Posts Tagged ‘Carling Cup’

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!

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Blame yourselves before blaming the team

September 22, 2010

Last night’s match was a disgrace! Not the least due to Harry’s team selection and our players’ fear of pushing the line forward, but by the fans.

Let’s cover each point.

Harry’s selection

Playing 3 defensive midfielders just didn’t make any sense. Naturally, we would end up sitting back and trying to defend. FULL STOP. What about attack? We all know Spurs are a more influential side when bombarding opponents on the attack. Why sit back and do nothing about it?

I did think that since we were playing so many defencive-minded players, we would at least contest every ball Arsenal touched. Not the case unfortunately.

Instead, we sat back and let a bunch of children – very talented ones mind you – dictate the pace and outcome of the match.

Horrible. Dispicable. Gag.

Fear

I don’t know if you could see it, but I honestly felt our players were afraid last night. Maybe it was the Arse fans corner, which was way louder than the rest of our support until Robbie Keane finally scored for us. More on that later.

Sandro was working his heart out last night. I still can’t believe he’s in his early 20s. He is a monster and hopefully will prove to be a brilliant signing in the near future. Sooner than later please.

Palacios had  a few brilliant tackles but that was it. What I cannot understand for the life of me was why Niko Kranjcar did not start the match! We needed attacking creativity but had none. Pav at some points was screaming and yelling at the other players begging for them to push the line forward. What can I say but he was left doing his best impersonation of “pointy-shouty-bloke”.

The fear. The fear ladies and gentlemen. I could see it. Our boys were worried about Arsenal’s deadly counter-attack. So many defenders and we couldn’t even break them? It goes to prove that we defend better as a team when we attack the living daylights out of our opponents. Please feel free to disagree with me in the comments section if I am dead wrong.

Sublime support

What a strange and eerie evening? Arsenal’s away support were lively and made sure that our players knew it. We were rarely singing until Robbie finally scored. What’s that all about?

The last two matches at the Lane have been the same. Wolves’ fans were loud and obnoxious, energizing their team to score the first. Same with Arsenal. Where are the thunderous lilywhite supporters when we most needed them? Heading for the exits, leaving myself and many other supporters cheering the team on regardless of the score. How sad? You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Honestly.

Booing is another issue. Some supporters don’t realize how much of an impact cheering players on can instantly change their form. Booing won’t solve anything. Cheering can and will, especially in this case, we would have shoved a bondage gag in the mouths of those annoying Arse fans.

Instead, when things didn’t go our way, many decided it was time to leave early and beat the traffic. So we gave up. Our players gave up. What does that do for team morale? What does that do for our younger players who played the full 120 minutes? What does that say about our support? Especially in front of those goons.

I went to bed bitter and woke up in worse shape. Not because of the loss. But because for once, I have realized that our support isn’t what it used to be. Could the top 4 and Champions League qualification cause us to lose our drive?

I want it to be what it used to be. Even if we have to finish 5th every season. The passionate support and belief is why I started supporting Spurs to begin with.

Disappointing stuff to deal with on a Wednesday.

No COYS for you!

Poo Poo

December 2, 2009

Not much to say folks. Spurs started off with the right attitude, holding the ball well and playing with some zip right from the start. We started with more of our first team players than Man Poo, so I was expecting Tottenham to be consistent throughout the match. Gibson took his first goal well and I still believed we could get back into it. Then Gibson took his second and my world caved in.

The biggest disappointments for me were Palacios and Bassong. They just didn’t seem to have their heads in the match from the start. Palacios was subbed at the half for Jenas and it changed everything. Hope reared its ugly head again only to leave me disappointed… again.

Let’s face the facts, they beat us fair and square with practically their youth team which is quite respectable. It’s not the end of the world: Spurs are still in the FA Cup, still sitting pretty in 3rd and Berbatov is a flop so far.

I’m still all smiles.

An unexpected duet

October 30, 2009

Elton John and Eminem. Alice Cooper and The Muppets. Celine Dion and R. Kelly???!!! Who the hell authorized that one?

Scary stuff. But the duet that I’m talking about is the unlikely pairing of David Bentley and Gareth Bale. A pair we were lead to believe ‘Arry didn’t rate. One was touted as a jinx while the other practically buried himself in PR no-no’s. The night of our Carling Cup draw against Everton though, would play a whole different song for these two.

