Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tottenham preparing £7M bid for Hoilett

Tottenham is stepping up their interest in Blackburn's out-of-contract player Hoilett, who has only 7 months left in the club. Blackburn are one of the under-achieving clubs in the EPL right now and they're being tipped to get relegated.

Canadian winger David 'Junior' Hoilett has been a bright spot on a lousy season Blackburn endured so far, but he's reluctant to sign a new contract, which has put many clubs on alert, and Spurs are considered to be the favorites to snap up this explosive striker, who can also be deployed as a winger.

He has also attracted interest from Newcastle and Stoke City, and Spurs will surely face a battle in January to sign him.

This news brings to motion Kranjcar's situation at the club. Currently, the Croat is injured, but it is known that he doesn't have a guaranteed place in Harry's squad. He was expected to leave the club last summer, but Tottenham's high evaluation put off any potential suitors. Roma are now in pole position to sign the attacking midfielder and it is expected that he will be let go for the similar sum the club plans to invest in Hoilett.

Miserable Spurs out of Europa League

As soon as Spurs beat Liverpool in last seasons 5th place decider, everyone felt it wasn't really a fight worth fighting for. Europe League has a low reputation and few teams take it seriously.

Harry announced that Tottenham will be focusing on Premier League and that 4th spot for the Champions League, which is, of course, the most prestigious competition on club level. So, Spurs got into Europa League games basically with their reserves and youngsters like Corluka, Bassong, Pienaar, Pavlyuchenko and Carroll, Livermore, Kane, Rose, Fredericks, etc.

They started with a draw against PAOK away from home, which wasn't a big surprise, PAOK has a solid reputation as one of the best football clubs from Greece, but then Tottenham managed to beat Shamrock Rovers at home, which was expected by everyone, and another win came against Rubin at home. With 7 points out of three games, everyone saw Spurs in the second leg.

Then came supposedly the toughest game Spurs had to play, Rubin away in cold Russia. Again, with reserves and youngsters, nobody was making them favorites, and Rubin managed to win the game by 1:0.

So, 4 games, 7 points, not to bad? All that's left is PAOK at home and Shamrock away. Surely everyone expected 2 wins for Spurs, but Greeks came with a surprise, taking the lead very quickly by taking advantage of some poor defending from Gallas and Bassong. Shortly after that, Corluka was caught out of position and PAOK hit Spurs from the counter-attack to double their lead. Disaster for lilywhites.

After some sloppy attacking play from Spurs reserves and Modric, they managed to get a shot on the goal which was deflected by a 17-year old Stafylids, who then saved a goal with his hand. On purpose? Hard to tell. My guess is not, but the referee saw it otherwise. Teenager was shown no mercy. Red card and a penalty for Spurs. Everything turned around so quickly after Modric scored a penalty and looked like Spurs could turn it around with extra player on the pitch. But they seemed highly unmotivated, waiting as long as 80' to make a real chance for them when Defoe scored a goal which was later cancelled due to the tackle Defoe made previously. Very controversial part of the game. Why wouldn't the ref stop the play right away, but then wait for Spurs to score a goal and only then signal a foul.

Spurs continued attacking afterwards, but it clearly wasn't enough to earn them a goal with Greeks having a lot of luck defending themselves. Now they're the leaders of the group with 11 points, right behind them is Rubin with 10, while Spurs are on the 3rd spot with 7 points they earned in the first three games. Rubin has a goal difference of 10:4, while Spurs have 5:4. Only way Spurs are able to get through is for PAOK to beat Rubin at home and Spurs to beat Shamrock away and will have to that with few extra goals in order to have a better goal difference than Rubin. Mission impossible, much?

Nonetheless, Tottenham now has plenty of time to focus on whats really important. Keeping the good form in EPL going. Last season similar things happened. Spurs started of well in domestic league, also did well in CL, and then the form suddenly dropped. They got trashed by Real Madrid 4:0 and made a poor run in EPL, allowing Man City to get ahead and to grab their 4th and then Arsenal's 3rd spot. Lets just hope Harry has learned his lesson and has a trick up his sleeve when the bad form comes, which is certain to hit us at some point.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

How vital Modric actually is for Spurs

Last game Spurs played against WBA, Modric was missing from the team sheet. There were no news day before that he could miss the game, so I was a bit surprised to see the lineup without him. Redknapp later confirmed Luka was out with a cold, so he decided to let him off.

Tottenham played an abysmal first half with WBA controlling most of the game and winning the midfield battle, even though Spurs had both Parker and Sandro in the middle. It was clear that something was missing, someone to be more precise.

Modric was much needed in the middle during the first half, as Spurs struggled to make any chances. Luckily, Lennon made a great run and earned a penalty which saw Spurs go into the dressing room tied 1:1.

In the second half, Parker took the responsibility of a playmaker and Spurs somehow managed to bag to goals at the end of the game.

