The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Doing it the hard way

Get out of that!

Apparently Harry is so critical of the standard of the current Premiership and in order to prove his credentials for the England managership he has set Spurs a higher standard of play and success this season. He has designed a special set of hoops for the boys to jump through. Daniel has agreed because it will take the fans' minds off his dastardly double and treble dealing over the Olympic Stadium which is now the favourite venue for the new 'Stratford, just down the road from Tottenham, Hotspur'. It's the economics stupid.

The agreed code is as follows:
Firstly, we must contrive to miss all penalties. This instruction has clearly gone out to all players although we are going to run out of absurdly highly paid professionals who can convincingly miss from 12yds. We might find that like Real Madrid we start to get red cards for wasting time, or refs just won't bother to award them to us, just like the old days.

Secondly, any player showing real ability is to be withdrawn injured, preferably in the first half and if at all possible in the first ten minutes. If it doesn't work first time keep playing them until they collapse and have to be shot on the pitch and hauled off by the groundstaff. Subject to redefinition of terms and conditions of employment and the payment of a suitable fee.

Thirdly, opponents should be given at least a two goal start wherever possible. We tried hard against Liverpool but only managed to concede one which made it a somewhat uneven contest.

Fourthly, and this is a new one: all match winning goals should be as late and as dramatic as possible.

Despite all these handicaps we have won the last four games; gone behind 8 times but won 5 and drawn 1 of these games. It's clearly not enough Harry. What about leg-irons like the old chain gangs? Or putting Modric in goal? What about swapping Crouch and Kaboul? Come to think of it that might work. I think that a little more thought and originality should go into this process otherwise the Champions' league and the Premiership are going to be a walk-over. Playing Modric at all in any position smacks to me of taking unfair advantage in any case.

Clearly this state of affairs just can't go on, our gloating smiles are going to be wiped off our faces if we continue on this bizarre course and possibly quite soon, probably at Birmingham next week. Spurs have always done things the hard way but that used to involve dominating the play, even going ahead, making 276 chances, and losing to a set piece or two in the last ten minutes.

I understand the thinking behind this and sympathise with your problems, Harry and Daniel but can we try doing it the easy way for a change? It all reminds me of the great Hungarian escapologist Houdini interestingly another 'Harry'. You know the one, not content to just escape from a sealed box in 30ft of water, first he had to be handcuffed wrapped in a straight jacket, the box bound with ship's anchor chain and the tank filled with piranha fish and starving crocodiles.

I exaggerate for effect but you see my point. Interestingly if you google 'Houdini' Harry Redknapp's face comes up on the images page. Against Liverpool we fulfilled all of Harry's conditions and emerged triumphant; up to fifth place, a point off the Top Four, 6pts off the actual top,and 11 points off the relegation zone which is a far better situation than a month ago. Winning certainly helps.

Liverpool will whinge about the result but their attempts to kick Bale and Modric off the park brings them little sympathy from actual football fans This is not the Liverpool of old and though they have replaced the over aggressive Mascherano they have plenty of candidates for his crown. They out-fouled us by 17/6 and got 5 yellow cards to our none for their endeavours. Quite an achievement on our part in a more than competitive match.

Lennon scored by taking his chance early: if Torres (twice) and Maxi had done the same we might have been 3-0 down early in the second half. In the end we out-footballed them, especially Modric. I have to admit that the winning goal was route one although I don't think that Crouch got anything on the ball that Lennon took in his stride; Konchesky's had set his alarm but it didn't ring. I think it came off the centre-half hustled into the mistake by Crouch's presence. Not that it matters, Crouch can have the assist and welcome. I’m just interested in how a piece of mis-information gets established and becomes a fact.

Do I have to say that Bale was a threat? that Bassong came on played with calm authority alongside a still improving Gallas and made two fantastic interceptions; that Lennon took his goal well but went AWOL for most of the game; that Palacios overcame a terrible first half to play well and all credit to him; five of his first six passes were misdirected.

Harry, you have nothing to prove so please let's try doing it the easy way: score early, finish them off by half-time then let the 'olays' ring out for the last 45 minutes. You know it make sense and my doctor muttering about 'arrhythmic abnormalities of the heart tending to tachycardia' would certainly agree.

