The euphoria of the win against Man City has slowly ebbed away to be replaced with that usual touch of apprehension. Spurs travel to Wigan on Saturday a team who has become accustomed to wrecking dreams. The DW Stadium has laid many a title challenge and push for safety to bed, Spurs need to be at their best if they wish to avoid a similar fate.
This article first appeared on The Fighting Cock
Back in November I commented that Wigan Athletic, the team that no one really dislikes, has had a habit of defining us. These words came back to haunt me as Spurs then suffered a 1-0 defeat at White Hart Lane. The most memorable thing from that torrid experience was the free curry samples being served in the East Stand.
Thankfully since that fixture Spurs have avoided repeating such ineptitude. This season, a few set backs apart, has largely gone to plan. We are on course for a top four finish and our destiny is in our hands, once again we face Wigan at a crucial time, not just for us, but for them.
The last few seasons have taught us that when the weather warms up Wigan move up the table, but this years protracted winter means Spurs face a Latics team backed into a corner. Both teams can not afford to lose this game, it all points to a fascinating fixture.
Due to our failings from the penalty spot in Switzerland, Andre Villas-Boas has been able to give the squad a couple of days off. I may have wanted a glorious cup run to Amsterdam, but I am thankful for the respite our exit has offered us. Gareth Bale has had another six days of rest and Aaron Lennon according to reports, looks set to feature. The all important balance the diminutive winger gives us, should be back.
The return of Lennon brings with it a host of conundrums for AVB to ponder before Saturday’s kick off, the first is who plays up front?
Against not only City but a whole host of opponents this season, Emmanuel Adebayor has been ineffective. The movement, touch, understanding and finishing that made him such an asset last year have disappeared. He is a phantom of his former self, Jermain Defoe meanwhile, despite being sidelined through injury has seen a meteoric rise in his stock.
The England man before Sunday hadn’t scored a goal for Spurs in 4 four months, yet his return was seen as the second coming. Defoe remains a limited striker, but compared to Adebayor’s recent form, he is the love child of Gerd Muller and Paolo Rossi.
Regardless of Adebayor’s lack of form though, I would start him on Saturday against Wigan. It may be blind hope, but over 60 minutes he may tire the Wigan defence, then with the game hopefully stretched in our favour Defoe can be introduced. The former Pompey striker as he proved against City, is an impressive impact sub
The return of Lennon also means that one of Clint Dempsey or Glyfi Sigurðsson will miss out. Do we opt for the man who does nothing but score tap-ins, or someone who is gradually coming to terms with a place in a top tier Premier League team?
On Sunday as I watched Spurs fail to breach a resolute City for the best part of an hour, it was with Dempsey that most of my frustrations lay. The American is a footballing Rubik Cube, he has had me in delirium at certain points, but totally bamboozled as to his worth at others. Dempsey contributes very little to the team and its style of play, he is the most un-luxurious of luxury players.
Siggy meanwhile is without doubt the better all round player, but he lacks the self-confidence of “The Duece.” It is on this basis therefore I would opt for the American, with the season coming to its crescendo, you need players who believe 100% in their ability, regardless of how limited it is.
The last real conundrum for AVB is who to partner Mousa Dembele? Does he opt for the more mobile but limited in possession Scott Parker, or the occasional statuesque brilliance of Tom Huddlestone? Personally I would opt for the same Adebayor/Defoe formula. Start Parker and as the tempo of the game subsides, introduce Hudd and his masterful long passing game.
It is comforting to know that AVB has positive selection issues to ponder pre- game, but if we learnt one thing on Sunday, it’s that it’s even nicer to know we have a manager who can make the big decisions during a game. With players such as Lewis Holtby and Tom Carroll on the bench, we have game changers and a manager unafraid to use them.
Three points on Saturday, would put the pressure right back on on Arsenal who face the champions Man United on Sunday.
No team has done the double over Spurs this season; we need to ensure that Wigan isn’t the most unlikely of firsts.
It was a glorious seven minutes of pure unadulterated glory. White Hart Lane basked in sunshine; a sea of white and blue were bouncing across each stand. Grown men previously strangers embraced, ears rang with Spurs anthems and Man City wilted; it was a reminder of what it means to be Tottenham and what the old stadium still has to offer. This wasn’t as some media outlets portrayed Spurs snatching victory from defeat; it was Spurs believing that victory was theirs and finally realising all they had to do was reach out and grab it.
This article first appeared on The Fighting Cock Website
For the first 60 minutes of this fixture, Man City had had things their own way. Their expensively assembled squad were efficient, they closed down the spaces, forced (allowed) Spurs to play narrow and in the face of some laboured Tottenham possession, kept the home team at arms length.
