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Spurs and Soldado Need Adebayor

October 6, 2013 Leave a comment

There are very few places happier than White Hart Lane when Spurs score a goal against their rivals. The sheer impact of noise and celebration sweeps across the stands pushing every single thought from your mind, even in some cases the name of the goal scorer.

RobertoSoldado

You know something great has happened, you know its important but at that split second you can’t quite grab the magnitude of it. Its like an having the Theory of Relativity downloaded straight into your brain, its just a bit too big. As Glyfi Sigurdsson swept the ball home, bedlam erupted in White Hart Lane.

The gentleman a couple of seats down from me, turned around looking for his mate, when they finally made eye contact he pointed down towards his leg, his blue jeans had a massive rip down them, from groin to knee.

How’d that happen?

I don’t know, I have no idea!!

The thing about going one-nil up to Chelsea is that nagging feeling that tugs at you. You know we need a second goal,  your whole body craves it, yet it doesn’t arrive. Ripped jeans man, euphoria slowly settling on him is left pondering how he going to get home with half his crotch exposed, the rest of us wonder where that second goal is coming from.

Paulinho sprints into the area, beats Petr Cech at his near post but the post deflects behind. From the Park Lane lower crouched and poised to erupt into more celebration it looked like the Brazilian shanked it, TV later reveals we were inches from more ecstasy. The game, unbeknown to everyone turned at that very point.

The killer second goal didn’t arrive, our dominance was converted into nothing more than a slender lead. With a defence apparently as impregnable as ours, this may have been enough, but against Chelsea, a team who bathe in luck, it was never going to be.

So why didn’t we ram home our superiority as a title challenging team would normally? Were we at our maximum? Are we only one goal better than Chelsea?

There has been an obsession amongst Spurs fans, since Dimitar Berbatov took his Café Crèmes north, for the perfect striker. This season it seemed that the quest for a 9 was ended when we signed a man bought for what was at the time a club record fee.

Roberto Soldado, is a Spanish international good enough to keep the face scratching Chelsea number 9 out of the national squad. His arrival was heralded as the sign of things to come, yet six games in he remains on two Premier League goals, two penalties.

It’s a worrying statistic and one that if it continues will soon become one to beat us and him with. The truth is Soldado needs to start scoring, for his confidence, for the team and because he is a £26 million investment, 100% of which was based on his ability to score.

I am not starting to question his talent, but if this run continues then it’s a question thatwill be asked. Proof that he is a class striker is the fact that he plays for a international team quite capable of operating without a number 9, I just wish he would start scoring for Spurs. Of course he needs time to adjust, but at 28 and a full international, how much time do we afford him?

The biggest fear I had when we switched tact from Christian Benteke to Soldado was the fact that if he doesn’t score what does the  former Valencia man do?

Thankfully it was Soldado that helped create Siggy’s goal on Saturday, but bar that he was anonymous. Against Cardiff his chances were snatched, yes he did brilliantly to be at the right place at the right time, but there is no point being there if you aren’t tucking them away.

One player who’s absence was sorely missed on Saturday, was the much maligned Emmanuel Adebayor. I believe that Adebayor is the key to getting the best out of our Spanish striker.

Soldado has spent a career attempting to prove himself worthy, first to Real Madrid after they cast him off on loan to Osasuna then sold him to Getafe. When he arrived at Valencia, he then spent his time attempting to  prove himself the best Spanish number 9.

At Spurs for the first time in his career Soldado is in a position of comfort as the clear first choice striker for both club and country. Adebayor can be the spark to ignite the Spaniard back to his most clinical form.

Whilst Defoe and Soldado are similar in their style, Adebyor offers the opposition a different conundrum. When AVB switched one small goal-getter for another, the pattern of anonymity continued.

Never before had I hoped that Adebayor would come smiling down the tunnel saying he was fit to play. His goal in the away fixture of this game last year, is a lasting memory that whatever his faults, Ade offers something totally different and game changing to our other strikers.

When he regains full fitness, it will be his ability and different approach to being the focal striker that will drive Soldado to better performances and a goal scoring record.

