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1 year ago
Man City - SpursPreview: Adebayor´s Philosophical Quandary
So here we go, without doubt the biggest game since our last eye-catching fixture for which three points were at stake. While the win over a pretty inept Everton had all and sundry proclaiming this lilywhite vintage the greatest thing since Danny Blanchflower sliced a loaf, the draw with uber-negative Wolves had Hansen imploring all Spurs-supporting MoTD viewers to find their nearest cliff-top and hurl themselves in anguish – so whatever the outcome against table-topping City the reaction will presumably border on the apocalyptic. Win, lose or draw, somebody somewhere will explode in a cloud of uncontainable hyperbole.
In truth however, “phlegmatic” is the word of choice at AANP Towers ahead of this one. Winning the title would be quite a bonus (never, ever in my wildest dreams did I anticipate writing those eight words), but we are third favourites for a reason, and defeat on Sunday would make that whole jamboree far less likely. What seems absolutely paramount is that we finish in the Top Four (preferably the Top Three), and this is ours to throw away. For that reason my uncontrollable shivers break out at the prospect of the impending games with l’Arse, Chelski, Liverpool and Newcastle. “Six-pointers”, as the sages knowingly intone, and if they speak thus then it must be so.
That said, if the closing rounds of the Rocky Balboa – Ivan Drago clash taught me anything it was that the best time to play a well-financed foreign giant is when he is sweating buckets and he’s taken such a hammering that his eye is beginning to swell. City are without the gloriously named Yaya chap, which should make Modders’ life a tad easier, and my spies tell me that they’re also missing a handy centre-back. Time to charge into battle with a cry of “Adriaaaan” methinks.
Being owned by one team whilst playing for another could potentially lead to quite the philosophical quandary on the halfway line when the two outfits meet, but alas we will be spared the sight of Adebayor slowly degenerating into madness on the centre-spot as he ponders his obligations and liberty, for he is ineligible. This may mean ‘Arry takes a punt on Pav producing his standard 1 minute of magic amidst 89 of standing about whingeing, or, as is the AANP preference, he lets Defoe off the leash to shoot from all angles and then look in disbelief as he is flagged offside.
Otherwise, for better or worse, our lot pick themselves. Dawson, Kaboul, Ledley, Sandro, Parker – jumble them up, name a few injuries and you get the gist. We are underdogs for this one, but in a season in which we just keep doing the unexpected by golly this would be some feather in the lilywhite cap. Fingers crossed
1 year ago
Swansea - Spurs Preview: The “Free Gareth Bale” Campaign
Recent games have dealt with the notion of ‘Arry as a tactical buffoon in no uncertain manner. In days gone by the signing of VDV, the plan to loan Bale to Nottingham Forest and the instruction to Pav to “go out there and f***ing run about” did little for our glorious leader’s reputation as tactical genius, and was grist to the mill of a whole army or interweb critics (mea culpa) who lambasted him for doing little more than closing his eyes, pinning a tail on a donkey and accepting the plaudits as his blind gamble paid off.
Lambast him no more, all ye armchair genii. ‘Arry’s switch to 3-5-2 and wing-backs against Stoke was a laudable moment of lateral thinking, which rather got swallowed up in the whole furore over referee Chris Foy, his trips to Specsavers and his Olympic cycling performances.
Then last week against Norwich, when faced with the non-Lennon problem again, he hit upon the startlingly effective idea of letting Walker and BAE take care of the flanks, and giving VDV and Bale free roles.
Whether this would work against Top Four types is still up for debate, but freeing Bale from the shackles of the left wing proved one of the best ideas since that chap in the bakery stopped juggling knives for lunchtime entertainment of his colleagues, and decided instead to plunge the things into the midst of the loaves and see what transpired.
The free role for Bale makes it dashed difficult for opposing Neanderthals to double- or triple-mark him, and also carries the potential for further ripping gallops straight down the centre, a la his second goal against Norwich. All those who can think of the foggiest reason why why this same strategy might not work again today, comment now or forever hold your breath in awe as Bale cuts swathes through the Swansea back-four.