It was all a little too comfortable for City, who then started to waste time; it was to prove their undoing. All their Stoke City-esque behaviour achieved was to incense the crowd and through injustice and un-sportsmanship, galvanize the Spurs XI. Karma came a calling when with 3 minutes left, Hugo Lloris took a goal kick ala Joe Hart.
Under Andre Villas-Boas, Tottenham have at points this season fluctuated wildly. We have tasted despair; lost games we should have won, yet still snatched draws and victories that perhaps weren’t deserved. On Sunday, AVB showed us once again that we have a manager capable of altering the course of a game for the better.
Against Everton he hauled off fans favourite Mousa Dembele and claimed a point, on Sunday he substituted pirouetting Scott Parker, for the more stationary figure of Tom Huddlestone, once again to great affect. The former West ham man had put it yet another spinning top performance, lots of energy and speed without really going anywhere.
Huddlestone though, just as he showed against Everton proved that if you make the ball work, you don’t have to. His passing range and accuracy changed the game; suddenly Spurs were able to counter attack.
Lewis Holtby and Jermain Defoe were introduced for Glyfi Siggurdsson and the anonymous Emmanuel Adebayor, and immediately we had a shape and a system. The German went wide but also offered energy and industry in the central positions. Defoe was a threat in behind City and Bale moved out to the right, instantly occupying both Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov, both of whom had previously been enjoying a care-free second half.
The glory of what was about to come wasn’t on the horizon until Clint Dempsey pulled off a Clint Special, a two yard finish, from a deft Bale cross.
If Adebayor didn’t exist then Dempsey would probably be public enemy number one. The American offers very little to Spurs, yet somehow continues to score big goals. It is perhaps one of the biggest conundrums at Spurs; can you afford to drop a man who achieves a great deal, by doing very little?
The goals which sealed the victory and City’s limp attempt at retaining their title were pure uncut glory though. Spurs winning the ball in midfield through cohesive and intense pressure, then two passes later, the net was rippling, the crowd jumping and the players and management all over each other.
Defoe showed that he may be a one trick pony, but when he is allowed the space to pull off that trick, he is deadly. Bale’s goal was typical of the Welshman, one touch, a second then an exquisite finish but we shouldn’t forget Huddlestone’s part in it. A tackle, a charge up-field then a perfectly weighted pass, simple, but beautiful.
What made the result even sweeter was the pessimism that surrounded the game pre kick-off. Pessimism that to be fair originated from BBC, SKY and other experts, for the most part White Hart Lane believed that Spurs could claim three important points, even after Samir Nasri had poked City into a 1-0 lead.
Over the past few months much has been made of Tottenham’s failure to sign a “World Class” striker, or even one who holds the ball up and occasionally scores, but City offered us food for thought on Sunday. With the game slipping away they didn’t pluck a proven striker, or a Hot Prospect from the bench to reinvigorate their pedestrian front line, instead threw Joleon Lescott upfront.
If City, despite their bottomless pit of money are hamstrung by a lack of available class strikers, then can you imagine where we are?
Thankfully though as Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko huffed and puffed for 90 minutes, we had Defoe to blow their house and title ambitions down. It may have been his first league goal since 2012, but its timing was impeccable.
Defoe is not the answer in the long term, but as short term impact sub, he remains priceless.
Wigan away for Spurs next, whilst Arsenal face Man United at home and Chelsea travel to Switzerland to face FC Basel then Swansea. Destiny is back in our own hands. If we can take the last 30 minutes from Sunday and turn it into five 90 minute performances, Champions League and possibly 3rd place will be ours.
There is always more glory to be had. Come on you Spurs!!
Late on Saturday night as a barman performed his party trick and set fire to my rum cocktail, I struggled to ignore the price I was paying for this slice of theatre. Rather like football tickets, the price of drinks in the trendy areas of London has gone through the roof. Their similarities do not end there though, after an evening perched at the bar or standing/sitting at White Hart Lane, both will have you muttering:“I am never doing that again.”
Towards the end of what was a promising season Tottenham Hotspur can even come to resemble a Shoreditch cocktail. Take a tall glass of hope add too much ice/hype, throw in an average mixer or two, smother with a foreign or local overpriced spirit and serve with a giant slice of disappointment. Spurs just like the bottle juggler behind the bar will nevertheless demand your money and even expect a tip.
This article first appeared on The Fighting Cock Website
With Tottenham looking to build a new stadium, how long will it be until Daniel Levy attempts to increase the revenue by introducing these cocktails into a jazzy corporate drinks menu?
Ice cream and booze. Tasty. Make that vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice-cream and you get a modern cocktail that will wobble the knees of even the strongest willed lady. Inspired by Jermain Defoe, the man who packs a rampant Neapolitan appendage, this drink is more than a one trick pony.
