Monthly Archives: August 2009

Who should start?

The Tottenham team has pretty much been picking itself in the league since the opening game of season, but after some good performances from the fringe players at Doncaster on Wednesday, do any of them deserve to start at the Lane against Birmingham tomorrow?

It’s a hard one for Harry Redknapp because on paper, Birmingham at home should be an easy 3 points. Obviously nothing should be taken for granted but it must be tempting for him to give Crouch, Pavlyuchenko or Bentley a game. Is it worth tinkering with a winning league side though? Other than having to shuffle the defence when Ledley needed a rest against Hull, it has been the same set of players in all three league victories.

Personally, I’d struggle to know what to do if I were in the manager’s shoes. The only real obvious one would be starting Crouch in place of Keane but even that’s a difficult move with Keane having started the season very confidently and being team captain. Bentley’s been in the dock today so I’m not sure it’s the right time for him to be starting and Pavlychenko has just enlightened us on his desire to leave.

The fact we don’t have another game for two weeks when Man Utd visit the Lane means Harry doesn’t need to rest anyone but he may choose to give those who are likely to feature for their country next weekend a breather.

Not exactly sticking my neck out but whatever the eleven Redknapp decides on, I’m confident of all three points tomorrow. Let’s hope Steven Carr doesn’t come back to haunt us!

Poor Pavlyuchenko and Well Done West Ham

He certainly appears to be the 4th choice striker as far as Harry Redknapp is concerned and now Roman Pavlychenko has decided 4th place isn’t good enough and he wants to leave Tottenham because of his lack of first team chances.

‘No footballer likes being on the bench game after game,’ said the 27-year-old.

‘I could lose my place in the Russian squad for the 2010 World Cup.

‘I’m ready now to listen to offers from other clubs. But I can’t say anything concrete right now.’

I’m not surprised by the fact he wants to move on but I am a little surprised at the timing of his decision. Surely it would have made more sense to try and get a move before the season started and not after just three games and on the eve of a Carling Cup tie he is likely to start against Doncaster.

Pavlyuchenko must have realised he would be spending a significant amount of time on the bench this season, especially after the arrival of Peter Crouch, but he has a chance to impress tonight and put some pressure on the manager. If he didn’t start tonight, then I would have understood a decision of this nature after the game but to come out publicly beforehand makes little sense to me. He would have been far better off waiting until January. It only needs one of our other strikers to pick up an injury, and things could change completely for the Russian.

In other news, West Ham fans have likely ruined our chances of hosting a World Cup in the near future. Some of their comments on my post from Monday speak for themselves but their actions last night were a disgrace. Hopefully they get the punishment they deserve but I can’t think of a punishment severe enough for taking away the 2018 World Cup.

Well done West Ham, I hope you are proud of yourselves.

I love beating West Ham

I really do. Not all their fans are arseholes but from a lot of the stuff they came on here with last season, a large proportion are. I do have a lot of time for Zola and Clarke though and it must have been a tough game mentally for their players after the tragic Calum Davenport incident.

It wasn’t an impressive Tottenham performance as it was in our first two games of the season, but it was impressive if you are impressed by Spurs grinding out results, something we haven’t been able to do in seasons past. It’s also nice to see Aaron Lennon’s finishing improving. If he can just try and look up a little more before crossing and playing final balls he’d be priceless. He isn’t far off it now.

It will be interesting to see who starts against Doncaster in the Carling Cup 2nd Round match but you’d imagine most if not all the players that have been on the bench recently will be in the starting line up. It is a difficult one because I don’t think it’s a game you can take lightly but those players wanting to impress will likely make up for any lack of match sharpness.

I’m taking nothing for granted against Birmingham but it’s a game you’d expect us to win at home 9 times out of 10. Another victory would give us huge confidence going into the Man Utd game on the 12th September, followed by Chelsea away the following Sunday, the game that is obviously the bigger test. Ok, Utd will be no picnic but there is no reason to fear any team at the Lane these days. Going to the Bridge does get me a little scared!

Hands off Modric red cheeks

As much as I’ve been enjoying myself since ten to five on Sunday, I’ve managed to find something to take the shine off ever so slightly. I saw a worrying quote in the press yesterday from Harry Redknapp regarding our little legend Luka Modric. I’m sure you all read it but it was the bit about Sir Alex that got me thinking. Harry said ‘Sir Alex Ferguson told me he could play in any team because he’s so good’. As much as I love the accolades coming Luka’s way, when Sir Alex is involved, I start to panic.

Our tremendous start to the Premier League season has been a team effort but Luka Modric has been key in that. The thought of Manchester United stealing him away in January, or at the end of the season, fills me with dread. This is the Manchester Utd manager’s style. Plant the seed in the player’s head and that of his agent, then just sit back and wait to pounce although I realise it was Harry’s fault this time!

