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Month: November 2008

NEC Nijmegen v Tottenham – Pain Preview

NEC Nijmegen v Tottenham – Pain Preview

A game Spurs should have a decent chance of winning on current form and more or less qualify for the last 32 of the UEFA Cup in the process.

Team News
Alan Hutton is expected to be out for Tottenham with his long term foot injury. Luka Modric is still out and Vedran Corluka and striker Roman Pavlyuchenko are both cup-tied. Ledley King will also be rested.

Current Form
Spurs have won 6 of their last 8 games in all competitions, losing only once. Their last UEFA Cup game was a 4-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb.

NEC are 8th in the Dutch League and have won 6 of 15 games in all competitions this season but only 2 of their last 7. They won their last game in this competition 3-2 to Dinamo Zagreb.

The game is live on ITV4, 6pm Kick Off.

I don’t expect it to be easy but I’d fancy Tottenham to come away with something from this game. They appear to be in a lot better form than NEC and are also playing at a higher level week in week out.

Aaron Lennon is on fire at the moment and I’d fully expect him to feature. Harry will probably go with Bent up front on his on, possibly with Lennon in behind with Modric being out of action.

I’ll got for a 1-0 Spurs win, Jenas to score.

Best Bets
Spurs to win 1-0, Jenas first scorer – Scorecast @ 45/1 with Betfred

Gallas and Arsenal the biggest joke of all

Gallas and Arsenal the biggest joke of all

Let’s cast our minds back a month or so. Spurs were bottom of the league, some way adrift, and didn’t look like winning another game anytime soon. Arsenal fans were having a field day and came up with a number of Tottenham jokes that just kept on coming. It’s gone all quite on that front since Harry arrived at the Lane and over the last few days the boot is well and truly on the other foot.

I’m not jumping on the bandwagon, I’ve always thought Gallas was an awful captain for them. His attitude is terrible. He’s a quality defender on his day but not a player that can lead Arsenal single handed or be the type of person the younger players can look up to and depend on.

The problem Arsenal face now is they don’t have any other leaders in that squad. Anyone Wenger appoints as captain from his current crop just won’t be up to the job. Fabregas is the only possibility but he’s struggling as it is this season without the added pressure of trying to lead a team full of overpaid moaners that are yet to win any trophies to back up their arrogance.

At Tottenham we still have a few issues to iron out. A goalkeeper that can hold the ball would be useful. What we do have though, are 3 or 4 players that are capable of being a club captain. I find it amazing Wenger didn’t address the lack of leadership in his squad after the way they capitulated last season. His first mistake was making Gallas captain, his 2nd was letting him keep it after his tantrum at Birmingham.

It didn’t take long for the Spurs jokes to die a death and as entertaining as they were, none came close to Gallas and Arsenal, the biggest joke of all.

Bent must take his chance

Bent must take his chance

Darren Bent has a massive opportunity tonight. In normal circumstances he probably wouldn’t get a look in, but with the players that are missing and the form he has been in of late, he could well start for England tonight against Germany. Capello has reportedly spoken with Bent regarding the way he wants him to play which points to him playing at least some part. Bent is quoted as saying “He told me why he picked me and how he wants me to play. I just listened. He told me to play my own game and not try to over complicate things.”

I know a number of people are of the opinion that the England stars that have pulled out of the squad either didn’t fancy it or have been told by their respective clubs not to play. I find it quite hard to believe that any player would not want to line up against the old enemy, especially with how well the side has been playing recently. Although saying that, a number of them looked like they couldn’t care less a few months ago but surely any player that can’t get motivated by representing England against Germany shouldn’t be playing the game full stop.

A good performance here would do Bent’s confidence the world of good and could also have a positive impact on the rest of Tottenham’s season. Even without Lampard, Gerrard, Rooney and the like, the likely starting line up looks solid enough. The majority of England games where Gareth Barry has played have ended positively so his inclusion is a good sign.

It could be the type of game that will suit Bent. England are likely to be under pressure for large periods and will have to play on the break. Bent’s pace and power are probably better suited to a game like this than maybe Theo Walcott or Michael Owen.