Given that our fixture list tends to burst at the seams at this time of year, there may be a reason for a spot of starting XI rotation – but frankly that has rarely been ‘Arry’s modus operandi, so we can all probably close our eyes and reel off the starting XI right this minute. Play our usual game and it will be three more points to end the year.
All the best for 2012, ye lovely lovely people.
1 year ago
Norwich 0-2 Spurs: Introducing Our Newest Centre-Forward…?
Many a time and oft my Spurs-supporting chum Ian has peddled the theory that Gareth Bale should be shoved right up the top, through the middle, and play as an out-and-out centre-forward. Outlandish it may be, but last night actually provided a glimpse of how the world would be run if Ian were King.
The Lennon Right-Wing Problem was solved by the novel solution of asking Kyle Walker to do the jobs of two men, and pretending it was not a problem at all – a solution that proved spookily effective, and left us at AANP Towers wondering how many more roles Walker could simultaneously adopt for the good of the team.
Meanwhile, VDV, Bale and Modders did whatever they jolly well pleased – which meant that Bale got to treat us to his Cristiano Ronaldo impression. He’s certainly got the attributes of a central attacking type – pace, power, control (if you pardon the lapse into Alan Hansenisms), as well as heading and shooting. For now it seems one best kept for special occasions, but a delightful little sub-plot may have been born.
Adebayor’s Phantom Injury
Adebayor’s quick feet in setting up Bale left me wondering how we ever tolerated all those interminable years of Crouch. There then followed a most curious medical phenomenon, as the hearts of just about every lilywhite in Christendom simultaneously skipped a beat at around 9pm GMT when Adebayor appeared to twang his hamstring and be out for the season. Oh how the walls of AANP Towers resounded with wails of despair. The denizens of this abode formed an orderly queue by the fifteenth floor window and prepared to hurl themselves out in despair, rather than face a second half the season minus the grinning Togolese – only for Adebayor mysteriously to un-twang himself and carry on just tickety-boo. Mighty queer.
Elsewhere On The Pitch
The usual roll-call of excellence applies, with gold stars liberally distributed throughout the team. Sandro and Parker snuffed out every first hint of a Norwich attack, while Modders and VDV passed their midfield to death.
The Good Time Just Keep Rolling
Third place, and jolly well merited too. Keep playing this way and chances will continue to flow, wins will continue to accumulate. The occasional anomalous result will occur when the fates conspire against us, as at Stoke, but at the halfway stage a Top Four finish is ours to throw away.
1 year ago
Norwich - Spurs Preview: Taking Advantage of Festive Gifts
Just when I had considered giving up on Father Christmas altogether, he fills my stocking with dropped points by all of Chelski, l’Arse, Liverpool and even Man City. And – and - he even un-twinges VDV’s hamstring. I’m not sure there has ever been a Christmas quite like it.
No reason not to expect another high-class performance, missed chances a-plenty and ultimately three more points tonight. Of course one can never really account for refereeing idiocy, opposition goalkeepers being possessed by the ghost of Lev Yashin past, or the general workings of Heurelho Gomes’ brain, but aside from such phenomena as wildly unpredictable and utterly impossible to prepare for, the Tottenham of the last dozen or so games ought to outscore Delia’s lot tonight.
Apart from VDV’s dainty upper legs, we may have a central defence crisis on our hands, with Ledley surely unable to churn out another 90 minutes so soon, and Kaboul apparently also tight of the hammie. All of which points towards the Close-Your-Eyes-And-Clasp-Your-Hands option that is Bassong. Defoe is also out, and quite how we deal with the Lennon absence tonight is anyone’s guess, but otherwise it’s the usual mob. It should be enough, which means that daylight between us and the chasing pack tantalisingly beckons.
