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Is the Europa League actually a good thing for Spurs?

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I’ve always felt the Europa League is a bit of a nonsense competition. Having to fly out to various distant parts of Europe to play in the cold on a Thursday night must have a negative effect on Premier League results. The taste of Champions League action probably hasn’t helped and neither did the fact we finished fourth last season only to be cruelly denied another tilt at that elite contest. Seeing Real Madrid and Manchester City play out that classic last night also reminded me exactly what we are missing out on as Tottenham fans.

I do feel that in our current situation, the Europa League could well be a positive thing. Our squad is extremely healthy at the moment and a number of top players are sitting on the bench getting very little game time. While playing in this competition may not keep them all happy, it will maintain their match fitness and also give Andre Villas-Boas the opportunity to assess their talents on the pitch. With Defoe in fine form, it might be a while before Adebayor and Dempsey get a start in the current system so I’d expect them both to play a part in the Europa League.

Andre Villas-Boas also appears to have a strong passion for the Europa League. As Porto manager, Villas-Boas became the youngest ever manager to win a European competition when his team took the 2010–11 Europa League. Although the Premier League and a top four finish will be the manager’s priority, he will also be keen for his new side to do well in this competition, beginning with Lazio this Thursday night. Villas-Boas has been quoted in the press this week saying that he ‘wants to do something special’ in this season’s Europa League and sounds very keen on winning the trophy for a second time.

I expect Spurs to have a successful European campaign this season and while it may not be the Champions League, I think we will be in for some exciting Thursday evenings over the coming months.

Chelsea v Tottenham Preview

Saturday’s live lunchtime kick off on Sky Sports is the match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. With both sides in the running for a Champions League place this season, this could be a very important result as far as a top four finish is concerned. The upcoming European Championships could be in the backs of some players minds and could be having a negative affect on some while encouraging others to play well to try and force their way into the final squads. The Euro 2012 odds are sure to change on the back of these performances. Until recently, Tottenham were certainly in the driving seat being well clear in third place and even making a brief challenge for second spot, but following just three bad results in a row, the top of the table now has a completely different complexion to it.

Although there isn’t much between the two sides as far as their last six games are concerned with Chelsea having taken 8 points to Tottenham’s 7, the Blues definitely come into this match with the upper hand. Chelsea have won two of their last three Premier League games but also have momentum from victories in the Champions League and the FA Cup where striker Fernando Torres rediscovered his scoring touch. If Torres can continue to find the net for the remainder f the season, it will be like having a new signing for Chelsea. Spurs on the other hand look a bit flat and have lost their last three league games. The difficult FA Cup clash with Bolton this past weekend certainly won’t have helped matters.

Spurs do have a chance to pick themselves up on Wednesday night with a home game against Stoke City, while Chelsea travel to the fortress that is the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City. Depending on those two games, there could be a very different feel to Saturday’s match as a win for Spurs and a defeat for Chelsea would give the Tottenham a seven point cushion. As things stand currently however, Chelsea are the strong favourites to take all three points. The Blues were victorious in this fixture by two goals to one last season, and a similar result would not surprise me. I’m hoping Spurs can surprise though and get their season back on track.

Chelsea v Tottenham Head to Head
Chelsea Wins 60
Tottenham Wins 49
Draws 35

Last Season
Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham

Current Form (Last Six Games)
Chelsea DDLWLW
Tottenham WDWLLL

Emmanuel Adebayor could be Tottenham Bound

Emmanuel Adebayor TottenhamHe is talented but hugely unlikeable and not just because of his stint at Arsenal. I couldn’t understand a word that came out his mouth during the World Cup when he was helping diversify the BBC’s panel of pundits. He puts in 110% for a few games a season but is largely lazy. I think that pretty much sums up Emmanuel Adebayor. While I might sound a bit negative about the current Manchester City misfit, I would also say that on his day, Adebayor is still capable of being one of the best strikers in the Premier League.