Spurs vs Espanyol: The Promise of More to Come

August 14, 2013 Leave a comment

It was a preseason friendly yet the importance of Tottenham’s game against Espanyol at White Hart Lane can not be underestimated. It was three new signings first opportunity to play at the Lane and feel the weight of expectation that belonging to Spurs comes with. At Tottenham we spend most of our lives demanding greatness, yet for two generations we have feasted on mediocrity, are these the players to finally deliver?

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I am not going to insult your intelligence and claim that a 1-1 draw with a mid-table Spanish team is the start of a triumphant reign over England, but the signs are promising. Paulinho and Roberto Soldado our two most expensive ever transfers seemed to have an immediate understanding and camaraderie. They looked for each other, they spoke constantly to one another and seemed to have that natural understanding that two great sportsmen can build instantly.

Soldado who joined up late with the squad due to his participation in the Confederations Cup and another protracted transfer saga, was playing his first game for Spurs in full view. Although relatively small in stature, the Spaniard is deceptively strong and affective with his back to goal. In 60 minutes he managed to link the play with centre-midfield more times than Emmanuel Adebayor managed in 20 plus games last season.

Perhaps the most promising of Soldado’s attributes though is his movement. He is constantly looking for space, darting past defenders to attack the ball and craving the through ball, when he has more minutes under his belt and better service from his team mates, those darting runs will undoubtedly start to produce chances then goals. It was a shame he was unable to register from open play, but without decreeing he is the second coming, he is definitely an infinite improvement on last season striking options.

Further back was Paulinho, a man many of us had not heard of until he helped Brazil to Confederations Cup glory, with some crucial goals and a 3rd Best Player of the Tournament award. The Brazilian looked composed and confident on the ball, his burst from midfield into the opposition area after good pressing from Aaron Lennon shows that he is that “direct” midfielder that AVB has been coveting. Paulinho may not have the metronome grace of Joao Moutinho, the dazzling strength of Mousa Dembele or Sandro’s sheer grit, but he possess enough of all three to make him vitally important to Spurs this season.

Operating wide on Saturday was Nacer Chadli. The Belgian is far from being the next wing wizard, but he looks comfortable on the ball, confident in attacking spaces and without doubt is a step up from the ponderous wing performances exhibited by Clint Dempsey and others at points last season. The former FC Twente man still has areas to improve in, but as most people thought when he signed, he looks like a decent squad addition.

With the new season fast approaching, it was also a massive positive to see the return of two key players, whose physicality and on the field presence was missed during the back end the last campaign.

Younes Kaboul was the stand out defender of Harry Redknapp’s final season at the club. The French man has evolved from the clumsy, naive kid that arrived during Martin Jol’s reign into a international class centre-back. Kaboul posses all the physicality of Michael Dawson, but has the extra skills that AVB craves from his centre backs, composure and ability on the ball. It was great to see him get 45 minutes under his belt, cause a nuisance at attacking set pieces, and drive forwards from the back with the ball.

It’s a cliché, but only because it’s rightly over used: “He will be like a new signing for us.”

Making his comeback alongside Kaboul was the indomitable Sandro the third member of the Spurs squad after Kaboul and Lennon to opt for the skin-head and beard look. It’s too early into his comeback to expect to seem him chopping Espanyol players in half, but the sight of him alongside Dembele again is one full of promise.

Personally the most promising display at White Hart Lane on Saturday was that of Kyle Walker. The 2011/12 Young Player of the Year seemed to have shaken off the doubts and sloppy errors that came to define his 2012/13 game. Offensively good and defensively sound he looked rejuvenated.  He possesses all the attributes expected of a top right back, he just now needs to engage those with his decision making on a regular basis.

Becoming a top class full-back takes time, you have to learn your role and hone your craft, we must remain patient with him, only by making mistakes will he develop into the player he has the potential to become.

Of course there were some negatives to come out of the game. We failed to win another friendly, we are yet to master zonal marking, Danny Rose isn’t the answer at left-back and Jermain Defoe’s remains ineffective unless given acres of space to operate in.