Round one to Harry in the battle for the England managership. Poor Roy had to admit that it was a great game for the 'neutrals'. Who cares about the neutrals?

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Greg Meyer Guest Column: Team Spirit at the Lane

Welcome back to our star and only  guest who didn't gloat yesterday over the cricket. Just as well because things have taken a turn for the better, for England anyway.
As Greg says ' I don't like cricket, oh no, I love it' (1Occ a popular beat combo my lord from the 70's)
However the Kent Pub has not lost its focus despite the copious celebratory liquid flows of late.
Greg's legal wide man spotted some magic moments of team spirit against Werder and his Banker disputes mine and Harry's view of the penalty. Bankers do they ever get it wrong?  I rest my case, M'lud.
Anyway results around us went well yesterday and we know what we have to do. Win. Simples.

I share Greg's optimism but then he was secretly hopeful about the Aussies' chances in the first test.
Oh yes you were.

Saturday 27 November 2010.
 Burglars ... Bin Dippers ... Bremen ... Tax Evasion.
 Before we get to the football don't worry we won't mention the war.We won't mention anything about the cricket. Bureau says It may snow here in Kent. That would help draw the war if it was being played here. Sorry. Still at 27 degrees in Brisbane snow looks remote. Not sure about England's chances but surely our Snowwhites of the Lane should fare well on Sunday against Liverpool.
Liverpool are in good home form but so are Spurs. Just before a closer look some reflections on a League where Pool are not eligible. Hope we can say that next season ...
Werder Bremen Came, Filled In, Stood About, and Then Left.
JimmyG2 summed it up. Spurs don't normally do calm, controlled, efficient football. Where was the banana skin. Still on the tree it seems.
Still whilst totally enjoying the match our pub ponder if that was the normal Spurs way ( a la the big clubs ... drugged expectation of a win every week) then could we cope without our Spurs rollercoaster.
Our lawyer did enjoy some lovely moments of team spirit that would have warmed the cockles of the average Spurs purist.
Just a couple below ...
Minute 43...
                  Bale receives a cultured crossfield pass from Modric which gives him some space to run. Gareth does what comes natural and accelerates for goal just left of centre.
                 Bale is racing at full tilt and alongside catching up is his leftside mate, Disco Benny. Gareth chooses the glory route and fires vainly. He then immediately looks across at Benny. They come together and shake hands. Acknowledgement of Benny's intelligent lung busting support run. Acknowledgement of a great partnership.
A lovely moment for the purist and everyday fan alike.
The Penalty ...
Our banker reckons Pav did not decline the penalty kick. Rather given our Welsh mercurios efforts,"You deserve to take it Gareth." The rest is history. Certainly not Bale's strong point. See there is still lots to work on.
Our lovely moment was Roman straight over to Gareth with a genuine consoling pat on the head.Not the only one either. Spurs spirit.
One other thing. Sure Pav was upset at being subbed. Who isn't. More spirit. Yep says our pub.
A Defensive Moment ... Minute 66...
The arrival of William Gallas,perhaps more so the identity of his previous employers, has sparked diametric input from Spurs fans.Given his display at the "previous" last Sunday views are settling. He did himself no discredit again against Werder .
Marko Marin gave Hutton a roasting back in Germany. Gallas showed how it should be done. Pace, ushering ability, and experienced non committal meant a dangerous situation was brilliantly defused by Gallas. Perhaps the armband has found its place. Albeit the situation remains fluid. No Ledley. Dawson coming back. Whats wrong with Luka says Mine host. Nice problem to have perhaps.
Our happy little band trained and motored back from the Lane on Wednesday night for a late celebration.Team spirit is certainly high here ...
At A Kent Pub ... A Crime Free Zone.
Can the Bin Dippers perform a smash and grab raid at the Lane on Sunday. Shackle Torres and our gardener says emphaticlly not. Some delicious ironies emerging regards the respective"benches".
Robbie Keane's boyhood dream team visit.The boyhood and dream are both fast fading. Latest rumour is he is off to the MLS in America. A distant boyhood dream. What Irish crisis.
Then we have Damien Commolli back as Football Director. Glad the visit is temporary.
Over at Stamford there are new T-Shirts out. Gone are the Come back Ray, All is Forgiven. Now the popular number is "Rinse the blood off my toga". Very Roman on all fronts apparently.It has all got too much for Frank" Spurs gave me My First Job' Arneson.He leaves at seasons end.
To matters Spurs. We still have a manager. His Southwark Crown Court date on Thursday did not produce a result. No news is good news usually.Stay tuned.
Our lawyer ,and unfortunately their Lawro tips a home win. With or without Van der Vaart. Although his class might make it earlier and easier.
Cheers ... no snow here, hopefully raining Spurs goals Sunday ...  Greg Meyer.         coys.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Who's afraid of the Champions' League?

