Posts Tagged ‘Premier League’

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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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.

Postponed… now left patiently waiting

August 15, 2011

Watching this weekend’s matches, I started to wonder how we would have performed on opening day of the Premier League. Many of the teams seemed to be struggling to find their feet looking somewhat rusty.

Liverpool started off their match with great enthusiasm, but failed to seal the win at Anfield, drawing against Sunderland. Arsenal drew away at Newcastle with their newest signing – Gervinho – getting a straight red. Chelsea also drew while United pulled a United… winning towards the end of their match (I hate lady luck).

Could these results be good news for us in the short term?

Our actual first taste of competition this season will be the Europa League fixture away to Hearts on Thursday. Guess it could work in our favor that we’ll probably use some of our younger players, while also giving some of our key players a proper run prior to the away match at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Had the Everton match actually taken place, we would have had 3 matches in 9 days which might have been too much; especially when the 3rd match is at a venue where we’ve rarely tasted success.

One does wonder if our team will look any different by the time we face United. Talk of Adebayor coming in on loan is gaining ground, with Keane openly stating that he will be leaving the club (no destination as of yet). I don’t think Crouch, Pav or Defoe will be leaving this season; hopefully neither Modric.

So I’m left waiting. I’m sure you are as well. We all want a glimpse of how our team will perform when challenged competitively. A win at Hearts would be a nice way to reward our patience.

COYS!

Feelings, wheelings and dealings

June 13, 2011

Dusting off the cobwebs here at the HQ and the sight isn’t pretty. Aging furniture and curtains sure have a way of making the point that it’s been a while since I last posted. Apologies for that.

Summer has arrived and so has Brad Friedel. It seems Harry has been reading his literature textbooks again because summer symbolizes maturity and knowledge. If that’s the basis of his transfer “wheelings and dealings”, then I guess that would explain why he feels the need to sign more experienced players: Drogba, Forlan, Rio Ferdinand (if there’s any truth there), Beckham, etc.

I for one believe that it’s time that we start signing some just-maturing players in the 24 – 26 age bracket. They have a bit of experience under their belts at that age and are somewhat close to their prime, yet potentially influenced.

Defence is an area we should address quick. I’m happy to see that Gallas has become a pivotal element in our back four. The guy has really put in a lot of effort and hard work to make sure none of us question his allegiance to the cockerel. Daws will be Daws, but this season hasn’t really seen his best efforts. Bassong looks set to leave and with all honesty, he’s too shaky in his decision-making for us to rely on him. King and Woodgate require a medical team investment which could be used on new signings instead. Still, it’s great to have them on the bench and available at their doctors’ discretion.

I’m very happy with the midfield. I would be happier and more relaxed knowing we were able to retain the services of Mr. Kranjcar. I have made no secret in expressing my love for this man (neither has my wife as she is completely taken by his dashing looks), his style of play, his attitude, and his fiery shots at goal. What went wrong in that relationship with Harry is beyond me. Nonsensical.

The forward line needs a bit of work. Robbie is leaving for sure (I’d like to think), but the other three should stay. They should definitely not complain about 1st team football considering the amount of goals they collectively achieved this season. Bad year? Sure, for one guy… but not all three. No excuses boys. Still, they are skilled and I think it will be hard to find two or three good strikers out there, available for decent money and not some sort of ridiculous un-payable ransom amount (not to Man City of course).

So what happens from here we don’t know. The press seems to link us with every unknown player in the world (as always) but we supposedly have had a few bids officially rejected. Rossi would have been a great addition but I can see him and Villareal holding out for a bid from Barcelona. My message to Harry and Levy is be realistic, get us players who we know can fit the system and that will be more than capable of score goals in the Premier League… not the Chinese league. God knows we’ll need them come next season.

COYS!

No title

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.

Are we not sexy enough?

February 1, 2011

What’s wrong with Tottenham? Do we not show enough promise? Granted, the FA Cup thrashing at Fulham was probably enough to turn any player off from joining our side; however, we play sexy football about 90% of the time. Is it really the winning history which appeals to players?

Two major targets of ours have gone off to Liverpool and left us with nothing at the end of a dull and loan-filled January window. Andy Carrol – who some of you might say is my man crush – and Luis “my hand has broken many hearts” Suarez have both opted for the Reds.