We are already accused of being a feeder club for Utd by many of our rivals, another of our star players joining Berbatov and Carrick really would be the final nail in the coffin. Let’s hope our winning habit continues for the foreseeable future and we can tell any potential suitors to get well and truly stuffed.

Last night’s win was special. I know it was only a poor Hull side who’s manager is starting to come across as a complete mental but it was the same Hull that nearly held Chelsea at the weekend. To go to any Premiership side and score five is truly impressive. It’s important to keep our feet on the ground but at the same time enjoy it. It’s not often Spurs start the season in such impeccable fashion.

Hull v Tottenham – Live discussion

Link to live pictures (cheers Danny)

I thought this might be interesting, feel free to get involved. If it works I’ll make it a regular thing during games.

Teams
Spurs
1. Heurelho Gomes
2. Alan Hutton
22. Vedran Corluka
19. Sebastien Bassong
32. Benoit Assou-Ekotto
7. Aaron Lennon
12. Wilson Palacios
6. Tom Huddlestone
14. Luka Modric
10. Robbie Keane
18. Jermain Defoe

SUBS
23. Carlo Cudicini (GK)
5. David Bentley
9. Roman Pavlyuchenko
15. Peter Crouch
16. Kyle Naughton
21. Pascal Chimbonda
24. Jamie O’Hara

Hull
1. Boaz Myhill
19. Steven Mouyokolo
6. Michael Turner
5. Anthony Gardner
3. Andy Dawson
15. Bernard Mendy
20. George Boateng
44. Seyi Olofinjana
11. Stephen Hunt
18. Caleb Folan
25. Daniel Cousin

SUBS
12. Matt Duke (GK)
8. Nick Barmby
10. Deiberson Geovanni
16. Peter Halmosi
17. Kevin Kilbane
23. Kamel Fathi Ghilas
24. Kamil Zayatte

Bar Hutton in for Ledley, it’s the same side that beat Liverpool on Sunday, fingers crossed for another positive result, COYS!

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves but…

That was one of the most impressive Tottenham performances I have seen for many a year. I’m not saying everything about the play was perfect but the way we kept our heads after the penalty was exceptional. In previous seasons, we would have gone on to lose the game.

There are no two ways about it, Liverpool were completely outplayed. If Robbie Keane had been at all clinical in front of goal, the game would have been over by half time. It wasn’t a Liverpool team at their best but it was their best team. Torres couldn’t cope with Ledley and Gerrard had no answers either.

It was beginning to feel like on of those days when Tottenham were squandering chance after chance but then came Beniot Assou-Ekotto’s strike straight out of the top drawer. I didn’t rate him at all a few months ago but Harry has transformed Ekotto into a very good player. If he can add a few goals this season he’ll be invaluable.

Wilson Palacios is fast becoming my favourite player, I’m sure a lot of you feel the same. It just seems like he can’t put a foot wrong. He works tirelessly for 90mins, can tackle, go forward and never gives up. In his post match interview yesterday Harry Redknapp said Palacios is the type of player Tottenham have been missing for a number of years and I agree 100%. We look like a top 4 side when he plays it’s that simple.

I still panic when Gomes has to do anything. It makes the game more exciting but I can do without it to be honest! He had very little to do yesterday but still managed to try his hardest to give the game away by taking Glen Johnson out. Luckily, the rest of the team managed to continue their relentless pressure on Liverpool and come up with a winning goal. Sebastien Bassong made the perfect debut and it was great to see him get the winner. On what we have seen so far, Harry certainly knows his stuff in the transfer market.

I more expectant than hopeful about Wednesday’s game at Hull and that is very unusual. Our home form has been exceptional for a while now, let’s make ourselves a formidable outfit away from the Lane too.

Doncaster, Defoe, Dream Team and D-Day

I wasn’t too interested in last night’s International so went and played some golf very badly in a thunderstorm instead. I wished I’d stayed at home to see little Defoe’s brace. From the highlights, it looked as though England made some silly mistakes but showed very good fight and team spirit to pull it back and come out the game with a 2-2 draw. I’m delighted Jermain made the most of his chance and it should give him a lot of confidence going into Sunday’s match. I know a lot of you will disagree but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Defoe start Sunday’s game on the bench because he could have a huge impact in the latter part of the game if things are as tight as I expect them to be.

Not the easiest draw for our opening Carling Cup fixture with an away trip to Doncaster but it could have been worse. Sean O’Driscoll’s side play some nice football and it should be a very entertaining game. They have started the season with a point at Watford and a win away at Notts County in the first round of the Carling Cup. We should have too much for them even at the Keepmoat Stadium and I’m sure Harry must have this trophy in mind as a realistic target again.

