Spineless? I don’t think so.

September 13, 2012

Many assess the quality of teams based on their ‘spine’, whether they realize it or not. Up until last season, we were solid with a spine that consisted of Friedel, Kaboul, Parker, Modric, Adebayor. Anyone that reads those names would surely say that this was a squad that would challenge for the Premier League title. And we did. For a little while at least.

Fast forward to this season. What did the Tottenham spine look like when we faced Norwich, inclusive of injuries? Friedel, Gallas, Sandro, Sig, Defoe. Not bad, but hardly something that would set off rockets. Changes were made during that match with Dembele – a player who was appearing in a Spurs shirt for the first time – impressively managing to score on his debut, and Adebayor coming on (not match fit at the time). To recap, the spine then became Friedel, Gallas, Livermore, Dembele, Adebayor. Instantly, we looked a better side. Had Sandro possibly stayed on the pitch, and Livermore gone off, we might have been stronger defensively… not so sure, but that isn’t my point anyways.

How does this combination sound to you? Friedel / Lloris, Vertonghen / Kaboul, Parker / Sandro, Dembele / Sig, Ade / Defoe. A better side instantly surfaces, no?

The point I’m trying to make is the Spurs squad which we have seen over the past 3 games has not truly evolved as of yet. Also, we should consider a few other important factors. Bale down the left supported by BAE. Lennon on the right with Walker. Dempsey utilized from the right or off the striker, which Spurs should benefit from instantly considering his excellent positioning, ability to score and overall experience. All of a sudden, it seems like we have a much stronger side. One with more Premier League experience than Arsenal’s new-look-squad.

If the boys are able to mentally retain AVB’s tactical commands and approach, then this squad could become deadly. A little bit of time, practice, competition and a better understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities will go a long way. Let’s give them what is needed. Hopefully, they’ll repay us with positive results along the way.

COYS!

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The case of Hugo Lloris

September 11, 2012

French national team captain and number 1 goalkeeper.

Number 1 keeper at his club, Olympique Lyonnais.

Now at Spurs and he’s number 2.

A sense of frustration? Media taking things out of context? Brad Friedel threatened? All possibilities. But there is definitely media shit-stirring going on and only the fickle will run with it. After all, the media’s romantic love affair with Tottenham Hotspur died when Harry left. So why not burn bridges with headlines?

AVB is under an enormous amount of pressure. We know this. At first, we thought that the media would be his main concern. Unfortunately, it seems like the fans have claimed that noose. There has been a divide over our performances in our first three games, leading to uncharacteristic “booing” at the Lane.

But let’s put this past us because it’s old news. To the real fans, at least.

AVB has made a decision as to who will occupy the goalkeeper position and I believe he’s right. Lloris has just arrived to the Premier League. Some time on the sidelines and watching a veteran of the sport like Friedel will only do him good in the long run. Remember De Gea’s first couple of games at Manchester United? Our (very fickle) fans are already at a boiling point, and if Lloris was to play and not deliver from day one, they would want his head served on a plate.

AVB is doing the right thing in my opinion. My only hope is that Levy has not promised Lloris something which AVB isn’t ready to do just yet. We all know how the last “gentleman’s agreement” went.

No need to hit the #AVBout panic button

August 26, 2012

Cue the following hashtags:

#AVBout

#OnePointInTwoGames

#BringRedknappBack (God, please no!)

So we drew at home to West Brom in the final minute. Anything new about that? You could see it all unfolding as we were mere passengers in the trainwreck that was about to take place. And when I say “we”, AVB’s included. I’m sure we will all differ on his tactics, player selection and substitutions (Jenas especially); however, I couldn’t really fault much of what he had done.

Remember people, we are a work in progress. The transfer window has not slammed shut as of yet. Modric remains a lilywhite, and the two very players whose potential transfers caused much heated debate on the internet – Hudd (loan) and Daws (QPR) – haven’t even materialized.

I’m sure AVB would like to get down to managing a settled squad but we are nowhere near that. Deals are taking way too long to be finalized. Players don’t know if they’re staying or going. Players who know that they’re staying don’t know if their friends / teammates are leaving or not. It’s a bit of a mess now, but it should all stabilize soon… and by soon, I mean August 31st.

I hope that in the coming week Levy will hammer out what needs to be sorted and we send out / bring in whoever we need to really get our season underway. Otherwise, even Norwich City coming to the Lane could be a daunting affair.

