Posts Tagged ‘Champions League’

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April 3, 2011

For us… that is.

Man United are running away with it, with Arsenal clawing at their heels. Man City’s golden duo of Silva and Tevez seem to have the goods to keep them in the fight for the top 3 (for now). Chelsea have shown glimpses of quality, Torres not included, but are still struggling to look like the team that started the season. Where does this leave us?

I think it’s safe to say we’re out of the title hunt, not that I ever thought we were in it to begin with. We’re struggling to score goals, and it must frustrate the hell out of players like Modric who is not only doing his part, but is putting in 200% effort every match, carrying the load of others.

So if we continue on this dangerous path, the only chance at Champions League football next season will be if we take the trophy this year. YIKEZ!

COYS! Get your shit together.

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Champions League… we’re havin’ a laugh!

November 26, 2010

Calm, relaxed and composed. An effortless win against a visiting Bremen side which led to a historic night. We are through to the knock-out stage of the Champions League!

I’m not going to lie.. I never thought that it was possible.

At first, I knew we had a good chance of winning the qualifier round and making it through to the group stages. However, when we were placed in Group A with champions Inter Milan, Dutch champions FC Twente and Werder Bremen, I honestly had very little hope.

Well thankfully, I was wrong. The history books have been opened and amended. Tottenham Hotspur… “we’re havin’ a laugh”.

I would like to take this chance to gloat a bit. To kick things off, Arsenal lost the other night, stiff as a deer caught in the headlights after the NLD. A day later, Bremen came to visit the Lane and were treated to a delicious display of football class. Take notes ze Germans: the Tottenham boys were at their very best that evening. Domination without aggression. Simply because we didn’t need to let it get to that point.

With Pav still looking a bit lazy on the pitch, it was nice to have the extra option of Defoe on the bench. He looks good so far, just needs a goal to his name quick. Crouch had another solid European performance + goal; glad to see the big man delivering.

The midfield were great as a unit once again. Creatively, we are a very hard team to match. Lennon added two assists to his seasonal stats. Bale missed a penalty kick but hey, who cares! Modric just gets better and more intricate every second he spends on the pitch. Pure genius this boy!

Gallas was once again given the captain’s armband, rewarding the team with a commanding performance. If he and Kaboul continue in this form, we could be looking at a good run of clean sheets.

Each unit – attacking, midfield and defence – contributed to the score sheet; one goal from each. That’s what I call diversity. Obviously we shouldn’t be laughing too much. We host Liverpool on Sunday and we all know how we perform after a successful CL night out. All I ask is for the boys at the back to do their job and everything else will fall into place.

COYS!!!

The curse of Champions League success

November 7, 2010

Will we ever leverage success in the Champions League as a catalyst for the Premier League? Okay, we did it once after beating FC Twente when we won against Aston Villa at home, but if past trends are anything to judge by, our chances look quite slim.

Hence the misery at Bolton. Many will argue that Harry’s squad selection was the main problem. 2 CDMs, Sandro and Palacios, got the nod for the start and it was the former who’s mistake handed them the opportunity to go up by 1. Message to Sandro: don’t worry kid, they were probably going to score anyways, especially Kevin Davies. Seems that’s always the case, doesn’t it?

So Harry was wrong. I was naive. We got nowhere. Had Hutton and Pav not scored those two goals, a 4-0 win for Bolton would have sounded just about right. They held us back in almost every way, and as our “triffic” manager said, we can’t always rely on Bale. How I wish that wasn’t true.

What did I learn from this match?

4-4-2 ain’t too bad of an option for Spurs. It’s not that I don’t believe that we’re not effective with a 5-man midfield, but I just think there are certain teams we would fare better against if we reverted to the system we know best. Pav had a cracker of a goal and it makes me wonder how different would the match have been had he been starting up front with Crouch.

Speaking of Crouch, he cannot play up front on his own in league matches. The only time we should ever risk it is when VDV or JD play off of him. That’s it.

It was nice to see Niko have a go, but the overall team performance will not do anything to instill some much needed confidence in the guy. He really needs to get some playing time under his belt; letting him rot is just a pure crime Harry.

5 teams are tied with 15 points. Last week, Liverpool was facing relegation but after tonight’s Chelsea-bashing-Torres-resurrection match, everything has changed. Arsenal lost to Newcastle (I want this Andy Carrol kid) and United’s win was a slimy effort as usual.

Sunderland visit the Lane on Tuesday (sheesh… another former Tottenham player seeking revenge) and if they win, they will jump us in the table. Not a sight I want to see as I’m sure you’re all thinking the same.