However these are issues the new season will bestow us ample time to ponder. For now we should be satisfied that our record signings deserve their “record” tag, our long term injuries are returning and life will continue to exist regardless of whether Madrid’s Welsh population increases by one or not.

Bale Has More To Do Before He Outgrows Spurs

July 31, 2013 Leave a comment

It has been one of those weekends; actually it’s been one of those summers. Everything to do with Spurs has been analysed, inspected and the rumours have been incessant. Roberto Soldado is set to join, Emmanuel Adebayor is off to Turkey, and predictably Gareth Bale is set to become the world’s most expensive player.

bale man cityThis article was first published on The Fighting Cock

For most of the summer I have allowed the rumours and the nonsense to wash over me. On my way home from work the BT Sport posters, the PS3 covers and various internet stories have failed to elicit a response, until today. Until David Hynter’s article headlined: Gareth Bale’s ability and ambition mean he has outgrown Tottenham appeared on my screen.

It was the straw that broke the camels back, that ridiculous sentence: He has outgrown Spurs….Bale needs to leave because he has outgrown us, really? Really?

I have had a strong affection for our former full-back, winger and now penetrative number 10 for years. I remember his debut, all hair, ears and speed. I remember the free kick he scored against Arsenal and I was at White Hart Lane when he broke his losing hoodoo against Burnley.

Two years ago after recounting countless tales of Bale to my girlfriend, I finally took her to the Lane to experience the man himself. Sat on the Shelf, mere metres away from him she passed an Alan Shearer like nugget of punditry gold: “Wow, he’s fast.” With his heart shape celebration reflecting in my eyes, I nodded in agreement.

As brilliant as Bale can be though, its very naive to claim he is the finished article. Therefore Mr Hynter I have a question for you:

How has Bale outgrown us when he is still growing?

This claim that he has outgrown us must be a side affect of the long warm summer. The past seems to have been forgotten, Bale despite his heroics in 2013, was largely anonymous for most of the calendar year of 2012.

As the reign of Harry Redknapp crumbled around him, Bale was non existent. There were no last minute wündergoals where manager and player embraced, instead Spurs stuttered to a doomed 4th place, Real Madrid scouts were at Spurs, but they were watching a Croat not a Welshman.

For the start of the following season Bale picked up where he had left off, immersed in mediocrity with brief glimpses of talent. He was a player who dipped in and out of games as Spurs struggled to find form and cohesion under AVB’s new system.

The Bale that now apparently commands an £80 million plus figure didn’t truly arrive until Boxing Day when a hat-trick against a poor Aston Villa side sent him into a goal scoring frenzy.

The Welshman was an unstoppable force from January 2013 until May 2013. That’s five months, less than half a year. For a player to have outgrown a club of Tottenham’s size in 20 weeks,  Bale must have undergone some rigorous genetically modified growing.

The truth of the matter is; Bale is a fantastically gifted player capable of doing things on a pitch that very few mortals presently can, however, does this put him on a level with Cristiano Ronaldo or Leo Messi?

These are the globes two standout individuals. Footballers who have operated at such sustained a level for half a decade that it wouldn’t be beyond reason to claim they have outgrown two of the biggest teams in the world.

Bale despite his meteoric rise in form in 2013 has yet to out grow the 4th/5th best team in England. The Guardian’s article is pure sensationalism that has made me take not only the bait, but the whole rod, fisherman’s arm and boat.

Before Bale can hope to usurp CR7 in Madrid he needs at least to help Spurs usurp Arsenal in North London. Great players make great teams and great players have a power to bend a team to their will and define an era.

So far Bale has defined half a season and what it takes to make up bad headlines and as Mr Hynter shows; create angles where previously there were none.

For Bale, the dream has always been Real.

He spoke warmly of the club before he faced them at the Bernabéu with Tottenham in the 2011 Champions League quarter-final, first-leg and it was a sound-bite from that interview which has resonated.

“I’m not afraid to leave the country,” Bale said. “I left home at 15 [to join Southampton’s academy]. If I leave the Premier League, I’ll learn another language … I will grow as a person.”