COYS!

‘Huddric’

August 21, 2012

I know… I haven’t written in ages. Forgive me and all that jazz.

After stalking Newsnow on a daily basis and reading everything Tottenham, I have managed to frustrate myself more than anything. It has nothing to do with the lack of transfer activity, but everything to do with peoples’ posts and comments. So all I want to say is this:

Guys, let’s NOT be fickle. Modric has been one of our best players (if not the best) at Tottenham over the past 3 years. No, Huddlestone is not capable of filling his shoes. I’m not saying that he’s useless to us, but unless AVB pursues tactics and a formation which would suit Hudd there is no way he can fulfill the Modric role. And I’m afraid that after the squad list was announced for the Newcastle match on Saturday, the Hudd argument may no loner be relevant. We’ll have to wait and see what happens going forward.

VDV is a fantastic player; however, I do not envision him having the patience for the role that Modric plays at Spurs. I hope to be proven wrong.

While scouring through these sites, many have been quick to judge Modric’s fate if he was to be unsold. “Let him rot”. I beg to differ. Not having Modric in our side will affect the way we play. It doesn’t mean that we cannot make the “Top 4”, but the Tottenham you have seen over the past few years will have a different genetic makeup to its approach. In regards to price and the “he isn’t worth 40 mil” argument, he is worth every penny Levy is asking for and Levy knows this. When Chelsea came knocking, he threw the 40 mil price in their face to turn them away from the deal. This time around it’s different. One of the best footballing clubs in the world is pursuing Modric… 40 mil makes absolute sense.

And don’t kid yourselves, Modric is that good. Why attack him for wanting to move to Real Madrid? He’s given us a few good years and if the right amount of money exchanges bank accounts, we shouldn’t harbor any hard feelings. Business is business. If he went to Chelsea or United, that would be another story. Let’s not sound like the ungrateful Arsenal fans that bashed RVP, even though he single-handedly took them into the Champions League last season. Fickle doesn’t look good in lilywhite.

COYS!

All this quiet is driving me mad!

October 7, 2011

In the midst of all this quiet due to the international break, the voices in my head are louder than ever. Screaming to be recognized, I can’t help but ignore a few of the ones sounding out with fears, hopes and dreams for our beloved THFC.

Fears

The first thing that comes to mind is the health and fitness of our players during / after the break. Bad tackles and players trying too hard to prove a point to their respective nations is never a good thing, but always seems to be the case in these competitions.

Another fear is this whole VDV et Redknapp saga doing the rounds. The fact that there isn’t any news is more than enough reason for the media to create news, and this is just that. I’m pretty confident that VDV’s words were somewhat taken out of context, but in a time when things are going well for the lilywhites, we don’t need any negativity surrounding us.

If there’s any disappointment from his side, the Dutchman needs to realize he’s part of a team and that Redknapp will always have the final say as to who remains on the pitch. There will be plenty of time for him to play and (optimistically) score many goals.

Hopes

In response to my last point, I’m hoping the international break will allow time for any issues to subside between VDV and the gaffer. Let’s drop the BS and focus on nailing 3 points away to, what appears to be, a strong Newcastle side.

Newcastle United could possibly be over-performing at this point in time. They have a good manager in Pardew, but do they really have the depth to hold onto a top 4 spot, let alone a Europa qualifying position? I’m not so sure.

No matter what, Spurs are visiting Tyneside and focus and confidence are a must.

Dreams

The dream of all dreams is to see Ledley continue to play week-in-week-out. The stats speak for themselves and simply put, we’re just a better team with him on the pitch. He has the power to elevate the quality of others around him when he’s present.

Tottenham currently are the 4th highest scoring team in the league, and this form needs to continue. Scoring goals, especially at times when we concede unnecessary ones, is absolutely crucial. I dream of a Tottenham side with forwards, midfielders and occasionally defenders (from set pieces realistically) scoring plenty of goals to aid our fight for a top spot at the end of the season.

To conclude

So there you have it. Some of those annoying voices are content and have gone off to watch England take the lead against Montenegro. At least I’ll be able to sleep somewhat peacefully tonight.

COYS!

Are you Arsenal in disguise?

October 3, 2011

“How many hands do I have to shake”? What does Wenger have against shaking hands? It seems our Clive Allen was snubbed after the match by the Frenchman, as he’s snubbed so many others in the past. But I guess losing the NLD does leave one sour as a sour puss. Being French + sour = not so nice.