Throughout the whole game, I must say, Spurs just weren't the better side and the only reason they won was pure luck and a great individual class shown by Defoe. When playing Aston Villa week before, Spurs dominated the game and result could have been 5:0 easily, but a 2:0 is always a satisfying result. The reason Tottenham was able to dominate the game was the domination in midfield, clearly due to the workrate from both Modric and Parker, but it appears as Modric was vital for Spurs that game, with his technique and great ball control. Honestly, when have you seen him loose a ball? If he can't play it to anyone, he can easily dribble pass the opponents and always looks to find the best solution, and it seems as lately he improved his shooting. Remember the screamer against Liverpool in the 4:0 thrashing at White Hart Lane? He started it off with a brilliant right-foot effort from more than 20 yards.

How right was Levy not to let him go, and I'm hoping he'll sign a new deal soon which will see him earn 100,000 pounds a week, a sum a player of his caliber clearly deserves.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Another scalp for Spurs

Tottenham had a tough game facing WBA away from home with both Van der Vaart (hamstring) and Modric (virus) out of the game.

Lack of creativity sure was quite visible in first half and result at half time could have been worse for Spurs, but thanks to a great run from Lennon, Adebayor managed to score after missing a penalty to cancel out Mulumbu's 10' opener.

In the second half, Spurs began to attack more and Defoe scored a beauty short before the end of the match to provide Spurs yet another victory. In the last minute, Bale was in WBA's 16 yard box for the 3rd time and this time he decided to assist the ball to Adebayor, who scored with a deflection from the keeper to settle the score at 1:3 for Spurs.

Another brace from Adebayor, though he was lucky to score both goals, while the real hero of this match was certainly Defoe, who has shown Capello that he may count on him for the Euro 2012. Could Defoe be coming into these games extra motivated to claim a place in English Euro Cup side? He sure does seem a lot better than he was last season, lets just hope he continues down this path, and Spurs might not need a striker in January after all.

Redknapp himself said he was displeased with first half, but he had a talk with the players and turned it around in the second, apparently.

Spurs sure did look a lot better in the second half with Parker being more involved in attack. With no Modric, Spurs had to rely on Parker as a playmaker today, and I  must say, he did a magnificent job out there. So far, Parker has been a ball winning midfielder for the team and he's been nothing short of a pure success since joining on deadline day. When I saw the line up, it was clear that Parker was going to have more attacking duties. Since I haven't seen him much in attack, I was a bit skeptical about Harry's decision, since he had Pienaar left on the bench, but Parker sure did prove me wrong. He showed some great technique, creativity, and what surprised me the most, pace. Had great runs through the middle and some fine passes on the flanks, though his shots weren't quite successful.

Lennon and Bale spent most of the second half on opposite sides to what they usually play. Lennon was on the left and Bale was on the right. I must say that Bale seems to be losing pace, he's not as quick as he used to be, but sure has improved some of his qualities. Lennon had some fine runs as well, proving he's an important player for the club.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sandro situation

I have to say I'm a bit surprised with Sandro's position at the club. He had an amazing season last term for Spurs, but now faces bench in favor of Scott Parker.

Nobody can argue that Parker has been nothing short of a success for the club, but when Real Madrid came looking for Sandro in summer, Spurs slapped a price tag of 35M euros on him, making it clear they have no intention of selling him. So what is the plan for Sandro now? I don't think there's a team in Premier League where Parker wouldn't get the starting place, seeing as how he's a regular at Capello's English side, but a place for a player like Sandro must be found, at least in some rotation, or maybe an even better option would be to send him on a loan.

Who are Spurs looking to bring in this winter?

Spurs have been a bit modest in their last 2-3 transfer windows, with only few bargain signings, not splashing out a lot, and it seems as January won't be any different.

Two main targets for January will surely be Junior Hoilett from Blackburn and Gary Cahill from Bolton, both having only 6 months remaining on their contracts. Spurs will be looking for new bargains, but there have been talks about a long-term target Leandro Damiao from Internacional, though his price tag is putting Spurs off at the moment, with Brazilian side asking for an eye-watering 40M euros, equivalent of 34M pounds. Surely Levy won't spend that much on a player who has not been proven in Europe and I agree, why waste all that money on him? Though a new striker is needed, Adebayor has gotten of to a good start, but seeing as Defoe is on a brink of an exit, as is Pavlyuchenko, Spurs will need more firepower up front, since Crouch and Keane both left in the summer for Stoke City and LA Galaxy respectively.

Will Tottenham's great run continue after WBA match?

Tottenham Hotspur are a guest team at West Brom Albion on Saturday 15:00 Greenwich time, and are made favorites for this match at odds on their side (1.9), though it is known that Spurs are always having a tough time outside of White Hart Lane.

New signings Parker and Adebayor have been in a magnificent form since joining the side in summer, with Ade scoring 2 goals against Aston Villa at home last Monday to provide Spurs yet another victory to push them to 3rd place of EPL.

Form has been great throughout the team, with Kaboul making a real step forward as a much needed central defender. Also, I'd like to point out that Lennon really impressed me last game with his willingness in attack, he seems more motivated this term and I really hope to see the old Lennon back on Spurs. Form of Spurs stars Bale and Modric is unquestionable, though I'm not satisfied with last performance Van der Vaart put in, not sure if its formation, but he seemed out of form last game. Hopefully, Redknapp will find a solution for him, but at the moment, Defoe seems like a better option in attack in my opinion.