Posted by: Martin Douglas Hendry | February 28, 2010

Harry Doesn’t Want Us To Win?!

time to defend a lead for 40 minutes. triffic or tragic?

Sorry I’ve been away for so long, my life is becoming very busy in the end season, (Typical eh?) Here’s a piece I’ve written for Tottenham Blog though! Will be looking to post more soon.

In relation to the sensationalist title, of course he does. But sometimes you can’t help but feel that he might be going the wrong way about it. Read below!

Tottenham 2 Everton 1 – A Win That Could Have Been So Much More?

‘A game of two halves!’; It’s a little bit of a cliché.

But that’s exactly what it was, much to my dismay and that of many Spurs fans. The first half was something special, completely in control of the game and a symphony being composed before our very eyes by our Croatian triad along with Huddlestone and Bale. In the first twenty minutes of the game we found ourselves in complete control with 70% of the possession, and moreover it was both creative and dangerous.

Gareth Bale on the left hand side has blossomed into a fully fledged assist machine, who on the break, more or less offers an extra man in the final third and often due to his pace, one less defender.  It’s safe to say that we won’t be seeing Benoit for a while. Bale himself, (much like the highly revered Lennon), offers a direct running ingredient that complements our fluid play up top by offering a variety in the tempo that we can operate going forwards. Without him or Lennon we can find ourselves bogged down a bit, looking for that pass when we’re unable to beat the man.

The pressure exerted by all this world class football was surely going to tell, and it was 10 minutes in that a characteristically sightful ball to Defoe from Huddlestone, resulted in a shot/cross that found the ever charismatic Pavlyuchenko waiting to slide the ball past Howard. A goal that was certainly deserved, and it didn’t stop there.

We continued to maintain control of the game for the whole of the first half to the extent where the second goal, (a majestic collaboration between Corluka, Kranjcar and Modric), didn’t seem out of place what so ever in our play. I think the finish itself would go someway into clarifying Modric’s shooting style, whilst he rarely powers the ball, after today it can certainly be said that he has an eye for placement; surely has to be a shout for goal of the month!

A couple more chances in the quarter of an hour following would have flared up some rarely seen bloodlust in the Spurs fan waiting for a couple more goals heading into the second half, to seal what would be a great week.

The second half was somewhat of a different story and it all seemed to go downhill upon the introduction of Kaboul for Huddlestone who took a worrying knock after one of his trademark drives on goal. At this point, we were still two goals up, and as such had a choice between the addition of Gudjohnsen as an attacking midfield element and Kaboul in a more defensive approach. The decision was made to ‘lock up’ the midfield with the introduction of Kaboul, who whilst sharing the same physical presence as Huddlestone, his natural intelligence on the football pitch is a shade of the young Englishman’s.

As such he found himself unable to really find the same positions as Huddlestone, let alone fire balls around the pitch as Tom would do. A much better proposition would have been to bring Corluka into the midfield to take Huddlestone’s place and place Kaboul at right back, as surely that would have been a more consistent decision. Sniping apart, at this point we found ourselves on the back foot, as cracks started to appear in a Palacios’ link up play, and the strength of the midfield in holding back the likes of Pienaar and the newly introduced Donovan.

Ironically, Kaboul’s introduction may have unsettled the team so much that they lost concentration enough to concede a goal immediately, as a scramble in the box, along with a deadly error from Gomes, (one of many ‘clangers’ today), resulted in a goal smuggled over the line by Yakubu.

It’s safe to say that the telepathy between Kaboul and Palacios hasn’t quite been established yet either as many passes were waywardly intercepted from the midfield pair, faltering our build up play and leaving our strikers isolated. Bale however still found himself racing forwards offering a few morsels for the home fans to enjoy.

Special mention goes to the ever-reliable Michael Dawson, who completely outshined Bassong today, who was average. We managed to take the game, but only just after an extended 6 minutes of stoppage time and it’s safe to say that games that end in ‘squeeky bum time’, are not exactly a fan’s favourite.