I’ll leave reviewing the match to others, instead I’ll just cover some frustrations as well as some shining stars.

Arsenal’s 5-man midfield

It looked like we were never going to break the red wall. Our only way through it was to go up the middle or to  play Crouchesque long balls. The latter was not something I wanted to see, but we tried it anyways and were left looking a bit limp tactically against the 4-5-1. Wenger’s a pretty smart man, I must say. He played his cards right, but the only thing he didn’t seem to predict was Tottenham’s pace on the counter-attack.

Adebayor not scoring

Come on… you know you wanted it to happen. Especially since Sczcesny was ranting and raving how they knew how to contain him.

Modric

He had no answers this time around. Some points where he had solid movements on the ball, but he gave away too many in the midfield; something out of character for him.

Brain fart in the defence

Ramsey, out of all players, should have never been given the opportunity to score. He was invisible most of the time and should have stayed that way. Anyone see Van Persie? Didn’t think so.

Walker brings one home

Kyle Walker’s goal left us with this beautiful moment which I’d like to share with Sczcesny and all his supporters.

Harry Redknapp’s subs

Great substitutions by the manager. No way anyone would have guessed those to be his picks. I was praying for Sandro to come on sooner because I knew if we added more muscle in the midfield, Arsenal would have a hard time coping. The additions of Livermore and Corluka turned out to be great options as well.

Parker

Left alone at times, he seemed to wander off into no-man’s land with no help from his teammates. Still, his presence in a very quick Arsenal 5-man midfield could partially be why it was hard for them to get that first goal… well him and Ledley King of course.

Controversy at the Lane

Having watched VDV’s goal again and again, I think he did use a part of his arm to bring down the ball. Still, there was no way any ref was going to rule that one out because you needed to watch the highlights repetitively in order to determine it a hand ball. Not enough conclusive evidence in my opinion, but then again, I am biased.

So there you have it folks. One NLD down and one to go. Until then, bask in the glory and enjoy it! COYS!

Aren’t you happy he’s ours?

September 24, 2011

Fickle man. That’s what you may think of me as you read through this post. Why you ask? Two words:

Scott Parker.

Like many of my white and blue brethren, at the opening and closing of each window over the past few years, I would pray to the transfer heavens that we’d pass on the signing of Monsieur Parker. I mean, did we really need any more F’ing midfielders?

Well, I would now like to take this moment to admit that I was certainly, absolutely, positively mistaken. Put aside the fact that he’s been solid from the first day he donned our shirt, could you possibly imagine him with any other team? My point exactly.

There were concerns that he wouldn’t mix well with the type of midfield we have: quick, creative and attack-minded. Okay, let me rephrase that: I didn’t think he would mix well with the type of midfield we have. Till date, none of his performances in a Spurs shirt prove my previous opinion right. He links up quite well with Modric, and it seems like he’s unfazed whether there are 3 or 4 other midfielders lining up beside him. He just wants to keep it clean, and by clean I mean wiping the floor with our opponents, throwing a body at them at all times, even if it isn’t his own.

His approach is somewhat different than what we’re used to at Tottenham. In Sandro, we have a direct replacement for Wilson Palacios (the aggressive version of Wilson, that is). Parker’s pretty much the player we haven’t had in ages but always wanted needed.

Having seen him play in person, he reminds me of a mafioso… short, stalky and by no means a pushover. Joe Pesci comes to mind. Convert any color image of Scott Parker into black & white and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was from the 1960s. Classic looks with a straightforward, hardworking classic footballer’s approach. Me likey!

With Parker comes a very simple form of football. “I play in the CM position, so I will destroy anything that crosses the center line”. His strength is what I admire most. Chances are if he decides to put a foot in, he’s coming out with the ball 90% of the time.

Like me, I’m sure many of you doubted the Football Writers Association decision to select Parker as their 2011 player of the year, but could they have been spot on? It seems his biggest champion, Harry Redknapp, could have been right all along too.

Would I be writing this post if Parker was mediocre? Nope. Would I bash him if from this point onwards if he doesn’t live up to my expectations? Yes.

Does that make me fickle?

State of rotation

September 23, 2011

There you go ‘Arry! That’s how you do it!

Is anyone else relieved with our new rotation policy? The gaffer promised in previous seasons that he would cycle through the squad and give everyone a chance to play, but he’s never actually implemented those words to this degree. If anything, I’ve felt robbed of it in the past.