Early in Adebayor’s Manchester City career, he faced former club Arsenal at the City of Manchester Stadium. It was a game in which he was later to receive a ban for violent conduct and he also chose to run the length of the pitch to provoke the travelling Arsenal fans. That wasn’t what stuck in my mind about that match however. What did stay with me was the way Adebayor played. He was quite simply breathtaking at times and while the majority of Arsenal fans were happy to see the back of the Togolese attacker because of his questionable attitude, they were probably also left wondering who in their squad could produce such a meaningful performance.

It doesn’t look like Real Madrid want to retain Adebayor’s services and he has rejected talk of moves to Blackburn and PSG in recent days. Could he be the man to solve our striker issues or would he just create more of them? City are unlikely to want to sell to Tottenham but it could be a possibility if the price is right. Also, Harry isn’t scared to take ex Arsenal players to the Lane if he thinks they are good enough as was the case with William Gallas.

Personally, Emmanuel Adebayor wouldn’t be a player I’d consider for anything like the £25m valuation that is being banded about but if we could bring him in at a cut price, I think he is possibly worth taking a punt on. Without the lure of Champions League football, the world class players that we can attract are all likely to come with some baggage.

Where do we go from here?

Does anyone else feel like Tottenham are stuck in limbo? Probably too good for the Europa League, not quite good enough for the Champions League. A situation that it appears impossible to free ourselves from. I’m not interested in the riches of Manchester City or Chelsea. I feel like any achievements they make mean very little as there are no real obstacles in either side’s way other than the impatience of their respective owners. It must be boring supporting sides with an unlimited budget. Or is it more boring being stuck in the Europa League for the foreseeable future?! I’m not sure.

Bring back the UEFA and Cup Winners Cups please. Straight up knockout competitions where teams play at their best rather than continual life sapping trips to Eastern Europe on a Thursday night. I realise there is a fair bit of revenue involved but I’m willing to do a fun run or a few boot sales to make up the shortfall. The majority of football fans whose teams aren’t involved in the Europa League have zero interest in it. For those whose teams are, it’s minimal at best until the latter stages.

I’m assuming Harry is going to treat the Premier League as our priority and the Europa League as a run out for players not seeing regular first team action. At least that’s what I’m hoping. Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool and Tottenham. They are the top six clubs in the country fighting for just four elite places. My problem is I now think that Liverpool are more likely than Tottenham to oust one of those first four mentioned. Is that the pessimist in me or the realist? I was surprised when we went to Anfield and turned them over at the end of the season, especially when the Pool had been in such good form. It could likely be my pessimistic outlook that garners these types of results for us so I should probably try and maintain it.

I suppose the forthcoming season was always going to be a little anti climactic following the euphoria of a Champions League campaign. I’m just not looking forward to it. More about hanging on to our stars than buying new ones coupled with the prospect of losing Harry Redknapp to England at the end of it. Am I missing some light at the end of this dark rather boring tunnel?!

Bargain Borrowing

Tottenham Loan DealsSo, no players want to sign for us on a permanent basis then! The fact we can’t tie any of our top transfer targets down is a little disheartening but it’s probably also an indication that Harry Redknapp isn’t prepared to buy second rate players just to bring in bodies. He seems very much of the opinion that if the price isn’t right, we should just move on.

Redknapp has been quoted in the press today saying loan deals are probably the way forward for Tottenham in the current transfer market;

“I can see loans happening. I’ve got three players in mind that would not cost a lot of money.

“If we can pull off the deals you are talking about £8million or £9million for three players. Loans would certainly be a real possibility.

“People are going to loan players from all over the world, there will be loads because clubs are struggling to pay the wages. There will be high earners they have to loan out.”

I’m not really sure how I feel about loan deals. Part of me thinks it’s a good thing. You get the player in for the season just paying wages and if it doesn’t work out, you don’t have to retain their services. Often, these players are looking to put themselves in the shop window and put in decent performances throughout the season.

Usually where loans are concerned, it’s players from the top clubs going to smaller outfits. A side in the Champions League having to bolster their squad with loanees seems a little ridiculous. However, with the new rules regarding squad sizes, times may be changing. The wealthiest clubs are going to have a number of players surplus to requirements and loan deal may be the only viable financial option.

