Life is Sweet-generally speaking
I don't know about the players but I am delighted to be having a week off to recover before we take on Man. Utd. at Old Trafford and Inter Milan at the Lane. I’m giving Gareth a bell to see if he wants to car share for a run down to the coast. A whole week to gather our thoughts and prepare ourselves for the next phase of this exciting, sometimes over exciting, season. Another week to allow more players to get back to full fitness. Kaboul for example, made a welcome return against Everton. Not a sentence that many would have forecast this time last year.
Opting out of the Carling Cup which Harry virtually did by his team selection and formation against Arsenal takes a little of the pressure off in our efforts to maintain our Premiership challenge at the same time as trying to qualify for the next stage of the Champions' League. The strains of this twin track approach were evident on Saturday coupled of course with our injury list. Harry's decisions against Arsenal certainly give us a bonus even if it flies in the face of our cup history and may well have alienated some fans.
In confectionery terms we failed to hit the 'Bulls Eyes' on Saturday and the 'Toffees; rather stuck in our throats.. We had the chances to win it but unfortunately they all fell to Crouch who for at the moment is very poor indeed. Some are praising his partnership with Van de Vaart but it mainly relies on the ball hitting Crouch on some part of his extensive body and Rafael doing all the work including anticipating the flight of the ball. Crouch is what they call in business a 'sleeping' partner. Our attack was like the famous mint product: it had a hole in the middle.
The rest of the team, both in midfield and defence were decent, especially the full backs and Kaboul. I like his ability to take the ball out of defence which Ledley, Woodgate and Bassong share but his GPS only works as far as the half way line and then he finds himself down a country lane with no room to turn round. Gallas is a stop gap too far for me and unlike Kaboul can't be accused of playing with a smile on his face. Benny is a good technical player but eventually his fancy footwork in the area is going to catch him out. Remember Timothy Atouba?
Once again, for the fifth time I read, we conceded the first goal but replied, as at Fulham, almost immediately. This is a game plan that makes life unnecessarily hard it seems to me. Their hard nosed defending or 'professionalism' which should have produced at least one penalty was largely ignored by the referee. Phil Neville doesn't need any encouragement to employ his range of pushes and nudges which have extended his career beyond its natural duration. But he did play a knackered looking Bale well, aided by Coleman.
Questioning Harry's judgment can be a dangerous occupation in some places but questions do arise:
Why was Bale not given a rest and Kranjcar a game?
Why was Lennon taken off and Bale switched to the right?
Why was Crouch chosen ahead of Pavlyuchenko or not subbed?
Could Sandra or Palacios' Mum have scored the Crouch header?
Why was Sandro not picked ahead of Palacios or his Mum?
Why do birds sing?
Why do fools fall in love?
A little more 'Pick and Mix' Harry please.
Everton are a side on the up after a poor start but they posed little threat and only scored from an excellent free kick by Baines. They, like us, are struggling with injuries to key players, Arteta was missing for starters. If he had been playing Baines would not have taken the free kick so it's an ill wind that blows up nobody's backside as they say round our flats.
Next week we visit Old Trafford. I haven't depressed myself by checking how long it is since we won up there but we must have more than a decent chance of getting something from the game. They are not at their best and we may have Ledley back. The Rooney saga won't have settled the dressing room or the terraces and we might just be able to take advantage. 'Gob Stoppers' rather than 'Jelly Babies' should be the selection of the day.
Apart from Defoe and Dawson we should be at full strength, rested and rarin' to go. As befits our new Top Four status it's on the tele again. Oh I've just noticed that they are too. But we now have the accolade of the 'most entertaining team in the Premiership' I expect Modric, Van de Vaart, Defoe and Lennon appearing as the 'Midget Gems' to do a 'Barbers Shop Quartet' routine at half time
The Tottenham family gets bigger by the day and will surely fall foul of the Government cap on benefits.In addition to Harry's missis we now have Palacios' Mum who secured her boy's starting appearance by waylaying Harry in a shopping maul. I think that's right. Nasty places anyway. Harry doesn't half talk some bollocks at times. Most entertaining team and most entertaining manager. A perfect fit.
So it's been a bit of a 'Liquorice Allsorts' season so far but generally speaking, all things considered, two points off second, Champions'League, Inter Milan at The Lane 'Life is Sweet'. We seem to have taken all the soft centres out of the box and are deceptively chewy nowadays. Long may it last.