What irks me personally is that single decision to opt to defend for forty minutes, a two goal lead against a team that had taken that from us in the away leg earlier in the season. It must be hard to develop a winning mentality when you find yourself with 10 men behind the ball on tenterhooks for half the game. It’s enough to force players to sue the management for mental damages!

The only time you see the ‘Top Four™*’, take this style of play, is generally in the last few minutes of a game, and it’s hard thing to take as a fan, seeing your team turn from Barcelona to Stoke with a single substitution. The addition of Gudjohnsen for Defoe did go so far in replenishing my faith in Harry’s will to keep hold of the ball.

But then the Crouch man cometh.

We’ll take a win against Everton any day of the week, don’t get me wrong. But Harry I feel should have some food for thought, in the difference between winning games charismatically or inviting European quality teams upon you for extended lengths of time. I’m just saying.

Fulham next in the Cup, and Pavlyuchenko to solidify his place up top with a few more in the onion bag, here’s hoping that Huddlestone’s injury is only a twinge.

*Top Four is a trademark of BSKYB

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Posted by: Martin Douglas Hendry | January 19, 2010

Van Nistelrooy? It Would Be Ruud Not To.

ruud winging his way to london?

Harry’s done well to avoid the negative press this week, and has found some solace in fine dining. Rather than simply heading to KFC with Dan as is the usual ritual, our ‘Arry was spotted wining and dining with a certain Van Nistelrooy’s agent.

Following that news yesterday Harry has furthermore elaborated that he would be happy to take the dutchman away from Madrid ‘for the right price’.

Naturally this move hinges completely on the mooted departure of Pavlyuchenko who rejected a move to Zenit due to club loyalties in the past week.

Vernacular aside the combination of Van Nistelrooy and Defoe infront of our midfield is something that all Spurs fans would agree as an amazing prospect. On top of that, the dutch marksman despite recent injury is showing no departure from his previous ability, and would arguably settle and begin scoring much faster than his Russian counterpart.

Allegedly, there was some speculation to suggest that he would be ready to play before tommorow’s game at Anfield, whilst this is a bit of a stretch now, don’t be surprised if we see him in the lilywhite sooner rather than later.

Posted by: Martin Douglas Hendry | January 18, 2010

Race For Ben Foster Heats Up

safe hands?

Today it has come to light that we have had a bid rejected for Manchester United shotstopper Ben Foster. Whilst this is certainly one of the more prudent moves that has been mooted this window, completion of the move would cast into speculation the respective futures of our current keepers.

Whilst it can be said that following his accident Cudicini would arguably not see his performances reach their previous heights; the fact that he seriously injured himself through a dangerous activity, (riding a bike would have been explicity forbidden in a professional contract), could see him exit the club at the end of the season for contravening his contract. Whilst this would be a bit harsh, it is something that is in every contract and as such suggests some what of a blasé attitude on Carlo’s part.

Secondly, (and arguably more worryingly), is the suggetion that this move could be in preperation for the departure of Gomes ‘the Octopus’. Speculatively, Ben Foster would only really make a move to the Lane, should he have some reassurences that he would be likely to gain a starting berth in the side. When Gomes joined us he explicitly stated that he would return to PSV and certainly, who could blame him with the legendary status and support he receives there? If Harry is aware of this and Gomes sticks to his word and leaves near the end of his contract, then this move would certainly make sense in preperation for continuing a strong English spine to our team in future years.

Whilst this speculation is mostly theoretical and certainly there are more possibilities; the facts are that Ben is a good keeper, and with a strong starting berth could certainly develop further with us.

The move would make a lot of sense leading into the second half of the season, and an injury to Gomes, (known for throwing hinself into the breach), would be disasterous at this stage. The mystery is now whether we’ll up our bid, or look at alternatives.

Posted by: Martin Douglas Hendry | January 16, 2010

Spurs Frustrated at the Lane: Myhill’s Eye of the Tiger

inspired performance by the welshman denies spurs

Before the game I didn’t consider that Myhill would offer us too many problems; but he managed to single-handedly take a point back north for his club  after an amazing performance denied our players of a single goal. Simply put this will be seen as one of the shut outs of the season as chance after chance was saved; including two double saves.

