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Month: August 2008

Chelsea v Tottenham – Pain Preview

Chelsea v Tottenham – Pain Preview

The first game of the season we haven’t started favourites for and for good reason. Lose this game and it’s Tottenham’s worse ever start to a Premier League campaign. Although we have somewhat overturned the hoodoo Chelsea had over us in recent times, we have never beaten them at the bridge in the Premier League.

Chelsea have gained more wins, scored more goals and accumulated more points against Tottenham in the Premier League than any other club.

Team News
Ballack and Essien and both doubtful for Chelsea and Drogba is still out with a knee injury.

Spurs are still without Alan Hutton.

Head To Head
Spurs have an awful record against Chelsea in the Premier League. They haven’t won at Stamford Bridge since 1990.

Recent Form
As we know all too well, Spurs have lost their first two matches this season against Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

Chelsea have won their first two games and are unbeaten in 23 Premier League matches.

I can see nothing other than a Chelsea victory today. They have looked their usual clinical best in their first two games and we have looked dreadful. I don’t think we will get hammered but I can’t see us scoring with 2-0 to the chavs being the most likely outcome.

Best Bets
Chelsea to win 2-0 @ 6/1 with Ladbrokes

John Terry to score at anytime @ 8/1 with William Hill

I’d love to hear from anyone that thinks differently!

One Russian short of a Cold War

One Russian short of a Cold War

Firstly, I’m more than happy with Pavlyuchenko for around £12m. He’s more of an out and out striker than Arshavin and while he’s not as technically gifted, for half Arshavin’s fee it’s got to be good business. After all, how different can they be, they are both Russian!

The deal hasn’t been formally announced by us yet but it sounds like a goer.

“I could not decide if I wanted to go to England at first – first yes, then no,” said Pavlyuchenko.

“The only thing that stopped me from leaving was my family. But now all doubts are behind me and I decided to sign a contract with Tottenham and the formalities are practically settled.”

So that news made me all happy and warm inside but the feeling has been wiped out by the fact Berbatov is still with us!!! WTF are they playing at?! Do Utd still want him? I’m sure they do, but just imagine if they decide they can’t be bothered making another offer. I can’t see him ever playing for us again and as much as the club talks tough about letting him rot in the reserves, that just won’t happen. Best case scenario would be he’s offloaded to a club abroad quickly and probably on the cheap.

This is all speculation and more than likely he’ll be a Utd player before the week is out but Sir Alex is not the kind of guy you mess around. It would not surprise me if he stuck two big Scottish fingers in our direction and buys Huntelaar or someone.

Anyway at least it looks like we have a natural goalscorer at the club now and one without any dreams of Man Utd currently which is always a bonus. Let’s hope it inspires a bit more of a performance at the Bridge.

Deflecting the heat

Deflecting the heat

The quotes in today’s press from Ramos have made me laugh. We have all known for weeks we need to let Berba go to Utd but only now we have lost our first two games, Ramos has decided to speak out.

“We need to get this matter resolved before the transfer deadline.

“If Berbatov goes, we will need time to sign a replacement. We want to have the best centre-forward we can possibly get.

“This is the first time I have faced this problem as a coach and the truth is I have found it a conflicting situation to be in.

“Of course, what has happened has had repercussions on the team and our results.

“Against Sunderland, for instance, we were only able to play with one forward and we didn’t have any substitutes for that player.

“Players go through physical problems all the time but in this case it’s a psychological issue which we have to deal with.

“If Berbatov works well during the week, maybe he will be able to play in our next game. If not, he won’t.

“But we cannot make that decision now. We can only decide that on the eve of the game.”

I’m a Ramos fan but please don’t give us all this bullshine now results have gone against us. If we’d have won both games, he wouldn’t have opened his mouth.

Don’t get me wrong, Ramos talking openly to the fans is something I would really appreciate but today’s speech is just to take the pressure off a bit because he’s knows it’s very likely Spurs will be bottom with no points after the Chelsea game.

The Sun have plucked Huntelaar’s name out of thin air today as our top target. I think there is about as much chance of us signing Andy Sinton at the minute.

I’ll leave you with a very interesting video about the Berbatov situation from yesterday’s Sunday Supplement

Nuls points

Nuls points

I really didn’t think we’d be in this position going into the Chelsea game. My biggest worry now is that we have two games coming up we could easily get nothing from and then The Sun and co jump on the Ramos out bandwagon.

I thought some of the comments I read last week were ludicrous, this week they were so wide of the mark I actually found them hilarious. My two favs are probably ‘Ramos out we need Laudrup’ and ‘Berbatov at 20% is still better than Bent’.