Served in a not so tall glass, the luxurious ice cream is smothered in Baileys and decorated with cherries. It is truly the drink to woo your ex/current girlfriend, or that hairdresser down the street that does your misses hair.
The Bloody Hairy:
Big, bold and solid this cocktail is based on the once semi-mobile, now statuesque Tom Huddlestone. The key ingredient to this classic is Tomato Juice, but after his love affair with Ketchup was ended by Juande Ramos, the redesigned cocktail has been tinkered to include the Hudd’s favourite sauce.
Spurs will have to spend an awful lot of money on the naming rights to this cocktail, meaning Big Wigs are confident that there wont be a first-team goal inspired hair cut any time this decade. A common garnish to this cocktail is celery but in light of its inspiration, the drink will be served with a battered sausage.
The Virgin Carroll:
Fresh faced Tom Carroll has a lot of hopes pinned on his diminutive shoulders. After demonstrating that he can pass, run and tackle, putting him at an advantage over Scott Parker and Huddlestone already, he now has a signature drink. This refreshing cocktail has everything the Bloody Hair has, but is refined, lighter and more palatable.
This cocktail may not quite make the final list though as some at Spurs don’t think it is quite ready yet, despite a lot of us already being big fans.
Prince of Wales:
Created by Edward VII, not the current holder of this title, Spurs have decided to dedicate this drink to the Welsh former wing-now-central wizard Gareth Bale. Described as the perfect drink to dive right into, it will always leave you expecting more and more, sometimes beyond reason.
There is a commercial opportunity to Latino it up with some Spanish liqueur, but for now there are no plans to do so, thankfully.
This cocktail is based on the White Russian, but made from whiskey to give it a whole new meaning. Originally based on Super Pav, this cocktail has been modified to suit current aggravation to many, Emmanuel Adebayor. Like the Russian he is on occasions capable of greatness, but these a few and immeasurably far between.
This cocktail has been know to delight after one or two sips, but after repeated drinking you will be left with a rather expensive drink that you can’t quite stomach anymore and doesn’t do much.
The first drink handed to the 1969 Lunar heroes as they stepped off the film set at a secret base somewhere in the Nevada Dessert. This is a Grand Marnier based drink that occasional goes missing and can seriously mess you up, especially if things are going to plan.
These are only a selection of cocktails, but for Legend Nights and testimonials expect some classics to wheeled out, how about one of these former Spur cocktails?
The Bobby Pimms? The Charlie Curacaoluka? Martini Jol?
What ever your tipple though, please drink responsibly.
There are very few things in football upset a Spurs fan more than a gloating Gooner, but on Sunday millions of Liverpool fans celebrating like it was the 1980′s came very close. A game which had been slipping out of their control from the moment Luis Suarez toe poked them in front, was handed to them on a silver platter as Spurs self-destructed to lose 3-2.
This article first appeared on The Fighting Cock
A defeat at Anfield, despite being a habit we had grown out of, is not the end of the world. Our destiny remains in our own hands and thanks to victories against West Ham and Arsenal, we could afford a blip. Liverpool who now has finally beaten one of the Premier League’s big teams just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Liverpool’s historic ground with its famous song, the Kop, the gate and the red nets is without doubt one of the symbols of English football. However unbeknown to most, it is also home to certain unwritten rules of football. I am not blaming the referee for Tottenham’s self inflicted defeat, but it became clear over the 93 minutes that certain football rules only exist at Anfield.
You don’t book a home player for diving in front of the Kop, Steven Gerrard is invulnerable to yellow cards and dissent isn’t dissent if it comes out of the mouth of a Uruguayan.
When Daniel Sturridge entered into the Spurs area shoulder to shoulder with Jan Vertonghen, there was only one thought on his mind, (other than get it on my left foot), if he touches me I going down.
Rules of physics being what they are, eventually Vertonghen and Sturridge did attempt to occupy the same space, this resulted in one of the worst dives I have seen, well since his last attempt away to Man City a few weeks ago. How he escaped a yellow card is a mystery up there alongside Lord Lucan and Loch Ness.
You didn’t need to be Mystic Meg to divine how this game would be decided.
Regardless though of how many times Gerrard left his boot/elbow in, or Suarez managed to wave his arms, scream and keep a bit of spittle perfectly balanced on his left cheek, Tottenham’s downfall can be attributed solely to their own mistakes. Liverpool did nothing other than collect the gifts so graciously offered up to them.
The two factors that ultimately decided this game were the two individual mistakes from Kyle Walker and Jermain Defoe. They were wonderfully supported by Hugo Lloris and Benoit Assou-Ekotto, but these two were just collateral damage from the England duo’s unforgivable rickets.
