Oh Dear

I didn’t expect us to get anything at the Etihad yesterday. I would have been reasonably satisfied with a spirited one or two nil defeat but after thirty seconds, the writing was very much on the wall. A disastrous clearance from the usually reliable Hugo Lloris gave Jesus Navas an opportunity which he converted via a sublime chip. The most important thing for any team going to Manchester City is to not concede an early goal because a rout is always a possibility against this side and that is exactly what happened. Before this match, Tottenham had conceded just one goal on their travels and that is what makes the manner of this defeat all the more disappointing.

On paper, the Spurs back four looked fairly strong with Younes Kaboul returning to the starting line-up alongside Captain Dawson but they were made to look like complete fools at times by the power, pace and skill of Aguero and company. Other than an early Erik Lamela chance, the away side were never in it. Villas-Boas seemed to think if that opportunity had been converted, this would have been a very different game. I have my doubts. None of our performances in the Premier League thus far this season have been particularly convincing and having suffered big defeats both here and at the hands of West Ham tells us there is still a lot of work to do. The majority of premier league betting tips would have pointed to a Manchester City victory in this but not by a margin of six goals.

I’ve always been behind Andre Villas-Boas and I will continue to support the Tottenham manager. Football fans these days expect too much too quickly and while I’m not all that impressed by our brand of football, I do believe the manager will improve both results and performances as the season progresses. The AVB out brigade really aren’t helping anyone and it’s not as if other big sides haven’t already lost a few games in the league this season. It’s how we react to this defeat that’s most important and in particular, how the team performs against Manchester United next Sunday. Although they are a good side, David Moyes men are still very beatable. I hope those Spurs players that have underperformed in recent weeks step up and show exactly what they are capable of.

Spurs striking options – who could make a difference?

Tottenham invested heavily over the summer as they tried to fill the void left by Gareth Bale, and while they have filled his place in midfield they are seriously missing his goal scoring exploits.
Although new signing Roberto Soldado has been more than promising, the side do at times look short of a striker.We’ve taken a look at some of the strikers Spurs may look towards in the coming transfer windows, just to whet the appetite of any football transfer betting fans out there

Javier Hernandez
The diminutive striker is Tottenham’s main target and many believe the Mexican would be open to a move to London. With Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie ahead of him in the Manchester United pecking order it is rumoured that he wants to leave. He wants to be firing on all cylinders for the 2014 World Cup and although United boss David Moyes doesn’t want to sell the striker, he may be able to force through a £15million move.

Christian Benteke
There has been a lot of talk that Spurs may try and sign Benteke in January. There can be no doubting Benteke’s quality; last season his goals alone kept Aston Villa up. Paddy Power price Benteke at 25/1 to be the league’s top scorer but if he were to move to Tottenham expect those odds to tumble. Signing Benteke midway through the season would not be easy as Villa are financially sound and not willing to sell a star player. If Villas-Boas turns towards Benteke then he will need to shell out well over £25million. A move for Benteke is doubtful at best.

Stephen El Shaarawy
The 20-year-old has fallen out of favour at AC Milan and would fit the Tottenham mantra perfectly. El Shaarawy impressed last season but has seen his game time marginalized since the arrival of Mario Balotelli and is rumoured to want out. With a credible goal scoring record and plenty of years left in him, Tottenham would be very interested in bringing him to North London. If they can stump up the required £25million then Shaarawy could well be heading to the Lane.

Can Spurs Become True Title Contenders On Saturday?

I saw a stat on Twitter earlier which I quickly passed on to my WhatsApp group, which is full of Gooners, Chelsea and Millwall fans. Basically, they all hate Spurs.

@BBCSport: Spurs have conceded the fewest of any team in Europe’s top five leagues so far this season.

I was quickly shot down, ‘You’ve played Cardiff and Palace and a load of teams with made up names that aren’t even proper football clubs in the Europa League.’

