me very easily and will for now be a symbol of Spurs’ biggest problem – Mentality!

Aug 242010
 

I’m as big a Spurs fan as the next guy, but when walking home form work yesterday, a thought of great footie-philosophical proportion hit me. My thought was that it was a good thing the Young Boys beat us, and beat us quite well, I must say, despite the rather flattering 3-2 scoreline from Spurs’ point of view.

Young Boys of Bern came at us with what we had flung at Joe Hart just days earlier. Constant threat on the goal with the defence left for dust (not a regular occurrence for Michael Dawson, but can happen in the most important games).
I’m saying it’s good in a way that we lost the first leg to the Young Boys.
Obviously, on first look at Spurs’ poor display, fans, including myself, thought to themselves:
(jaws simultaneously drop after the second goal)

“OMG! What the f*ck is happening out there!?!? Dawson, why choose this game of all games to look like a Blue Square Premier League defender!?” (For anyone across the pond reading this, the Blue Square Premier League is the fifth-highest division of English football).

The defence was very oblivious to the threat of Bienvenu’s pace and finishing ability. Whilst Michael Dawson was very modest about Young Boys being a capable team and didn’t underestimate them, the rest of the team completely wrote them off. This isn’t Europa League; this is the CHAMPIONS’ League –somewhere which none of your opponents got to by taking the opposition lightly and losing their games!
However, I now think that, in a way, it’s GOOD that Spurs were beaten. It allows them to learn not to count out minor teams before it’s too late (e.g. knocked out before they’ve officially started their campaign) in the group stages. Spurs are only trailing by one goal (3-2). A terrible way of showing it, but that’s the bottom scoreline, so to speak. Spurs now have the opportunity to respect their opponents while tightening up the screws at the back to force the win on Wednesday.

You could say, Spurs are on their last leg (*BADOOM TSSSH*).

They’ve had a taste of what it’s like to face a top team without risking immediate defeat and disappointment. All that’s needed now is for Spurs to toughen up, tighten up, and not take any team for granted again. If all that is done, Spurs could just make it into the group stages; but if they do make it, they’ll need to watch both legs of this qualifier again to remember exactly what every other team will be like –and that will hopefully be….just like Spurs 😉