On Thursday I along with many others witnessed a return to form from Walker. The right back seemed to be back to his pre-PFA Young Player of the Year Award, but at Anfield the moment he hit that wayward back pass he visibly regressed. Hopefully he can emerge from this a stronger player, as he possesses all the physical attributes to be a class right-back.
Full back is a highly specialised position and players need time to learn, adapt and become accustomed to their role. Look across some of the greatest players in that position over the last few years and you will notice a trait. Very few reach the height of their powers until much later in their career (Fabio Grosso, Cafu, Phillipe Lahm, Roberto Carlos, Ashley Cole etc) and usually after making a few mistakes along the way. Paolo Maldini apart very few 22 year-old full-backs are the finished article.
Walker will learn from that error, just as he did from his mistake at Chelsea. It is his ability to do the unexpected that makes him a great right back. If we want a robotic, never beaten in the air defender, then why don’t we “do a Stoke” and play Michael Dawson there?
Jermain Defoe meanwhile, will avoid castigation due to the fact that he isn’t Emmanuel Adebayor. Had that been the Togolese man slipping Suarez through past Benni, then I would have feared for his safety. Defoe however will escape most of the criticism, not that it would affect him anyway, the striker has self-belief by the Neapolitan ice-cream tub loads.
As the game petered out on Sunday, there was one thought I couldn’t shake, especially having seen Andros Townsend’s Man of the Match performance for QPR on Saturday. Although he is gaining valuable experience on loan at Loftus Road, I can’t help but feel that with Glyfi Sigurdsson legs disappearing in the last 20 minutes, perhaps Townsends speed and directness would have been a useful asset?
Regardless though of who we should have kept or signed, the issue remains that Spurs suffered a first Premier League defeat of 2013. We can take some solace from the fact that it was out of character for this Spurs team and hopefully, with better concentration in the future avoid a repeat.
In the long run this may actually benefit Spurs; if Liverpool believe they are in the hunt for a Champions League place perhaps this will encourage them to take points off Chelsea and Everton in the next few weeks. Although the likelihood they will have such accommodating opponents again is unlikely.
Spurs meanwhile need to focus on Inter, Fulham and 3rd place, perhaps therefore its fitting for Big Brendan to have the last words:
“We lost the battle, but the war going forward will very much be won if we keep performing.”
As Sam Allardyce faced the post match Sky Sports questions, the words: “We were beaten by Bale” slipped from his mouth. The West Ham boss had just seen his team lose 3-2 at home thanks to Gareth Bale’s two wonderful strikes sandwiching a Glyfi Sigurdsson bundled goal. Monday night whilst basking in the Glory of Bale I failed to register this sly dig by Big Sam, but in the cold light of day I have started to ponder this.
Are Spurs really a one man team?
White Hart Lane has undergone something of a transformation over the past seven months. During the late summer the crowd was fractured and rebellious, differing opinions wafted over the terraces. The only shared consensus was this isn’t how it was supposed to be. We all had an idea, we all had the solutions, but we had no harmony.
On the pitch things weren’t much better. Bale was now a number 11, Jermaine Defoe, last years super sub, now our sole goal scoring hope. Rafa Van der Vaart had played against Newcastle and lined up against West Brom, but his heart was elsewhere. Across Europe on a beach somewhere Luka Modric sat brooding, and a former captain had finally succumb to injury. We weren’t even a team, let alone a one man team.
As we trailed 1-0 to QPR at half time back in September, the abuse that rained down on the Lillywhites became unbearable. I am not some über fan, I haven’t travelled across Europe and due to my age, work reasons and finical issues I wasn’t there in the darkest of days at White Hart Lane, but that cold evening witnessing Spurs fans turn on each other, I feared for our future.
Something changed though, after half time we started to gel. We had touched the bottom and had only one way in which to go. Slowly a seed of confidence started to germinate. We beat Man United away, yes we lost to Woolwich and Chelsea but the manner of the defeats spoke volumes. The manager’s squad settled, players learnt their new roles and they started to rise to the levels we have always demanded of them.
Hugo Lloris one of the top six or seven goalkeepers in the world rightfully became our number one. Aaron Lennon became just as capable attacking inside as outside. Sandro took his nick-name to heart and added a further level of controlled ferocity to his game and even Defoe, learnt how to play as a solo number nine. We were a team.
Obviously in every team there is always the standout person. When you sit in a changing room before you play football, or you sit at your desk at work take a look around, there is always that one individual who makes a difference. Gordon Ramsey may have his name above the door, but with out the sous-chef, pot washer or waiters he would just be a wrinkled Scotsman failing to get a dish out on time.
Football isn’t tennis, it isn’t one man versus another. If it was Diego Maradona would have three World Cup winners’ medals, Leo Messi even more records to his name and Liverpool would be second or third in the Premier League.