The pundits knitting in the front row at the execution went away disappointed again.
Spurs once again failed to let everybody down and the axeman was apparently caught up in traffic on the High Rd.

They said we wouldn't make 4th we made 4th. They said that we wouldn’t qualify: we qualified. They said we wouldn't make the knock-out stages: we made the knock-out stages. They say we won't win the Champions' League. We wo...... Steady Jimbo let's not get carried away.

But we qualified with a game to spare, with equal top scoring (15) after 5 games with Arsenal who haven't quite made it yet. . We may well win the group and be seeded and thus avoid the Real Madrids, Barcelonas and Chelsea's. We have already beaten the current holders, so there's nothing to fear except, you know. Curiously the pundits have all leapt off the tumbrils and climbed aboard the Tottenham open top bus. But I will be examining their tickets shortly to see if they are travelling legitimately or have mistaken it for a bandwagon.

We don't usually do calm, controlled and efficient but they're a useful set of strings for our bow. I would have preferred to see us maintain or up the pace after the opener but 'all's well that works out fine' as they say. Modric who was the architect of everything, dropping deep and jinking his way forward scored a Van Der Vaart special; Crouch knock-down, little dummy, volley to where the keeper isn't. Must be something they practise. Not however in a tactical way you understand. This came in injury time in the first half and settled my nerves and the match.

Lennon who made two goals and looked lively was seriously underused in the first half but didn't seem to mind. He always looks slightly miffed at the best of times so it was difficult to tell. His nutmeg and cutback for Crouch's goal was a thing of beauty. Crouch had a goal and an assist and, now that we seem to have stopped lumping the ball up to him, played well.

I normally prefer Pavlyuchenko on the grounds that strikers should be able to strike but he wasn't great on Wednesday night and his failure to step up and take the penalty won't have impressed Harry. It gave Harry the chance to have a little crack at Bale, on the grounds that missing the penalty proved that he was human after all. Something to disprove there Gareth. His cross that hit the bar and fell to Lennon led to the third goal. Clearly something that they had worked on in training. It's not exactly a tactic but still.

The Pavlyuchenko/ Crouch debate can't be settled by a single game and in truth will never be settled. 'I don't know much about football but I know who I like' as it were. In any case Keane's head is first on the chopping block if:
a) We can get someone to take him off our hands, perhaps on loan
b) If we can get someone to replace him at under £30 million or whatever the going rate is, who isn't cup tied.

Pavlyuchenko was unhappy to be subbed last night and he will even unhappier to be 4th choice striker again. I doubt that there will be any changes in January at the top level.

People are even saying that they were sorry to see JJ go off and that they hope that both he and Van der Vaart are fit for Liverpool on Sunday. I'll be inspecting their tickets too. They could be shedding crocodile tears and this is an open top bus not Noah's bloody Ark. Defoe looked fit and keen and ran about vigorously to no good effect but it's good to see him back and he will no doubt start on Sunday.

Palacios came on for Jenas after 18minutes and survived almost a whole match without getting a yellow card or doing very much else to be honest. Most of the time he roamed the jungle in search of prey but couldn't find much to feed on. He took up some good positions some of which he surrendered by his trade-mark slack passing but generally looked more composed. In fact half way through the first half there was a passage of play where Modric, Ekotto and Palacios had a private competition to see who could misplace the most passes. Ekotto took the honours, but only just.

Kranjcar made his first appearance of the season and found some good positions linking with Modric, but again achieved little. Kaboul and Gallas, officially confirmed as a 'Yiddo ,were little troubled even by the German Messi, Marin, although a ball inside Hutton early on gave a glimpse of what might have been but wasn't.

