Monthly Archives: September 2008

Hull, Stoke and Bolton – The Desperation Stakes

Putting Wisla Krakow in the title took its catchy feel away but I’m also taking that game into consideration! If our slender 2-1 lead proves not to be enough and we crash out of the UEFA Cup on Thursday night, will Levy call time on the Ramos reign?

I personally think the board will give Ramos more time. If we still have two points come 5pm on the 25th October, I’d say that will certainly be his lot. In fact, I’d say he will need to get 6 points from Hull at home, Stoke away, and then Bolton at home to save himself from the axe. The problem for me is I can’t see any evidence in Tottenham’s last few games to make me think they can beat any of those 3 sides.

My other problem is Spurs then go to the Emirates, play Liverpool at the Lane and then have to travel to Manchester City!

A lot of neutrals are saying that sacking Ramos would be typical of Spurs usual knee-jerk reaction and won’t do us any favours. That is an opinion I take on board but the facts are simple. Spurs have won just three league games since the Carling Cup win last February. This from a side that are supposedly close to breaking into the top 4? At the moment I’d be happy to get out the bottom 4.

Now that The Sun and friends are using various versions of the pressures on Ramos as their lead football stories, his days look numbered.

I was going to say six months ago but even as recently as August, I don’t think anyone could have predicted the survival of Juande Ramos’ Tottenham career would come down to games against Hull, Stoke and Bolton, but that certainly looks to be the case now.

Have we turned the corner?

Unbeaten in three, have Spurs finally found their feet this season?

There is a consensus of opinion among the more pessimistic fans that Newcastle was a bad result because it’s just delayed the inevitable – Ramos’ exit. Personally I don’t agree.

Changing another manager isn’t going to help us, we need stability. Ramos hasn’t become a bad manager overnight, this is the same guy that won us our first trophy for an age last season and the man that guided us to famous victories of Chelsea and Arsenal.

My one worry with the manager is he doesn’t know his best 11. It is understandable with the new signings but the midfield looks a mess at times. Tom Huddlestone isn’t up to it for me. I’d rather have a grafter like O’Hara wearing his heart on his sleeve than Huddlestone labouring about everywhere. Ekotto’s continued selection also puzzles me. Why not have Bale at left back as we already have so many options in midfield?

The difference maker on Wednesday was the back two of King and Woodgate. I’d give anything to have King part of the side week in week out. The King/Woodgate partnership is up there with any in the Premiership, imagine how good they would be with a run of games together.

It was also great to see Pavlyuchenko get off the mark, hopefully he can kick on off the back of that and provide us with the goals that have been missing over the early part of the season.

Pompey will provide a stern test for us on Sunday but they do have a lot of players out injured, whether they will still be injured come the match is another story! I’ll be happy to come away from Fratton Park with a point.

Newcastle v Tottenham – Pain Preview

Did anyone think we would be playing in the 3rd round of the Carling Cup yet to win a league game and with our manager’s future hanging in the balance? I know I didn’t. He may have won much bigger honours with Sevilla but this Carling Cup tie is one of the biggest games in Juande Ramos’ career. Does he have what it takes to get a result against what is probably the most underachieving team in the Premiership currently apart from ourselves or will this game spell the beginning of the end for Wendy.

Team News
Roman Pavlyuchenko may be rested for Tottenham with team mate Jermain Jenas this week claiming the Russian hitman is ‘tired’. Frazier Campbell is being rumoured to make his full debut.

Luka Modric is still struggling with a knee injury but may make the bench while Alan Hutton is still on the long term injury list.

Obafemi Martins returns for Newcastle but they are still without a host of players including Guthrie, Barton and Viduka.

Head To Head
Newcastle seem to have the upper hand in recent times, having 4-1 at White Hart Lane towards the back end of last season.

Recent Form
As we know all too well, Spurs have had their worst start to a season for sometime and have not played well at all since winning the Carling Cup last February.

Newcastle got four points from their first two league games but have looked in turmoil since Kevin Keegan’s departure, losing three league games on the bounce.

Conclusion
To be perfectly honest I feel absolutely sick that our season could well rest on this fixture. Newcastle are probably in a worse state than us, but only just. I can see this being very cagey, possibly another 0-0, but if one team has the bottle to go out, take the game by the scruff of the neck and get an early goal, it could be enough to take whatever stuffing is left out the other side.

Best Bets
0-0 at 10/1 with Paddy Power and 0-1 at 8/1 also with Paddy Power.

Fraizer Campbell to score at anytime at 12/5 with Skybet.

Wise and Poyet in if we lose to Newcastle?!!