1 year ago
Spurs - Chelsea Preview: ‘Arry’s Conundrum On The Wings
Crunch time. This one could not be much bigger if it were written in size 72 font, stretched in a rack and then injected with muscle-steroid-type-things by that Russian giant of a chap David Haye beat a couple of years back. It’s not just the three points, which would give us a five-point platform from which to wave down at Chelski, with a game in hand. Winning this one would hint at a rather symbolic shifting of power within London and beyond, like the passing of the Olympic flame, but with a bit more blood and thunder and complaining from John Terry.
Beating that ‘orrible lot from down the road earlier this season hinted at a shift in power in Norf London, and while time will tell on that front, the panicky ramblings of l’Arse ‘keeper Szeszecnezcsnzy earlier this week, that their priority this season was to finish above our lot (ha!), signalled that times may indeed be a-changing. Send Chelski packing tonight, and we may be able to display a freshly bloodied scalp on the mantelpiece.
Bale and Lennon
Alas, the gods have amused themselves by flinging down injury bolts left, right and centre. Well certainly left and right at least. Lennon is definitely out, and Bale has chosen a curious time to impersonate AANP by spraining his ankle (wear a strap at all times lad, makes the world of difference). Good news for all those who pick inopportune moments to blink, and thereby miss a sprint of half the pitch by one of these two; but bad news for all lilywhite fans of the counter-attack. Or indeed attacks of a more generic sort. The pace and width of these chaps has been crucial in our merry march upwards. By the pricking of my thumbs a conundrum this way comes.
On Sunday ‘Arry responded to the absence of Bale by sticking Modders on the left; the withdrawal of Lennon then saw VDV switched to the right. Alas, for VDV in particular, “pace” sits well down the list of notable attributes, somewhere in between “magic tricks” and “intermediate Excel capabilities”. Whichever honest blighters are asked to deputise – and Kranjcar and Pienaar are also nominees - our style will undoubtedly alter tonight, and a lot more traffic will be diverted through the middle.
A Gentle “Keep Modders In The Centre” Petition
Here at AANP Towers we are pretty keen to see Modders deployed in the centre rather than the left. It may be harsh on Sandro, following his all-singing, all-dancing, all-conquering display alongside Parker, in centre-midfield on Sunday, but particularly in the absence of Bale-Lennon, Modders’ ingenuity is crucial for the orchestration of all things inventive. Whatever his choice, one hopes that ‘Arry has enlisted his finest team of monkeys to pore over the permutations and select wisely.
Other Injury Footnotes
Further selection frivolities are provided by Ledley’s knee, which presumably is the size of an unbraided Benny afro at present, after his 90-minute stint on Sunday. The return of Kaboul should at least help out there, whilst the official Spurs website has done little for the good of calm and order up and down the High Road by noting that Adebayor has hurt his foot.
In truth I suspect that Adebayor will be fine, nor would I be entirely surprised if Bale gambolled across the turf at some point tonight either. At full strength I would back our lot to the hilt, but given a few crucial absentees this looks less straightforward. Friedel, Gallas, Kaboul, Parker, Modders, Adebayor – this lot need to rise to the occasion tonight. Go get ‘em chaps.
1 year ago
Spurs 1-0 Sunderland: No Thrashing Please, We’re Tottenham
Three more points, and all comfortable enough, but this being AANP Towers, and we being Spurs fans, I react to third place in the festive season not by praising our heroes, but by flagging up areas for improvement.
Specifically, I do beseech our heroes to make life a bit easier for all concerned by walloping opponents out of sight once in a while. Where Man Utd and Chelski in their pomp, and Man City in praesenti, methodically crown their dominance of any given 90 minute to-do by banging in fourth, fifth and six goals past opponents, our lot seem more concerned with running rings around our foes on the edge of the area, rather than actually scoring with such frequency that Church elders issue warnings about the ill effects of such thrashings upon society.