While that all may be true, Tottenham have started the season in impression fashion. The defeat at Arsenal, a game which arguably came too soon for this new group of players, is the only blip on Spurs record thus far this campaign. With Arsenal sitting top of the table, it doesn’t seem like such a terrible loss, albeit a painful blow for any Spurs fan to take.

So this Saturday at 12:45pm we kick off against Chelsea. This is the first time that I can remember the top online bookmakers putting Spurs in as favourites for a match against the Blues. Tottenham have a woeful overall record against Chelsea in the last couple of decades but, things have certainly improved in recent times with the home side having lost just five of the last fourteen encounters.

Although Chelsea returned to winning ways against Fulham last time, they aren’t exactly on fire. Jose Mourinho’s men have scored just six goals in their opening five matches which is their joint-lowest return at this stage during the last eighteen years. Admittedly, they are only two points off Tottenham and Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table and a win at White Hart Lane would see them reach the helm at least temporarily.

This could be one of the defining games of Tottenham’s season and Andre Villas-Boas career as a manager. No matter what he is telling the media in the run up to this game, victory over Mourinho and his former club Chelsea would mean everything to him. Spurs have had a number of false dawns before but this is for me the best squad of players we have had since the Premier League began. Whatever the result, I just hope the players go out there with no fear and play with the freedom, passion and ruthlessness they have shown in recent weeks.

How far can this team go?

Tottenham’s new look side showed exactly what they are capable of this past Saturday with a comprehensive 2-0 victory over a good Norwich City team. A Gylfi Sigurdsson brace was enough to dispatch Chris Houghton’s side and it was Spurs who were firmly in control over the ninety minutes. The home team had 68% of the possession and 7 shots on target to Norwich’s 1. On a day when Gareth Bale was making his debut for Real Madrid, an impressive performance was needed from Andre Villas-Boas’ men, and that’s exactly what they delivered. While Spurs began the match as the strong favourites with the Betting Exchange Betfair, nothing can be taken for granted at the top level of English football.

Making his debut for Spurs, Christian Eriksen’s display was nothing short of thrilling. I’m not sure whether the Dutch league is comparable to the Premier League in terms of style, but Jan Vertonghen was another Ajax import to hitting the ground running in much the same way. Some foreign imports take six months to a year before they show their top form, but Eriksen controlled large part of this game with excellent passing, particularly in the final third. I’m not one to overreact on the back of one performance, but he could look a snip at £11.5m come the end of the season.

Danny Rose was another player who really stood out for me on Saturday. I’ve always been keen for the left back to be given a chance in front of Assou-Ekotto and now that Benny has been loaned out to QPR, Rose has an excellent opportunity to make the position his own. Based on this performance, Rose is well on his way to doing just that. Record signing Lamela came off the bench late on, and it is likely that the former Roma man will make a much more significant impact in the coming weeks.

Can Tottenham Hotspur Football Club win the Premier League? I think it’s far too early to be making any such predictions but the exciting brand of football they played against Norwich was certainly encouraging. A more realistic target for Spurs is a top four finish but with all the leading title contenders looking shaky, maybe the Lillywhites can spring a surprise and be in the mix for the 2013/14 crown.

Bye Bye Benny

Benoit Assou-Ekotto has been a largely permanent fixture in the Tottenham side for a number of years now. During the 2008–09 campaign, Ekotto became first choice in the left back role and has made the position his own until fairly recently. Benny hasn’t impressed Andre Villas-Boas since his arrival as Tottenham manager and following limited chances in the first team, the Cameroon international has made the decision to move to QPR on load for the remainder of the season.

Personally, I love Benoit. He’s got a personality that a lot of other footballers lack and his Twitter LOLs are legendary. An honest guy, maybe this was part of the problem as far as Villas-Boas was concerned. Assou-Ekotto made no bones about the fact that he was in football for the money and also commented that the majority of his fellow professionals claiming otherwise were not being truthful. The bulk of the player’s performances on the pitch for Spurs have been of a high standard, but he is prone to the odd lapse in concentration. This likely also contributed to the Spurs’ manager’s decision to offload Ekotto.