I don’t know how true this is, but there is a rumour flying about this afternoon that Dennis Wise could be joining Gus Poyet in a joint managerial role if Newcastle dump us out the Carling Cup on Wednesday night!

I’m not one to take much notice of this sort of stuff but the guy that told me also said we’d sign Bent about six months before it actually happened, that was bad new as well!!

Newcastle are in turmoil at the minute so I can understand the thinking, if we can’t even beat them, how are we going to pick up any league points?

I’ve never had a problem with Dennis Wise and while his reputation has been somewhat tarnished with all the chaos at Newcastle, his managerial record is hard to knock.

Personally, if Ramos and the board have come to some kind of mutual decision for him to leave the club, I’d rather see Gus take charge on his own. That way he would be able to carry on the work they have started, and there would still be some stability.

This could all be just speculation obviously but any manager that hadn’t won after five league games, against mainly inferior opposition, would have their credentials called in question.

Tottenham v Wigan – Pain Preview

Probably a match that is more important for Tottenham, but Wigan come to the Lane with nothing to lose and know all the pressure is on the home side. Can Spurs build on their first win of the season?

Team News
Roman Pavlyuchenko and Verdan Corluka should both figure at somepoint today after being unable to play in the midweek UEFA Cup win. Modric is likely to be out and Alan Hutton is still some way from fitness.

Lee Cattermole, Ryan Taylor and Erik Edman are all missing for Wigan.

Head To Head
Tottenham are unbeaten in all six Premier League meetings with Wigan, having won three and drawn three.

Recent Form
This is Tottenham’s worst ever start to a Premier League campaign. If they do not win today it will equal their record of sixteen years ago of failing to win any of their first five league games.

Defeat for Wigan today would make it their worst start to a Premier League campaign.

Conclusion
Well, I’d love to see Spurs build on their UEFA Cup win but I just think Wigan are going to make it extremely difficult for them today. If you had asked me before the start of the season, I would have said this is a banker home win for Tottenham but on the evidence so far, I think a point is more likely.

Best Bets
0-0 is a strong possibility, 12/1 is on offer at Canbet.

HT/FT Draw Draw at 5/1 with Stan James.

I love Ramos but…

His English needs some serious work. He’s put what I believe to be a decent statement out to the press tonight but because his English isn’t that great, his point isn’t put across as well as it could be.

“We need to improve, little by little. It could be 10, 12 or 15 games. No limit.

“Yes, I am worried because we need points. We have a good squad and, I’m sure in the future, we’ll be better.”

I understand the point he is trying to make, that the squad needs time etc, but football isn’t a no limit game. If we don’t decide to start playing until 30 or so in, we’ll be in the Championship!

“I think in some positions we are better than last year, in others we are worse. The squad is the squad.

“For me, the big problem is adaptation and the need for time. The worst thing for us was losing Berbatov at the last moment and we didn’t have time to sign a new player. But business is business. It was impossible.”

That last bit is bullshine. Berbatov was always going, I don’t care what anyone says. We should have got a deal for Arshavin or whoever else done before the last day of the transfer window. Ok, so we have Fraizer ‘Spurs is a stepping stone’ Campbell but I’m not pinning much hope on his shoulders.

“We want to win all the matches, but it’s harder in 38 league games to finish above Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool. In the cups, you can win five or six matches and win a trophy, so that is easier.”

This would indicate to me that he realises how important a win is tomorrow night. The UEFA Cup is probably our best chance of some silverware and I don’t think we can afford to go out there for the 2nd leg with anything other than a win.

Apart from the Chelsea game, (the only game we haven’t lost!!) I’ve tipped us to win every one. (Yep, lost them all). On this note, my prediction for tomorrow is a 4-0 win for Wisla Krakow, it’s nailed on!

Would the Carling Cup winners please stand up

Spurs did beat Chelsea and Arsenal on the way to lifting the Carling Cup last season didn’t they?! Now, with what is without doubt a stronger squad, Tottenham can’t even beat the likes of Sunderland at White Hart Lane.

I’m not panicking or on the let’s question Ramos’ credential’s bandwagon, but I am disappointed that we look like ending up with another very average league position this season.

The performance last night was lacking in every way. I know a lot of them were playing International football last week but that is no excuse. We just don’t look like a team and as soon as I saw the starting line up I was concerned by the midfield as well as with Dawson partnering Woodgate. Dawson just ain’t up to it for me, not if we are serious about challenging for honours. If Ledley can only play a game every three weeks or whatever it’s going to be, we need another top quality centre back or for Hutton to get himself fit and Corluka playing in that role.

