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Happy 131st Birthday Spurs

October 6, 2013 Leave a comment

On this day in 1882 a group of bible class students set in motion the forming of the club that we have come to love and occasionally loathe.  Perhaps after a depressing weekend many of us don’t feel like celebrating, this however is the reason why we need to make a fuss of Spurs.

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Today is a day of celebration, a day to salute those young men who created not only a club but a way of life for many of us. This is the perfect opportunity to take stock of what we have and wish Spurs a happy 131st.

Hugo, Jan, Paul and Bobby

There was a time when we would cast our eyes across the capital and covet what our neighbours had built. We had some great players, but we lacked a foundation, a solid base from where to begin. Tottenham were forever building from the top down, a classy winger, an attacking midfielder and occasionally a striker, but never the areas that mattered most, the centre of the team.

Today though as Spurs prepare to blow out 131 candles, we have a spine to our team that can challenge most of Europe.

Last summer we signed Hugo Lloris and Jan Vertonghen, two players whose standout performances were unfairly eclipsed by the Los Merengues badge kisser. This summer we have added strength to their number in the form of Brazilian Paulinho and Spanish striker Robert Soldado. Through the middle of our team we have four top international class players.

Take a minute to ponder the spine that Spurs currently boast, even when we had the little Croatian, the Welsh winger and Rafa Van der Vaart, the core of our team was never this strong.

Franco Baldini

It is of course too early to judge his recruits, but the fact that Spurs moved quickly and decisively in the transfer market shows promise. The Director of Football in this country is a position that always creates confusion. Certain native managers refuse to work with them, whilst some sections of the press love to  report on supposed fall-outs, or a clash of ideas. Franco Baldini this summer though, made the DoF the new must have in football.

As Man United and others spent the day, and pretty much all summer striking out in various transfer deals, Spurs and Baldini passed Transfer Deadline Day with their feet up enjoying the wide-spread panic. It has been a long time since the close of the transfer window has been so quiet for Tottenham fans.

 On this day we should be happy that we have Franco Baldini, and praising every God in existence that he isn’t Joe Kinnear.

#ILike Under Armour

When the players smashed through the polystyrene wall wearing the new kit many of us immediately cringed at the Americanisation of our club. The use of smoke machines, #IWill  and veteran Brad Friedel all seemed wrong. Why couldn’t we just release our kit? Why did it need to be dropped? What’s with the #catchphrase?

As time passed though and the event slowly faded from our minds, we were left with a kit, something ironically that had been forgotten in all the razzmatazz. A kit that in all honesty, is pretty nice.

We have our navy shorts and socks back, there’s no flappy collar and the shirt has some nice subtle details which make it stand out. The logo may be a different shade of blue, but at least its not a red, or a short term loan company.

The shirt also manages to look good whether painted on to a strapping Nacer Chadli, pulled over a 40 year olds beer belly in Park Lane concourse or worn seductively by a lady boasting a flattering figure. It is essentially a shirt for all occasions.

At Spurs we have had to endure a few dull and down right dreadful kits, but this one thankfully isn’t. Good work Under Armour, just please tone it down for next time.

AVB’s Blue and White Army

On this day of celebration we should be happy that we have a man of undoubted class at the helm. This is the decisive season of AVB’s managerial career, this is the first time he has started a second season at a club and the first time in England where a team has been built to his specifications.

AVB is under unbelievable pressure, added to this he has had the biggest transfer saga in the history of football playing out at Spurs.  Where some managers might have cried, thrown a strop or charged out of the press conference, AVB handled himself impeccably all summer.

There is no doubt that the transfer saga had an affect on the Spurs team, but AVB to his credit never allowed the fallout to affect the clubs preseason preparations. Sunday’s result aside, Spurs have integrated seven new players, a new system and the loss of a focal point remarkably well.

In comparison to last season we are currently +2 in points and +1000 in positivity. The boos and jeers that marred the end of our first few games have gone, in their place is a faith in our manager and his beliefs. AVB had overtures from PSG and Real Madrid this summer, but unlike some he turned them down because he believes in Spurs and wanted to finish what he started.

Happy 131st Birthday Tottenham! COYS!