What makes Bale such an effective weapon in our armoury is the way in which our team trust him to deliver, and allows him the freedom in which to do so. With the seconds ticking away at Upton Park, Tom Carroll has the ball, the obvious pass is out wide, but he rolls it to Bale. Emmanuel Adebayor is shifting wide for the through ball, the centre-backs are distracted. He should pass, but he doesn’t, he uses the space, confidence and belief the team has bestowed upon him and he wins the game.
Bull fighting is an intriguing spectacle. For those of you yet to witness it, or those vegetarians amongst you, it’s a lot more than one chap with a cape and a sword. Before the killing blow is delivered Picadors on horse back armed with lances have their way, then the Tercio de Banderillas continue to wound the beast. This routine is designed to tire the bull before finally the Matador delivers the final stroke.
Without its support cast the Matador would be one man facing a beast four times his size and twice as fast. Yes he’s the star but without his team working hard to deliver him an surmountable obstacle, his job would be impossible.
Tottenham operate in a similar style these days. We have players designed to soak up pressure, move the ball quickly, create space, tire the opposition and then give Bale the chance to have the headlines. As Gary O’Neil laboured to catch Bale in those final few minutes, it was 89 minutes of chasing Lillywhites that had cooked him, not just a Welshman.
Bale just like Mousa Dembele, Lennon, Michael Dawson, Lloris, AVB, you and the person sat next to at White Hart Lane or in front of the TV set that are Spurs. We are Tottenham Hotspur, not Bale Hotspur. There is no such thing as a one man team.
On Sunday at White Hart Lane, Spurs will need all of us, not just one man.
The Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy is starting to make a habit of upsetting people. With the end of the season approaching, the Spurs supremo looks set to add pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline to his list of enemies as he prepares to conquer the legal drug world.
In recent months the Spurs chairman has upset Jean-Michel Aulas, the Lyon president and Sir Alex Ferguson shadow chairman of the Referees Association, due to his tough negotiating and habit of leaving finger prints all over transfers.
Levy’s next controversial financially based move however, is a foray into the drug manufacturing market. After the Spurs chairman saw his Champions League dreams dashed by Arjen Robben missing a penalty in extra time last May, insiders inform me that DL is refusing to miss out extra cash this season.
It seems that Levy is ready to launch his own brand of Tottenham Pharmaceuticals, which he thinks will make a big splash on the global market. Thanks to my contacts I have been able to get a peek at the list of pills, what they do and what side affects they have.
Here are some of the more eye catching pills heading to a pharmacist near you:
This slightly plump pill is a cheap knock off from its Catalan ancestor. It slips down easily and gives one the confidence and bravado that you shouldn’t really have given your station in life. It bestows upon the digestor the feeling of complete superiority even if you have just been beaten away from home again.
The biggest buzz it gives you is the complete and utter feeling of delusion. Twenty four points plus off the league leaders?? Don’t worry about it. Over 60% possession at WHL but still lose? Don’t worry you won the moral victory.
Need a striker? Sign a former Chelsea player that couldn’t usurp goal machine Torres.
WARNING: You will honestly believe that Stuart Downing is a RB, LB and a professional footballer. Stay away from documentaries, envelopes and microphones, these will only lead to embarrassment.
This skinny little pill comes wrapped in a big fluffy packaging that honestly looks ridiculous. It does however offer you a wonderful view of the world. One pill and everything you see will be rose tinted.
A tester stated:
“Drop this pill and everything you will look at will appear better. Jack Wilshere will look like Xavi, Theo Walcott will sound French, look French and almost play like a French man. Take this pill at a half empty quiet stadium and it will seem like the La Bombonera on Super Classico afternoon.”
The tester added:
“Just don’t double drop, you will be seeing all kinds of weird stuff like Chamakh scoring.”
WARNING: You will start to struggle with certain numbers. A number four will look like one, a red card will look like a blatant dive by the opposition and you will suffer from a phobia to shiny metals.
Are you a little scally from the streets? Have you done a stint at Her Majesty’s pleasure? Do you suffer from a lack of ashtrays?
If you answer yes then Le Barton is right up your street.
This pill is designed to make you feel intelligent, important, talented and bestow upon you any language in minutes. This pill is a slight modification on the failed Steeeeve Mclaren pill which caused people to have a severe reaction to water and football in general.
WARNING: You will be addicted to copy-pasting quotes from Wikipedia and listening to The Smiths. Also despite what you may think about yourself you will remain an unimportant member of the human race and pretty much most of the conscious world will despise you.
This pill is so tough that Chuck Norris had to be called in to test it. The packaging states that if once you needed to wear a gum shield to play football, after taking this it will be your opponents that need one. Originally conceived in the favela’s of Rio de Janiero, the pill was given to contestants before embarking on a Kung Fu street fight to the death.