It’s a mark of how far Bale has come that vague comments from 2011 can be used as evidence for his love of Madrid and create headlines.

Before Bale can wear the crown of the world’s most expensive footballer, he has to earn it. The media, Twitter or his agent clamouring for this title means nothing, until he earns it.  The first step on this path is to remain White Hart Lane until he proves himself, leaving with a few PFA awards counts for nothing.

If he guides Spurs to a title tilt or a cup then perhaps he has outgrown us, but only then.

At Spurs we have regularly sold our best players, its part of what comes with failing to achieve. In my Spurs lifetime we have seen Chris Waddle, Paul Gascoigne, Dimitar Berbatov and Luka Modric all depart. However there is a clear distinction between these players and Bale.

They were players at their peak, at a club unable to sustain them or their ambitions any longer. Tottenham and Bale aren’t currently in that position. We can offer Bale the platform, we have the squad to accommodate and help him flourish, the only thing we lack is Champions League football, but that will come.

Bale is a class player but in a team that features the French captain, a Confederations cup winning midfielder who put Xavi and Iniesta in his pocket, and a couple of wondrous Belgian talents, Bale clearly has some more growing to do before he needs re-potting.

The pressure is on Bale this season, he has to perform, should he lead Spurs to some glory this season, I like a million other Spurs fans will not begrudge him a move, but first he needs to give us more than five months of brilliance.

The Spurs man needs to keep his head down, focus on the forth coming season and rather like me, avoid the nonsense spouted by Mr Hynter and the rest of the worlds sporting media.

Madrid will still be there in 2014.

He hasn’t outgrown us yet, not by a long way.

Levy Learning The Hard Way

July 25, 2013 Leave a comment

The blinds had only been part way closed and the sun streaked across the office straight on to the face of Andre Villas-Boas. Behind his mahogany desk, Daniel Levy smiled as he pushed a plastic cup of water towards his manager. It was the oldest tactic in the book, divert sunshine into a mans face and they would be yours. Even though he had deployed this to great affect recently, he couldn’t help but shudder recalling that time in Blackburn it had been done to him.

Daniel+Levy

It will be £16.5 million for the next Beckham.”

Could you please close the blinds?

Ah northern sunshine, crisp day eh? Here’s the pen, let me close that for you, sign it first though.”

From that moment Levy had vowed to learn from his experiences, to take what ever happens to him and use it to his advantage. This morning he had intended to break the news to AVB that JD and Emmanuel Adebayor were class strikers to drive the club forwards, but he couldn’t form the words and there was something about AVB this morning that didn’t quite add up.

The Portuguese man had an air of confidence around him; despite sitting in a chair with one leg shorter than the rest, the light across his face and the slight change in air temperature. His posture exuded belief, a posture very few could master in a chair that didn’t balance and he looked cool and totally unperturbed, a far cry from the boy who had arrived 12 months earlier.

It seemed to Levy that AVB thought of himself as a man in power. A feeling three weeks ago in that very office, Levy had once had.

Three weeks ago

The Spurs chairman’s phone was alive. The LED’s were flashing uncontrollably, his inbox was full and his spam filter dealing with any agent from Internacional was creaking. It was a good day if only he had some hair so he could stand there and run his hand through it.

Being follically challenged he instead opted to show his power by summoning his son into his office. Wrapping his arm round the boys frame, Levy put on his best Mufasa like impression as she showed his young cub the territory.

Look how they flock to me, look at my importance; this is the dawn of the new Spurs.

That day though had proved to be a mere one off. Since then his phone had not rung, his secretary had been sent home and White Hart Lane was deathly quiet.

The strikers, agents and offers had all gone, the watering hole that was Tottenham had dried up. Paris, Manchester, Madrid, Monaco, Turin and pretty much every European city had sucked up all the players previously desperate to sign. From a position of power, Spurs were looking at a rather troubling end to the close season.