Games like this leave me conflicted somewhat; as it’s safe to say that there wasn’t really much more that we could have done considering the circumstances apart from make more chances. The absence of Lennon however created a narrow game that was frustrating to watch in the first half; but allowed alot of pressure to be exerted on the Tigers in the second half, alas to no avail.

Bale played fairly well at left back in Assou-Ekotto’s absence, and offered plenty of threat running forward at the opposition defence, his concentration perhaps needed improvement however as he found the ball slip off his feet a few times in advances positions. Conversely Huddlestone had a bit of a mixed game often passing the ball straight to the opposition and leaving his team mates exposed. The next two games will definitely give us a better indication of where we are.

Fingers crossed that Manchester City won’t pull away from us now; as they gain confidence from a series of strong results under Mancini. There are plenty of games left to play.

Posted by: Martin Douglas Hendry | January 16, 2010

They’re (Not So) Grrrreat

tony is optimistic, but hull fans shouldn't be.

Todays match against Hull signals the first game in 5 that take place in the next couple of weeks, that will undoubtedly shape our season. As such there is a need for consistent performances and a distinct focus on the task at hand. Not that there’s a lot to distract us! As previously said, opposition fans might find themselves getting on Harry’s back for want of a better thing to do when we’re dominating the game, and this is certainly something that we should prepare ourselves for.

Team news suggests that we wont be seeing the likes of Hutton, King, Woodgate, Assou-Ekotto, or Lennon today, and that the team should take shape around these notable absences. Hull are a team that tend to find themselves playing quite an expansive game and this won’t do them any favours against us, a team that thrive with space to play in. This is the reason why we struggle to make chances pay against teams like Birmingham and Fulham, as they don’t afford us the space to play our specific style of football.

Once again the combinations that come out of Modric and Kranjcar’s cooperation with the front men will allow Tom and Wilson to relax somewhat and stick to their position as anchors in the centre of the pitch, and that presence s something that we’ll certainly need to neutralise the likes of Olifinjana. Stephen Hunt is also someone that we’ll have to keep an eye on as he is a player that always gives 110% of is commitment at any given moment and this is something that could sting us a bit if we’re not careful.

For the most part, recent history suggests this will be a nice one to watch, and a good warm up for Leeds and Liverpool, games that are now the bread and butter of our campaigns.

Posted by: Martin Douglas Hendry | January 14, 2010

Harry Charged For Tax Stuff

'i didn't do nuffink'

'i didn't do nuffink'

Oh dear, news has come out today that Harry has been officially charged on two seperate counts of tax evasion. These claims are pretty scadalous to be honest and will not do us any favours from opposition crowds in the following weeks. His solicitor has come out to say that Harry has cooperated with the investigation wholly and is confident that will be a positive outcome.

Whilst this was essentially something that was always going to happen, (infact it might have been more suspicious if the charges hadn’t been officially announced.) The most important thing is that despite the accusations around him we all get behind Harry as he is the best thing to happen to the club in recent years. Naturally, if the opposition get on his back we might find this unfortunate news affecting the current success of the club.

Strange that Tottenham have in the past two years become a club that has decended into scandal, I guess that this is the wilderness before we find ourselves in the promised land.

More info as and when I get it.

In other news Torres and Gerrard will be out for the tie on the 20th as they managed to do themselves some damage in the loss to Reading last night.

Swings and roundabouts.

(PS: Any posts that pop-up without a picture have been posted from my phone and will be smartened up in the near future after publishing; this is just so I get the news to you as soon as I’ve heard it.)

Posted by: Martin Douglas Hendry | January 13, 2010

Some Bedtime Stories.

sandrosandrosandro

It’s not really in the prerogative of the blogger to attempt to put his readers to sleep; but realistically speaking, another report on the progress of the transfer deal for Sandro Ranieri Guimares Cordeiro is just the ticket. As far as reports are concerned we’re still trying to wangle out some details in relation to the fee; (The fact that he’s partly owned by a third party is probably the sticky wicket there), and following that a work permit application par excellance. This in particular is going to be issue as only one senior cap for Brazil means that we’d have to get a special dispensation under ‘exceptional talent’ to manage to bring the player to the club.