The party tricks and fancy flicks are dashed good entertainment, but at one-nil I hope you do not begrudge my temerity in suggesting they might be a might premature. Not that ‘Arry ‘imself appeared concerned today, withdrawing Messrs VDV and Sandro in the closing stages with all the breezy confidence of a man lighting a cigar as his team rattle up double-figures, while Modders’ waywardness in front of a gaping net from a distance of around half a smidgeon was worthy of an official UEFA investigation into darn shady betting patterns.
It may seem indulgent as we toast our 11th win in 13, but aside from the 4-0 win over Liverpool, our lot have not really translated dominance and superiority into healthy score-lines – and the concern is that if we fail to kill off games, opponents may sneak ill-deserved late equalisers that ultimately cost us points in May.
Bae: Some Constructive Criticism
Aside from the issue of dedicated profligacy, a wary eyebrow is raised at AANP Towers over BAE’s mastery of the art of Delivering Left Wing Crosses So Wicked They Should Be Sentenced To Community Service. Particularly notable in the absence of Bale, BAE had numerous opportunities to slap the orb into the area and dance a merry jig of satisfaction as bedlam duly ensued, but if you can tear yourself away for one moment from the most curious mental image of BAE dancing a jig of any type you may recall that most of his crosses rather missed the target of assorted lilywhite types eagerly charging forward. Not a cataclysmic failing by any means, but in a team that motors from strength to strength in all areas, the left-back position still occasionally strikes me as one that may be improved upon slightly.
Job Well Done, And In Testing Circumstances
However, free drinks are nevertheless in order for our heroes, for this was a pretty important three points. ‘Twas most vital that we reacted to defeat last week with victory today, and to do so with such general verve (aside from the last 20 mins or so of the first half) was jolly reassuring.
Moreover, this was achieved minus the twin jet-heeled threats of Masters Bale and Lennon. The re-jigging was a curious one, with Pav’s entry, and the presence of VDV and Modders meaning that just about everyone out there had the urge to charge away from the wings and into the centre, but the quality of our play remained high, as evidenced by the charmingly inclusive build-up to our goal.
A particular mention of approbation is due to Sandro, whose general propensity for tearing about hither and thither reflected well upon a chap starved of first-team opportunities. One jolly well hopes that at least one of Bale and Lennon are fit for action come Thursday night, but with regard to today’s doings, pats on the various backs ought to convey the general sentiment.
1 year ago
Spurs - Sunderland Preview: Resumption of Normal Service Please Chaps
“The measure of greatness is not how many you win, but how you react to defeat”. Or something along those lines. In fact, AANP may have invented that just now.
Anyway, the point is that the epithet has been fairly redundant for as far back as I can remember, as we would generally fail to win in the first place, and then react to defeat with another defeat, or a two-goal lead thrown away late on, or whatever. A changed beast these days however, to be sure. Win follows win, and all delivered with an élan unmatched by anyone else in the country.
Today however we need to react to defeat – simply by resuming normal service. In defeat at Stoke, at least in the second half, we did our usual thing and looked absolutely ruddy marvellous. Play our natural game, and even allowing for the New Manager Effect at Sunderland, we should dominate and overwhelm our opponents today.
Defoe Begins Chuntering
We are presumably without Kaboul today, following last week’s very deserved red card, so the return of Ledley would help; while the handy showings by Messrs Pienaar and Kranjcar in midweek won’t help them make the starting line-up, so they might as well give up on that dream now.
The inevitable murmurings of discontent have emanated from the frustrated mouth of Defoe, and one rather sympathises. When he has played this season he has scored – and then been dropped. Following the fairly ineffective showing of VDV last week, another omission at the expense of the Dutchman again today would not improve the mood at Casa Defoe. Over to you ‘Arry.
1 year ago
Shamrock - Spurs Preview: Have We Ever Had a More Pointless Game?