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Battle Lost, War Far From Over

October 6, 2013 Leave a comment

Tottenham for once have signed the majority of their players before the deadline day, but after another loss at the Emirates, perhaps it wasn’t quick enough. Up against a team that hasn’t made any significant alterations for 12 months, Spurs were bereft of ideas, cohesion and understanding. A marked improvement is needed especially if we are going to challenge honours.

afc v spursThe Emirates bar two incredible turnarounds in recent years has never been a happy place for Spurs. Arsenal as usual in this fixture, or when the calendar turns to early spring, donned their “divine right win attitude” and new look Spurs had no answer to it. A cool finish by Oliver Giroud against the run of possession was all they needed to collect three points.

The moment they took the lead the script was there for all to see. They would sit deep and invite us on, before looking to hit us on the counter, had Arsenal’s finishing been better, or Hugo Lloris a lesser keeper, the result may well have been worse. The Frenchman pulled of a string of saves and kept us in the game, whilst as our wayward passing and poor crossing offered little hope of us getting back into it.

Our heralded midfield trio looked neat and tidy, but where was the drive and strength that three individuals of such physical stature should have?

Mousa Dembele continues to confuse me. As his form slumped in early 2013 many of us pointed to Scott Parker’s presence alongside him, yet even now with far better players next to him, he remains ineffective. For long periods of the derby Paulinho’s sole purpose was to sweep up behind the Belgian, his substitution was welcome when it finally arrived.

Etienne Capoue, before injury ended his derby was equally quiet. Up against lightweight opposition and a midfielder who hadn’t kicked a ball in anger since May; it was a poor performance from the trio.

It wasn’t much better for the rest of the outfield team, especially the wide men. Andros Townsend, barring a few trademark long range efforts was ineffective against a left back I believe he had the better of, and across field our Belgian winger had another average performance. Nacer Chadli for a wide man who stands at 6’2 and has a wonderful first touch, remains an anomaly. First impressions when we signed him were that he would be a decent squad player. He has done little to dispel these initial opinions.

Twitter spent the majority of the 90 minutes crying for a number 10, I can see the logic in this, but against an Arsenal team sitting deep and packing the central areas, I don’t believe this would have helped. What we needed was better passing from all 10 outfield players across the pitch, not just in the final third. Each time a promising move opened up especially wide, the passes or crosses into the front men were wayward.

As the game ticked away, even with the introduction of Eric Lamela, Spurs turning around the one goal deficit seemed unlikely. AVB so often an assured presence from the touchline, lost his pattern of thought, instead of re-jigging the attacking options he opted for the tired 442 formation, when perhaps removing Chaldi an introducing a more reliable passer in Glyfi Sigurdsson or Lewis Holtby would have been better.

In countless situations last season we saw AVB out think his managerial opponent and conjure up a substitution to change the course of the game, but at the Emirates rather like Spurs, AVB lost his way.  The moment that perhaps encapsulated how lost AVB found himself was when he scampered down the touchline to pass on a message to Kyle Walker to chuck the ball long into the mixer. Hardly something you could imagine AVB having a dossier on.

When AVB walked into White Hart Lane he had a big job on his hands, but handling this new look Spurs squad and defining who plays where and how, will be what makes or breaks his Spurs career. With £110 million spent, regardless of Bale’s fee subsidising it, he is under pressure to deliver.

The benefits of having a Director of Football are clear to see in the calibre of the signings we have made, but the danger for AVB is that there will be a contingency plan in place. Should he fail to get the best from this squad, Franco Baldini will have a sheet of paper with managers names on it. A DoF is hired to ensure continuance in the plan, not continuance in the stewardship of the man in charge of the plan.

Of course these are just the over reactive emotions of a Spurs fan after a derby defeat. Spurs have some excellent players in their squad; time is now the only thing we need. Lamela and the other signings from the Friday’s transfer spectacular need time to settle and come to terms with not only Spurs but also living in a completely different country.

The result, despite what noise may be emanating from the red part of London, doesn’t mean a great deal. Just as when we beat them 2-1 at White Hart Lane, Champions League qualification and final Premier League positions are set in stone. We are only three games in. They may have celebrated like they won the war, but this was just the first skirmish. The battle goes to them, but the war goes on until May 2014.

Spurs: Close But Not Quite Ready

May 22, 2013 2 comments

One thing we as Spurs fans have learnt over the years is that the league table doesn’t lie. After 38 games we find ourselves the 5th best team in the country. Is this a catastrophic disaster? Is it the end of the world? Of course not, we are where we are because that is where after ten months of football, we deserve to be. The summer will be painful, but think back, we have endured worse hours than finishing a mere six points off second.