The only issue I can see is whether these big name stars are going to have enough hunger coming to Spurs on a temporary basis. Will they just rest on their laurels? If you take Jamie O’Hara’s spell at Portsmouth as an example; he worked his socks off week in week out. I can’t see many of those on the fringes of the Manchester City squad doing the same for Tottenham. Only time will tell I suppose. I’d imagine some business will be done one way or another this week.

Other news;

I’m going to be the Spurs contact for Ian Wright’s Saturday football show on Absolute Radio.

I’ve been asked to share this Arsenal story with you all;
Arsenal Celebrations

You can join our Fantasy League for this season below
2010/11 Fantasy Football

Once you have chosen your team, click on leagues then enter the following code to join the EBA League:
163104-47048

And finally, you can follow me on Twitter here
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Tottenham second biggest spenders in Premiership

Guest Writer
This post is written by guest blogger Kampanart Wong from Footy Shirts 4 U. We are always happy to have guest contributions, if you are passionate about Spurs and have something to talk about, drop us a line using our contact form.

Spurs have went through a complete rebuilding process of the team, and have spent £150 million in transfers over the last 16 months meaning that they have out spent the whole of the Premiership, including the top 4, apart from big spending Manchester City.

Even with this huge financial outlay Spurs were still able to announce a pre-tax profit for the year ending in June 2009, largely due to the sale of Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov.

It is clear that this is a huge amount of money but Spurs have signed a lot of players for the money and strengthened key positions for the team including the strike force with Crouch and Defoe being two of the top strikers in the Premiership just now. Robbie Keane was also resigned for the club and although we have yet to see him at his best he is still a top player and one of the key players in a Spurs football shirt.

Spurs at the moment are reaping the rewards of their financial expenditure as they are currently sitting 4th in the Premiership and in line to get a Champions League spot but there is along way to go in the season yet.

After the announcement of pre-tax profits Daniel Levy not only showed his delight at the quality of players that Spurs have at the club but also on the future plans for the team.

“We have made significant progress in delivering on our long-term vision for the club.

“We have always had three key priorities and you will have heard them oft repeated – investment in the first team, a new training centre and an increased capacity, state-of-the-art new stadium.

“We have assembled what we believe to be one of the most talented squads we have had during our time in the Premier League, the ground is being turned and pitches laid for the new training centre at Bulls Cross in Enfield and we have submitted a planning application for a stunning new stadium on a site next to our existing stadium.”

Everything is looking bright at the moment and if we can maintain the form we have shown in the early part of the season then we will have Champions League football to look forward to next season.

Written by Kampanart Wong, a sports editor who blogs about cheap football jerseys

Adebayor is doing the right thing

I’ll start by saying I’m not Emmanuel Adebayor’s biggest fan. He’s arrogant and while very talented at times, is lazy and inconsistent in equal measures. That said, I think he’s made the right move leaving Arsenal for Manchester City. I know the majority of fans think it’s just about the money but I don’t believe that to be the case.

The players Man City have signed thus far look mightily impressive and by all accounts, they are just getting warmed up. Robinho, Tevez and Adebayor have the potential to be as good as Henry, Etoo and Messi in terms of what they could do for Man City. They are certainly far better than Van Persie and get my ankle from row Z Eduardo, who while both very talented both are very temperamental and it will be interesting to see how they will get on for a whole season without the big man. A make or break season for pink boots Niklas “you’re shit” Bendtner one suspects.