Levy consoled himself with a sip of water and the thought of the interest £25 million nestled safely in the bank would generate. The drink though didn’t help in the way he expected. His throat seemed even drier, so he poured himself another glass and drank it in one go. The liquid did little to sate his thirst, so he downed two more.

The water was cool and Levy enjoyed the sensation it gave him, but still he felt peculiar, his thoughts turned towards competing in the Premier League. Surely JD and Adebayor wouldn’t be as bad as last season again? So the squad number 9 would have no takers again, Madrid haven’t had a number 11 in two years. That thought stopped him in his tracks.

What if Bale goes? What if Ade doesn’t play again, JD is 30; can I pick up a Dempsey this year?

Levy’s stomach had dropped, sweat formed across his brow, his pulse rate quickened, the room seemed to stand still and his peripheral vision blurred. The images of legendary Spurs figures, hung so proudly on his egg-shell white walls stared at him intently.

What’s happening to me?” He gasped.

He moved painfully slow to his Hewlett Packard laptop, hit the on button and waited an age for it to power up. Finally he opened IE and googled his symptoms.

Panic. The sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior.

As his breath continued to get shorter and the sweat beaded on his dome shaped head, before sliding down into his eyes, he sensed movement. He peered towards the door, but the salt from his sweat, combined with his continual eye wiping, blurred his vision. The pain stung and briefly broke him free of his panic, before he was thrown back in.

Cold air then swept across the office; falling to floor he crawled towards it, seeking its respite.

Daniel, you have wronged many believers. You mocked the Gods of football, you had your opportunities to claim a success through many different phases, but instead you chose greed.”

Lifting his head towards the sound he could only make out a figure robed in white. The light around the figure was beautiful, yet terrifying and enchanting at the same time, his heart lifted at the sight, but dread was still his overriding emotion.

What is this?

I am here to inform you that you must seek alternate methods in which to lead this club, you can no longer keep crossing your palm with client’s silver without returning gifts.

You continue to sell assets and fail to replace them. Modric, VDV and Berbatov, think of how we could send others into downward spirals with them, but instead you sell to mercenaries to feed your own and your bosses coffers. This must stop.”

But I give back, Stub Hub, shiny cards and free Spurs TV…..”

Daniel, do not mock me. They want North London for years, not an afternoon. They want European Glory, they want their pride back. They need a striker.”

The feeling of nausea continued and his heart beat so ferociously that he was afraid it would burst from his chest. He wanted to move, to do something, but the slightest turning of his head made him feel uncomfortable.

I understand, I will try.”

Do or do not Daniel. There is no try.”

Ok I will.”

Excellent, now drink plenty of water.”

As the figure backed away and the light dimmed, Levy began to feel slightly better. Down the hall he heard murmurings, but he was unable to focus on the words, with his head resting on the lush carpet sleep crept upon him.

Back to the present

So Andre, I have been thinking, perhaps we could do with a striker.”

That’s uncanny, both Franco and I have had the same thought.”

Good, I am glad to see we are thinking alike. Now I have something to show you, where is it?

Levy starts searching through various pieces of paper on his desk, when a yellow invoice catches his eye.

Oh look yours and Franco’s first expense report. Industrial fans, pharmaceuticals, lighting and a voice magnifier.”

Franco’s idea, he done something similar at Roma. Worked a treat there, seems to be having some affect here also. I’ll let you get on with your work.”

With that AVB stood and walked out, from down the corridor Levy could make out some familiar murmurings, but as he felt the sweat starting to form on his head again, he picked up the phone.

Shelia, get me Valencia.”

The Return of the Striker

May 10, 2013 2 comments

Tottenham’s draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge keeps the Lillywhites firmly in the race for Champions League football. Despite being dominated at points, Tottenham kept believing and as the game wore on looked the more likely to claim the three points. Credit must go to Andre Villas-Boas for another crucial substitution, but surely there is more than just on the spot sharpness to AVB?

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What exactly goes on at that multimillion pound state-of-the-art training centre? How are Spurs trying to get the edge over their fellow Champions League contenders?

He’s Alive!!!