So another milestone reached. It all ran out tamely and was a little low key for Spurs: no early setbacks or thrilling recoveries. I could get to like it I suppose. Carried away now by the excitement of the big time and to be honest our surprising success the fear of the ignominy and shame which might ensue if we did an Everton seems to have disappeared. The effect on our Premiership chances still remains a real threat but has been pushed onto the back burner, for now, anyway.It could easily boil over if we don't make 4th or win the Champions 'League.

On Sunday we entertain Liverpool and and I hope that we beat them at the same time as entertaining them. It should be routine and as we are starting to do 'routine' I am confident of a win. Without Gerrard they are very average, although Torres is always a threat, their away record is poor so what could possibly go wrong.

One worrying factor is that Lawrenson tips us to win. He put the black spot on Arsenal last week and might well be trying to do the same to us. However as Carragher says that they can do it, and as he knows as much about football as Mrs JimmyG2 who knows nothing and would still make a better centre half for England, I am a little reassured.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Greg Meyer's Guest Column: Magic Moments.

Ah, Mr.Meyer resurfaces, I wondered where he'd been. Apparently Greg and his friends have been celebrating at a Kent Pub. His team won, or something, all a distant memory now, but like the death of JFK never forgotten.

Obviously he needs something to take his mind off the upcoming Ashes  and I hope that Wednesday's game keeps him in a state of delirium for a little longer.
Not that they need much excuse down there.
Alan Mullery's birthday, I ask you.
We could club together for a new  water bottle for Arsene, suitably inscribed of course.

Tuesday 23 November 2010.
Wenger's Waterloo ... Magic Derby Moments ... Title Contenders Perchance.
It was one of those forever remember where you were moments.
Yesterday saw the 47th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A lot of our pub still remember where we were when the news broke. A lot more of our pub will remember where they were on Saturday 20 November at 2:45 pm. Thereafter the memory has since been severely challenged under an avalanche of celebratory beverages.
A spectacular derby comeback triumph and it's still 31 days to Christmas. Our pub's post match reflections are encapsulated in the following ...
Memorable Match Moments.
In our last column we ruminated on Wenger's Waterloo. We didn't mention his water bottle. Seems both came asunder at the derby.The sight of Arsene steadily developing temper tantrums culminating in the violently jettisoned bottle will live on in derby folklore. As well there were his obligatory graceless comments post match. Rather than apportion a modicum of praise to the opposition he chose to deem the reason for losing as "mystifying".Perhaps he was still in lost plot mode at the press conference. The eyesight was also missing at key times.
Arsenal certainly had a plan to combat the boy Bale.Given Monsier Wenger's reputed calm tactical nous perhaps more evidence of that missing plot. Sagna,Koscielny and Denilson were all yellow carded for fouls on Gareth.Hardly a calmly tactical plan to decide to try and kick him out of the game. Bale just proceeded on his merry goalscoring way. He even found time to classically skin the Arsenal player late in the match. Unfortunately his delivery into the box was not as precise as usual.
Van der Vaart.
Our lawyer recalls the famous Bill Nicholson quote. "All Greaves did this afternoon was score 4 goals."
The comments man on one tv stream made a not dissimilar remark regards Rafael. Loosely translated it goes," He's only done 3 things all afternoon. He had an assist in the first goal, scored the second and had another assist for the third. Apart from that he's been pretty poor."
Mine host asks what happens when he is fit and has a good day at the office.
Some Quick Ones.
The rise and rise of Jermaine Defoe.That decidely undefoe like header to Rafael which led to Bale's goal ... He was there, yes Thierry Henri's presence in the crowd made the victory that much sweeter ...Redknapp's inspired choice of Captain Gallas which coincided with a MOTTM performance. More sweet irony  ... Bale with Lennon and Walcott trailing. That would seem to be the pecking order judged on their contributions and lack of on Saturday.
So another hoodoo broken with the celebrations continuing unabated. Matched only by the grin that will not go away. Heady times for Spurs fans and early Christmas cheer overflowing ...
At A Kent Pub.
After the Chelsea capitulation there were plenty of "Come back Ray Wilkins all is forgiven" shirts available. Room at the top is very compacted. Hence the suggestions including one from George Graham that Spurs are in it.
Ahead we have Liverpool(h), Birmingham(a), and Chelsea(h). Win those three and our banker might start to take George seriously. City remain a real threat says our medico. They have Stoke(a), Bolton(h) and West Ham(a).
Our pub have not yet finished with celebrating Saturday. Then there is the small matter of Champs League at home against a misfiring Werder Bremen. Win that and we are through to the knockout stages. Then we really can concentrate on the League completely.
Glasses raised as well to birthday boy Alan Mullery,69 years young today. Any excuse or put another way ,there's a lot to celebrate.
Cheers ... from a decidedly hung over ... Greg Meyer.    coys.

