Posts Tagged ‘Rafael Van Der Vaart’

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!

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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.

NLD (Never Lose Determination)

November 20, 2010

I’m going to keep this short and straight to the point. We showed up to the Emirates and almost had our little tushees beat.

Harry made some bizarre calls. The one that really had me scratching my head was gifting William Gallas with the captain’s armband. Huh? Was Harry serious? How could he? Then I began to think, if anyone knows how to crawl under someone’s skin, the gaffer can. Was he taking the piss? A genius and unexpected move?

First half saw the Arse go up 2-nil, a sight we have been used to seeing for the past 17 years on their home ground(s). Gallas was sensational, although he and Kaboul had communication issues which resulted in our negative start.

The second half may have taken a short while to go our way, but when the pendulum swung, it came through like a wrecking ball… all over Arsenal’s parade, especially Wenger’s. 3 goals in a single half. Brilliant!

Harry may have been tactically off the mark at the start of the match (or not), but he thankfully took quick and decisive action by bringing on Defoe at the half. It changed everything and added a threat to the dimension of our game.

Van Der Vaart started the match looking off the pace and was constantly frustrated in the middle of the pitch, which was quickly rubbing off on the other players. He managed to turn it around in the 2nd half with two great assists and a goal (a penalty from a rare Fabregas mistake). Some individuals at Real Madrid must be kicking themselves.

Bale did his thing. Wasn’t dangerous out on the left flank, but when he dipped in the middle, he caused a lot of problems for the Gunners. Quality touch for his goal as he continues to score for our side.

Enough said… the curse is broken. If you hate Arsenal, stand up.

1 point, Howard Webb, and other things to make you cringe

November 10, 2010

Howard Webb. Webby. The Webster. What’s your problem exactly? Giving Bentley a yellow card for a dive when he was obviously judo-chopped by Zenden? Not giving Kieran Richardson a yellow for that cheeky time-wasting heel flick when we were trying to take a quick foul kick? Huh?

I should have known things wouldn’t be any different tonight. Not ever! Who do you work for exactly? “Who does number 2 work for”?

So many overlooked “potential booking” moments were there, laid out before your very eyes and you still didn’t take them. You just love the controversy, eh? I wonder if it gets you laid. Hmm…

We took the game to Sunderland. It was only a matter of time before we would score. A lovely persistent play by BAE pushed the ball out to Bale, he crossed to Crouch’s head, who deja-vu’d it to Van Der Vaart’s arm chest for a wonderful turnaround goal!

You missed that one, did ya Webbon of Mass Destruction?

Then a blunder at the back resulted in a Sunderland goal. Miscomunicado extravaganza. Don’t Kaboul and Gallas speak the same language? FFS! They were doing so well too.

We were sloppy in the second half. The team looked tired.  We were looking for that explosive moment when we would take the game back, but you know how the story goes: we didn’t. Bale’s final ball was never really there but Michael Turner was. It’s not to say Bale was completely subdued, but he just wasn’t as effective on the evening.

Bentley had some great touches off the right wing, but he began to piss off the supporters with his erratic long distance shots. Speaking of “long”, I am so sick of the long ball passes to Crouch. It just really makes me cringe and I’ve had enough!

1 point. 1 effing point from measly Sunderland at the Lane. Without their leading goalscorer, Twitty.

I’m just sick of it all. Bring on Blackburn.

Out of style or hopefully making a comeback?

October 6, 2010

The “fro”. Out of style or making a comeback? Niko Kranjcar. Out of form or out of favor? With the rise of one star, another must fall. In this particular circumstance, let’s hold hands and pray that’s not the case.

Van Der Vaart’s instant success (knocking on my wooden desk as I type) in the squad has been nothing short of brilliant for Spurs. And thankfully (sometimes not), history has a way of repeating itself at the Lane.

Around this same time last year, Levy and co. struck the mother of all transfer deals of the 2009 /2010 season:

Niko Kranjcar for approximately £2 million. A mouthwatering deal at the dying end of the summer transfer market.

Niko smoothly sailed into the hearts of Tottenham supporters and was rightfully greeted with open arms. At a time when we lost Modric to a terrible injury, his Croat compatriot came in and carried the duties on the left flank (a time before Bale was re-discovered). Cutting into the middle of the pitch with some of the sexiest ball control skills seen, Niko added another wild card to the mix: he could score.