Have we ever had a less important match in our schedule? Friendlies aside, this is one of the greatest non-events in our history. With Sunderland and Chelski coming up in the League over the next week, and the cyanide-laced chalice of Europa qualification limited to mathematics equations of the absurd, ‘Arry would be forgiven for just leaving Clive Allen and Tim Sherwood to take care of the kids tonight, or maybe fielding Allen and Sherwood themselves.
Our Europa failure will prove quite the barely-disguised blessing as the second half of the season begins and we continue the Top Four (or higher) push. If there is one worry about the absence of Thursday night non-events, it is that our gaggle of bench-warmers will become even more disillusioned and less match-ready, should injuries necessitate their promotion to Premiership duties. Gomes, Bassong, Corluka, Pienaar and Pav have at least had a chance to stretch their legs every couple of weeks – without the Europa league they may as well be replaced by a team of highly-paid cardboard cut-outs on the Tottenham bench.
These, however, are concerns for another day. Tonight we sign off, against an Irish troupe we really ought to demolish. Of the kids, Walker (and to a lesser extent Livermore) have earned first team status; Carroll and that moodiest of teenagers Townsend have looked handy; while for all his red-cheeked endeavour Kane has by and large looked out of his depth. Tonight, and possibly Cheltenham in the FA Cup, represent last chances for this lot to rub shoulders with the first teamers. If nothing else I rather hope they enjoy themselves.
1 year ago
Stoke 2-1 Spurs: Rugby Tactics and Mind-Boggling Refereeing
Sitting down to type when one’s lip is literally still quivering with rage must surely be ill-advised, but how else to express sheer, undiluted incandescence? Here at AANP Towers we are generally loath to criticise the officials, since their job is jolly difficult, their mistakes are always honest and frankly I imagine that to a man the players make many more errors per game. And yet so many, high-profile and egregious were the faux pas of the officials today that I have little choice but to clear my throat and ask in the sternest tones, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes”?
Stoke – A Handy Rugby Side
My sentiments on our triumphant opponents are hardly more complimentary, although unlike their friends in black the Stoke players could not be labelled necessarily incompetent. Talentless, for sure, but at least skilled at the unique brand of non-football they purvey. Stoke’s tactics were not entirely dissimilar to those of our burly rugger-playing cousins, who exalt in blasting the ball towards the heavens and scuffling over the scraps as it falls to earth, their principal aim being to get the ball into touch. But goodness, didn’t they do it well?
Our lot are hardly exempt from the quite terrifying wrath being meted out in this corner of the interweb. As AANP advances in years he holds ever greater regard for time spent sleeping, one of the most mysterious and wondrous gifts bestowed upon those with closable eyelids – but for goodness’ sake chaps, the first 25 minutes away to Stoke was hardly the time to indulge in a spot of shut-eye.
Alas, our heroes dozily trundled along in that opening quarter of the game, sleepily rubbing their eyes and adjusting their duvets as Crouch and his new chums watched the ball descending from the skies and duly sharpened their elbows. In truth the half-time deficit was deserved.
Second Half Improvement
Laudable proactivity from ‘Arry at half-time, and everyone (bar, perhaps, VDV) earned their weekly wage in that second period, with Modders notably contributing to the cause, and Bale and Walker adapting fairly comfortably to the mystical concept of “wing-back”, as the nature of the game gradually swung back from rugby to football.
‘Twas not to be however, such is life’s rich tapestry. The Adebayor disallowed goal, Shawcross handball, push on Kaboul and handball by Crouch were all fairly blatant; and on a particularly fortuitous day we might also have benefited from the push that floored Parker as we awaited a corner in the first half, and shot by Defoe that struck outstretched arms in the second.
A temporary blip then, one would imagine – but beware ye who tread the streets of North London tonight, for this particular irate fan will fix any passer-by with a glare of such vitriol that small children will howl in anguish and elderly women hurry to the other side of the road. Thoroughly, thoroughly exasperating stuff.
