Thursday, March 8, 2012

Both Defoe and Livermore need to be given a proper chance

A game to forget against United, no doubt about that, but something really good came out of it. Lets not forget the fact that we were undoubtedly the dominant side in the first half and the reason that was possible was due to the fact that Jake Livermore really left his heart out on the pitch and even though the dominant act was an obvious one, the tradition against Manchester United of bad results continued.

Even though Livermore was the star of the night, I would like to point out that Defoe was just as good and has shown Harry and all of us what we've been missing the whole night. Jake was all over the pitch, pointing out what we were lacking against Arsenal.

Defoe did something similar, pointed out what we lacked to convert our chances into goals with an energetic display and a world-class finish, when he did just what he intended to do, when he was given space by the disorganized United defence. A lot of our attacking play is based on counter-attacks, so we need sharp strikers like Defoe, who are a menace for any defence. Saha had a dream debut, but has not shown much since, except a lucky goal against Arsenal, and in my opinion, is our third striker and should occupy the bench as long as Defoe is available, since he was brought in to fill the void left by the departing Russian.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

What we've learned from the game against United

After a painfully humiliating defeat against our bitter rivals Arsenal, my expectations were a lightning reaction from the team and a change in tactics. Harry made a few changes today and tactically, you can't blame him for anything today, we were not afraid to get a little bit physical, exactly what was needed after a pretty poor display against Arsenal. After another defeat, I can rightly say we were clearly unlucky.

Extra-pressure was on Modric today who had to fill in the boots of the absent Bale, but he kept going to the middle, though this allowed some extra space for Benny, who had an absolutely outstanding game today.

Though BAE was at his best today, a special praise goes to Livermore, who fought like a lion in the middle of the park which saw us keep the possession of the ball most of the time, ensuring us to control the tempo of the game and play the game our way. We were very dominant throughout the game, but again lacked the finishing touch. Giving Saha a chance and leaving Defoe on the bench was an obvious mistake when Defoe was introduced. He didn't have time to make much impact, but his finish in our salvation was brilliant and cold-blooded.

Friedel barely had anything to do in the whole game, yet he went to his net for the ball 3 times. Stats clearly do not show the end result of this game, when you take a look at the possession of the ball (54% on our side), goal attempts (11:6) and unfortunately, I cannot find areal play, but that's where our domination is obvious, since United players barely left their half of the pitch.

With Arsenal now 4 points behind us and 11 games left to play, it is pretty obvious that we have to pick up ourselves and bounce back with a win against Everton next weekend.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Painfully disinterested performance

In our most important game of the season where we had no excuse to lose to underachieving Arsenal, we came out looking like a better side, that is, till we scored in the 6th minute, when we decided its for the best if Arsenal controlled the tempo and game in general. Not sure if this was Harry's tactic or were we this disinterested in game.

In my opinion, Arsenal was much hungrier for a victory, which isn't a surprise and the only reason they snatched one is due to a lack of motivation among the team, who really should have preformed better, especially in defence. Our squad is undoubtedly better than theirs was, and witch such, you would expect a dominant display with a midfield with such creativity, yet Arsenal control the midfield battle where Parker seemed lost, Modric disinterested, Bale selfish and Kranjcar, well, simply not good enough.

We were able to take the lead, thanks to some horrific defending by Vermaelen which allowed Saha the position he got himself into when we took the lead. A magnificent start non the less, after that, things just got slower with our players with only Arsenal creating chances. After some time, Bale was apparently brought down by Szczesny and a penalty was given, but in all honesty, that was no penalty. Bale clearly took a dive, and a good one, as it fooled the referee quite easily. Anyway, Adebayor converted the penalty which saw us take a 2:0 lead in the 34th minute. Even though we were in the lead, I had a constant feeling Arsenal was close to scoring, which then happened, when Sagna outjumped our defenders and scored a header in the box. Shortly after that, Van Persie scored a goal when he was given space to shoot and Friedel couldn't do much about it. Marking tightly was a must for Van Persie, and it was obvious that Harry saw that, too in the second half, but it allowed Walcott a lot of space, and he sure took his chances.

While we still have 7 points ahead of London rivals, with the form shown against Arsenal, I fear we could repeat the last season, where we dropped in form and at the end of the season, barely got to a 5th place.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The finest football team London has to offer

On the 26th of February, our team is given a golden chance to do a double on Arsenal and practically kill their hopes of scrapping anything from this season. Current point gap is a massive one, 10 points with 13 games to go seems pretty big, but imagine a 13 point gap. It would clear up any doubt of us finishing above them or even qualifying for the Champions League. Even Arsenal's legend Thierry Henry himself has acknowledged us as a team 'miles ahead of Arsenal'.