Levy managed to get hold of the formula on the cheap and has refined it into a special weapon. When the pill is finally broken down by your body, 24 hours later, it provides the taker with unrivalled powers of endurance, strength and bravery.
WARNING: May lead to an obsession with darts, dancing and a belief that you are musical. The pill is so tough though that on occasions the body prefers to throw it up rather than attempt to pass it.
In the pipeline
Want to look handsome and appear to know what you’re doing? The AVB is designed around the concept of the pill from Limitless. Be warned however it doesn’t work outside of Portugal and at points you will lack creativity.
Makes you as hard as nails, but does rather scarily cause the eyes to bulge. Defoe apparently volunteered for a pill after he misunderstood the context of “Makes you hard.”
Still in testing as so far it has made people act inappropriately, lose all sense of gravity and control of their arms.
This blog first appeared on The Fighting Cock Website
For a long time the feeling that Tottenham’s defects are genetic has been haunting me. There is something in the make up of our club that when certain tests present themselves our biological make-up prevents us from prospering. On Saturday we once again faced a test that we pretty much failed.
As Andre Villas-Boas stated before the game, it was weekend to create some space, or reduce some with those teams around us. Fortunately, results went our way which meant that our quest for 4th is still on track, but 2nd and 3rd is starting to look slightly beyond us.
Despite what some may feel, it is not our God given right to win every game at a canter. But surely against an outfit destined for Championship football, a team desperate for the Champions League should be cruising through these games?
However, we are Tottenham and it is our ability to mix spell binding play with pure ineptitude that keeps us all on tenterhooks. It is this swing-ability that casts a doubt on Gareth Bale’s mission to usurp CR7 and Aaron Lennon’s long quest to become England’s regular right midfielder.
Perhaps we should view a teams dedication to defence even at home as nod to our ability, but what it shouldn’t become is a How To Upset Spurs Guide for every lower Premier League club.
Our former manager, famed for having a go, decided by fielding a false number 10 in a false number 9 role, to not bother. The midfield was packed with players whose technical abilities amount to zero, but their dedication and commitment were unparalleled. As stated in Section 6 of Sods Law, those same players will crumble in their next fixture, but on Saturday Stephane M’bia dominated Mousa Dembele.
It was Dembele’s least effective game for Spurs so far this season; the presence of his Cameroonian man marker highlighted the fact that he still needs to develop certain aspects of his game and that he shouldn’t bear sole responsibility for central midfield creativity.
We are desperate for that player who can create magic from nothing and drag even the most disciplined journey men into uncomfortable areas.
Meanwhile further up the pitch, we were offered another lesson that two number 9’s don’t always add up to one goal. Watching Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor attempt to work together is like two men trying to Tango, its rather uncomfortable viewing. Thankfully FIFA moving the AFCON to a new cycle (hence two competitions in two years) will deny us this partnership for a few games.
It’s well documented what we’ve lost this season, but let us not forget that we have also gained. We have signed a top class keeper and a centre back more than capable to replace one whose name we sing on 26 minutes.
What we haven’t gained though is that pedigree to believe that a victory is ours if we just reach out and grab it. Man Utd, Barcelona and Juventus have this belief imprinted into their genetic coding, we need to capture this formula and inject it into our club from the grass roots up.
Despite this inability to win at certain criticial junctures, Tottenham Hotspur remain a team on the cusp of achieving something. We have been privy to many false dawns and five year plans, but thankfully we are actually on the horizon now and not Christian Gross tube ticket away, but still we must learn to impose ourselves on the field and in the transfer market.
Daniel Levy has already signed wünderkid Lewis Hotlby for next season, but a little bit of investment now will see us achieve our goals. The Premier League season of 2012/2013 is a weak one and if we can reclaim fourth the financial repercussions for Everton and Woolwich would be catastrophic.
Tottenham need to ensure that this result was just a slight hiccup and not another global demonstration of our genetic failings.
This article first featured on the Fighting Cock Website
The season to be jolly is on the horizon and Tottenham Hotspur are looking to cash in on the festive goodwill. After the critically acclaimed success of Celebrate Pippa Middleton’s book on how to throw the perfect party, Spurs marketing supremos have moved quickly to capture their share of the market. For the past year they have been creating: Christmas Tips from Spurs a book designed to help every Spurs fan have a spectacular Christmas.
A source close to the club said: “Christmas is a stressful time for some, we at Spurs are all about making life easy for everyone. This book will be the essential Christmas guide.”
Although it has yet to come out, my source allowed me to have a brief flick through its pages, here a few of tips that Tottenham guarantee will help you have that perfect Christmas.