It was refreshing to see Bale in the left wing slot. He’s quick. Add to that a beautiful left footed touch. Minus from that some defensive confidence and muscle. Equals? A good formula for a left winger. No? He was always more inclined to attack when slotted in the left back position. Many fans wanted to see him given a chance on the left wing and he repaid our faith that night. He managed a few perfectly timed tackles in the match showcasing some of his defensive skill and proving he is more of an all-rounded left side player than a focused left back. Overall, a strong and positive performance from the boy but not one to sideline Kranjcar at the Emirates.

Bentley on the other hand was dominant. Three letters. You put them together. W. O. W. A handful at all times. Not everyone will agree with me that Bentley put in his best performance ever while wearing lilywhite, but it was! His goal against Arsenal will always be what he’s remembered for, but I was amazed by his pace, confidence on the touch, and defensive tackles. He was hungry and it showed.

Unlike Bale, Bentley will most probably get the nod at the Emirates unless ‘Arry decides to play Jenas on the right wing, leaving Hudd and Palacios in the midfield; an unlikely cheeky scenario because we will need sheer speed in the center to keep up with the Arse. We are a bit short on the offensive front tomorrow but players know that this is one game every Spurs fan will be highly critical of, so nothing short of brilliance will be accepted.

Let’s kick the extinction out of Gunnersaurus Rex!

One man’s red card, another’s last breath

October 23, 2009

Like many Spurs fan, I am annoyed that Defoe will be missing the next few matches. The boy let his emotions get the best of him and Harry repaid him by giving him a spanking with the whole squad present. 3 important matches and we have just lost one of our biggest threats up front. Not an ideal situation to be in. But ideal for someone…

Our old Russian friend Pavyluchenko who’s back and match fit. Tottenham played a friendly against Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday which saw the return of Woodie for the full 90 minutes and Pav scoring 2 goals. Now I know scoring against their lot is nothing to rave about but it’s excited that he finally may have the chance to prove himself. He hasn’t had it easy at Tottenham. Arriving in a new country, trying to learn a new language, new teammates, a new Spanish coach, and a newer English coach. There was a lot of pressure on him to perform right off the start. Then throw in the added pressure of Defoe and Keane’s return in January; players who were idolized and loved by Spurs followers.

Fans today are still divided on Pav. Some think he possesses the skill to be one of the biggest threats in the Premier League. Some think he tends to have a lazy side which defines a character trait he cannot change. It’s never a blessing to have your highest scorer (7 goals for Defoe) out before crucial matches against a tough underdog (Stoke), a Carling Cup draw (Everton) and the North London derby (Arsenal). But having someone like Pav, a skilled striker with a lot to prove and everything to fight for could be what is needed to inject a little life into Keane and Crouch. I doubt he will start Sunday’s match unless Harry wants to punish Crouchie for his recent partying affairs, but Pav could get the nod for kick-off against Everton on Tuesday night.

This 3 game run could possibly be the last gasp of breath Pav needs to determine his future at the Lane. I hope he gives it his all and knocks in a few… at the Emirates specifically. COYS!

5 @ Preston; notes & video

September 24, 2009

Like I mentioned in my last post, this game was going to be a confidence builder for the squad. And it was just that. 5-1 at Preston North End. Didn’t get the chance to watch the match live but heard the live radio commentary on Spurs TV; please excuse the lack of info.

The notes:

  • Peter Crouch was on fire wrapping it up with a well deserved hat-trick! His final goal came in stoppage time with a cheeky heel shot from a cross which capped off a wonderful night for the giant. Keane and Defoe both added 2 goals of their own adding a positive beat to our attack.
  • Bale put in a good performance and finally broke the curse! What a relief!
  • Dawson got some playing time and looks fit enough to finally kick off his season. I’m sure he wasn’t expecting to see that much play time but he should be proud of his overall performance.
  • Hudd has really come a long way. He was solid partnering Dawson and his ability to slot into different roles is a quality I’m sure ‘Arry respects about him. To add to that, the big guy was actually able to move forward and involve himself in the attacking game. Brilliant!
  • Hutton did the job… not sure if the one goal Preston managed to score was his fault though (watch the video and decide for yourself).
  • Poor Gio Dos Santos finally got some long awaited playing time but was injured by a rough tackle early on; the boy looked to be putting in what would have been a cracking performance with a goal denied by the crossbar. Lennon was subbed in his place and put on a solid performance… always nice to see Azza take it to our opponents.
  • Jenas & Palacios commanded the midfield, sharing the load.
  • Bentley started the match, but to be honest, I can’t remember much of him. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
  • Gomes was unbeatable between the posts and his saves were crucial to our victory. I’m sure he’ll be starting next week.