Monday, 22 November 2010

We've played better and lost

It's only a game lads, only a game. 
Get used to it. The Spurs are coming

We've played better and lost. Why don't we play the second half first? There's nothing in the rules to prevent it. It would make life a lot easier for us long suffering fans. That’s the eighth time we've gone a goal down and yet we've recovered 4 times to win and once to draw. The win against Arsenal away from home has been a long time coming but when it came it chose its moment with care and delivered multiple simultaneous orgasms. The whole Spurs community is suffering severe post coital deflation.

After the high fives, the hugging,, and the spilling of beer after the Kaboul goal I felt a flash of anger as I thought, 'About bloody time'. Our failure to beat a 'Top Four side away from home for so long has just been ridiculous and honestly inexplicable. The Emirates was just the place to break the hoodoo. Now for Old Trafford.

The win was satisfying on a number of levels: it stopped Arsenal from going top: it anointed captain for the day Gallas in some style, and what a psychological master stroke by Harry to give him the job on his first league return to the Arsenal; it was a timely boost for our own Premier League aspirations and keeps us well in touch with 4th place; it gives us impetus for Wednesday's game against Werder Bremen which could seal our entry to the next round of the Champions' League; and it makes an old man very happy. But that's another story.

Apart from that it was just another game. Harry's cunning plan to go two goals behind, lull them into a false sense of security and then, when they thought it was all over, whack em with three goals was brilliantly executed. Van de Vaart, who didn't have a great game apart from two assists and a goal, has made the difference this season.

Firstly for his goals but mainly for his attitude. He has inspired his team-mates, particularly Bale but also Modric and Jenas to up their game. He clearly doesn't like losing and won't accept defeatism in the other players. He leads by example and his will to win is infectious. His work rate even when carrying an injury is phenomenal. What we were calling 'mental strength' last season is embodied in him and it has spread throughout the team.

He must have sat on Robbie's towel in the showers as he has unfortunately contracted 'Keanes Disease': a tendency to try to do everyone else's job and neglect his own. At one point he collected the ball on the edge of our penalty area level with Gallas and Kaboul and some 50yds from Pavlyuchenko who he was supposed to be supporting. However he was once again in the right place to collect Defoe's header on and set up Bale for the crucial comeback goal early in the second half. 'Very small striker out-jumps two very tall defenders to set up first goal shock'.

There is no doubt that we were much tighter in the second half, closed down Fabregas, and populated the midfield in a way that we hadn't done in the first half. Also there is no doubt that they relaxed and couldn't respond when we took up the initiative. Defoe,Van der Vaart, Modric and Bale no longer marooned on the wing took the game to Arsenal and they were forced to lump the ball forward which played into the hands of Kaboul who clearly gets off on heading the ball. Gallas had a good game for the second match running and was my MOM. His early tackle on Nasri set the tone for his performance.

Gomes has taken some stick for his hesitancy for the first goal but in view of his sending off against Inter he was probably wary of making a premature rush. He retreated when it looked as if Nasri would control the ball and too late when he realised that in fact his first touch was poor. His one handed save from Fabregas which would have given them a 3-2 lead was top class and balances the scales for me.

Nasri's childish gesture in not shaking hands with Gallas rebounded spectacularly as all such gestures are likely to do and though he scored a good goal early on: it's always better to have the last laugh than the first.

Bale coming off the wing again scored another goal from a central position and that's not counting his near post header from Van der Vaart's corner last week. People will start to talk if they get together as frequently in the future. He seems to be moving inside more to escape the double marking and because coming from there onto his left foot is an effective tactic. It also leaves space for Ekotto to overlap which he is willing and able to do.

So Harry, thinking on his feet, triumphs again. It wasn't working in the first half so he fixed it in the second. Lennon was replaced by Defoe, Jenas moved closer to Fabregas. Harry has said that he favours going for broke by attacking and it is something of a return to the Ossie Ardiles philosophy of scoring one more than the opposition. That certainly suits me.