Why go for turkey? A proper man needs big food. We at Casa Ranieri opt for Ostrich, it’s bigger, tastier and the feeling I get from cooking something I chased down and killed with my own teeth makes everything taste better. Serve it with a side of wild boar and elephant. Feliz Natal.
Christmas shopping is all about bargains and rushing around, but why be a lemming? I always wait for the last minute that way I always manage to bag a massive turkey.
Always, always, always make sure your presents are wrapped up well. Especially the fragile ones, keeping hold of something when everyone is watching can be tricky.
Been promised something special but when you get it all the important bits to make it work are missing? Put on a brave face and accept it, remember the January sales are just round the corner.
Remember at the Christmas dinner everyone over indulges, to make sure that you get your fill I recommend hiding bits of food before everyone sits down. Try taping a few roasties under the table, or filling your pockets with sprouts, you never want to go with out!!
Why not try something from abroad? A friend in Spain sent me some wonderful Manchego cheese that has been rested to perfection. He kept it on his bench so he wouldn’t forget to send it. Also try personalizing gifts, along with the cheese I got a football shirt with my name on it.
Christmas is the perfect time for a good old knees up, just be careful not to go overboard on the booze. Even the nicest people can change after a few drinks!
At this time of year the weather gets really cold, remember to wrap up warm and make sure the elderly are well taken care of. Also if you happen to have a French guy turn up, watch out he will have your number one spot by the TV in minutes.
The coaching staff:
Having poor relations visit from up north? Try and be as accommodating as possible. We like to let them turn up, make themselves at home and allow them to win at the post dinner games. However should you find yourself invited round to a neighbour who has recently moved into the area, try to back off should you find yourself winning.
Christmas is a time for helping those less fortunate than you. If you see a former friend struggling lunge right in and help them out. Going over the top is always ok when you are looking to really help someone.
Try not to pass out before the big occasion!!
The book looks set to be a best seller, rumours that Woolwich are attempting to write their own version have been strongly denied by my source: “They don’t know who will still be there in January let alone next summer or winter, it wont happen.”
The book will be on sale in the next few weeks and will be available at most good bookshops.
As the Park Lane turned to wave off the West Ham fans that had allegedly attempted some form of racism, a general satisfaction swept over White Hart Lane. Tottenham had crushed West Ham 3-1 in the Premier League, but more than that they had taken a footballing philosophy and with pace, skill and passion rendered it obsolete.
After a week which for some Spurs fans had proven to be not only mentally but physically painful, this result offers some welcome relief. Tottenham have stuttered at home this season, with White Hart Lane magnifying the absence of certain ex-players, but on Sunday it felt like a page had been turned.
From the very start, Spurs had the intensity and desire to match their potential; the ball was moved quickly and accurately, it looked like early 2011 Spurs but in classy Portuguese packaging.
Tottenham pressed, kept their shape, worked for their openings and comfortably shifted the ball back then across when West Ham closed down the gaps. For the East London club had it not been for some vile chanting and a collector’s item of an Andy Carroll goal, their journey across London would have been utterly worthless.
Some Spurs fans claimed it was the Hammers Cup Final, for me it was their first proper lesson in how football has evolved since Big Sam was last in the Premier League.
Redemption: A religious concept referring to forgiveness or absolution for past sins or errors and protection from disgrace, eternal or temporary, generally through sacrifice (or sorting yourself out.)
This game as well as bestowing three crucial points on Tottenham allowed Tom Huddlestone, a much maligned figure to exorcise his Emirates demons. I have long been a fan of the Hudd, but like many I have passed comment that his time as a leading central midfielder is over, but on Sunday he demonstrated that perhaps we have been too quick to cast the first stone.
Huddlestone’s return to form may coincide with Sandro’s man of the match display alongside him, but there is no doubt that this performance was the best we have seen from Huddlestone for years. His technical ability and vision eclipsed his opponents and underlined the Hammers midfield trios’ inability to hold the ball. Hudd as well as supporting and starting many Spurs attacks, also though his sheer size, assisted Steven Caulker and the returning Michael Dawson aerially.
If Huddlestone manages to back anywhere near to his 2009/2010 consistency then we will have a major asset in our top four push. However that is one major, IF.
How do you solve a problem like Defoe?
Jermain Defoe another much maligned figure from the Emirates fallout reminded the Spurs fans, that hadn’t dashed off for a half time drink, that he works best in seconds not 90 minutes.
For the opening 43 minutes as Spurs pressed for the opener he was anonymous, then from the right touch line he spun, sprinted, switched foot and smashed the ball past Jussi Jaaskelainen.
In that moment he defined his entire career, brilliance clouded all too often by anonymity. Emmanuel Adebayor offers more but gives us less, whilst Defoe gives nothing but delivers more. The fact that despite being one of our highest ever goal scorers he still divides opinion explains everything about him.
