Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gareth Bale - best winger in the world?

After struggling to get any playing time in his first years as a Spurs player, Bale quickly emerged as one of the key players in the squad known for his powerful runs down the left flank. Major breakthrough for Bale came when Assou-Ekotto got injured, so Harry had to use Bale as a left back. It was quickly becoming obvious that Bale's biggest qualities are mostly attacking ones. He was soon deployed to the left midfielder position with Modric moving to the inside.

He enjoyed great partnership with Modric, who supplied him with balls down the flank as Bale would beat all the right backs in front of him to assist Crouch mostly with his sharp low balls. Most notable performances are surely two games against, then, European and Italian champions, Inter, where Bale scored a hat-trick in the first game at Milan with Tottenham playing with just 10 players on the pitch. Even though he scored 3 goals, his game of career came when Inter came to London. It was then when the whole world heard of this rampaging Welshman who destroyed the worlds best full back Maicon. Simply destroyed him. Spurs won the game 3:1, mostly thanks to Bale's brilliance and they went on as group winners.

Form then dropped suddenly and everyone quickly became critical of Bale, claiming the Welshman just had his day against Inter, and had no real quality whatsoever. Whole Tottenham team played the second part of season badly, which resulted in missing out of Champions League this season and getting knocked out of CL by Real Madrid trashing us 4:0.

But this season, whole team started playing well, getting the best start in 50 years. Star of the season by many so far would be Parker, someone would even say Modric, but in my opinion, Bale was vital for all of the success. He has been superb, creating chances and scoring goals. Last term, he seemed like a player with only one dribble, where he knocks the ball past opponents and just runs past them. Worked most of the time, but it was very predictable. So predictable that Phil Jones, arguably one of the slowest fullbacks in EPL managed to stop him throughout the game. Now Bale looks like a world class player that is always able to find a solution. He's a great dribbler, his physical qualities are as good as ever, and he seems mentally stronger. All in all, improvement is quite obvious and there is no doubt that every team in this world would love to have him in his squad. So far he remains loyal to Spurs, lets just hope that remains the case.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cole's handball cancels out Adebayor's opener

Spurs started the game well by constantly pressuring Chelsea defence until they scored a goal with Bale making his typical run and crossing low for Adebayor. Ball just went past Cech and landed on Adebayor's foot to give Spurs the lead.

Domination continued, but Chelsea had a few chances of their own. In 23' minute, after a clear handball by Ashley Cole, he assisted Sturridge in front of a goal while the players were expecting referee Webb to signal for a handball. Even though the ref was in a perfect position to spot the obvious handball, he did nothing and Chelsea equalized. Moments after Drogba showed his class by beating Tottenham defenders but was unlucky to see his shot smash the post.

After that, Spurs took control of the possession and made a lot of chances, but Chelsea played good defence, particularly Terry and Ferreira, who earlier replaced injured Ivanovic. I expected Bale to win the duel against Ferreira, but the Portuguese did quite well against Welshman, who was probably the best player on Tottenham side alongside King and Sandro.

Some might say that the result was fair, with both teams preforming at their best, but looking at the stats, I can't help but feel that Tottenham might have gotten a better result here, seeing as how dominant they were in possession.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lennon out of derby game against Chelsea, Bale and Defoe fighting for fitness

Tomorrow might be our season defining games against the arch-rivals Chelsea. In the last 2 games, form has dipped down a bit, but Chelsea can't be happy with their displays, particularly against Wigan where they drew 1:1 against a team fighting to avoid relegation.

Lennon picked up a hamstring injury against Sunderland last weekend in the 1:0 win at home, and it looks like he'll be missing for 2-3 weeks, which could prompt Van der Vaart to the position of a right midfielder, while Defoe might start the match alongside Adebayor. Bale is also recovering from the ankle injury, Defoe and him missed last game, but are both expected to return against Chelsea. King is expected to play a part in this game, but his knee problems might prevent him from playing full match.