Frustrating stuff.

Especially since I am a true believer that we do not have a strike force capable of taking us back into the 4th position. We are now in the 2nd half of the season and scoring goals will matter most… and of course a captain who doesn’t hand opponents two goals in the span of 5 minutes. I love Dawson, but what was that all about?

Equally frustrating.

Then we get news that Charlie Adam, a midfielder, almost signed for us in the dying minutes before the window closed. Another midfielder? Why? For the love of God, we need goal-scorers! Proven goal-scorers! On top of that, Gio has gone off on loan until the end of the season.

Oh well… it is what it is.

Now that the window’s closed, Harry needs to reassure the players that Spurs have the quality to win games and that Wednesday at Blackburn will be the right test to prove it. Everyone in the squad knows they’re not going anywhere, at least for now, so it’s time for them to step up and prove their commitment to the manager, the team and to the fans.

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!

 

What could have been…

August 5, 2010

As much as we hate to admit it, this could be one of the finest striker pairings in Premier League history. Is that a big statement to make?

It’s too bad that they both gave up on such a wonderful partnership, only to end up at their “dream” clubs alone and cold. Let’s hope Robbie gains some of that flair if he’s to stay at the Lane.

Not the clearest video, but dramatic enough to get you going.

COYS!

Is there anybody out there?

August 1, 2010

Two mere weeks away from our first Premier League fixture and no signings in site. I am confident that there will be some sort of acquisition in the coming weeks. But who? The player(s) we do bring in will obviously have to have a direct impact on the squad. After all, this is Spurs highest profile season in almost 50 years.

Some supporters think that by buying young Sandro Ranieri at the beginning of the summer, we have the luxury of slotting him into the squad lineup when Manchester City come to visit. Unfortunately, he won’t be ready for quite some time because the Brazilian’s term with the club begins when his commitments with Internacional of Brazil end.

As the World Cup came to a close, Spurs were heavily linked with Joe Cole, Craig Bellamy, Luis Suarez, Scott Parker, Diego Forlan and Spartak Moscow keeper Stipe Pletikosa. Cole obviously snubbed the lilywhites to go play under the new Roy Hodgson regime. A part of me was sad that even Champions League football wasn’t enough to convince a high profile player to come to the Lane. Did he not believe in our cause? Some will argue that he’s not good enough and all that jazz; however, at the end of the day, Harry really wanted him and Levy was out negotiating the deal. To not get him was a blow to our management, I’m sure.

The other deal which we are expecting to happen is Bellamy. It’s no secret that he’s currently surplus to requirements at Man City under Roberto Mancini, and he obviously has a great relationship with Harry (remember his smile after we secured 4th). It’s only a matter of time before we see him holding up a lilywhite & blue scarf, right? Not quite as it now seems that Mark Hughes and Fulham are planning to hijack the Welsh nomad (if you believe the media). Call it payback for the Crouchie snub, call it what you want. Are we getting dicked in the market?

So I ask the question again: who will be coming to the Lane? Is it possible we could land Suarez? I don’t know about that. Scott Parker? Most fans don’t think he’s good enough. Who knows anymore. but thank the heavens that we haven’t witnessed an influx and exodus of players who we have no idea if they’re capable of playing Spurs-style footy come the beginning of our campaign.

COYS!

Do we have what it takes?

March 16, 2010

At this point, Spurs are looking solid (knocking on wood as I type). But do Spurs have what it takes to secure 4th? Let’s look at some key areas of strengths & concerns:

Injuries

If someone told me at the beginning of the season that we would reach a point where Lennon, Hudd, Woodie, Jenas, and King (actually, Ledder’s isn’t much of a surprise) would be missing due to injuries simultaneously, it would have been unimaginable. I mean, how would we survive? That’s a proper bulk of our starting eleven. There would be no possible route for survival… no possibility of challenging for a Champions League spot.

Not quite apparently.

The teams around us have been somewhat inconsistent in form. While Spurs have also been inconsistent in their own right, we have managed to raise the level of our on-pitch performances. Spurs are at the best shape (aside from injuries) we’ve seen in a long time. We are playing some beautiful football and that is a major sign of a team on the up. A team that is beginning to gel harmoniously.