How anyone can criticise Ramos for dropping Berbatov I don’t know. He isn’t fit to wear the shirt anymore and if Levy doesn’t get shot of him this week he is the person we should be levelling our frustrations at, not Ramos.

Spurs didn’t play that terribly today but as with Boro, I just never felt we stamped any authority or control on the game. Every time Sunderland got the ball you felt like they could score. It’s obvious that we need a midfield enforcer but I’m worried there isn’t one on our shopping list.

The Arshavin deal is back on if yesterday’s reports are anything to go by and he can’t come soon enough as far as I’m concerned. All these off field matters aren’t doing us any favours so lets get them sorted and concentrate on getting things right on the pitch.

Spurs v Sunderland – Pain Preview

Spurs v Sunderland – Pain Preview

Last week’s predictions weren’t shocking but like Spurs performance, they weren’t great either.

Another game where Tottenham start as favourites with the bookies but even shorter than last week because they are at home. Sunderland are the sort of team you would expect Spurs to beat at the Lane but they are dangerous to underestimate and the players they have brought in from us are likely to want to put on a show.

Team News
Sunderland will be without Teemu Tainio who picked up an injury against Liverpool last week. It’s a shame because I think he would have got a decent reception from the home fans. Spurs will still be without long term injury problem Alan Hutton.

Head To Head
Tottenham have won their last eight home games against Sunderland including last season’s corresponding fixture 2-0.

Recent Form
Not much to go on, both teams lost their first game, Spurs 2-1 away to Middlesbrough and Sunderland 1-0 at home to Liverpool. Neither performance was very impressive so both sides will be desperate to pick up some points here.

As with Boro, I don’t expect Sunderland to roll over easily but if Spurs can’t win a game like this at home convincingly then the top 4 is surely just a pipe dream.

In recent seasons, Spurs are generally far too much for teams like Sunderland at the Lane and things should not be any different under Ramos. A big scoreline would not surprise me.

Best Bets
Spurs to win 3-1 @ 14/1 with Centrebet

Spurs to win 3-0 @ 12/1 with Centrebet

Gareth Bale to score at anytime @ 11/2 with Paddy Power

As always, let me know your thoughts, good or bad!

Let’s all laugh at Arsenal

Let’s all laugh at Arsenal

After all, they have been doing plenty of laughing at us since the weekend.

Apparently, Arsenal could have signed Arshavin but they couldn’t afford his wages.

According to Arshavin’s agent Dennis Lachter, Arshavin wanted just too much money.

“Wenger was serious about buying Arshavin,” said Lachter in the Daily Express.

“If Andrei could have tempered his financial appetite, it was quite possible he would be playing at the Emirates right now.

“Arsenal were prepared to pay about £15million for him.

“(Arsene) Wenger is indeed a cunning fox who always says one thing and does the other. He wanted Andrei, but Arsenal are the only top English club who do not pay large salaries.”

While I am a fan of Arsenal’s activity in the transfer market on the whole, their unwillingness to pay decent wages is causing them a lot of problems including losing Hleb, Flamini and almost Adebayor.

I know Arsenal have had a lot more success than Spurs in recent years but over the next few, Spurs are likely to reverse that trend because of their financial clout.

Arsenal haven’t won a trophy since the FA Cup in 2005. As much as their fans said our Carling Cup win meant nothing last season, they would have loved to have been in that position, especially beating Chelsea in the final, something they were unable to achieve the previous year.

We might not have had much to laugh about on Saturday but look at the bigger picture and you’ll soon be smiling again.

Sunderland, please do us another favour

Sunderland, please do us another favour

I’m sick to death of the Berbatov and Arshavin saga’s but someone else appearing on the horizon has taken my attention – Anton Ferdinand.

Please no, it has to be some kind of sick joke. He’s no better than Dawson as far as I’m concerned. In fact, we may as well have held on to Gardener.

Just because he’s got the surname Ferdinand people are under the illusion he’ll be as good as Rio, doesn’t work like that I’m afraid.

The good news is our best mate Roy Keane has supposedly made a £6m bid which was turned down. I’m praying he will come up with an improved offer and do us yet another turn.

I don’t know which I’d rather, the 3pts off them at the weekend or that they save us from another shocking defender. Both would be ideal please Roy.

We are solid favourites to beat Sunderland possibly a bit too short on the back of our last result but we will see come Saturday, fingers crossed Anton isn’t watching from the stands, the bench or worst of all from the pitch, that’s unless he has Boyle Sports on his chest of course.