Concerning the Chelsea, they don't have as many injury problems, but Terry seems to have picked up a slight injury in the training and is in doubt, just like David Luiz. This could see Ivanovic move to the center back position, while Bosingwa gets the heads up on the right flank. This would be great news for Bale, who had a hard time last couple of games against Ivanovic, who was superior defensively, but I expect Bale to dominate Bosingwa, player who certainly didn't build his reputation with defensive play.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Defoe on his way out?

Euro 2012 is getting closer and many English players are anticipating the prospect of being selected by the manager Capello. Rooney will most certainly make the cut after his ban was appealed and reduced to two games.

But who will go alongside him? There are many candidates like Defoe, Bent, Sturridge, Zamora and I would never rule out Heskey, though he's a long shot.

Defoe has shown some fine form recently, though he's not been favored by Harry in the starting lineup. Clearly he was getting frustrated, at the age of 29, you would expect to get regular opportunities to pay, yet Defoe remains benched in favor of Adebayor and Van der Vaart.

Now Defoe has made it clear that he will wait no more. With January transfer window coming up, Defoe has set up ultimatum - play me or lose me.

There is no doubt he's a great striker with a great sense for goal, but can he really make the first eleven squad? Adebayor has been in great form, and you just can't bench someone like Van der Vaart. So what lies in future of Jermain? Few clubs have made interest in him during the summer, but he stayed in Spurs. But things are different now, he needs playing time if he's to win that spot for Euro 2012. QPR are considered favorites to snap him up in January, with Sunderland monitoring his situation.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sloppy play, but 3 points are 3 points

Sunderland has been struggling throughout the season and have been considered underachievers so far. I was hoping their poor form could continue for the game against Tottenham, but I was surprised with their display.

Once again, Tottenham's first half was abysmal, with poor displays from Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Adebayor in particular. Sunderland were no doubt a better side in the first half and they almost got the lead when Richardson was all alone in front of the goal, but couldn't get the final touch on the ball delivered by Larsson.

First half ended with 0:0 and I was outraged with teams display. They seemed unmotivated and movement was just horrible. Yet again, Harry did his wonders in the dressing room and you could really see the new side on the pitch in the second half. In 61st minute, Van der Vaart played a perfect pass to Pavlyuchenko, who was awful till that moment, when he converted this chance into a goal.

It was then when things took the turn for the better for Spurs, Assou-Ekotto was superb on the left flank with Modric cutting more into the middle, which created a lot of space for Cameroonian. Sandro displayed yet another great defensive performance in the middle of the park with his great tackles and aggression and Adebayor was maybe the best player in the finishing moments of the game. He has shown some great movement and technique to preserve the ball in some vital moments.

All in all, I'm satisfied, seeing how odds were against Spurs, but is this kind of game enough to compete with Chelsea on Thursday? I don't think so. Hopefully, Bale will be fit and I think Defoe might be given a chance, at least from the bench. His exclusion today was perhaps the biggest surprise. Perhaps Harry was angered by Defoe's statement that he will leave the club if he doesn't start more EPL games.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Meet Stoke City - team with 5 goalkeepers and a butcher named Ryan

Yes, I know the game was 2 days ago, but I had my problems. Finals on my college...

Anyway, getting to a point, Spurs have dropped 3 points against Stoke and yet again I almost punched a hole in my screen while watching the game.

The way Stoke City plays is a shame for all of EPL. There were literally 4-5 handballs in their 16 yard box and not once did the referee point to the spot. I mean, you'd have to be literally a blind man to miss it all. First of all, goal that gave Stoke City the lead, clear handball by Peter Crouch. Did the linesman signal it? Of course not.

Though I agree Stoke deserved the lead at the break, because Spurs just couldn't match their aggressive play, in the second half, Tottenham deserved much, much more than they got.