So far, in each competition, we’ve used a different keeper: Friedel in the Prem, Cudicini in Europa and Gomes in the Carling Cup. It’s very clear who Harry’s number one choice is. Just by looking at his picks for each competition you can clearly tell where his priorities lie:

1) Premier League

2) Europa

3) Carling Cup

As for the FA Cup, we don’t know yet where Harry’s priorities will be placed; guess it’ll probably depend on who sits between the posts.

Another key development in our rotation policy is the manager’s use of our young ones. And it’s about time too. We now finally are able to witness the advancement of our youth in proper competitions. Previously, you rather visited the club’s official site or, in my case, Windy’s excellent blog to check on their progress. But now we get to see youngsters like Tom Carroll and Harry Kane prove their future worth to the manager and to the fans. Lovely!

Where we could really stand to benefit from the current “state of rotation” is the Premier League. The fact that our defence is being shifted around could give everyone a solid run. Credit this to the unfortunate injury of Michael Dawson or not, but Corluka has featured in the center, Bassong, and Kaboul. This not only adds much needed confidence to their game, but it gives Gallas the opportunity to fully recover instead of being rushed back in (great piece of news that). The fact that we are able to utilise these players in different competitions means we can also aim to have Ledley feature in our Prem fixtures, if his knees don’t give out. And I don’t need to argue why Ledley’s presence is absolutely crucial to us. 2 games, 2 wins, no goals conceded. Point proven.

This also applies to all other roles on the pitch. Playing time equals experience.

Finally, I can comfortably say that Harry and his team are beginning to reap the benefits from our squad depth. Something he didn’t seem to have a clue about before.

Bring on Wigan. COYS!

Sell, sell, sell…

September 1, 2011

It’s over. Closed. Not open for business till the winter season. Be warned that the following post was not written with any structure in mind… just thoughts racing through my head during the closing of the transfer window.

Hopes of securing the services of a certain Mr. Diarra never materialized. Instead, we finally sealed the deal (in how many windows has this rumor circulated?) for Scotty Parker from West Ham, with Bentley going the other way. I feel sorry for the latter, 27 years old and going to play for a relegated side on loan… it can’t be easy.

The shifting of deadweight didn’t end there with the permanent transfer of Alan Hutton and the season-long loan of Jermaine Jenas to Aston Villa. Not really a shocker there.

Over the past few weeks, rumors circulated that a two-man deal with the Potters was in the works for Crouch and Palacios. It was true with Sgt. Wilson’s transfer confirmed by the club within the final 2 hours, and Crouchie’s departure confirmed right after the window closed.

Gary Cahill was almost a Spur. I was gutted when Harry confirmed that the deal fell through as we are in desperate need of a reliable defender to consistently start alongside Dawson. I expect us to give Bolton a ring when January rolls around.

So what have we done exactly? Have we made room for Modric’s salary increase? Have we become a selling club?

Majority of the players mentioned above needed to move on. I must admit though that the Crouch deal was one I was not expecting. I’m actually still unsure how I feel about it. I think I’ll need to sleep and wake up to digest what happened this evening. One thing I can tell you now is I won’t be impressed with how little business we managed in regards to new signings coming in.

Where to next?

August 25, 2011

Sitting back and reflecting on our performance at Old Trafford, I can’t help but think how different the team dynamic would have been with Modric and Sandro (or even Hudd) in the mix. Not to say that Jake Livermore was horrible, but I think he and Niko haven’t had time to form the type of partnership that’s required when facing the league champions.

How different would things have been with a five-man midfield of Bale, Modric, Diarra, VDV and Lennon? Lennon was terrible on the day, but let’s assume he wasn’t for arguments sake. Throw in Adebayor to the mix as the striker and what say you now?

That sounds like a great starting line-up to me, comparable with some of the best in the league. Each player is capable of holding up the ball, as well as passing it about in a tight-knit area. Playing for Arsenal and having spent a bit of time at Real Madrid means Adebayor is quality. No doubt about that.

Modric could do what he does best, making the pass that leads to that assist from Bale, Lennon or VDV (the latter can go for goal himself) while Diarra holds back and makes sure to clean up any potential mss they’ve left behind.

How does that sound? If signing Diarra and Ade’ were to become a reality, do you think we would have the means to compete for a top 4 spot? Would love to hear what you guys think, feel free to comment.