At the Tottenham Training Centre, Steffen Freund is scuttling around the laboratory, whilst Andre Villas-Boas looks lovingly at the figure on the medical table. Around the two Spurs men various machines beep and flicker, time is against them they need to make this work, the season is nearly over.

Steffy, if this works we are going to need some clothes for this chap eventually, he can’t go play naked?

Boss we don’t have any spare kit; let me see what I can find. Azza hasn’t played much recently; perhaps we can steal some shorts from him?”

Ok, go for it. I will stay here and keep an eye on him.”

Removing a satin handkerchief from his pocket AVB slowly wipes the sweat that has been building on the figures forehead. With Freund out of the laboratory AVB takes the opportunity to think about the person relying on modern science to bring him to some semblance of form.

Earlier that year

What do you mean they don’t have the parts we need? When I came here you told me that we were fully stocked, how can I complete my objectives if we don’t have a fully functional striker?

Andre relax, I know a man who knows a man who knows someone. They can sort this out.”

But Daniel the season has started, we have yet to win a game. I need this striker.”

I am aware of that; lets create a smoke screen, perhaps a falling out or some dressing room scandal?

Not too keen on that, what about a couple of niggly injuries, a red card here or there and perhaps an unscheduled trip or two?

I like it Andre, I like the way you think. You and me buddy, we are going to go far.”

I am happy you think like that, now one more thing, you know Joao Moutinho…”

Is that my phone ringing? Yes it is, see you later must dash.”

Back at the laboratory

The door swings open and Freund returns holding an assortment of kit stolen from Lennon.

They won’t look good on him; the shorts will be ridiculously short as will the socks, but perhaps it will bamboozle the Chelsea defence?

That’s ok Stef, the real problem now is power. How do we get this guy up and running? The last time we had him at full speed was against Arsenal, but that led to a circulatory overload and he freaked out after 15 minutes.”

I have been studying this, what we really need is precise strike of electricity, something like in Back to the Future where they harness lightning. That will provide us power that we can channel and divert to the necessary zones. Especially the first touch capacitor, finishing processor and the general motor skills application.”

Lightning though? Does that really work? Also will lightning even hit this place?

Apparently they were able to channel some lightning a few seasons ago, when they attempted to prolong Ledley’s career, but unfortunately the technology wasn’t as high tech as it is today.”

So in order to make this work we need lightning to strike the same place twice? That’s impossible, the whole plan is scuppered.”

Above the duo, in the viewing gallery a watching Daniel Levy speaks over the intercom.

Chaps this is Spurs, we specialise in lightning striking twice.”

Perfect, when will it hit?” Asks a relieved AVB

Always around the end of the season and the summer/winter transfer windows…hang on here it comes

Lighting strikes the conductor on the roof, electricity surges through the cables, into the transformers before being whisked into the attachments on the figures head.

Arrrrrrgggghhhhhh

It’s working!!!” Shouts Freund.

He’s positively ready to complete his objectives for the forth coming game!!” Replies AVB

What?”  Reply both Freund and Levy.

He’s alive!!!!!!!!!!!! Welcome Back Emmanuel Adebayor!!

That evening at Stamford Bridge in the commentary gantry

Adebayor coming out of defence, he’s past one man, he is surging towards goal, he’s shot, oh my word what a goal!!!!

The ball is played into Adebayor, he twists away from that tackle and sprays the ball wide.”

Adebayor’s first touch didn’t let him down there.”

A lovely ball into Adebayor, what a subtle back heel into Sigurðsson, GOAL!!! Spurs equalise, the Champions League dream is still alive!!

In every single pub and home containing Spurs fans

Its like he is a new man, I can’t believe it!! It’s like we have signed a brand new striker!!

Wigan v Spurs: AVB’s Conundrums

April 26, 2013 Leave a comment

The euphoria of the win against Man City has slowly ebbed away to be replaced with that usual touch of apprehension.  Spurs travel to Wigan on Saturday a team who has become accustomed to wrecking dreams. The DW Stadium has laid many a title challenge and push for safety to bed, Spurs need to be at their best if they wish to avoid a similar fate.