There was a given penalty when Modric was brought down, simply because there was no question about it. Even the Stoke City players wouldn't protest, except for the crowd, but there you have it. Stoke City supporters took any chance to 'boo' their opposition, especially Modric, thinking Spurs didn't deserve that penalty.

As the game marched on, Stoke formed a 10-men defence, while Spurs began pushing forward, but whenever they made a chance, Shawcross would simply make a foul that ref would miss and it went on and on and on... just like every other game.

Shawcross was the one that broke the leg of Ramsey in two places, making him unavailable for almost a whole season for Arsenal. Did he get suspended? Of course not. Why? Because FA is a joke! He's out there, doing it again, just like his fellow long lost brother Nigel de Jong. Players like that make me sick. They're everything that's wrong with football, and were it up to me, they'd never play again.

So the game went on, Spurs continued attacking and creating chances, most notably when the ball struck Huth, I think, on the goal line, he defended with his hands. Yeah, I'm not even joking, protests began, but Stoke City man Chris Foy wouldn't hear of it. Action continued as Adebayor got the ball 2 yards on side, scoring a goal only to be judged offside by the linesman.

There were many other occasions where Stoke players used their hands to defend, and I don't mean Sorensen, I mean players.

The best part was when Kaboul went to the referee to tell him about the handball, not raising his voice, not using any curse words, just to make it clear to Foy how much he robbed his team, man of the game Chris pulls out a yellow card on Kaboul. Unbelievable! Moments after that, Kaboul commits a foul on the other side of the half, merely pushes Stoke City player and gets second yellow!

But wait, it gets better... why FA is a joke, you might ask yourself. Well, after a horrific display from this man calling himself the EPL referee, FA will take absolutely no action against him, allowing him to continue with his job next weekend on the Fulham - Bolton match. Fulham and Bolton fans, I'd say brace yourselves.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ajax captain Vertonghen edges closer to Spurs

£10M rated Belgium international is apparently one step closer to Spurs, as they're making him their top target for the next transfer period.

Jan Vertonghen is a long-term target for Tottenham and now that Ajax is out of the Champions League, it looks increasingly likely that they could let go of their prized asset in the January. Vertonghen has attracted a lot of interest in the past two years, with him being linked to such teams as Arsenal, Man City, Inter, Liverpool and even European Champions Barcelona.

His contract expires in 2013, which means that his price will only go down.

Cahill has been also a target for Redknapp, but it looks as though he's about to join Chelsea, who already have great defence, in my opinion, but will be looking for a bargain, seeing as how Cahill will only be having 6 months left on his contract with Bolton in January.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Great Run Continues

Even though they practically got kicked out of Europe last Wednesday, they came back strong against woeful Bolton. It took only 7 minutes for Spurs to take the lead, with Bale getting a touch on Modric's corner.

10 minutes after that, Cahill lost the ball trying to dribble with no cover behind, he lost it and made a foul which saw him receive a red card. There were a lot of protests from Bolton players claiming that he wasn't the last defender, but Cahill didn't say a word. The moment I saw replay, it became clear that the correct decision has been made.

You can pretty much imagine what happens afterwards. Spurs began pushing forward, creating chance after chance, but experienced Finland goalkeeper Jaaskelainen managed to deny then a two-goal lead, that is, until 50th minute when Lennon scored a goal from inside the box.

Spurs continued with their dominant display, with Modric bossing the midfield along with Parker, and Bale terrorizing Bolton defence, but Bolton keeper was simply outstanding today. Defoe later scored 3rd, similar situation to the first goal scored by Bale, only this time, Bale's deflection from the corner landed on Defoe's foot about 1 yard away from the goal.

It could have been 7:0, but thanks to Jaaskelainen, Bolton "survived" with their dignity intact... sort of.

This makes 31 points from the last 11 games for Spurs and the next game is away from home at Stoke City against a team that has not been at its best lately, losing 4 out of 5 matches.