All in all, a confidence building (apologize for the redundancy) match that was much needed after two tough weeks in the Premier League. No reason for us to dwell on those losses because they should be long gone in our minds by now and we should be solely focused on destroying Burnley.

COYS!

Spurs starting XI @ Preston

September 23, 2009

In these early rounds of the Carling Cup, we have the right to go a little off the wall with our squad selection… so here it goes:

  • Gomes – some people think Cudicini was great, some think he made some crucial mistakes; anyhow, it’s time for HG to reclaim his spot
  • BAE (subbed at the half with Bale) – am I crazy? No sir, I just think this could be the right time for him to break the curse if ever
  • Corluka – need cover at the CB position
  • Dawson – welcome back, we missed you!
  • Naughton – a promising star for the future
  • Gio – give him a go ‘Arry… it’s not even transfer market season and speculation has surfaced that he’s leaving for Spain
  • Hudd & Jenas – the two need some playing time together; they will have to pair up during the season
  • Lennon – needs to regain some confidence lost in the last two matches… sub in Bentley later to do the same
  • Defoe – wanted Pav but apparently he’s hurt; good opportunity for JD to score some goals again
  • Crouch – looking solid so far

So it looks like I’ve picked a squad based on confidence-building. What do you guys think?

Preview Notes: Spurs vs Liverpool

August 15, 2009

Liverpool are coming to White Hart Lane! A gay ole time with smiles everywhere as our season finally kicks off!

What to expect? It’s going to be a tough match. Both teams have a lot to prove from the start. Liverpool want the top teams to know that they mean business, while we we desperately want to avoid “2 points from 8 games” like swine flu. Captain Steven Gerrard should be available for the match but they will be without Riera, Aurelio and new signing Aquilani – Xabi Alonso’s replacement – due to injuries. Liverpool is a squad with depth so I don’t think they’re too worried; hope I’m totally wrong about that!

Spurs need to do the following:

  1. Hold the ball and control play
  2. Palacios needs to stay out of foul trouble as I am sure Rafa will want to expose that
  3. Assou-Ekotto will have to cover the left side with his life as Kuyt will be testing him
  4. As always, set pieces will be a concern for Gomes; I’m sure we trained hard in preseason to minimize any risks (crossing fingers)
  5. “El Maestro” Modric needs room to conduct the Spurs musical and the rest of the players need to be in tune with him
  6. Bassong and Ledley (if starting) must be efficient in their communication at all times… Torres can spot opportunities and smell weakness in a split second
  7. Harry needs to sub the right players at the right time
  8. The forwards need to put a lot of pressure on the defense and Reina; take tons of shots at goal and keep them on their toes

But if we take last season into consideration, we know that Liverpool had a tough time at the Lane. Consider the following:

  • 2-1 win at home: not Spurs most magnificent display of football but we were still adjusting to a new manager and coming to terms with being at the bottom of the table
  • 4-2 win in the Carling Cup at home: Spurs dominated… destroyed… NEXT!
  • 3-1 loss at Anfield: was never going to be an easy win and let’s not forget that Liverpool lost only two games last season (one to us, hehehehe)

My starting XI:

GK Gomes: if he continues his form from the end of last season, he is going to be fun to watch!

LB Benoit Assou-Ekotto: proving to be a consistent left back with a great touch; one of my favorite players last season

CB Ledley King: still our captain in my eyes; keep those knees healthy please

CB Sebastien Bassong: hoping he forms a good partnership with Gomes and the defense

RB Vedran Corluka: holds the ball for too long sometimes but nobody can say he isn’t quality

LM Luka Modric: “El Maestro”; he is the reason why we have been playing such fluid football recently

CM Wilson Palacios: the reason why I trust Harry’s decisions in the transfer market; an honorable player who makes opponents think twice

CM Jermaine Jenas: might not play due to injury; true box-to-box midfielder; needs to get on with it this season

RM Aaron Lennon: didn’t like his form in the preseason but more than capable of turning up the heat when needed

F Roman Pavyluchenko: he’s beginning to catch on to the English football style of play

F Jermain Defoe: feisty, aggressive and has an eye for the net; coming off two goals that rescued England @ Holland