1 year ago
Stoke - Spurs Preview: Beauty, Beast, Etc
After a run of 10 wins in 11, and six in a row, the true connoisseur does not really want the record to grind to a halt against Stoke. Against Barcelona maybe, or the Harlem Globe Trotters – but not Stoke.
Stoke are actually a member of that elite and highly exclusive band of English teams that have indeed beaten us this season (cast thine mind back to our peculiar Carling Cup exit a few months back). Given our tendency to panic in the face of set-pieces, this lot could pose problems from their Delap uber-throws, while leading their line is a familiar-looking chap of elongated proportions, Peter Crouch now allowing the ball to bounce unpredictably off his angular cranium in the red and white of Stoke. It all points to a side at the very opposite end of the aesthetic spectrum. Beauty and Beast. He-Man and Skeletor. Tottenham and Stoke.
Still, the drill for our heroes does not differ from week to week - swarm all over them from the off, and take a few of the plethora of chances we’ll doubtless create. Empirical evidence suggests that it is a winning formula.
On the personnel front Gallas may again deputise for Ledley, while Defoe and Bale have chipped fingernails and tummy aches, but even so our lot ought blinking well to prevail. The VDV-Defoe question may once again be an issue; it should matter not. Defend well enough and up the other end the goals will flow.
1 year ago
Spurs 1-2 paok: Foul! Offside? Touchdown? Erm…
Well what a relief that that has been cleared up. Apparently the Defoe goal was disallowed because of a foul committed by Pavluychenko in the fixture played back in Greece in September. Or perhaps for a foul by Graham Roberts in our ’84 UEFA campaign. Or maybe it was Mackay back in ’61. Well, whatever the incident, it was definitely a foul. Or maybe offside. Or Leg Before Wicket.
Mind you, Defoe appeared almost to castrated the chap, so it would have been a bit much to have profited with a goal. Whatever the verdict, that second half was certainly more exciting than the usual Channel 5 fare from our lot, and not too many tears will be shed in this neck of the woods if our Europa campaign coughs politely and sidles off the premises in the coming weeks.
The First Half – Only Marginally Better than Having A Foot Chopped Off
After the remarkable juggernaut of unstoppableness produced by our lot in recent weeks, our Europa lilywhites came over all misty-eyed and nostalgic, and sweetly reverted to the days of Gerry Francis and Christian Gross. Adopting a formation of sixes and sevens, the back-line in particular displayed quite spectacular ineptitude in that opening 45, viewed at AANP Towers with all the morbid fascination of that scene in the first Saw film when the chap looks at the saw, looks at his foot, looks at the saw, looks back at his foot, and finally decides that if David Beckham can carve out a career as an international superstar with just the one foot then it might be worth the risk.
Ah, that wretched first half. Bassong looked every inch a defender soon to be sold to QPR. Corluka looked every inch a footballer whose pained lumbering is no quicker than the steps of an inebriated rabbit. Rose looked every inch a promising schoolboy decathlete shoved onto a football pitch and told to be a left-back. Pienaar looked every inch the runt of the Predator pack, banished to earth by the cooler Predators on account of his heavy-legged first touch.
On the bright side, Defoe and Modders tore about like a pair of dogs on heat in that first half, while Livermore also earned an approving nod, with that Sandro-esque combo of technique and energy.
Second Half – An Improvement Of Sorts
In the second half, our wily old fox of a manager deduced that the best way to avoid further embarrassment would be at all costs to avoid letting the ball go anywhere near the defence. Thus we spent the entire 45 camped around the Greek area, which at least spared Gallas, Bassong et al any further Chuckle Brothers moments. Alas, PAOK reasonably enough stuck all ten of their remaining men in a neat formation around their own penalty spot, and just about every one of them cleared off the line at some point.
Defeat is never much fun, and the use of 90 minutes’ worth of Modders, Defoe and Lennon is regrettable – but if we make the Top Four this season, an early Europa exit will hardly be lamented.
