After our disappointing FA Cup Semi Final exit at the hands of Portsmouth, I don’t think anyone could have predicted that Tottenham would bounce back in such dramatic fashion. With our run of fixtures, I honestly thought a top 4 finish was very unlikely, but after two incredible victories, Spurs are now favourites to take the last Champions League spot.
Being the pessimist that I am, I’m still expecting something to go wrong somewhere! Obviously the big one looks to be on May 5th at the City of Manchester Stadium but I think Bolton at home in two Saturday’s time could be key. The best I can see us getting at Old Trafford this weekend is a draw, and even that is unlikely. Man City go to Arsenal for Saturday’s late kick off in a match where we need a favour from the Gunners. I know a number of their supporters would rather lose than help Spurs out, but Wenger will be seething after losing to both Tottenham and especially Wigan, and will expect a serious reaction from his players.
All credit to Harry Redknapp. While opposition supporters continue to knock our gaffer, their can be no denying his ability as a manager. We are now just a point away from our best ever Premier League total and it is no small coincidence that Redknapp achieved the same feat with both West Ham and Portsmouth. Maybe he owed Pompey one and maybe we were never destined to reach this year’s FA Cup Final. However, maybe we are destined to upset the Liverpool’s and Man City’s of the world instead.
If we are going to finally achieve reach the Holy Grail of Europe’s elite competition, I don’t think we will ever get a better opportunity than we have now. Man City are likely to be even better next season, improve year on year and keep spending year on year until they find success. I also can’t see Liverpool’s decline continuing beyond next season. This is our chance, the majority of our squad are ready for the next step and they way they have performed this week tell me they could cope with the top teams from around the globe.
The way we knocked the ball around and completely dominated Chelsea was a pleasure to watch. If we can take that new found confidence into the game against Manchester Utd, who knows what might happen.
Harry Redknapp gave Jermain Defoe a dressing down in front of his team mates after his sending off against Pompey on Saturday. Nothing wrong with that as far as I’m concerned, especially when he already warned him to cool it at half time.
Redknapp said: “Yes. He’s sorry for what’s done. For sure. I gave him a rollicking in front of all the lads, to be fair.”
“He can be a bit like that,”
“At times, he has to learn to curb that. I couldn’t have told him more. I sat him down at half-time and said to him ‘don’t do anything silly. We can’t afford to go down to 10 men here. We have to have 11 on the pitch. Don’t let us down’.
“He let himself down, he let us down as well. He could have cost us the game. The way he reacted, it was disappointing.”
The only problem I have with it is the fact Harry felt the need to tell the press. These things should be kept in house; disciplining players isn’t a matter that needs to be discussed in The Sun. I appreciate Harry being straight with us but all he needed to say was Defoe had been stupid and he’s told him as much or the matter is being dealt with by the club, not that he told him off in front of his team mates.
Doing things this way makes Defoe look like a naughty little kid. He doesn’t need any help looking stupid. Suing the police for being racist and going out with some shocking women springs to mind.
The fact is Jermain got the winner. Yes he was impetuous stamping on Mokoena but I like that he has a bit of fire in his game and he was obviously very wound up from the treatment he’d been getting from the Portsmouth players. There’s no excuse for it but there’s also no excuse for telling the world he got a telling off in front of his team mates.
While they have some very average players (including a few of our cast offs), almost anything can happen in tomorrow’s game against Portsmouth. Although Harry might get some love from his old fans, I’d expect Spurs to be on the receiving end of a seriously hostile reception.
The Portsmouth fans could really carry their players through 90mins and with their win at Wolves, the return of Avram Grant and the arrival of Ali Al Faraj, the players and the club as a whole are bound to be in a much more positive frame of mind than they were a few weeks ago.
Jamie O’Hara isn’t allowed to play which is probably a positive as far as we are concerned but David James is back after injury. Defoe is likely to play against his old side after recovering from injury and Ledley could also be back.
We have a good record against Portsmouth in recent times, having only lost once in nine games. On form, you’d be hard pressed to bet against a Tottenham victory but with all the history and the fact Pompey have some stability for the first time this season, it’s unlikely to be straightforward.
I’ll still go for Spurs to nick it but I can envisage a right old game tomorrow afternoon.
Unlike the Utd game I’m not going into this one full of optimism. Nothing to do with last week’s result though, just the fact I think going to Stamford Bridge is a much tougher proposition. I’ll be delighted to come away with a point. A defeat won’t be the end of the world.
Chelsea are playing like a well oiled machine at the moment. They have looked comfortable in most of their games thus far and still have a couple of gears to go. It just seems like they are able to find a goal when required.
The positive thing for us Spurs fans is our recent record against the blues. We’ve not lost to Chelsea in our last four meetings with them and we are also the last team to have beaten them in the Premier League, although that was at the Lane.
Harry’s been quoted as saying he doesn’t plan on sitting back;
“We can’t go there and nullify them for 90 minutes – we haven’t got the players to do that. I have attacking players who like to play and express themselves.”
Chelsea’s record at Stamford Bridge is quite simply awesome. Even when they play badly at home, they still normally win. The fact we are going there with an attacking approach is a positive for me. Like Harry says, I don’t think we have the personnel to go there and try and lock down for a point. Our best opportunity of getting something out the game is to score a goal. More than one would be nice!