Andre Villas-BoasThis article first appeared on The Fighting Cock

Personally, although the Champions League brings increased revenue, allows us to play our league games on a Saturday, I am happy we didn’t qualify. The thing about Spurs is; we aren’t quite ready for another pop at Europe’s elite.

Having spent a large portion of money and time at White Hart Lane this season, I couldn’t shake the fact that we are a work in progress. Everyone who stood/sat at the ground, watched on SKY or some juddering stream will have seen our deficiencies. We aren’t ready yet, who would put out their best china, invite their in-laws round then serve a meal which is undercooked and missing the vital accompaniments?

We lack quality in certain areas and we lack 16 years of experience of doing just enough to win fourth place and qualify for the CL. We and Tottenham have learnt far more about ourselves this season by failing to qualify, than we would have by being thrown into a mid August two legged qualifier. When our time comes, we will qualify because we deserve to, not because a North East team who have been poor all year decide to start playing.

This will lead many to claim that by failing to qualify we automatically limit who we can sign, but truthfully is this really the case?

Could we really match the wages that are on offer at Chelsea or the soulless Emirates?

Could our wage structure be flexed to convince an Edinson Cavani or some other exotic import to forgo an oily pay slip in favour of a 50-50 chance of even being in the CL?

Our best hope remains having faith in Andre Villas-Boas, the team he is developing and capturing some bargains from across the continent. If it turns out to be yet another false dawn then so be it.

Those that support Spurs, (under the age of 52 at least) don’t support them for the league titles or regular silverware. We chose Spurs for that piece of magic that is unquantifiable.

If you fail to see what supporting Spurs is about, then you need to take this summer as a chance to collect your thoughts. It’s the Glory Game, but is also one full of pain, bitterness and disappointment, yet to be Spurs, is to always offer the other cheek and give the team another chance.  We wear White and Blue, not just Blue.

From the last ten months we need to take the positives out of what has been a transitional season. Spurs have lost players, changed the staff, moved training base yet still we have moved forward. This season we have taken the first steps in hopefully putting together something tangible for 2013/14.

The biggest positive from 2012/13 is obviously the metamorphosis of Gareth Bale from being an added dimension to a focal point. His goals, his attitude and the way he has conducted himself should make us all proud at his development.

Whether we had finished 8th or 16th his emergence will prove to be priceless (or at least 60 million.) There will be a time when he leaves, but he will leave a product of Spurs not Southampton. Just as Man U is attached to Ronaldo, Bayern to Franz Beckenbauer, Boca to Maradona, Santos to Pele,  so will Spurs be eternally connected to Bale.

What Spurs need to ensure now is that for the time we have left with him, AVB and Daniel Levy provide him with the right sort of players to help him continue his meteoric rise. Should those two combine well over the summer, perhaps we can hold on to him for a little bit longer?

In defence Hugo Lloris and Jan Vertonghen have added a fortitude to our back-line not seen since Ledley King’s knees started creaking. They have been stand out performers, and these two players will only improve and their role within the team will only increase in significance next year.

We signed these two players without a Tuesday/Wednesday night theme tune, which doomsayers amongst you honestly believe we can’t do similar this summer?

As we spend the long summer nights attempting to fill the void that football leaves behind, we must remember not to be too be depressed and despondent about what could have been. We could waste days analysing a sloppy back pass at Anfield, or a late goal at Everton or even a dull performance here or there, but we shouldn’t. Take the positives, move on and look forward.

We all know an Arsenal fan who has already started his summer boasting tour, but regardless of whatever Arsene Wenger spin you put on it, the truth is the gap is closing. Why else would their fans be shaking with delight at Wonga Stadium as their team time wasted by the corner flag?

Arsenal haven’t done anything of note this season, bar finish above us. They came second in their CL group, were then dispatched by Bayern Munich, held to ransom by a forward, witnessed black scarf marches against their board and then endured home games with row upon row of empty seats.  If this is the measure of modern day success, I am happy to wait for ours.

Tottenham are coming, all we need is patience. We’ve waited this long, what’s another summer in the grand scheme of things?

Kriss Kross, Spurs and 90′s Disco Pop

It may not be a “where were you when you heard” moment, but the death of Chris Kelly, one half of Kris Kross still resonates. When I look back to my youth, I remember fondly attempting to dance and rap to “Jump” at my first year 7 disco, it was a song perfect for that time. Unfortunately, most of the 90′s wasn’t that great for the Spurs.