One thing is for sure, the arrival of Benoit Assou-Ekotto at Queens Park Rangers is sure to help the promotion chances of Harry Redknapp’s side. At Championship level, Assou-Ekotto’s quality will stand out like a sore thumb and while he may not always know what team he is going to face come game time, he’ll always give 100% on the pitch. Whether the move will negatively affect Tottenham’s league ambitions is open to questions but they are arguably short of quality at left back now. The bookies are struggling to split Spurs and Arsenal as far as a top four finish is concerned, as has been the case for the last few seasons. Arsenal have always come out on top thus far, but if you are considering betting on Spurs, try www.onlinebettingoffers.com for betting offers.

Benny wasn’t the only player to head for West London from the Lane yesterday. In a surprising move, Andre Villas-Boas also allowed exciting young midfielder Tom Carroll to join QPR on a season long loan. A bright prospect, Carroll has always impressed when given a chance in the Spurs first team, and he will also bring significant quality to Harry Redknapp’s squad.

Spurs can Survive and Prosper without Bale

When a club sells their best players, it usually means that they will struggle the following season without their key men. Clubs in the past have let go of their biggest stars for large sums of money for more than one reason and, in most cases, failed to improve on their past achievements.

Some teams can get away with it due to their size – the Manchester Uniteds of this world have allowed Beckham, Cantona, and Ronaldo to leave and still they remain at the top of the mantle.

This summer has seen Gareth Bale linked with a host of Premier League clubs and with moves into Europe, with Barcelona and Real Madrid both fighting for his signature. The transfer saga has taken months and months to complete and it seems like every day the Welshman is being linked with a move to the Bernabeu.

Bale is arguably Spurs’ best player and, after a stellar season last year, his worth has sky-rocketed into eye-watering figures. But, in selling Bale, are Spurs going to be worse off?

There’s no doubt that Andre Villas-Boas will miss a man of his talent, but in selling Bale the Portuguese boss has been able to add to his squad in other areas.

Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, and the possible signing of Willian has seen Spurs dramatically improve their squad. Instead of having one key player, Villas-Boas will have the ability to draw on a number of stars as he looks to reach the Champions League, one of the most popular football events at betfair.com.

With United, Manchester City, and Chelsea all changing managers, Spurs have a great chance to bridge the gap and overtake Arsenal into fourth spot, with or without Bale.

Spurs exodus continues as Parker leaves

Andre Villas-Boas’ revamping of the Tottenham squad has continued after Scott Parker was allowed to join Fulham on a three-year deal.

The 32-year-old former Charlton Athletic, Newcastle United, West Ham United and Chelsea midfielder has moved to Craven Cottage for an undisclosed transfer fee.

Parker has won 18 caps for England and featured in more than 300 Premier League matches. He captained his country in a friendly international against Holland and started every group match at Euro 2012.

In his final season at West Ham he was named the Football Writers’ Association’s Footballer of the Year.

However, injuries restricted him to a bit-part player at White Hart Lane last season and he failed to make a first-team appearance until December, four months into the campaign.

Parker featured in 50 Premier League matches for the club but failed to find the net in any of them, having moved to Spurs from West Ham United two years ago for £5million.

He is expected to make his debut for Martin Jol’s side in this weekend’s game against Arsenal for which there plenty of fans will more than likely take advantage of an in-play bet offer.

Villas-Boas has allowed 12 players, including the likes of William Gallas, Steven Caulker, Clint Dempsey and Tom Huddlestone, to leave the club on a permanent basis already this summer, while Gareth Bale continues to be linked with a switch to Real Madrid.

See how to bet on football and what the odds are on Bale still being at Spurs in September online.

A further seven players have been loaned out, including James Livermore to Hull City, while Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, Roberto Soldado and Etienne Capoue have all been signed for big fees.