It’s all up for grabs and we need to pull it together quick! Otherwise, we’ll be left wondering what hit us and why we’re not in top 4 contention.

COYMFS!

 

Super dooper party poopers!

November 3, 2010

Frustrated? Are you Inter? C’mon, admit it. You were abused. Out-played. Out-manned. Out-marked. Out-muscled. Out-managed.

Us, dare you ask? Out-standing!

I’m sorry, but you asked.

What a night! As “glory-glory” as they ever come. The fans were electric and had just as much a hand in this victory (I refuse to call it a “win”). We were one, fighting spirit and all. Sitting somewhat close to the Inter support area, I must give them a cheeky thumbs-up on their attempt to instill some of that Nerazzuri belief into their players. Their attempt obviously was left unrewarded.

This post won’t be one about our tactics or analytical by any means. There’s plenty of that out there for you if that’s what you’re seeking. I want to just type away what I’m feeling, and what I remember of certain players’ performances.

Carlo Cudicini’s full-stretch save defined our performance on the night. We were not letting Inter off the leash with this one. They were going to have to run, fight and even beg their way through our Italian “stand-in” keeper (more on this later).

The boys at the back, all four of ’em, were a wall. A brick wall layered by some sort of magnetic force-field. Gallas was barking away; Kaboul was forceful; and the two wing-backs did their best impersonations of Lennon and Bale, while holding down the fort in the back. Who are you people and where have you been all my life?

The midfield was oozing with class and sneaky footwork. They have taken my foot fetish to a whole other level. Did I just say that? VDV and Modric in the middle were clinically moving the team forward. Ball out to Lennon, nowhere to go, it’s okay, send it back and we’ll figure something else out. “VDV, here you go. Modric, take it back. Oh Tommy, you want some? Have a go”. VDV scored again, with a perfectly-timed demolishing of the off-side trap. Best value for money ever. I’ll leave anything I have to say about the Welsh wizard till the very end.

Crouch was effective once more on the grand European stage. He deserved a goal and got it before being subbed off for Pavyluchenko. The Russian seems to mosey on through, in a world of his own; only to switch on and realise he’s playing against the World Champions and score. He gets away with murder that boy!

And now onto Gareth Bale. Wait… not yet. Let’s clarify something important first. Inter were without Julio Cesar and Cambiasso. That will be their argument if they decide not to give credit to our performance. Here’s my argument. Gomes: out. Captain Daws: out. Former Captain King: out. Defoe: out.

Spurs were the better side from the very beginning. Yes, Inter had some beautiful chances and a goal, but if you can honestly say Tottenham did not deserve this win, you should have your head checked. It may be hemorrhaging.

Bale. Oh Bale. You make me want to give you man-lovin’! You absolutely embarrassed “the world’s best right back”. Some think that you would have been stopped had Rafa Benitez added another man to the mix… I think they’re absolutely bonkers! It showed that you were having an out-of-body experience, seeing things no one else on the pitch thought could be possible. That last ball you shot away from Maicon and chased wildly down the left, resulting in our 3rd goal, will go down as one of the most memorable moments in football; I guarantee it! We were all chanting “call a taxi for Maicon” because you almost convinced him it was time to retire. I kid you not. All in all, thank you. The “man-lovin” offer still stands whenever you want to take me up on it.

COYS!

The fat lady at the grand Italian opera

October 21, 2010

She sang alright and it took her no less than 70 seconds to begin the graphic murder scene. I hate fat ladies.

The defence remains the problem area of focus here. Not only did they play a major role in conceding 3 goals within minutes, but they also came off looking like amateurs at best.

Arse Wanker (Arsene Wenger) must have sent Gallas here to sabotage our cause. This is definitely not the same player who captained that side. Sloppy seconds at best (so far). Bassong doesn’t really cut it either. Time to recall our younger boys? Not yet. Kaboul will be back shortly (not soon enough; never thought in my wildest dreams that I would say that) and he should add some bite to the mix. But we will make do with whatever we have.

But honestly speaking, I switched-off the television right after the 3rd goal. I couldn’t take it anymore. I did miss Bale’s stellar hat-trick performance, but it was probably better for my health in the long run. The determination to come back from 4 goals down means we will give them a run when they come to visit. No doubt about that.

Hit the reset button and bring them back to the Lane.

The case for a new captain?

September 30, 2010

That was more like it, eh? Fighting spirit and determination. From the manager, players and fans alike. Electric.

We’re a different team when King and Gomes reside at the back. The defence felt like it had a purpose; a jump in confidence. A healthy Dawson’s return can’t come soon enough.