AVB Cyborg

This article first appeared on The Fighting Cock

Back in November I commented that Wigan Athletic, the team that no one really dislikes, has had a habit of defining us. These words came back to haunt me as Spurs then suffered a 1-0 defeat at White Hart Lane. The most memorable thing from that torrid experience was the free curry samples being served in the East Stand.

Thankfully since that fixture Spurs have avoided repeating such ineptitude. This season, a few set backs apart, has largely gone to plan. We are on course for a top four finish and our destiny is in our hands, once again we face Wigan at a crucial time, not just for us, but for them.

The last few seasons have taught us that when the weather warms up Wigan move up the table, but this years protracted winter means Spurs face a Latics team backed into a corner. Both teams can not afford to lose this game, it all points to a fascinating fixture.

Due to our failings from the penalty spot in Switzerland,  Andre Villas-Boas has been able to give the squad a couple of days off. I may have wanted a glorious cup run to Amsterdam, but I am thankful for the respite our exit has offered us. Gareth Bale has had another six days of rest and Aaron Lennon according to reports, looks set to feature. The all important balance the diminutive winger gives us, should be back.

The return of Lennon brings with it a host of conundrums for AVB to ponder before Saturday’s kick off, the first is who plays up front?

Against not only City but a whole host of opponents this season, Emmanuel Adebayor has been ineffective. The movement, touch, understanding and finishing that made him such an asset last year have disappeared. He is a phantom of his former self, Jermain Defoe meanwhile, despite being sidelined through injury has seen a meteoric rise in his stock.

The England man before Sunday hadn’t scored a goal for Spurs in 4 four months, yet his return was seen as the second coming. Defoe remains a limited striker, but compared to Adebayor’s recent form, he is the love child of Gerd Muller and Paolo Rossi.

Regardless of Adebayor’s lack of form though, I would start him on Saturday against Wigan. It may be blind hope, but over 60 minutes he may tire the Wigan defence, then with the game hopefully stretched in our favour Defoe can be introduced. The former Pompey striker as he proved against City, is an impressive impact sub

The return of Lennon also means that one of Clint Dempsey or Glyfi Sigurðsson will miss out. Do we opt for the man who does nothing but score tap-ins, or someone who is gradually coming to terms with a place in a top tier Premier League team?

On Sunday as I watched Spurs fail to breach a resolute City for the best part of an hour, it was with Dempsey that most of my frustrations lay. The American is a footballing Rubik Cube, he has had me in delirium at certain points, but totally bamboozled as to his worth at others. Dempsey contributes very little to the team and its style of play, he is the most un-luxurious of luxury players.

Siggy meanwhile is without doubt the better all round player, but he lacks the self-confidence of “The Duece.” It is on this basis therefore I would opt for the American, with the season coming to its crescendo, you need players who believe 100% in their ability, regardless of how limited it is.

The last real conundrum for AVB is who to partner Mousa Dembele? Does he opt for the more mobile but limited in possession Scott Parker, or the occasional statuesque brilliance of Tom Huddlestone? Personally I would opt for the same Adebayor/Defoe formula. Start Parker and as the tempo of the game subsides, introduce Hudd and his masterful long passing game.

It is comforting to know that AVB has positive selection issues to ponder pre- game, but if we learnt one thing on Sunday, it’s that it’s even nicer to know we have a manager who can make the big decisions during a game. With players such as Lewis Holtby and Tom Carroll on the bench, we have game changers and a manager unafraid to use them.

Three points on Saturday,  would put the pressure right back on on Arsenal who face the champions Man United on Sunday.

No team has done the double over Spurs this season; we need to ensure that Wigan isn’t the most unlikely of firsts.

Spurs Stand Up and Get Counted

April 22, 2013 Leave a comment

It was a glorious seven minutes of pure unadulterated glory. White Hart Lane basked in sunshine; a sea of white and blue were bouncing across each stand. Grown men previously strangers embraced, ears rang with Spurs anthems and Man City wilted; it was a reminder of what it means to be Tottenham and what the old stadium still has to offer. This wasn’t as some media outlets portrayed Spurs snatching victory from defeat; it was Spurs believing that victory was theirs and finally realising all they had to do was reach out and grab it.