As I mentioned before, at this very moment, we are undoubtedly the finest football team London has to offer, and not just form-wise and some would say Harry's project is complete. This was a project fueled by ambition and shrewd moves made by Harry himself along with Mr. Levy. In the last 18 months, or 3 transfer periods, if you will, we managed to profit on player sales without spending practically anything, and we got in players like Parker and Adebayor, while offloading a couple of 'bench warmers'. This summer, something else is expected. With our team undoubtedly marching towards the Champions League, we'll be looking for reinforcements in the summer, with a couple of top names being targeted.

Ledley King appears almost certain to miss the game, while Adebayor should be ready to face his former club, while Arsenal is missing Jenkinson, both Gibbs and Koscielny look set to be ready for the game, meaning both teams will be complete for the game.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Signing Hazard would be a massive statement, but where would he fit in?

We all know what the Belgian prodigy is capable of and that the £30M price tag is probably justified, but do we really need him? Newest sources suggested that Hazard has agreed to join Tottenham in summer, some went to say that he even signed a contract, but it was quickly revealed by 21 year old himself that no contract has been signed, yet Spurs remain one of his favorable destinations for the summer.

Lille are a big team, but not big enough to hold onto the names like Hazard is, so it is only natural for the player to seek a new club in the summer and I would honestly be shocked if we signed him, mostly due to the fact that we don't really need a player like him at the moment. Sure, he would instantly improve our squad, but in the attacking midfield department, we're pretty strong, I'll go as far as to say that we're the side with the best midfield in the EPL.

We are yet to sign that special player Harry's always mumbling about and Hazard is nothing less than a special player with a hefty price tag attached to his back. Signing him would not just improve our squad, but would also make a statement about our ambitions. With Remy being a long term target, it would be reasonable to expect at least one signing from French Ligue 1, perhaps even a goal machine Giroud, who is valued at €16M by his current employers Montpeiller.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Yet again, no significant signings were made

January transfer window is officially over for Tottenham and I must say I'm disappointed with our activity. Firstly, Harry claims he isn't interested in a single player, yet again, on a deadline day tries to sign a handful of them and only bags an injury-prone veteran who will be only serving on the bench, when both Defoe and Adebayor aren't ready.

I was happy to see Pavlyuchenko go out, especially pleased with the fee involved, yet again showed what business man our chairman really is, but when will they reinvest their money? There were talks of numerous signings this winter, yet only a free transfer was made, even though we still managed to offload some players.

We were linked with a couple of Brazilians, most notably Ganso, who was available for as much as €18M, not a high sum of money, considering the talent and potential that player has, and other Brazilian was a long-term target Leandro Damiao. Both players were linked with summer moves to Tottenham, but we never secured neither of their signatures. Bringing a player like Loic Remy to the squad, or even Papiss Demba Cisse could have increased our chances of silverware this term, but with the squad we currently have and being 5 points behind Manchester duo, I just don't see us as serious title contenders. Hopefully, we'll stick with the 3rd position and will have more willingness to improve in the winter.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Do we need to raise funds before spending?

January transfer period will be over in less than two weeks and we are yet to sell anyone or buy anyone. Many of our fringe players were targeted, but every player seems to be valuated too highly, most recently Defoe and Pavlyuchenko, where Levy asked £20M for the Englishman who spends his time on the bench mostly and 30 year old, out of form Russian who isn't seeing any playing time in the league.

All of the sudden, team wants to keep all of its players, or so would seem. Pienaar was linked to move back to Everton and seeing as how he isn't playing much and is on a huge payroll, I wouldn't see a single reason to keep him, yet Harry insisted South African has a future at the club. I agree with Harry's philosophy on buying players. There really is no need to buy anyone who wont seriously challenge for the starting place.

We have an astonishing amount of depth among the team, seeing as how one team player Premier League this season, while a totally other team of players played Europa League. One was obviously more successful than other, but it goes to show we have plenty of backup and we don't need to sign anymore of those players, if anything, we need to offload some, but that is where Mr. Levy doesn't really share the same opinion as me, with his high valuations of the players. Perhaps he's being frustrated by the market where every in-form player costs a fortune, so he's responding in the same manner, though none of these players are in form, or he's doing a more rational thing, where he realizes he wont be able to sell all the players, but still sell some and make a nice amount of money from the clubs willing to, at least partially, match his valuations.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Magnificent Performance

We're officially on par with the rest of the EPL when it comes to game count, reaching our 20th game and 45th point. I don't imagine there was a single Yid who expected our point count to be this high after just 20 games, yet we're on par with Man Utd and only 3 points from the dream. Londoneers are far behind us, with Chelsea and Arsenal trailing by 8 and 9 points respectively, Spurs look like the top London side at this moment.

Performance against Everton was a joy to behold. Everton, as usual, has proved to be a tough opponent for us, but we were simply too good to be handled and grabbed our deserved win with goals from Lennon and Benoit Assou-Ekotto. Game started off with Saha almost scoring a goal with only 50 seconds gone. Everton had a few notable chances, but their forwards just weren't impressive tonight, with only 3 shots hitting the target tonight, easily denied by Friedel. We, on the other hand, kept pushing all night, Bale did his thing, but Everton defence was determined to hold on, that is, till the 35th minute when Baines made a fatal mistake allowing Lennon to get passed him and with a finish that took a deflection, Howard was beaten and Spurs were off.