Bale came off the West Ham slump and dug deep to put in a fantastic performance, rewarded with a goal to add to his career. What gave me a laugh was when he missed a clear passing opportunity to Van Der Vaart on a counter-attack, leaving the Dutchman fuming and lifting his shorts almost exposing his privates to Bale with disgust.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Could we be witnessing the rise of a potential new captain? We’ve had quality in the midfield before. We’ve had players who can create in the midfield as well. But you feel that with Van Der Vaart, everyone wants to prove something. When he is unhappy, he lets them hear it. Bale even had to explain himself – during another counter-attacking run, mind you – because VDV thought he wasn’t covered; Bale was pointing wildly at him letting him know he was marked. Isn’t that what a captain does?

He clearly has the hunger for it. Ok, maybe a bit too much with that unnecessary foul which now sees VDV missing the Inter match. But the hunger can be viral and infectious.

The man wants the ball on every play. He seems to see an opening in every move forward and is not afraid to risk it. In terms of the “flair” Harry wants, he gets it with the Dutchman. Unapologetic flair. So a bit of poetic justice for Van Der Vaart last night? Totally. He rallied the cry for war from the beginning of the match with his commanding of the midfield; missing a penalty; returning after the half to get revenge; was fierce on the pitch; paid for it; but his dismissal made the team even more determined to pull off a win. We were actually better one man down. Fighting for the cause.

Could VDV be a new captain in the making? I don’t mean tomorrow or even this season, but I can’t help but think he definitely has the right qualities for the job. A captain’s presence in the midfield might be better for us than on the back line, considering we are experiencing technical difficulties up front when it comes to scoring. This should not be an overnight decision. However, if the man continues to perform like this on a consistent basis, the armband could be the only reward imaginable.

COYS!

Fitness. Should we be worried?

September 16, 2010

Van Der Vaart. Simply amazing how this class act has become a crucial element of the squad. His touch on the ball is almost effortless, along with excellent vision moving forward.  The assist to Crouchie’s head in our Werder Bremen CL fixture was brilliant and perfectly timed. Class. Pure class.

It’s only fitting then that he was injured (slightly). Apparently, he was taken off the pitch as a precaution just in case the pain would soon be followed by a tear.

Good move Harry. He is looking like a major asset to the team and we cannot jeopardize his availability in the coming weeks.

I still can’t help but worry that we may be skimping in the fitness department. Injuries seem to be coming in waves… when it rains it pours at Spurs. Is it just my endless paranoia that seems to be getting the best of me? I know that in my last post, I did briefly touch on this issue but it really is becoming apparent that a few players are struggling to find match fitness at this point.

We seem to start off every match with unparalleled energy. Come the second half and we dip almost instantly in tempo, power and creativity. You could claim that we just started the season and that it is normal for some players to not be up to spec as of yet. But I see other teams out there playing the full 90 without breaking a sweat (pardon the exaggeration).

Could DAVSPURS (legendary Spurs blog commenter) be right about the use of energy-aiding drugs? Why don’t we have some of that? Cocaine anyone? Somebody call Maradona. Quick!

Big surprises last night were Kaboul and Jenas. Great performances from the two and I hope that they seize this opportunity to stake a claim in the first team. The more we have players fighting for their lives, the more our team will move up the ranks.

Keep it up you Spurs!

Goosebumps

August 27, 2010

When the players walked out onto the pitch, all I felt were goosebumps accompanied by the occasional shiver. What a brilliant night it was going to be! I could feel it. White flags graced with our cockerel waving in unison, almost communist in display.

Rain and a slippery pitch were in order for what would turn out to be our return to “glory, glory nights” at the Lane. Spurs were in control from the start and really never looked back. Peter Crouch nabbed a hat-trick using his head, physically and literally, and Defoe had a controversial “handball” which led to a goal (it didn’t matter, Spurs were going to win regardless). Bale put on another blistering display and had a hand (or foot) in every goal scored. Breathtaking stuff!

So our club is no longer part of the “underachievers” ranks. We’ve weathered the storm and molested Young Boys on our path to placing the Tottenham Hotspur name between the elite teams of Europe. How about that?

Making history will be no easy feat though. Barcelona and the Arse have walked away with the easier group fixtures, while we’ll have to face none other than the European champions, Inter Milan (who also completed the treble last season taking home the league, cup and Champions League titles), Dutch champions FC Twente, and German powerhouse Werder Bremen. Wow! This is one rude welcoming party!