With Kelly now chilling alongside other great rappers such as 2Pac, Biggie and Scatman John, perhaps its time to reflect how the music from the 90’s related to the Spurs of that time?

kriss-kross-jeans-backwards

This article first appeared on The Fighting Cock

2 Unlimited – No Limit – January 1993

The glory years of the mid 80’s early 90’s may have  gone, but the signing of Teddy Sheringham and the emergence of Nick Barmby offered some hope to Spurs. Perhaps we were building something great, this hope though was crushed when we lost a FA Cup semi to Arsenal at Wembley.

The Spurs squad at the time when this Dutch duo were blazing a trial across the European disco scene were full of journey men who should have known their own limits.

Thankfully at the end of the season we bid adieu to such luminaries such as Pat Van Den Hauwe and Gordon Durie, and began rebuilding by signing midfield supremo Jason Dozell.

No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No…there’s No limit. Techno.

Whigfield – Saturday Night – January 1994

Ibiza, booze, sun, sea and sex where things all beyond my reach as a 12 year old when this song burst on to the scene. Instead I had Spurs.

Faithful, depressing, not as pretty as the others but mine nevertheless. At least Ossie Ardiles returned to the club, as someone who had never seen him play and in the days without Youtube, I was informed this was a good thing.

It was to prove not to be, it was also personally defining as I learned not to equate wisdom with age. Ossie the saviour? Really?

Thankfully we had Teddy scoring goals, when fit and miraculously we even managed to win a penalty shoot-out. Most of my Saturday nights that season though were spent watching MOTD depressed.

Did Whigfield know what it was like to support Spurs? If she did she wouldn’t have been so excited about the weekend.

Boombastic – Shaggy- July 1995

The advert, the song, the jeans and even the man Shaggy himself were pretty cool. On the back of this Spurs had had a good season. It had started badly, we were threatened by point deductions and initially chucked out of the FA Cup, but boy did we have an exciting team.

I was taken to the Lane that year, by a friend and his dad, for our game against Sheffield Wednesday. I arrived at the stadium with a small crush on Jurgen Klinsmann and emerged totally besotted.

He was great on TV, but in real life he was extraordinary. That goal he scored remains one of the best goals I have seen live. That summer though as Boombastic played everywhere and my friends and I tried to decipher what Shaggy was talking about, our Beetle driving German was off.

It was a sad end to what had been a great season; well at least we now had Shaggy in the team/treatment room and one in the charts.

The Outhere Brothers- Boom Boom Boom – July 1995

Boom Boom Boom, let me here you say……..Mistake!!! Mistake!!!

Its amazing the snow ball effect one error of judgement can have on a club. The 1994-95 season had seen Spurs finish above Arsenal, the 1995-96 season should have seen us streak away from them with some astute signings. Dennis Bergkamp was lined up, but incredibly we opted to spend £4.5 million on Chris “Got the Munchies” Armstrong.

The Dutchman who refused B.A Baracus style not to fly went to Arsenal, where unfortunately he enjoyed a successful career, despite being a Spurs fan.

Armstrong meanwhile spent another seven years at Spurs doing very little, but he did manage to score a winner in a North London derby, so perhaps I am being harsh on our ganja smoking former striker.

Run DMC vs Jason Nevins – Its Like That – March 1998

Sometimes Spurs are like that and that’s the way it is.

The season 1997-98 wasn’t a good one, yes Gerry Francis’ reign of terror finally came to an end, but waiting in line was TFL ticket wielding Christian Gross. The omens weren’t great as we were stuffed back to back by Chelsea and the mighty Coventry in two of his first three games, but things did change, slightly.

When Run DMC hit number one, Spurs finally started to move away from the relegation zone, thanks largely down to the return of Klinsmann. My former hero along with current hero David Ginola added some much needed skill to the below average squad we had assembled.

Let us not forget either this was the period where Spurs actually became a good looking team by signing, Nicola “I look good in denim” Berti. Gorgeous.

Shanks and Bigfoot – Sweet Like Chocolate – May 1999

The season ended with Man United sweeping all aside bar the mighty Spurs. We were the only team to knock them out of a cup competition that year. We went on to win the Worthington Cup in a dull affair against Leicester, but who cares, a cup is a cup.