Although Adebayor has been a bit hit and miss in recent times when he is good he’s a real handful often unplayable – we (spurs) know this add to that he weighs in with crucial goals in big games as Man U will testify. Can Sparky get the best out of him? I think so, Wenger is a genius with most things he touches, but I think Hughes could have just a big an impact on Adebayor. And not only the Welshman, the players and ambition he sees around him, yeah the 170 large a week is a right touch and without a doubt probably sealed the deal but trophy opportunities at City look more of a possibility than at the Emirates at the moment. Hughes is an underrated boss as well, he showed his managerial skills when he gave Arsene Wenger a tactical master class last season up at The City of Manchester Stadium, City giving Arsenal a 3-0 drubbing. Before this he turned Blackburn from a team playing the ‘kick anything that moves’ style of football into a team that actually weren’t too bad on the eye. OK last season the away form was a joke, but the home form was immense, players like Barry and Tevez will relish the away days so it surely wont be long before they are picking up points all over.

You know I wouldn’t be surprised if Cesc Febregas is a little bit jealous of his former team mate. He must be seriously considering his options after five dry years as well as being witness to the amount of top talent that has been sold during that period. Yes Spurs have been guilty of the same in selling Berbatov and Carrick but these are players that have left because we could not offer Champions League football, that is not the case at Arsenal. Adebayor has left for a side not even in Europe, who admittedly have offered him good money, but surely this just emphasises the lack of ambition down at Arsenal? Are Man City contenders for the top 4 next season? Why not, they have made some astute signings and have a good manager, who are the weakest in the top four, Arsenal? Definitely. Will Adebayor’s decision look so materialistic next season, well it wont if he’s on an open top bus with the top of the FA cup on his head singing blue moon, and if they double that up with 4th place a few people might being eating humble pie.

If you could sign one player, who would it be?

It’s half way through July now and we are yet to see any fresh faces at the Lane. I really thought Harry would have brought in one or two players before next weeks Wembley Cup but it’s not looking very likely at the moment.

The thought of Patrick Vieira makes me very sad. I thought Arsenal did the right thing cashing in on him in 2005. A Patrick Vieira with another 4 years and a number of injuries on the clock can’t be any good for Tottenham, surely?

Also making me sad currently is the fact Craig Bellamy looks to be well down the pecking order at Manchester City now Mark Hughes has brought in Carlos Tevez and looks likely to sign Emmanuel Adebayor in the next few days. Redknapp was desperate to sign Bellamy last season and apparently the deal only fell through because West Ham weren’t happy selling to Spurs.

In other transfer news, Mirko Vucinic would never sign for us. That works out quite well because for one thing he’s shit, and for another, I doubt we were ever interested in him.

Anyway, I thought it would be find to find out what one player you would like to see brought in at Tottenham? It doesn’t have to be someone we have been linked with in the press. Is there anyone in the Championship that looks worth taking a punt on? Maybe a hidden gem in the Bundesliga? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Reality Check

For me, this is a great time of year to be a Spurs fan. I love all the stories about who we are going to sign that never come to fruition but year on year people still fall for the same old bullshit. If you think of all the big names we have been linked with in the last five years or so, how many have we actually signed?

Samuel Eto’o, Roque Santa Cruz and Arjen Robben are just some of the high profile names that we have been connected with, but in reality, none of them have had Tottenham on their radar. Man City aside, no top quality player in their prime is going to come to a team with no European football on offer, especially those already at a club who are in the Champions League.

The only players we can attract are those who either aren’t quite up to scratch for Utd, Liverpool etc, or they are English and not the finished article, and no other club is stupid enough to pay the kind of money for their services that we are. The thing we have going for us now however is Harry Redknapp’s ability to find decent players for little money. I hope he continues to work this way even though he knows there is plenty of cash at his disposal.

With Manchester City looking more and more likely to crash the top 4 this season, and probably staying there for some time, Spurs chances of ever being able to attract the Samuel Eto’o’s of this world are slim to none.

Personally, I’m quite happy with the position we are in. I’m very keen to see what Harry can do given a complete season and being able to bring in a full compliment of his own players. I realise long term Spurs will likely need a billionaire investor to compete in the Premier League but it’s not something I’m looking forward to.

Having an unlimited budget isn’t healthy and I think football clubs need to be run as viable businesses. It will take a side like Man City or Chelsea going under before something is done but I definitely think there needs to be some kind of transfer and salary cap enforced.