With Liverpool only a few of days away now, my nerves and excitement are increasing in equal measures. The pessimist in me says I’d be happy with a draw but I can honestly see the game going either way. If we play to our potential, there is no reason why we can’t take all 3 points. Tottenham’s front line is certainly stronger than Liverpool’s now and the fact we have a number of options will make it difficult for their defenders. The negative for us is the fact it’s a new partnership at the back with Bassong and King. They will have their work cut out keeping Fernando Torres at bay but knowing we have goals in us should give them the confidence to play a composed and solid game.

Our Fantasy League for this season in association with Expert Betting Advice is open for business. It always gets a lot of participants and it would be nice to get a few more Spurs fans on board. Should be a good crack.

Go here to register:

http://fantasy.premierleague.com/

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

534369-119079

Jenas off, Bentley storms off and Modric taken off

There are reports circulating today that Jermaine Jenas has submitted a transfer request. He has been linked with a move to Inter for a while after Jose Mourinho voiced his admiration for the player earlier in the summer. I wouldn’t be that surprised to see JJ go. I get the impression he probably thinks he’s a bit better than Tottenham and probably also expected to have moved on to a bigger club before now although his performances for us haven’t demonstrated that he’s worthy of such a move. If there is any genuine inquiry from Inter, I doubt he’ll be hanging around.

David Bentley got a rare start in our final friendly of the pre-season against Olympiakos yesterday. We didn’t come to life until the 2nd half and unfortunately, that’s when he was substituted. He stormed down the tunnel but it’s unclear whether it was because he needed to relieve himself or because he was in a strop, I’m hopeful it was the first one. Ok, he really struggled last season but he’s a quality player and if he’s not going to Villa as was looking likely last month, Bentley should to be given a chance.

Luka Modric came on for the 2nd half yesterday and was superb, being involved in the first two goals of the game before coming off in the 79th minute. I’ve got everything crossed that this was just a precautionary measure from Harry because he will be the difference in us achieving something or not this season as far as I’m concerned. One of the best midfielders in the Premiership for my money.

Goals from Olympiakos game here

Ledley going for a song?

It looks like all our defensive responsibilities are being pinned on Ledley King for the big kick off against Liverpool at the Lane in two Sundays time. Considering last week Harry was saying our hero was yet to kick a ball this pre season, I’m a little concerned.

What concerns me more is the fact Levy has authorised an £8m deal for a centre back. It must mean Woodgate and Ledley are in very bad shape. We know Woody requires another hernia op and the manager hasn’t exactly sounded positive about him but with all his previous injury problems, I’m just hoping our Jesus isn’t out for the season.

Michael Dawson’s Achilles problem is likely to only keep him out for a few weeks. He was superb at times last season but he performs a lot better with King or Woodgate alongside. He had a terrible time at the start of our last campaign when he was leading the line. I can’t see Dawson and Bassong together working but it might be our only option at times.

Since Harry took over, he’s managed Ledley brilliantly. Unlink Ramos, he understands that everyone is different and is old school enough to let King give his all when it comes to game time, not on the training pitch. The problem we are faced with is Ledley King’s condition is only likely to deteriorate and the number of games he will be involved in will decrease as time goes on.

Is Sebastien Bassong Ledley King’s long term successor at Tottenham? I don’t think he’s fit to lace his boots on the evidence I’ve seen so far but I’m willing to give the lad a chance and hope his performances in the coming weeks and months prove he can be.

Moussa Sissoko for £12m?

Seems very pricey to me. I realise he’s only 19 but we have been burnt too many times in recent seasons on young players with potential. To be honest, I’m not an expert on the lad or French football in general but he does seem to have only had the one good season which was last year when Toulouse finished 4th. I’m not sure I’d be prepared to part with £12m on the back of that.

Sissoko has been quoted in the past as saying he would like a move to the Premier League and having watched a few videos he does seem like a busy and tough player who would probably be a welcome addition to our squad, it’s just the price tag that is putting me off.

Although Damien Comolli was to blame the majority of the time, our record when it comes to signing unproven talent from abroad doesn’t read well. You’d hope that things will change with Harry’s eye for talent but his past record when signing foreign imports has been picking up obscure players for peanuts and getting the best out of them, he’s not had this type of cash at his disposal up until now.

I know Joe Cole is probably nothing more than a pipedream but I’d be a lot happier paying that sort of money for his services, even if he does only have a year left on his current deal at Chelsea. The blues appear keen to keep the skilful 27 year old if the papers are to be believed, but Harry’s connection with the player coupled with the fact he doesn’t have long left on his contract at Chelsea, makes me think that there is an outside chance of a deal coming off.