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This article first appeared on The Fighting Cock Website

For the first 60 minutes of this fixture, Man City had had things their own way. Their expensively assembled squad were efficient, they closed down the spaces, forced (allowed) Spurs to play narrow and in the face of some laboured Tottenham possession, kept the home team at arms length.

It was all a little too comfortable for City, who then started to waste time; it was to prove their undoing.  All their Stoke City-esque behaviour achieved was to incense the crowd and through injustice and un-sportsmanship, galvanize the Spurs XI. Karma came a calling when with 3 minutes left, Hugo Lloris took a goal kick ala Joe Hart.

Under Andre Villas-Boas, Tottenham have at points this season fluctuated wildly. We have tasted despair; lost games we should have won, yet still snatched draws and victories that perhaps weren’t deserved. On Sunday, AVB showed us once again that we have a manager capable of altering the course of a game for the better.

Against Everton he hauled off fans favourite Mousa Dembele and claimed a point, on Sunday he substituted pirouetting Scott Parker, for the more stationary figure of Tom Huddlestone, once again to great affect. The former West ham man had put it yet another spinning top performance, lots of energy and speed without really going anywhere.

Huddlestone though, just as he showed against Everton proved that if you make the ball work, you don’t have to. His passing range and accuracy changed the game; suddenly Spurs were able to counter attack.

Lewis Holtby and Jermain Defoe were introduced for Glyfi Siggurdsson and the anonymous Emmanuel Adebayor, and immediately we had a shape and a system. The German went wide but also offered energy and industry in the central positions. Defoe was a threat in behind City and Bale moved out to the right, instantly occupying both Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov, both of whom had previously been enjoying a care-free second half.

The glory of what was about to come wasn’t on the horizon until Clint Dempsey pulled off a Clint Special, a two yard finish, from a deft Bale cross.

If Adebayor didn’t exist then Dempsey would probably be public enemy number one. The American offers very little to Spurs, yet somehow continues to score big goals. It is perhaps one of the biggest conundrums at Spurs; can you afford to drop a man who achieves a great deal, by doing very little?

The goals which sealed the victory and City’s limp attempt at retaining their title were pure uncut glory though. Spurs winning the ball in midfield through cohesive and intense pressure, then two passes later, the net was rippling, the crowd jumping and the players and management all over each other.

Defoe showed that he may be a one trick pony, but when he is allowed the space to pull off that trick, he is deadly. Bale’s goal was typical of the Welshman, one touch, a second then an exquisite finish but we shouldn’t forget Huddlestone’s part in it. A tackle, a charge up-field then a perfectly weighted pass, simple, but beautiful.

What made the result even sweeter was the pessimism that surrounded the game pre kick-off. Pessimism that to be fair originated from BBC, SKY and other experts, for the most part White Hart Lane believed that Spurs could claim three important points, even after Samir Nasri had poked City into a 1-0 lead.

Over the past few months much has been made of Tottenham’s failure to sign a “World Class” striker, or even one who holds the ball up and occasionally scores, but City offered us food for thought on Sunday. With the game slipping away they didn’t pluck a proven striker, or a Hot Prospect from the bench to reinvigorate their pedestrian front line, instead threw Joleon Lescott upfront.

If City, despite their bottomless pit of money are hamstrung by a lack of available class strikers, then can you imagine where we are?

Thankfully though as Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko huffed and puffed for 90 minutes, we had Defoe to blow their house and title ambitions down. It may have been his first league goal since 2012, but its timing was impeccable.

Defoe is not the answer in the long term, but as short term impact sub, he remains priceless.

Wigan away for Spurs next, whilst Arsenal face Man United at home and Chelsea travel to Switzerland to face FC Basel then Swansea. Destiny is back in our own hands. If we can take the last 30 minutes from Sunday and turn it into five 90 minute performances, Champions League and possibly 3rd place will be ours.

There is always more glory to be had. Come on you Spurs!!