Even though we were the dominant side, the possession of the ball wasn't on our side as much as we're used to it, which just goes to show how vital Parker actually is for us. Don't get me wrong, Livermore did a fantastic job out there, but Parker is just magical and he should be ready for the Wolves game, having barely missed out on Everton clash. As the game dragged on, there wasn't much going on, Everton kept pushing, but couldn't create anything troubling, as Dawson's comeback to the pitch was outstanding. He made sure Saha was given no space, while Kaboul looked a bit shaky on several occasions. In 63rd minute, simply out of nowhere, Benoit Assou-Ekotto took the ball, 40 yards out, smashed it pass Howard to send the stadium into ruptures. It was later seen that ball took a deflection from Cahill, but nevertheless, it was an absolute stunner. Then, as expected, Harry made some changes, took Adebayor and Lennon out of the game to give Pienaar and Pav a chance and we went on to record 14th win from 20 games this term.

With today's display, it really begs the question: Does Tottenham really need January funds? Though in my opinion, I would like to make a swap for some players, selling Pienaar, Bassong and Pavlyuchenko and bringing in Hoilett, Samba and Demba Ba. When you think about it, this is quite doable, seeing as how Blackburn are desperate to get out of the debt and Ba has a release clause attached to his contract, apparently, though suitors would have to be found for our unwanted trio. There we could get 3 top players without almost spending anything and the hunt for the title would look even more serious.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Why we need to sign in winter transfer period

New Year has just began, past one has been successful for us, especially the second part when the new season kicked off, seeing as how we're occupying the 3rd place only 3 and 6 points behind Manchester United and City  respectively with a game against Everton in our hands.

Similar story to last year. Don't know how many of you recall, but we were considered title contenders at one point, having gotten off to a great start with a new big-name signing Van der Vaart alongside Modric and Bale, we were looking a sure thing for the Champions League spot. Then after a quiet January transfer window with only 1 notable signing that never did anything for us, really (yes, Pienaar), our form quickly dropped, injuries started hitting hard and we began dropping points, that not only did we not challenge for the title, we even lost that 4th spot and barely got to 5th in the last game against Liverpool. This season we at least won't be having any European distractions.

But, I fear that our team needs some fresh blood, at least to add some excitement. Honestly, think about it, don't you just love hearing about new arrivals? It's one of the most exciting parts of football. There, I said it. Italian giants, Inter, team we trashed and destroyed at White Hart Lane, are the example of 'not keeping it fresh'. Their president concluded, after the team dominated the whole Europe, that he does not need to reinvest in his squad and kept his squad mostly the same as it was. That proved to be a fatal mistake. In short period, he changed 4 coaches. From Benitez, to Leonardo, Gasperini, and now Ranieri, who knows how long he will last.

We made quite a profit in the summer by selling Crouch and Palacios to Stoke, 18M pounds if I recall. We made £30M that summer, spent around 8 on Parker and Adebayor's fee. So now it would be nice to show some real ambition and spend £20M on a player. We need to send out a message about our ambitions. Signing Doumbia would be the perfect fit in my opinion. CSKA would be interested in Pavlyuchenko, so a cash+player deal would be perfect for us, as much as it would be for them, though we should probably get more cover for our fragile defence, now with Gallas also being injured. Samba could be what is needed.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Tottenham - WBA, can Spurs bounce back?

We're officially at the crossroads. Having played the first half of the season quite impressively and getting to 3rd place way ahead of our London rivals, Tottenham look like the best London side at the moment. Chelsea managed to scrape a win in the last minutes of the game against underdogs Wolves, while Arsenal failed miserably against Fulham. Spurs now have 2 games more to play than the Arsenal and Chelsea, and yet, they're still above both of them by 3 and 2 points respectively.

Tomorrow we face WBA, team battling with the relegation. So far they've been quite successful, standing in 14th place with 22 points from 19 games. Tottenham won the last game 3:1, despite WBA taking the lead in the 10th minute. We came back strong in the second half, dominated the game, particularly in the midfield with Parker having the game of his career, probably and managed to get a win with goals from Defoe and Adebayor.

Though I must say I'm a bit worried ahead of tomorrows clash. We played one of the worst games against Swansea on Saturday, due to fatigue or was it the absence of wondrous captain King? And now we face WBA, only 2 days after that game. I'm not sure just how ready the players are physically, seeing as how most of our play was based on dominating the midfield, and that can only be done with a lot of movement, which wasn't the case last Saturday. Hopefully, WBA will be just as tired and Bale will be back to his old self in this one and Ledley will lead our defence.