Congratulations to the squad and Harry Redknapp on this achievement. Nobody can doubt Tottenham’s desire to play amongst the elite. Nobody can doubt Harry’s ability to bring out the best in our squad. Right man for the right job at the right time.

Goosebumps again.

Mid-week babbling… Swiss boys coming over to play

August 24, 2010

3 points away to Stoke is definitely money in the bank. A volatile Brittania Stadium is not the place Spurs would choose for a fixture considering the number of key players missing. We were finally able to deploy the 4-5-1 formation, 4-3-3 in attack, and I must say, we weren’t crappy at it either.

The red flag Harry needs to address is our tendency to drop off in the dying minutes of a match. There is a direct relationship between fatigue and decision-making on the pitch at Tottenham, something that truly worries me.

Gomes was shaky for the better part of the match, however, he did manage an epic save when he denied Tuncay’s deflected kick. Other than that, his performance was reminiscent of his earlier days at Tottenham.

History: please do not repeat yourself.

All in all, 3 points secured and we were able to pull it off with so many key players missing.

Wednesday will see the Young Boys come to Tottenham. All that is needed to save face in the top flight of European football is one goal and a clean sheet. I expect nothing less than 2 goals from our squad to be perfectly honest. We’re back at the Lane playing on our beloved grass pitch so there will be no excuses tolerated this time around. We are fortunate to have made a comeback of sorts, and now we need that resilient character to move forward.

Young Boys obviously have the capability of disgracing strong opponents at their respective home fields. Turkish side, Fenerbahce, found out the hard way and I don’t intend on the children from Switzerland having that success story twice at our expense. Eat them alive at the Lane you Spurs!

One last point: I appreciate Billy-boy Gallas’ “Spurs can win the Premier League” comments, but easy there with brown-nosing the fans. I for one, along with my hemorrhoids, can’t handle it.

COYS!

Man of the match: Redknapp

August 18, 2010

Young Boys weren’t the little pimple-faced children I thought they would be. Turns out, they command their home field quite well. How well? A 3-1 lead at the half. That’s how Young Boys do apparently. So why didn’t anyone tell our boys? They were headless chickens, running with no where to go, lost and not coming to terms with the astro-turf.

Scoring their first at the 4-minute mark, you could tell that Young Boys were muscling their way in. They were all over the ball and our players balls. Dirty dancing in Switzerland. The second came at the 13th and the third at the 29th minute mark. What? Nobody told me this was remotely possible. I could do without these surprises when watching Spurs.

So three goals down with our full backs on the wrong side of everything. Mr. Redknapp was having none of it. BAE was somewhat poor, yellow-carded at the 4-minute mark (same time they scored their 1st), and ‘Arry wanted him off. Huddlestone was brought in and Bale shifted to left-back. Next thing you know, Bassong scores a brilliant header off of a corner at the 42nd minute. At this point, I didn’t know whether to celebrate or remain praying. Okay, I celebrated. Hard! It was the perfect time for a goal.

The match official whistled to end the half, prompting me to sit back down to try and calm my nerves. A cup of tea was summoned, delivered and eliminated in a few swigs.

The second half was a different match altogether. Spurs began controlling the match with the pass, managing to hold the ball for longer periods and minimizing the counter attack. Huddlestone was brilliant in his control of the midfield. Modric was later subbed and Niko Kranjcar was called for duty. And this is where Spurs began to operate at their very best: the touch & go passing game, controlled build-up and attack. Young Boys managed to have a few good looks at goal; some sloppy defending by Spurs and horrible back-passes (Palacios) to our keeper could have ended our hopes, but luckily nothing was to come of their attempts.

In the 83rd, Roman Pavyluchenko pulled one out of the hat and nailed a cracker of a goal in a tight top-right corner strike. It was a narrow opening, symbolic of the chances we had on the evening. Super Pav, Super Pav, Super Pav. Roman frustrates me then amazes me at times. He holds the ball well, but his attempts at goal are sometimes lazy in nature. Then the Russian comes up with a goal like this and you begin to love him all over again. What to do with this boy?

Harry Redknapp probably tore into the players at the half. Most importantly, he made them realize that we weren’t playing football this evening. It was monkey-in-the-middle. His tactics and substitutions were spot on and it shows that this isn’t the Redknapp of last year. He knows this squad inside out. Every move he makes will have a different outcome, and this my friends is why we should be thankful that our squad hasn’t changed drastically overnight. Continuity could have possibly saved us tonight. Let’s hope it does the same against Stoke on Saturday.

3-2 in Switzerland. I’ll take that scoreline back to the Lane. COYS!