Like I said earlier, I’ll be pleased to get anything from this game but if we do lose I won’t lose any sleep over it. We have a nice looking run of games coming up against Burnley, Bolton, Pompey and Stoke before Arsenal away at the end of October. If we are still sitting in the top 6 come the Arsenal game, I’ll be more than happy.
As our currently absent Miss Spur alluded to some time ago, Niko Kranjcar finally completed his move to Spurs yesterday. It’s a Croatian to replace a Croatian by the looks of things after Luka Modric picked up a significant injury at the weekend.
After being linked with a number of targets on deadline day, some good and some worryingly bad, we ended up with just the one signing and probably the best of the bunch at that.
Apart from landing a very good player, the price which Spurs apparently paid makes the transfer one the best pieces of business in this window. Just under £3m for a player of Kranjcar’s quality is a snip, even he was coming to the end of his contract at Pompey.
Kranjcar should be able to do a great job of filling in for Modric while he’s out injured. With Modric, Corluka and now Kranjcar, I think Harry is gradually putting together a nice little Croatian Clique!
The final day of the transfer window may not have been filled with excitement as it often is for Spurs fans but for me that is a good thing. It’s a sign that we now have a level of stability at the club and are not getting sucked into our usual desperation stakes where the only answer is to pay over the odds for average players.
It seems like we have gone from being one of the worst clubs in the country where the transfer market is concerned, to one of the best. The fees we held out for on Berbatov, Keane and Bent were excellent and players like Palacios and Kranjcar looks like absolute bargains. Let’s hope this trend continues in January and that the days of paying £15m and upwards for players like David Bentley and Darren Bent are well and truly behind us.
Peter Crouch – Crouchy looks the most likely of the current crop of players being linked with Spurs. Harry’s a big fan having signed him for decent money while at Pompey and he seemed to enjoy playing with Defoe during his time there. If Robbie Keane is on the way out then Crouch would be perfect to come in and play alongside Jermain. For all that people like to knock the world’s tallest man, he is a proven Premiership goal scorer and would be worth shelling out for.
Klaas Jan Huntelaar – Spurs were strongly linked with Huntelaar prior to his move to Madrid but how true these stories were I’m not so sure. The fact things haven’t really worked out for him at Real make him a more realistic target now and with his current side splashing the cash like there is no tomorrow, he may be willing to take a step down to guarantee first team football. He won’t be cheap and neither will his wages but I’d prefer we took a punt on a player of his calibre rather than another average English player that will cost just as much such as Bent or Bentley. I don’t include Crouch in this because he has a much better track record.
Ashley Young – I was initially very surprised when we were linked with Ashley Young. I thought Villa were more than ok financially and after having to sell Gareth Barry I would have thought they would have been desperate to hold on to the rest of their star players. Martin O’Neill is supposedly interested in both David Bentley and Tom Huddlestone and either of both of those players could go in the other direction. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over the pair of them leaving to be honest. My main concern with Young would be his fee. The fact he’s under 25 and English means he’ll probably valued at close to £20m but if we can get away with £8m and Bentley it wouldn’t be a disaster.
All the talk the last day or so has been about Roman Pavlyuchenko desperately wanting a move away from THFC. With Darren Bent also likely to leave, I’m assuming Harry will be stepping up his efforts to sign a replacement sooner rather than later.
The rumour mill probably hasn’t been quite as fluid as I expected where Spurs are concerned since the close of the domestic season but that isn’t going to last. Djibril Cissé appears to be orchestrating his own move to Spurs without the knowledge of anyone at Spurs. As much as it’s great banter, I’m hoping it gets nipped in the bud before he turns up at training uninvited.
Peter Crouch is the one striker I would love us to sign. I know a number of football fans have their problems with him but I think he’d be great for us. The stumbling block is the fact Portsmouth don’t need to sell players anymore. Hopefully the Harry/Levy magic can be worked while the dust is still settling and the jolly blond giant will be helping us tear Barcelona to bits.
I know Pompey might seem like just as attractive a proposition as Spurs now, but I think the lure of working with Harry again coupled with the form we showed since his arrival could make Peter Crouch’s decision a simple one. Come on Daniel, get that cheque book open son.
Portsmouth have 17 players out of contract in the summer and I’m sure Harry must be monitoring at least a couple of them.
Here are the biggest names that look to be on their way out, most of them are past their best or just plain useless but we know Harry loves to take a punt on a bargain.
Nwankwo Kanu – The guy’s got a hole in his heart, is injury prone and probably demands a much higher wage than his ability deserves. Sounds perfect for Spurs then.
Sol Campbell – I can’t see Harry ever going down the old, fat, Judas road but I couldn’t see him going from Pompey to the Saints and back to Pompey again either.
Sean Davis – Couldn’t cut it at Spurs the first time around even though he was being hailed as one of the best midfielders in the country by certain people at Tottenham. Would be an unfortunate surprise to see him back.
Hermann Hreidarsson – The Hermanator would be the most likely one for me. He’s a solid if unspectacular centre half and has grafted his way from average Championship player to an established Premiership star.
Linvoy Primus – One word, banter.
Noe Pamarot – He was awful for us but being a big French unit, he suited Harry down to the ground. Another player that I just can’t imagine back in the white shirt.
Let’s just hope Redknapp has left his wheeler dealer days behind him and the only players he’s considering at Portsmouth are Peter Crouch and Niko Kranjcar. Ok, I wouldn’t mind Linvoy on the bench for a laugh.