In addition, Niko was able to gel with the team within weeks because he had tenure under Harry, played with Crouch and Defoe at Pompey, while also having experience playing with Modric and Corluka for the Croatian national team. It was a match made in heaven.

Kranjcar remained an integral part of the squad until he was injured in the FA Cup Semi-Final match against Portsmouth, which unfortunately ended his season. None of us honestly know how and if he has truly recovered from that setback.

The last second arrival of VDV is not something I would consider a major blow to Niko; however, the fact that the only sight we get of him is warming up on the side lines does ring a few alarms. Is he on his way out? Is he a part of Harry’s plans? January 2011 will tell all.

There’s still a long season ahead. God only knows what injuries await us. If recent trends are anything to live by, then our road to success is currently under construction. Niko will have his chance, I’m sure of that. Whatever factors result in that happening, I’m hoping are for the right reasons rather than out of necessity.

It’s hard to watch somebody as talented as Niko twiddling his thumbs on the bench. His hand in our Champions League qualification and Premier League success adds a bit of salt to the wound. But this is the game of football. You’re a hero one second… a Recaro seat-warmer the next.

This is also a different Tottenham. Qualification for the Champions League potentially signals a massive shift in momentum for our beloved Spurs, keeping in mind that we are also inching ever-so-close to a new stadium deal as well. My point being that the players we currently have who show a wealth of potential, promise and commitment, could eventually take the back seat with new exposure. New, bigger name players will be scouted and signed with hopes and promises of pushing us forward.

This does not mean that I want to see the backside of Niko. He has the exact qualities we need at Tottenham. If he’s the type of player I believe he is, he’ll put up a passionate fight until the very end. If he doesn’t, then maybe Harry has been right to keep him on the bench all this time. I’m praying for the former characteristic to shine.

There is no looking back. The pressure turned on once we tasted success. We should only want more… our players as well. Otherwise, lock the gates, remove the copper cockrel from the roof and call it quits.

[Photo Source: Tomislav Miletic/24sata]

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!

OMG!!!

September 7, 2010

Tottenham Hotspur sign a brilliant midfielder on one hell of a “wheeler dealer” (shh… don’t tell ‘Arry) snag and now every reporter in the world seems to think we have a huge problem on our hands.

“Where will he play? Who will be benched? OMG”. That’s all the jive these days. I thought we had a massive problem when we couldn’t sign anyone? But in the end, that’s what they want us to believe. Headlines baby! It sells.

Our game against Wigan proved that you can never have enough options in the creativity department, especially when it comes packaged in the form of Van Der Vaart. For heaven’s sake boys, this guy can actually score and isn’t afraid to go for goal. Hudd and Modric may be great when paired together, but a goal scoring threat they definitely are not. Even our forwards aren’t much of a threat these days.

So how did we go from too little to too much in one simple purchase during the window? Okay, some players will be sad that they’ve been benched and all that jazz. Who cares!?!?! You want your position? Fight for it. Defend well. Create play. Score goals. The formula is quite simple if you want to be a regular on the starting squad. Ask Bale. He found it. He could very well be re-writing it at this point.

It’s almost guaranteed that if Bentley came back and was in blistering form, we would all support giving him a go and benching Lennon till his form returned. Fickle supporters they say? Not necessarily. We want a team that’s in form and will deliver every night; even during Spurs XI matches. I don’t care if Kevin Bond has to come in and contribute while Joe Jordan breaks a few legs “Soprano” style. We want to win!

I’m sure Harry would much rather have a migraine from too much talent to choose from rather than being short of it. Man City have yet to gel as a squad and that isn’t considered a migraine, it’s a colossal brain hemorrhage with all the cash they’ve spent. I’m sure they’ll come together and if Mancini can manage their egos properly, they will be hard to stop.

Having said that, Spurs are lucky Harry knows how to deal with big egos. The only problem is he may deflate one or two in the process, causing minor, and in some instances, irreparable damage to their form.

Bringing in Van Der Vaart was a great piece of business. Adding him to a midfield roster filled with the likes of Hudd, Modric, Palacios, Jenas, and Kranjcar shouldn’t be looked at as a threat, it should be regarded as a positive.