Parker said of his move: “I’m delighted to be joining Fulham and I’m looking forward to meeting my new team-mates at training.”

Bale to Real claims in Spanish Newspaper Marca

It may not be the most reliable source of information in the world, but Spanish newspaper Marca are claiming that Gareth Bale is on the brink of agreeing a six deal with La Liga giants Real Madrid. According to Marca, Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett has met with senior officials at Madrid and worked out a lucrative long term contract for his prize asset. Also mentioned in the article is the fact that Barnett told Real president Florentino Perez that Bale has “wanted to play at Real Madrid since he was a kid,” and showed him a photograph of the player wearing a Madrid shirt when he was 10 years old. That’s when my bullshit radar hit the red zone.

Tottenham and Real Madrid have a partnership agreement and both clubs have claimed that no offer has been made or accepted. I really can’t see Gareth Bale’s agent going behind Levy’s back to negotiate a deal with another club that Spurs themselves have a great relationship with. Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas reiterated the club’s stance on the transfer of Bale today;

“I want to repeat what I was telling you last season and what I was telling you from the beginning of pre-season so I cannot extend myself.

“He is a player that we are willing to continue to have. He’s a Tottenham player, he’s one of the most fantastic players in the world at the moment and we are counting on him for the future.”

Bale doesn’t look like being in the 2014 mobile World Cup betting picture as his Wales side are languishing in 4th spot in qualification, and it could be that he’s keen to embark on a new challenge on the world stage. I personally expect Bale to remain at White Hart Lane for another year, and depending on what Spurs achieve this coming season, he might well be on the move come the end of the campaign.

For more information on the 2014 World Cup, visit www.wcaction.com.

Tottenham Kit Launch Report

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Spurs kit launch this past Monday which took place at the trendy Village Underground in Shoreditch. It was an incredible day weather-wise and although the guy I saw as soon as I stepped off the over ground wearing bright red chino shorts with a blazer made me realise I was nowhere near cool enough for EC2, I still enjoyed my lemon green tea with lychees on the roof in the sun.

As a Shoreditch virgin, I had no idea where this place was but luckily, I was meeting Ricky from the Fighting Cock who is a face of the local underground house music scene and a regular at Village Underground. On arrival, we were greeted by a team of doorman and opposite the venue, a number of the press and fellow bloggers in an orderly queue. Rather than create our own mini queue directly outside, we took the civilised option and joined the back of the existing one. Ricky then proceeded to tell a story about how wasted he got on Sunday and remembered nothing about going to his local co-op topless to buy a bottle of Cinzano Rosso.

Once name checked and inside, we were offered drinks and some poncy buffet food which all looked very nice. Because I’m currently trying to get down to double size zero for the peak of the summer, I just opted for a water. We were then ushered through into another room which was hotter than hell and the chairs packed double tight. I managed to grab a seat three or four rows back from the front which meant I got an excellent view of the Under Armour executive’s blazer. I just kept thinking how much he must be sweating. Sweat aside, he spoke really well about his company, a bit of history and finally, we were ready for the kit to be revealed.

Now, in front of us all was a wall with I WILL written on it. Ricky was expecting the wall to collapse and Daniel Levy to be sitting behind it with some headphones on ready to launch a DJ career. Unfortunately, this did not happen. As the music blared, one by one the letters came down. Each time a letter fell, a player walked out. First up was Michael Dawson. A pro on the modelling circuit, he knew exactly how to strike a pose from heading up last year’s kit unveiling. The rest of the players looked less at ease, particularly the next man to appear, Brad Friedel. The penultimate Spur was Jermain Defoe who was in the away strip, not a Stoke kit as a fat idiot I know joshed. When the final L hit the deck, I was not ready for Gareth Bale to saunter through the smoke. Pre ear surgery and hair restyling, this would have resembled something from Gorillas in the Mist, but I must admit, he looked like a proper sort.