Don’t panic

Don’t panic

It’s one game people. I was as disappointed as anyone to lose the first game of the season but let’s keep things in perspective.

Middlesbrough are a decent side at home and probably the biggest positive of all is the fact they often turn over the top four at the Riverside, it must be a sign!

I was slightly puzzled by Ramos’ team selection with King and Bale left on the bench when it was so important for us to hit the ground running but you can’t start picking holes in him after one result.

It will take a bit of time for the new players to settle in and get used to each other and that is where teams like Villa and Everton may have an advantage over Spurs in the early part of the season.

I fully expect us to get back to winning ways against Sunderland at the weekend but even if we don’t I still won’t be as despondent as some people already seem to be.

I’m sure it’s because there is a sense of dejavu after last year but then look how the season turned out, beating Ar5ena1 and ending up with a trophy.

The way some Ar5ena1 and Chelsea fans are acting you would think they have won the Champions League not that we had lost a game to a side that have beat both of them in recent times.

Give it ten games or so before you start panicking, if we are still playing as badly then I’ll be joining you.

Berbatov has finally come out and said he wants to join Man Utd.

“I’m now in Tottenham but no one can disagree with me wanting to follow my dream,” he told The Times.

His situation isn’t helping us one bit. We need to get him out and move on. Personally I would have been happier without him even on the bench Saturday.

I’ve got no hard feelings about him wanting to move but I’d be a lot happier if Levy and the gang got a deal finalised.

This quote from Berba regarding being left on the bench Saturday reinforces his desire to be a Utd player.

“If I had been laughing when I was on the bench, people would say I was an idiot,” he said.

“Eric Cantona never smiled, but I don’t know if anyone ever asked him why he didn’t look happier.”

No progress, Boro update and Fantasy League

No progress, Boro update and Fantasy League

It was all going on with Berba, Arshavin and Corluka a few days ago but nothing has progressed. It does still look like they are all a matter of days away from being sorted, especially Berbatov, but Ramos doesn’t seem too concerned by our current situation.

“It is nothing to panic about,” said head coach Ramos.

“We have performed very well in recent friendlies, they have been great attacking performances so it is not something that concerns me.

“We are aware there are only two weeks to go before the end of the window, that is something we are working on constantly anyway.

“We work without rest to look for players and we’ve always known the deadline day is the August 31.

“We are working calming, in the background, on one or two things. We prefer to work with as much discretion as we can.”

If the boss is happy, I’m happy!

A bit of good news is Anthony Gardener making his move to Hull permanent. I had visions of him getting injured and being shipped back to the Lane. He did a job for us and even broke into the England squad at one point so I hope he does well at Hull.

A worrying stat I came across this morning is that we have only won one of our last seven opening fixtures! On a positive note we are unbeaten in six Premier League matches against them.

Fantasy League
Over on EBA we have a Premier Fantasy League every year, be nice to get a few more Yids involved.

Go here to register:

Once you have chosen your team, click on leagues then enter the following code to join the EBA League: 79919-21455

Boro v Spurs – Pain Preview

Boro v Spurs – Pain Preview

Before each of our games I’m going to try and assess our chances and come up with a few punts along the way. Not easy before we have seen any real action but let’s see.

Tottenham start the game as reasonably strong favourites especially considering we are the away side. It won’t be an easy game as Middlesbrough can beat anyone at the Riverside on their day and with a fit Alves in their side, it won’t be an easy afternoon for Tottenham’s back line.

Team News
Nothing much to report on this front yet, I’ll probably update tomorrow but it looks like Spurs are without Hutton and Modric has a knock. I’d expect Ramos to play Bent on his own up front even if Berbatov is still with us.

Head To Head
Tottenham have a superb head to head record against Middlesbrough, having only lost two of the last ten meetings between the clubs.

Pre-season Form
Both clubs have had an impressive pre-season, netting a large number of goals in the process. Spurs performances have looked the more assured though, having only conceded three goals in their six friendlies, culminating in the superb 5-0 win over Italian giants Roma.

This will not be an easy game for Spurs but it is one where I expect them to go out, do a professional job and come away with at worst a point. This is an important game not to lose and it would be so nice to get off to a flyer after last season, with a very winnable home game to come next.

I think Bent could well score considering the form he’s in but Woodgate is getting involved a lot more at set-pieces these days and it’s uncanny how often players score against their old side.

Best Bets
Spurs to win 2-1 @ 10/1 with BlueSq

1-1 Draw @ 7/1 with Bet365

Jonathan Woodgate to score at anytime 14/1 with Skybet

As always, let me know your thoughts, good or bad!