We may have had George Graham in charge, but after the dross of Gross and the Francis reign of dull, we had actually won something. As the Garage scene swept through my school and everyone claimed to either DJ or MC, us Spurs fans were happy to rank ourselves alongside all conquering Man United.

With the new millennium approaching Spurs fans were once again proclaiming the dawn of a new era. The following year we would be in Europe, we were about to sign Sergei Rebrov, the McCarntey to Shevchenko’s Lennon and most importantly we were finally getting rid of Pony and Hewlett-Packard.  Spurs would be wearing Adidas and Holsten come the new millenia.

A new dawn was on the horizon, the 2000’s we would reign North London

Spurs Need More Glory Than Just Bale’s Double

The closer I got to London on Sunday night after a weekend in Cornwall, the more the fact that I was happy for Gareth Bale’s double PFA award win, but not delighted dawned on me. Like most Spurs fans, for me it’s the team not the individual that really matters. Looking at Bale’s smile as he collected two trophies was nice, but I would rather he held the invisible Wenger Cup. Third or fourth is much more important than the appreciation of the individual, especially with four big games to go.

Gareth-Bale-1859031

This article first appeared on The Fighting Cock Website

On Saturday afternoon stood in a field champagne glass in hand, admiring the Cornish countryside whilst wedding celebrations went on around me, I was desperate for any kind of signal receiving receptacle. Cornwall rather like White Hart Lane on match day is a UK based Bermuda Triangle, there is no phone reception, I was totally cut off from Tottenham and the outside world.

Finally after a few hours of imaging the result and predicting a glorious victory, I discovered the score by stumbling upon a  Gooner. By the way he was beaming, I suspected he had either swallowed a coat hanger or Spurs had messed up. With his voice full of joy he informed me of the 2-2 scoreline, how he came by this information remains a mystery, perhaps there is a Woolwich Society in Tintagle?

We may have rescued a point against Wigan, but after coming from one goal down to beat Man City last week, a point salvaged in the last minute at the DW, remains two points lost. Thankfully Arsenal were unable to beat another big team, so Champions League qualification remains in our own hands, but it does mean the Chelsea game is growing in its importance.  SKY with very little else to be decided this term, must be rubbing their money scented hands with glee.

Bale’s impressive double at the PFA Awards on Sunday night makes him only the third ever player to collect both trophies in the same season. The first man to do so was “friend to women” Andy Gray; the second was serial Veet user Cristiano Ronaldo. It is a measure of how far Spurs have come, that at the end of each season our individuals are considered worthy of acclaim, but we must start to ensure we become a team worthy of similar praise.

Manchester United strolled to this season’s title with perhaps their weakest looking squad in a decade. They did sign Robin Van Persie and former Spur Michael Carrick was inspired at times, but the squad remains workman-like at best. Where United excelled this year, as they have done many times when faced with apparently more powerful opponents is in building belief and retaining it.

Chelsea and Man City may have out spent them again, but they had the strength of character, which is ultimately priceless.

Tottenham now need to ensure that they have something similar. Scott Parker, Michael Dawson and Andre Villas-Boas can talk all day about destiny and spirit, but if we don’t see it on the pitch this Saturday and in every one of our remaining games, then it’s is nothing more than PR spiel. Belief and spirit needs to last for 90 minutes, we can not continue to rely on brief episodes to rescue us.

I am a self proclaimed AVBeliever, but the knack his team has of coming in and out of games is worrying. It seems we are unable to keep the intensity and focus for the duration of a match. This is what the team needs to work on. We have won plenty of games this season by conjuring up brief moments of intensity, however if we fail to capitalise in those moments the game tends to pass us by.

On Saturday against Southampton we have a rare but welcome 3pm kick off at the Lane. This weekend the Saints were thrashed 3-0 by West Brom and all signs point to them already being in holiday mode, hopefully this continues in North London.

Arsenal meanwhile travel to Loftus Road to face Harry Redknapp’s relegated band of mercenaries and overweight footballers. If we were to look for a favour this weekend, West London would be the last on my “Where to look for miracles” list. However perhaps now the players have been officially consigned to the Championship, they will attempt to put themselves back in the shop window.

Instead we must hope that Manchester United continue their push to finish with as many points as possible when they face Chelsea. Thanks to our 2-2 draw with Wigan, I think it is the Blues not the Reds that we are now chasing. Arsenal’s uncanny ability to swot away the weak teams should seem them through to collect another Wenger Cup.