After all that prospective paper work is completely tied up we’ll have to have a look to make sure he’s all he’s made out to be, which of course is the greatest risk of them all. The words Lucas Leiva are enough to cause contagious vomiting in the Merseyside area of Britain, and this is something we should be wary of. For the most part though the player seems to have a certain amount of ability that could be of use to us, and as such shouldn’t really end up as another Utaka.

Oh yeah; and the Dejan Lovren deal that was ‘sealed’ to Lyon has stalled as another European club have reportedly come in for his services, if it’s us we’re probably waiting to sell before we buy, so both of these will probably roll on for a bit. Try and ignore it until they pop up onto the official site; as it’s enough to make your mind melt. Once again though; the reiteration that we are in for these players with official movements, along with our various reported scouting trips seems like we’re aiming for solid improvements to the squad where possible. Which is nice.

The Liverpool game is also rescheduled to the 20th, so after the Hull and Leeds games it looks like we’ll have a chance to take it to them at their place. Lennon might even be back by then; apparently Maxi Rodriguez is having is medical today though; so his input will probably be evident by then too. A nice couple of wins before then would set the tone for a showdown.

update: Dejan Lovren looks like he’s about to be unveiled at Lyon; and reports in Brazil suggest that reports here are erroneous relating to Sandro. World keeps turning.

Posted by: Martin Douglas Hendry | January 8, 2010

Liverpool’s A Frightful Mess

does rafa wants to make sure that adam sandler can play against us?

It’s a conspiracy! The voice of a thousand Spurs fans around the country shout at once at the news that Liverpool are moving to postpone Sunday’s game because there’s a bit of snow around the ground. Whilst it’s not necessarily the fact that if we had beat them they’d pretty much be done like a Christmas turkey; there’s also the fact that the arrival of Maxi Rodriguez is imminent at Anfield, but maybe not quite in time for the showdown.

Personally I think this move could be being played simply to give Rafa a bit of time to secure a few settled signings in the club before the fans jump on his back for losing to an upwardly mobile team infront of their beloved kop end. It’s safe to say that a (more likely than ever) win at Anfield on Sunday would result in a fair amount of speculation on Liverpool and Benitez’ immediate future. Might be a bit of a bad move for Liverpool, with Lennon then able to prospectively run at Fabio Aurelio in the rearranged fixture. Be careful what you wish for… A nice photo finish to the season for us too.

Or maybe there’s just too much snow.

In other news, should the game be called off; Harry will have a bit more time to collect his thoughts after watching Victor Moses play on Saturday, as he’s widely believed to be making an appearance to cast his eye over the young English prospect.

Posted by: Martin Douglas Hendry | January 7, 2010

To Buy Or Not To Buy, That Is The Question.

thumbs up; but why hasn't anyone taken him from lisbon already?

thumbs up?

Over the past couple of days the name Miguel Veloso has come up. This isn’t a name that we’re unaware of, as every single transfer window it would seem that he’s unable to escape speculation on his future. Being a club that is perennially linked to around half of the players on the market at any given time its safe to say that he’s known as one of the better players that could be available to us. The fact is that it’s widely known the the Sandro transfer has a little more to it than meets the eye, and to bring the talented young brazilian to the club, we would have to gain a special dispensation for a work permit to be issued. It’s arguable that Veloso is being looked at as a possible replacement target, should we be looking to maintain pressure in the next half of the season.

He’s certainly a talented player; but the question begs to be asked, why hasn’t anyone tried to take him away from Lisbon thus far if he’s so highly rated and all the big clubs seem to be linked to him every window? This curiosity may be piqued by the fact that at the match below, where upon Veloso scored himself a cracker from long range, (could teach Tom a thing or two), scouting representatives from our lovely club were casting an eye over him. Personally I’d never be a fan of this club settling for second best, and Veloso is renowned a little for having somewhat of a petulant attitude, though it’s fair to say that we’re certainly looking at the possibility of strengthening the squad should the opportunity become available for us.