I’ve been saying it forever but we also desperately need a ball winner in midfield. Zokora is fine as a squad player but that’s as far as it goes. I think Dos Santos needs to start the next game in behind one of Pav or Bent. I just can’t see those two becoming a lethal partnership. Someone said to me today that Zamora and Johnson would get more goals than Pavlyuchenko and Bent. I couldn’t disagree.

Fortunately, we have a fairly easy run of games in the league coming up. I think it only needs us to win one of those to instil a bit of confidence in everyone and turn things around but we really need to do that from this Thursday against Wisla Krakow. Get dumped out at the first hurdle of our European campaign and the fans really could turn.

Hopefully by Sunday’s game against Wigan, the management team will have been able to correct the mistakes from last night’s game, have a bit more time with the new players and get us our first 3pts on the board.

Tottenham v Aston Villa – Pain Preview

A huge game for both sides. If Spurs lose, it’s our worst ever start to a Premier League campaign. If Villa lose, it would be their worst start for five years.

Team News
Croatian defender Vedran Corluka and Russian striker Roman Pavlyuchenko could both make their debuts for Tottenham.

Carlos Cuellar could be in line for his Aston Villa debut after recovering from a calf problem.
Craig Gardner is expected to fit but Steve Sidwell is likely to be out.

Head To Head
Villa really do struggle at the Lane and have not won in their last eight visits.

Recent Form
Spurs have taken one point from their first three games of the season but it was an impressive one, away to Chelsea.

Tottenham have been victorious in only one of their last ten Premier League matches.

Villa have lost just one of their seven league and cup games this season but have only won one game from their last six in the league.

Conclusion
This one could well see goals galore. Both teams know a point isn’t a lot of good, especially Spurs. I’d expect Tottenham to go for a very attacking formation from the off and hope to put the game to bed early. Let’s hope for an quick goal because if we get to half time 0-0 or 0-1, I’d not fancy our chances.

Best Bets
A bit speculative but Tottenham to win 4-3 @100/1 generally

Tottenham to be winning at Half Time and Full Time @9/4 generally

The Quick Six

We have six games coming up in the space of seventeen days which I think can erase from memory our disappointing double defeat opening to the season.

It all kicks off with Villa on Monday night. This is a game we can certainly win. Villa are no mugs but they are beatable, especially away from Villa Park.

Next up is our first UEFA Cup fixture against Wisla Krakow. They do have a claim to fame beating Barcelona 1-0 in the 2nd leg of their CL Qualifying match but they lost 4-0 at the Nou Camp. Their domestic form is solid and they currently sit top of the Polish League. Still another game we should win at the Lane.

Wigan will provide a tough test. Steve Bruce has moulded them into a well organised side. I went to the game away to Villa at the end of last season and they really impressed me. Heskey is playing with a lot of confidence and although I would never want to see him in a Spurs shirt, he is dangerous. For all Wigan are a good side though, these are the games Spurs have to win at home, simple as that.

A point at Pompey would be fantastic, I could see us losing this one.

Newcastle away in the Carling Cup is a big game for us and them. It’s Newcastle’s only chance of some silverware, albeit a remote one. As defending champions, it’s important for Spurs to get to the latter stages of the competition. Another game I feel we can win.

Finally on the 2nd of October the 2nd leg of the UEFA Cup match. Hopefully the job will be done in the home game and this can be a nice run out!

Do you think we will all have lost our pessimistic view by the 3rd of next month? I do hope so.

Will you be supporting England or Croatia tonight?

I’m not jumping on the bandwagon, England have been disappointing me for years. My loyalties are somewhat divided in any case, my old man is Scottish but my Grandad played for England. I see myself as English though and there is nothing I like more than going out with mates cheering on the side in the big competitions.

What does wind me up is people like Steven Gerrard constantly giving the ball away and blasting free kicks into row z for England, then going out for Liverpool 3 days later playing out of his skin and pinging free kicks into the top corner. I know players have off games but his performance in the last Croatia game was atrocious. Every time Ledley King has played for England, he’s been immense, either Man of the Match or very close to it. That’s what the country wants to see, everyone giving 110% and playing for their shirts, not living off their reputations.

I don’t agree with the fans booing the players or giving Fat Frank a load of grief. Why pay to go to the game just to do that? If you don’t like it, don’t go. Empty seats will get the FA acting a lot quicker if it’s change that you want.

It’s quite likely we won’t have any Tottenham players in an England shirt tonight, but we will have a couple turning out for Croatia. One Spurs fan said to me they want to see our players turn it on and stuff England. I don’t share that attitude, but I’d be happy for Modric to show why we paid so much money for his signature and England still get a point.

Nothing would please me more than for the England team to win convincingly against Croatia but I just don’t see that happening, so why not hope for a good performance from the Spurs lads no matter what short they are in?