Frazier Campbell scored the only goal of the game for England’s Under-21’s last night against the Czech Republic, lets hope Darren Bent can continue the Spurs-England striker takeover!

You can only endure a clown for so long

You can only endure a clown for so long

I knew it wouldn’t be long before Heurelho Gomes cost us a game under Harry and it finally happened yesterday at Craven Cottage. I’ve been fighting his corner while most people have been knocking our Brazilian keeper be you cannot defend the indefensible.

His save from Jimmy Bullard’s free kick was exceptional but ultimately pointless. What good is a keeper who can pull off the spectacular if he can’t do the simple things? It would be like a striker who scores a pinger every so often but misses a couple of open goals every game.

I know he was highly rate before arriving at Tottenham and played well at the Lane when we played PSV in the UEFA Cup but I just find it hard to believe he wasn’t making the same sort of errors week in week out for them.

There hasn’t been a game this season where he hasn’t made some kind of mistake and the amount of goals he’s cost us now is completely unacceptable.

Harry keeps coming out and defending him to the media which is all he can really do but surely he must be thinking about giving Cesar Sanchez a chance. I know he’s getting on but he isn’t really old in goalkeeping terms. He looked solid enough when he came on against Liverpool the other night and simply has to be a better option than Gomes at the moment.

Obviously a keeper will be a priority in January but it will come down to who is available. I can’t see Newcastle wanting to sell Given especially in the middle of the season and that’s even if he fancies a move to London. I really don’t want David James. I know he’s ironed out a lot of the simple mistakes he used to make but you can bet your life if he arrives at Spurs they will suddenly appear again. I hear Blackburn have a good keeper, Paul something or other.

Maybe we need to be looking at goal keepers that are keeping the bench warm. There are a number of good keepers not getting a game who we may be able to prise away from their clubs in the transfer window but it’s whether Harry wants to take a punt on someone who hasn’t been getting regular first team football.

This is a big decision for HR but I really think he needs to drop Gomes for the next game. What’s the worst that can happen? If Cesar does turn out to be that bad, Gomes can always come back in. Being dropped may knock his confidence but I don’t see how he can play any worse that he is at the moment.

Tottenham v Liverpool – Pain Preview

Tottenham v Liverpool – Pain Preview

Spurs go into tonight’s game unbeaten under Harry Redknapp as well as having beaten Liverpool 2-1 earlier this month at White Hart Lane. This will be a quite different Liverpool side with Rafa Benitez likely to give his fringe players a game while resting his stars. Will this make things easier for Tottenham though? Possibly not…

Team News
Ledley King is likely to be rested for Tottenham, who are also missing Benoit Assou-Ekotto through suspension and Giovani dos Santos through injury. Redknapp may elect to give some of his squad players a run out but don’t expect wholesale changes from Spurs as this competition is very important to the club.

Liverpool are reportedly resting Captain Steven Gerrard as well as former Spur Robbie Keane. Fernando Torres may start after recovering from injury.

Head To Head
Tottenham more than hold their own against Liverpool at White Hart Lane over recent years. Of the last 10 encounters, Tottenham have won 4 and drawn 3. Liverpool have managed 3 victories.

Current Form
Both teams are on top form. Spurs are unbeaten in 5 games winning 4 and drawing 1. Liverpool have only lost 1 of their last 5, that defeat coming at the hands of Tottenham.

Liverpool dominated the meeting at the start of the month but Tottenham still managed to engineer a victory. Theoretically, tonight’s match should be easier for the home side with Liverpool likely to field a weakened team. The downside is those fringe players will want to take their chance and show their manager what they can do.

If Spurs can continue to make use of the little genius from Croatia the way they have been doing recently, and with Darren Bent in such blistering goal scoring form, I would fancy Spurs to make it into the next round tonight. It won’t be easy but Liverpool’s priorities lay elsewhere and the Carling Cup means a lot more to Tottenham.

Best Bets
Spurs to win 3-1 @ 20/1 with Betfred

Luka Modric to score first @ 12/1 with Betfred

Man City – Pain Review

Man City – Pain Review

Is Harry actually God? I’ve never believed in God before but I’m starting to see the light.