Though in terms of Dejan Lovren, word on the street is that Lyon are forcing our hand somewhat in relation to pushing forward and signing him this window. Dejan is widely regarded as a target that we would have been looking to bring to the club in the summer transfer window, but with two bids received recently for him by ourselves and Lyon, it is being said that Lyon’s strong interest sent a shockwave through the club and allowed a move to be sanctioned. Rumours in the continental press suggest that our reputation and relationship with Dinamo Zagreb could result in a move for the talented 20 year old stopper in the near future.

Whilst these moves may not see the light of day, there is factual interest in both these players and as such, it’s comforting to see that we’re really looking to bring in the right players for the club if we can manage it. It also beggars belief that the previous recruitment policy was so vastly flawed. Looks like there may be the possibility of fresh faces at the lane this February after all.

Posted by: Martin Douglas Hendry | January 5, 2010

The Alternative Transfer Update: The Lost Souls

a target for manchester city and lyon?

I’ll try and avoid writing up speculation pieces on players for the time being, as the maelstrom that is the January transfer window starts to shift into gear. Naturally we’re being linked with a new player every day so it’s hard to sort out the wheat from the chaff for the most part. Believe me though; as soon as I know something you’ll know it too, and I tend to cast an eye over every source I can get my hands at least twice a day. Enough of that anyway.

Younes Kaboul, in the wake of Portsmouth’s frankly disturbing financial situation is one of the players being linked to move away from the club to pay some of the bills. Interestingly enough though, despite Pompy being bottom of the league and unable to win matches for love nor money the 23 year-old french CB who is somewhat of an all rounder has been linked with moves to Manchester City and Lyon respectively. Whilst he’ll probably leave for a cut price, these teams aren’t exactly clubs who are renowned for their opportunist buys in the transfer market. It’s more than certain that Kaboul will be going somewhere this window, but surely we haven’t missed out that much of a trick with Kaboul that selling him would possibly have a sting in the tail. For the most part, this could be another of Comolli’s buys come good under the right circumstances, and that’s the last thing that we need to see, as most fans argue that he singlehandedly buried the club through most of the last decade with his inconsistent and sloppy transfer strategy.

Kevin Prince-Boateng is another player who finds himself at Pompy during the current crisis, he’s also notably the fulcrum of their attacking moves more often than not these days. Whilst arguably our upward mobility is at a faster rate of acceleration that Kevin’s development these days, a little faith in him could have yielded results from a player who could have learnt a lot from deputizing to our Croatian attacking midfielders. He won’t be leaving Portsmouth this month however, as the notorious stipulation in the FA rules dictates that you’re unable to be registered for more than two clubs in a season, (a rule that we managed to wangle with the repurchase of Keano and Defoe notably!) All that Kevin will be able to do realistically, (apart from pleading for a move back to us), is remain a consistent performer for the beleaguered club, and hopefully aim for a move either to Borussia Dortmund, who had loaned him previously, or a promotion candidate in the summer.

Finally; Jamie O’Hara, (whilst only really on loan to Portsmouth for the time being), is a player that rather unfortunately you can see the club outgrowing at this stage. A good squad player with the right attitude, Jamie’s insistence that he is happy to prove himself at Portsmouth at this stage is arguably an indictment to his position in the midfield of our club. With Kranjcar now gracing our midfield too, you have to feel that Jamie has a lot to prove to get the amount of games he needs with us to develop. Out of the three Jamie I feel is probably the one who will come back to haunt us most; in a similar capacity to Shawcross at Stoke leaving Manchester United for £1million only to have twenty times that his price today. Whilst Jamie is by no means a complete player; he has the drive it would seem that will underline his development into a strong midfielder, and whether he manages to find the right coach to get the best out of him is the gamble that we take. News just in is that he will be returning to the club should Pompy’s transfer embargo not be lifted by the 15th of January. At which point O’Hara is thought to be most likely shipped out to another lower premier league club.

Let’s just hope that the upward mobility of our club without the aforementioned is greater than theirs, or we might just find ourselves in one of those awkward ex-girlfriend-esque situations. Most fans would agree that losing these three wouldn’t give them any sleepless nights of course. On that note; PLEASE STAY TAARABT!!

bigmartin

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