1 year ago
Spurs - PAOK Preview: Unleash The Muskehounds
Switching from the all-conquering, award-winning, glitz-laden superstars of our rollicking Premiership campaign to the prepubescent kids and want-away squad members on our midweek Europa jaunts is somewhat akin to putting down the Dumas novel in order to tune in to Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds – nobody in their right mind would dispute that it remains quite magnificent entertainment, but the whole forum is perhaps a little more frivolous.
Thus we march into battle tonight knowing that defeat will do all manner of nastiness to our European campaign, but victory would all but see us through. None of which can really be taken seriously when one considers the red-hot Saturday/Sunday frolics of our first-choice mob in the League.
Still. There is still a cockerel on the shirt, pride at stake and a trophy to be won, eventually. Kane, Carroll, Livermore and Townsend will get their usual opportunities to impress, while Cudicini, Corluka, Gallas, Pienaar and Pav (if fit – and if not, then presumably Defoe) will add sprinklings of élan about the place. The reverse fixture against this lot was jolly hard work, but thus far on our home nights in Europe we have muddled through, so another three points ought to be the target once again tonight. All for one, and all that continental gubbins.
1 year ago
West Brom 1-3 Spurs: One Of Our Best - M. H. E. P. L. G. W. T. S.
Desperately sad news about Gary Speed - RIP
Within a day or two it will inevitably be swallowed within the black hole of wondrous statistics about just how darned good the current crop are (best start to a season since the ’61 Double-winners, since you ask), but the win at West Brom has muscled its way into AANP’s exalted list of Most Hard-Earned and Pleasing Little Gaggle of Wins This Season, or “mheplgwts” as we like to call it for ease of reference.
To win 3-1 away is one thing, but to do so having gone behind and been largely out-played and out-muscled in the first half, by something resembling a team of Scott Parkers, is quite another. Moreover, in the absences of both Modders and VDV this whole bally thing was achieved in the absence of half of the heartbeat of our team, if you excuse the invocation of a tenuous and frankly impossible medical metaphor. A quite sterling effort, rewarded not only by three points but also by the dropping of points by Man Utd, Newcastle and l’Arse. A fine weekend’s work indeed.
First Half Struggles
As noted, our vanquished opponents deserve some credit or making life quite so awkward. Rather than kick and hack their way through proceedings, or lasso all eleven back to the edge of their own area, they had quite a pop at our heroes in the first 45, pinning us back and making life jolly uncomfortable. ‘Twas noted with a raised eyebrow at AANP Towers that Ledley looked a little less than his usual stately self at the back, and the defence in general seemed to exude more than just a whiff of general panic in the first half. Mind you, the struggles of Ledley were suitably expiated for by the performance of Kaboul, fast maturing from reckless man-child with weirdly sculpted eyebrows into full-blown colossus, and not just because he can head the ball further than I can kick it. The odd mistake still creeps in – ball-watching, needless fouls – but these days he waves that “Thou Shalt Not Pass, You Swine” placard in convincing manner.
Life Without Modders and VDV
Things perked up after the break. Scott Parker continues to charge around as if playing each game in the knowledge that his parents are watching him for the very first time; while Sandro displays an infectiously boyish enthusiasm for things (albeit an enthusiasm that very nearly earned him a second booking). Sandro has a bit more to offer in terms of moving forward, and the pair generally seemed to take it in turns to supplement attack, with Parker even eschewing the safety-first sideways/backwards keep-ball approach that usually constitutes his ball-playing diet in its entirety. However, despite the best efforts of these two we did lack the je any sais quoi that Modders and VDV typically offer.
In the absence of these two particular talisman, our heroes made hay through the aesthetically sublime approach of moving the ball quickly. It may have lacked a little of the cutting-edge provided by Modders/VDV, but by pinging the ball around quickly we got ourselves back into the game, patiently it hither and thither until the spaces appeared, and the little legs of Walker, Lennon, Bale and Defoe sped blurrily into the great big swathes of greenery in front of them. It is a credit to the on-ball technique and off-the-ball movement of our lot that the man in possession always has a couple of options.