We need to ensure that when the 8th May fixture arrives, we are level on points with Chelsea. This will pile the pressure on the home side and ensure the onus is on them, they may not need Champions League football to curb their summer spending, but it may have an effect on whether or not their Special One returns for a second time.

In the mean time I would like to wish Bale huge congratulations on wining the PFA double, please remember though, you may have your rewards, but we are still waiting for ours. This season is far from over.

Arsenal and Their Tickling Stick

April 16, 2013 Leave a comment

When spring decided not to show up in March and early April I took this as a good sign. Spurs over the last few years have always functioned better in the cold. Tottenham playing in the sunshine generally leads to only one thing, disaster. This year with winter still in full flow when the Easter Eggs came out, I took it as a good omen; however I had forgotten one thing. Arsene Wenger and his magical tickling stick.

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This article first appeared on The Fighting Cock Website

As with the start of every year, this was supposed to the be one where we finally buried that Saint Something Day and finally consigned Arsenal to Thursday night football but the reality seems to be, you can’t fight fate. As we have stuttered against battling and resilient teams, Arsenal have ploughed through a succession of teams delighted to have a good old tummy tickling, either at home or at the Emirates.

How many teams arrive at White Hart Lane for a day out in the capital? Perhaps our old stadium doesn’t offer the same amenities as the Emirates, or our spread for the opposition’s execs isn’t quite as lavish? What is blatantly clear though is be it Fulham, Norwich or West Brom, visitors to White Hart Lane simply try harder.

On Saturday with Norwich wining 1-0 at the Emirates, Twitter optimism from Spurs fans was in overdrive. Personally I was lacing up my Converse and preparing to hit Waitrose for anything Delia Smith related, but we hadn’t taken into account the power of the Gooner tickling stick, effective on the opposition, referee and their assistants.

First a corner that was not a corner, then a penalty given by a man 60 yards away, not the referee who was in close attendance. This was Arsenal’s sixth penalty of the season and it came at quite the opportune moment.

Even a 1-1 draw though would have been welcome, but what followed next was such a spectacular crumble that it deserves its own chapter in a Delia cook book. Two further goals were conceded and the Canaries even managed to make late sub Oxo-Cube Chamberlain look like a decent player.

Norwich a team supposedly fighting for Premier League survival, can not afford to just roll over in the last 7 minutes of a game, but on Saturday they did that with their tails wagging. Former Spur and Norwich boss Chris Houghton deserves a lot of credit for his post match interview; he almost managed to convince me that he had endured a shattering loss and not a 90 minute tummy tickle.

Arsenal’s ability to get the points when the sun comes out is quite startling. Every year their winter of discontent is forgotten, miss-firing players suddenly hit a rich vein of form and Tomas Rosicky the peripheral figure of modern football suddenly starts performing. The annual spring Arsenal turnaround must have thousands of Gooners wasting fossil fuels and spraying aerosol cans in the hope of bringing the warm weather a little bit earlier every year.

Of course the Arsenal revival can be counter balanced by Tottenham losing their way, but there is no denying that something funny is going on, again.

Last week Arsenal came face to face with West Brom, overachievers of the year, who boast a striker in their ranks that would walk into most PL teams, but against Arsenal he was left twiddling his thumbs on the bench. When he finally made his cameo appearance, Romelu Lukaku then uncharacteristically proceeded to miss a sitter from 10 yards.

For Spurs fans it’s crushing to see countless teams who earlier in the year had given everything for a point, home or away, simply go through the motions, before dropping their guard and painting a giant target on their chin. Had the West Brom (especially last seasons final game) or Norwich matches taken place in Italy, the word fix would have come up, but in England the media prefers to remain silent and instead search for the glory in the story.

On Tuesday Arsenal face fellow Champions League contenders Everton at home, who two weeks ago came within minutes of collecting three points at the Lane. What Everton will turn up at the Emirates? The hard tackling, organised and difficult to beat team? Or one which will succumb to the repetitive motion and gentle convincing of the tickling stick?

Of course tickling stick or not, Tottenham’s destiny should have been in our own hands. The two games which come to mind are the collapses on Merseyside that cost us 6 points, had Spurs collected the maximum points on offer up north, we would not be in a position where we are relying on others to do us a favour.