Coaching tactics

During the season, it has happened on numerous occasions that supporters criticized Harry’s player selection (i.e. Keane on the left wing). I was one of them and I still think till this day, that we were in our right mind to so. Nothing good came out of placing him there, but every manager has to be given the opportunity to try new things. None of us truly knows what goes on in training, and it’s easy to judge looking in.

The main area of concern here is Harry’s ability to change the game plan when needed. In recent times, he hasn’t been afraid to change things around when it comes to players, and  mind you, that is the healthier approach for any squad. Players need to know that they might be called on to fill certain gaps, positions and roles when they least expect it. Let’s assume Palacios gets his next yellow, what will we do? What can we do? We have recalled young Livermore and we also have Kaboul to help in the area. Are they capable of filling in the General’s shoes? Probably not. But we do need to keep our options open.

Regarding Harry, it seems that he is beginning to address his issue with squad selection and tactics. The real tests for him will be against the likes of Man City, the Arse, Chelse and Man U in the coming months.

Consistent goal-scoring

JD, Pav and Crouch have done well this season. JD has broken his previous-best scoring record, with a minimum of 10 games yet to be played. Pav has recently replaced Crouch, who has hit a bit of a slump, and has been a scoring threat ever since. But is it enough? None of our forwards are as dangerous as Rooney or Drogba. Is it possible to make it and remain in the CL without a single striker of their calibre?

Defence

The only depth we have at this point is Kaboul and the Premier-League-untested Walker. YIKES! So we know that is a major area of concern for the remainder of the season, and for next season as a matter of fact. Daws and Bassong are a great pairing for the Premier League, but how about when facing the top players in the world? I must admit, Dawson has been quite impressive as captain so far. His development in the decision-making department has gotten much better; maturing if you will. Bassong has also shown a gain in confidence recently. But with their direct substitutes missing form the bench week-in week-out, is it fair of us to rely on them to carry the team in defence?

When it comes to the wing-backs, I feel we have enough depth to pull through: BAE, Bale and Corluka. Although at times I want to strangle the latter, I have to constantly remind myself that he is only 24ish. Plus, I personally liked Kyle Naughton and think he has a place with this team in the time to come. We are building a team for the future people. Now all we have to do is retain these kids. Make it happen Levy!

Midfield

We may come off as weak in the midfield, but I’m beginning to think that this could be our strongest area. Sure, injuries have plagued our roster, but it isn’t that bad really when considering the long-term. Tommy Huddlebones just signed a new contract keeping him at Spurs until 2015. We have Niko Kranjcar, Modric, Lennon, Bale (can play on the left flank when required), Palacios, Jenas, O’Hara (if he returns), Danny Rose (needs more playing time to improve) and now potentially (according to reports) Sandro from Brazil making his way over, English dictionary in hand, in the summer. Our midfield is looking solid if you ask me.

Players on loan & questions that need answering

Keano has gone to Celtic and looks to be the player that left us high & dry the first time around. Impressive stuff from Robbie with a recent hat-trick to his name. Will he return to Spurs? God knows what’s been discussed behind closed doors. If he continues this run, then I would definitely have him back. I think all he ever needed was a confident boost. What say you?

Giovani Dos Santos is out in Turkey. Started out a bit rough, but has shined in certain moments. I don’t understand him. He knows he has the potential to be a great player, but doesn’t take his chances. It’s frustrating. But I can only understand that when Harry took over, it must have been very frustrating for “little Barca boy”. Ramos probably promised him the world, seeing he was coming from Barcelona under a Tottenham Spanish manager. Can he come back and cement himself in the squad?

Last but not least, the talented Taarabt. Adel is a fancy footballer. Skilled in the crafts department. In his mind, a return to Tottenham could be the nail-in-the-coffin of his career. Competing with Modric is a tough gamble to take on, and you really cannot blame him. But he needs to be confident enough to come back to the team and showcase what he’s got, otherwise, we’ll never know. Can he pull that off with his mouth shut?

Not many games left as I wrap this post up, and it’s only going to get tougher from here, but do we have what it takes to make the top 4 and stay there? COYS!