Cutting-Edge in Attack
Ultimately however, the difference was probably that, as against Blackburn, QPR and Fulham in recent weeks, our attacking types have that little bit more quality than the opposition. Whereas previously it has been VDV, Bale or Lennon, yesterday it was the finishing of Defoe that was a class above. Where West Brom were profligate, we were clinical. As has been discussed ad nauseam, he has his critics, of whom AANP is not one, but no matter how selfish, one-dimensional or ignorant of the offside law one considers him to be, he is one heck of a finisher. (Curiously for one who has now scored four goals in a week, I still think that Adebayor needs to work on his finishing, but his overall contribution remains immense.)
And so it continues. There remain a good two third of the season left to play – but who amongst us would not have taken this situation back in August, when City were thumping their fifth past us?
1 year ago
West Brom - Spurs Preivew: Let Not The Bubble Burst Today
Anyone else reached the slightly absurd conclusion that we should really win all but two of our remaining 27 fixtures? The bubble will presumably burst at some point, but if the earth continues its merry rotation around the sun in the time-honoured fashion of a few thousand years there is little reason to expect anything other than the standard, slightly tortuous three-point haul.
However, while on paper, or indeed the interweb, our lot should outdo West Brom, anyone who fails to recall our frustrations against West Ham, Wigan et al last season need only refer to England’s recent one-shot-on-target victory against El Spanish a couple of weeks back. Note ye well, oh lilywhite heroes, this may prove a struggle, despite our player-for-player superiority. In particular, the concern around these parts centres upon our ability – or lack thereof – to defend set-pieces.
Wholesale team changes are somewhat unlikely, but some murmurings suggest that VDV might be a doubt, in which case ‘Arry must decide whether to employ Defoe within a 4-4-2, or something a little more circumspect, possibly involving Sandro. One would be inclined to slap a proportion of the weekly earnings upon “Away Win”, and another Villa-esque stroll would be quite ripping, but one suspects this could be slightly harder work.
1 year ago
Spurs 2-0 Villa: Bafflingly Easy
Oh that life were always that simple. Villa’s scouting network appear to have concluded that any attempt to disrupt the Tottenham modus operandi would result in a riot, and consequently they spent the entire night carefully keeping a safe distance from us, allowing our heroes to do whatever they jolly well pleased. Still, objective achieved, and boxes ticked left, right and centre.
Our lot certainly deserve credit, for alternating between sensible bouts of keep-ball and occasionally knife-through-butter thrusts, but if I may be so bold I would dare to suggest that when in such utter dominance they could do worse than display an attitude of bloody-minded ruthlessness. There were moments when Lennon tried a flick in his own half, or VDV dabbled in unnecessary ornateness, when at 2-0 the fait was not necessarily accompli. When in complete control let’s go crazy and score until it’s a tad embarrassing for all concerned. Plenty of time for own half fancy flicks when the scoreboard has hit double figures.
However, I digress rather wildly from the point that this is the best Tottenham side in living memory, and that without breaking sweat they stomped all over those poor little Villa lambs. Bale, Modders, Parker and Kaboul no doubt sipped their celebratory bourbon with relish last night, after performances of particular majesty, while BAE threatened to steal the show simply by unbraiding his quite sensational mop.
Word reaches me that the chatter amongst the more excitable members of the lilywhite fraternity is of title-winning frolics. To each their own I suppose, and our juggernaut is certainly trundling along most merrily at present, but I do feel rather inclined to point out that it is but November. Top Four is the aim; top three is pleasingly realistic; yet we still remain but three points above seventh. These are wondrous times at N17, with cracking stuff from our mob on a weekly basis now, so rather than pore over the possibilities of May 2012 I plan to spend the coming days donning slippers and gown, and contentedly puffing upon a pipe.
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