After a few minutes, we all moved into yet another small room where the players were interviewed by various members of the media. The hunt was on for someone called Adrian who had what appeared to be a very important job to do. I was asked if I was Adrian at one point and the temptation to say yes was almost too much for my mischievous mind to stand, but no was the word that came out my mouth. To be frank, I’m a little disappointed with myself about that. I did try and find out what it was Adrian had to do and offered to stand in but the Tottenham Hotspur staff had no time for my juvenile banter. Dawson and Friedel were great in their interviews but Bale and Defoe looked like they could not wait to leave. I hope that wasn’t an indication that they can’t wait to get out the club that quickly! Check out this new betting review site for odds on where Bale will be playing his football in the coming season.

Transfer Time

The summer transfer window turns even the most rational of supporters into a distracted and impatient character. Each passing day is an endless root through tabloid back pages, blogs and social media. The search is not dissimilar to that of a pig looking for truffles. The quarry here though isn’t an overpriced mushroom, rather an overpriced bloke who’s handy with a football.

Tottenham Hotspur, are possibly one of the biggest gifts to the rumour mongers and gossip columns in the entire Premier League. The club doesn’t have fortunes to spend, but is capable of pulling the odd rabbit from the hat. Think Luka Modric, think Dimitar Berbatov. Add to this the absence of Champions League football and the restriction of on only having a little over 36,000 seats to sell at every home game and you have all the ingredients required for transfer dilemmas galore.

Spurs routinely sell out their home games and the plans for new stadium have moved from the architect’s drawing board to Rudoplh’s being boarded up and construction work on the new Sainsburys obviously beginning to get underway. This is all good news to fans as securing Tottenham tickets for such a comparatively small venue can be less than straightforward.

So until the doors to the new stadium open, Tottenham will have to cut their cloth according to the size of their purse when it comes to transfers. Just as they ever have. The acquisition of Paulinho looks to be an inspired one. Voted the 3rd best player at the recent Confederations Cup, he gives every indication of being precisely what the Spurs midfield needs to step up a gear. The suggestion is that Scott Parker may be the man to move on to accommodate his arrival. The idea of Paulinho and Sandro teamed up for Tottenham is appealing, to put it mildly.

Despite the transformation of Gareth Bale from left back, to left wing, to free roaming attacker, the Lilywhites are now in urgent need of an upgrade on their strikers. Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe have both failed to measure up. Adebayor seems incapable of simply joining a side and doing what he’s paid to do without incident and complication. Jermain Defoe’s issues stem from his seeming inability to vary his game play. At his best he can score from nothing. At his worst, when he isn’t offside, he’s horribly selfish.

The name of Leandro Damiao has gone from being one that got Spurs fans salivating, to one that got them irritated. His non transfer has dragged on for three windows and recently the Internacional president revealed that he hadn’t received a single confirmed bid for the player since the beginning of the year. For whatever reason, this a move that is no longer worth speculating over.

Which leaves one man in pole position as Tottenham’s primary striking target, Barcelona’s David Villa. The Spanish legend would be a perfect fit at WHite Hart Lane from a number of perspectives. Firstly, he isn’t a stand alone front man, and would perhaps offer a role not a million miles away from that provided by Van Der Vaart. Secondly, despite lacking Premier League experience, this man is a World Cup winner and a seasoned professional of the highest calibre. Lastly, he would deliver the style of football that Spurs fans crave.

The new season looms and although it is probably said at this time every year, this one looks like being one of real consequence football 2013 – 14 tickets will be like gold dust at The Lane and rightly so. Tottenham spent the bulk of last season with depleted resources. Not only were they never able to replace Modric or Van Der Vaart, but they had to combat the sustained absences of both Younes Kaboul and Sandro.
To have achieved a 5th place finish under such circumstances might not have been miraculous, but it was admirable. With just a few key additions, a Champions League qualifying spot surely awaits.