Since Harry Redknapp took charge.

Played 5
Won 4
Drawn 1 (We can allow God an off day)

Before he took charge I was starting to think we would never win a game ever again.

Yesterday’s three points took us off the bottom of the table and although we aren’t out the woods yet, things look an awful lot better than they did a few weeks ago. In fact, it’s like watching a different team.

Modric was immense again yesterday as he has been in every game under Harry. The boy doesn’t stop trying and he oozes class. He controlled the game. I was worried that the £16.5m was way over the mark with his performances under Ramos, it now looks like a snip. Our mate Wrighty7 seems to think it’s because Harry keeps him in the bags under his eyes on trips to away games so he feels safe. I don’t believe this rumour for a second.

Speaking of £16.5m, Darren Bent is looking like he wasn’t so over priced after all. Confidence are what good strikers are all about, Harry has somehow instilled it by the bucket load into Bent. He looks like scoring every time he gets the ball in and around the box, an absolute predator.

Ekotto and Zokora both look like bit parts and we will hopefully strengthen in those areas come January but as long as we continue to rack up those 3pts, they can continue to plug away being average.

Wednesday’s game against Liverpool does scare me a bit, but not as much as it would have scared me this time last month. They out played us in the league game but we still beat them. I’ll be happy with more of the same!

New goalkeeper a Given

New goalkeeper a Given

Spurs have been strongly linked in the press today with Newcastle Goalkeeper Shay Given. Harry is quoted in the Daily Mail as saying: “Shay Given is a great goalkeeper who I admire. Any manager would have to be interested in him if he became available.”

Given is a very solid goalkeeper and would be a great acquisition for Tottenham. He was previously unsettled at Newcastle and I’m sure he would be keen on the move but I’d assume uprooting his family may be a stumbling block.

Redknapp’s been making all the right noises about Gomes saying he is a top keeper etc but I think more than anything it’s because he’s stuck with him until January and wants to give him plenty of confidence.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Gomes is a decent goalkeeper in his own right but he’s another with the problem of the press highlighting every small mistake. It seems Tottenham goalkeepers are their favourite target for career destruction. He’d need to have an incredible season from here on in to shake the clown tag and I can’t see that happening.

The simple errors are just part of his make up. I would say they have probably increased this season with the team’s poor performances but while he’s different class at times the other part of his character will always be there.

In other news, Sir Les Ferdinand has signed on to be a ‘strikers consultant’. Exactly what he’ll be doing is anybodys guess, consulting the strikers I’d presume! I can’t see him giving Harry advice on buying players so this must be to work with the existing players on different aspects of their game. He’s a good character to have around the place whatever he’s doing.

House of cards

House of cards

Like every other Tottenham fan, I couldn’t be happier at the minute. Our first league win of the season against Bolton, come back from the dead away to Arsenal, then get a victory against the unbeaten league leaders Liverpool to take us off the bottom of the table.

A lot of pundits are saying Harry has been extremely lucky which I suppose he has but I just feel like some managers have that about them and some don’t. This feel good factor HR has brought with him will only last so long though. Once the initial buzz is gone it’s whether we can still produce results.

A mate of mine who hates Spurs said he can’t wait for this house of cards to fall down. I can see where he’s coming from. That’s two games now, admittedly against two top teams, where we have got away with playing badly but have still got results. Really and truly we should have got a hiding yesterday the amount of chances Liverpool had. Don’t get me wrong, the fight and spirit the players have been showing is superb and makes you proud to be a Spurs fan but the problems that were there under Ramos are still there now.

Redknapp will need to address these in the coming weeks and can hopefully bring in a couple of fresh faces in January. I just hope we can ride this wave for a bit longer so we are in a position to be able to attract these players once the transfer window opens up.

I was just passed this important announcement from a Sunderland fan, I thought I’d better share it with you.

If you see any Arsenal fans walking their dog please contact the RSPCA immediately as they cant hold a lead please call 0800 4-2 4-3 4-4