Should new QPR manager Harry Redknapp place a bid of £10 million plus this January then Defoe will probably be off.
Dawson never Creeks
The moment it was announced that William Gallas was to be dropped for Dawson, relief, gratitude and hope swept through the stadium. The Englishman may lack the on-the-ball technique that Andres Villas-Boas craves, but he has the skill set that the manager and the team needs.
Big strong, likeable and aerially gifted his performance on Sunday made me wonder how many extra points we would have had this season if he had started every game.
Although Caulker and Dawson as two very similar centre backs may not be the ideal partnership, for now it’s the best one available. With Jan Vertonghen a stand in left-back and Younes Kaboul in the treatment room, that partnership must remain in place for the visit of Liverpool to White Hart Lane on Wednesday night.
This article first featured on The Fighting Cock Website
Jubilant Arsenal fans spent their Saturday afternoon on various social media sites proclaiming that they had beaten Spurs 5-2, again. Their joy and unmitigated delirium started mass finger-pointing amongst the Tottenham Hostpur faithful, but who is really at fault for another five-goal captiulation?
For 17 minutes we were totally in control, then one error, one badly timed and ill-judged challenge sent us spinning into an epic self-implosion. The fault should lay at the size 11 feet of Emmanuel Adebayor, but in reality there are many more individuals at fault than just the Togolese striker.
The former Manchester City man isn’t the first and won’t be last footballer to ever be sent off. Losing a player is sometimes part of the 90 minute game; although it’s significant hindrance it isn’t an excuse for defeat.
Tottenham should’ve adapted, reshaped and shown some resilience.
Footballing history is awash with tales of 10 heroic men holding on to claim a victory. These teams however all had one thing in common, they possessed a leader. When their team started to buckle, one or two individuals stepped up and held it all together.
With less than 30 minutes to half time Spurs needed to steady the ship. They needed someone to show a sense of duty to the cause and through his actions or words take control of the team. Unfortunately we didn’t have one.
Many Spurs fans have already blamed Adebayor, but for me the true blame is at the feet of William Gallas, Tom Huddlestone and Jermain Defoe.
These three senior players should have stepped up and ensured Tottenham held on. As the spine of the team they are perfectly placed to handle the responsibility. When Spurs where cruising for the first 15 minutes these three were happy to receive the ball, make tackles and be involved, but the moment the situation changed for the worse, not for the first time in their careers, they became anonymous.
Defoe may be a poacher and apparently a clinical finisher, but at 30 he must face up to his status of a being a senior player with responsibilities. When Spurs are under immense pressure, he must not allow himself to become isolated. By disappearing for the last 30 minutes of the first half he effectively made the game 8 vs 10 outfield players.
The England striker must add more to his game, but already into his thirties, perhaps it is too late.
Huddlestone meanwhile has been treading water, slowly, since he returned from injury. Floating in central midfield he reminds me of Carlos Valderama weeks before he retired at 43 years old, but without the skill, vision or determination. The former Derby County man, despite being capped by England on Wednesday must realize that his time as a serious central midfield pivot is over. His ability to allow a game pass him by is nothing short of incredible; the introduction of Tom Carroll only served to remind us what we had been missing and confirmed the terminal defects in Hudd’s game.
Huddlestone can no longer be trusted in a midfield duo away from home to top-half Premier League opposition.
The final cog in Tottenham’s capitulation to a mediocre Woolwich was Gallas, Tottenham Captain. With Brad Friedel finally dropped, probably to his relief, the Gallas situation remains the biggest question mark over the Andre Villas-Boas reign.
Why does he continue to persist with a centre-back that has shown at various stages (and at varying degrees of incompetence) that he is no longer good enough for a regular starting berth?
At the Emirates on Saturday Gallas faced the weakest centre forward for many years to don an Woolwich kit. Oliver Giroud is short of pace, strength, technique and height, but still was able to dominate our captain. As he showed against Chelsea a few weeks ago, we cannot rely on Gallas in crucial games.
Tottenham needed a captain on Saturday to ensure they still had something to fight for other than pride in the second half. Gallas who was at fault for the second and killer third goal, failed again to be that person.
Regardless of whether his ability on the ball is better than Michael Dawson, surely his repeated lack of defensive instinct, positioning, leadership and strength will now consign him to a spell on the sidelines?
We can take some encouragement from the second-half rally. It showed that certain players were willing to fight for the shirt and that the time has come for Carroll to start instead of Huddlestone. Whilst Daniel Levy, who spent the week telling AVB what a big game the North London derby is, may also be inspired to sign the manager the players he so badly needs.
We have to move on from here with players willing to fight and show some passion, but of course not in a clumsy two-footed challenge kind of way.
This article was first posted on The Fighting Cock Website