Ultimately we have no one to blame but ourselves, but it’s still difficult to witness Arsenal tickling their way again and again to three important points. Tottenham are in desperate need of someone stepping up to Arsenal, but even more importantly we need our own team to step up when Man City arrives on Sunday.

Only One Team in North London

March 7, 2013 1 comment

When you collect three points from your nearest rivals it’s always a wonderful feeling, but on Sunday it was even sweeter thanks to the manner of our victory. Tottenham Hotspur exposed every thing that is wrong with the toothless, spineless and totally out of touch modern day Arsenal team. As Spurs fans we have endured many days where those adjectives could have applied to us, but no more. North London is ours and an automatic Champions League place, ours to lose.

bale-wilshere

This article first appeared on the Fighting Cock

In recent times when Spurs have entered the derby with the favourites tag, it has been start of an emphatic implosion. The last two have seen us throw away leads, concede 10 goals and have two players sent off, we may have claimed to be the best but until Sunday evening we had yet to prove it.

The North London derby, which as far as I am concerned, is the London derby started at an incredible speed. The Gunners attempted to blow us away with pace and movement, but they no longer possess the firepower to implement this. The players they used to rely on have departed or are now bronze statues. Modern day Arsenal is an epicentre for Euro trash and mediocre British players who are better at sound bites than actually playing. Spurs gave Arsenal a painful demonstration at White Hart Lane that they don’t just have outstanding attackers, but they have the rearguard to match.

As the team news broke many Spurs fans felt the sidelining of Steven Caulker was harsh, but AVB is proving time and again, that he picks a team to perform a job not to meet the sentimentality of the crowd. Yes Caulker played well against West Ham, but against an allegedly more dynamic strike force in Oliver Giroud and Theo Walcott, the Belgian Jan Vertonghen would be more suited.

AVB was proven to be correct as Vertonghen delivered a faultless performance; it was like watching what Ledley King could have been if he had been bestowed knees and a team. Throughout the 96 minutes Vertonghen made countless interceptions, last minute challenges and alongside Michael Dawson, made a mockery of the £20million plus combination at the heart of the Arsenal defence.

Across midfield Mousa Dembele recaptured the early season drive and focus that makes him such a unique central midfielder. The Belgian has suffered of late due to Sandro’s injury and his own niggling hip concerns, but the way he glided past Jack Wilshere and co was thrilling. Thankfully the injury that forced him off looks to be minor; he should feature in our Europa League clash with Inter on Thursday.

Pre-game the talk had been of one man destroying Arsenal on his own, but Sunday was a prime example that we are anything but a one man team. Gareth Bale finished a beautiful team goal for the first, and then was a bystander for the second. His overall performance was good, but in terms of Man of the Match, he was quite rightly not a consideration.

One player who justifiably could have claimed this honour was Glyfi Sigurdsson. The Icelandic midfielder has had a difficult time at Spurs this season. Initially seen as the Rafa Van der Vaart replacement, he struggled with the expectations, but on Sunday he gave us something that VDV never could, 96 minutes of work, graft and defensive discipline.

Van der Vaart was undoubtedly a glorious player, capable of deft touches and beautiful goals, but there was always the feeling it was Rafa first the team second. When the Dutch man was called upon to sacrifice his legs for the team, he very rarely did.

In the corresponding fixture last year, it was VDV’s poor tracking that brought about Arsenal’s undeserved equaliser, yesterday Sigurdsson never lost his focus. The former Swansea midfielder created the first goal and was involved in the second; it was his challenge on Santi Carzola that set Spurs on the counter. Throughout the game he was comfortable helping out BAE, switching with Bale and dropping in alongside Scott Parker and Dembele when needed. After his performance against West Ham and now Arsenal, its clear that Sigurdsson has picked a great time of the year to find some form.

After the catastrophic end to last season, its too early to start using TFL’s famous warning annoucement, but one factor we can use to gloat is that there was only one team on show at White Hart Lane. Spurs have evolved into a team willing to fight and play for each other every single game, not just when they feel like it. As Tottenham fans we are used to the occasional player lifting our sprits, but never before on a consistent basis has the entire first team. Last season our end to 2011/start of 2012 was meant to be as good as it gets, but once again have been proven to be deluded Spurs fans, there is more to come.

AVB and his staff deserve a lot of credit, we are seven points clear of fifth, two behind second place and not once this season has our first choice XI played. Belief is growing and its showing both on and off the pitch.