We have gone 17 games without a clean sheet and the old days of tight defence have been replaced by a more buccaneering attitude. Perhaps things will change when we get our regular centre halves back and that includes Woodgate by all accounts. Where are we going to put them all? Harry has taught us this season that when everything looks lost it's not necessarily so. That whatever it is, we can do it. That records are there to be broken no matter how many years or games they go back.

Our recent revival pre-dates Harry; two fifth placed finishes under Jol, the Carling Cup under Ramos; The home wins against Arsenal and Chelsea in the run in last season; qualifying for the Champions'League qualifyers; beating Inter Milan; winning away at the Emirates from 2-0 down are all markers on the upward graph of the Mighty Spurs and Harry has been instrumental in accelerating this ascent.

On Wednesday at the Lane we have the chance to qualify for the next stage of the Champions' League at the first time of asking. Harry has done us proud and is a good fit for the club. He is experienced, down to earth, good with players and has created an effective force out of a good squad. He is not perfect but neither are you or I and today is not the day to dwell on negativity. A big 'thankyou' to Harry and the boys.

Carling Cup Mr.Wenger? It's all yours.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Wenger's Waterloo:: Greg Meyer's Guest Column

This week Mr. Meyer is swapping hats from  the one with the corks dangling round the brim to the tricorn model favoured by Mr. Bonapart.
For historical accuracy Napoleon actually wore a bicorn hat but what's the odd 'corn' between friends.
Entertainment and education all in one attractive package at no extra charge.
 Appropriately this week we are deep in French territory at club and International level and those damned Frenchies are due a beating, although I said that on Tuesday.
 But as Mick Jagger observed 'You don't always get what you want'.
Let's see if Greg and his comrades at a Kent pub can cheer us all up.

Friday 19 November 2010.
North Londres Derby  ...  Wenger's Waterloo ... Arsene Bonaparte vs Duke Of Sandbanks.
Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor and soldier to name but two entries on his CV,did not play a lot of football. His teachers, coach and peers teased him on account of his vertically challenged five feet six inches. Samir Nasri same country,different school and career comes in two inches higher. As mentioned in a certain biography,his very much ex mate and ex teammate William Gallas is a little higher at six foot. Only two feature tommorrow in a certain derby.Height or lack of football prowess was never a handicap for Napoleon until the French vs English derby at Waterloo on June 18 1815.
Arthur, Duke of Wellington, captain of the English team at Waterloo certainly enjoyed ball games. Ergo his famous quote about the Waterloo win owing much to the playing fields of Eton. Eton United perhaps. He certainly enjoyed the away game at Waterloo.
Harry, Duke of Sandbanks ( a lovely part of Poole), leads the English team tomorrow against Arsene Bonaparte in an eagerly awaited meeting upon the battlegrounds of Emirates. A first and last statistic. Napoleon was at war for 17 years, mostly successful till his last game. It's 17 years since Spurs won away at Arsenal. Obvious why  there will not be anymore statistics. Still some interesting encounters lie ahead.
Key Battles.
Nasri and Fabregasp vs Modric and Van der Vart.
If Spurs win this one it will mean Van has scored, Cesc F. has not and Samir Nasri has hit the post twice. Moddle does not score a lot but does everything else with Croatian majestry. Has come on leaps and bounds since his recent wedding. Whether thats the true reason or not at least its topical.
Sagna and his double teamer vs Bale.
Napoleon Wenger is a master schemer and you can be assured there is a plan Bale. Hopefully our Welsh winger ( not yet a superstar) can shrug it off. With his electric pace and close control then he may prove instrumental in Spurs winning the midfield battle.
For the neutral the battle of the midfield generals will be a highlight. For our lawyer he just wishes that Duke Harry goes for attack rather than containment. It worked last week. Yes different battleground and far lesser Lancastrian army of course.
The Front Line Trenches.
Mine host is still worried about our misfiring artillery. Its two Englishman and a Russian for Spurs. Walcott of the home country plus Holland, Russia and France for Arsenal. Certainly on paper they edge it. Our banker reckons the dutch blokes who drive vans are both possible keys to the game.
Rafael is scoring consistently for Spurs albeit a midfielder. Robin van Persie will probably start and always seems to score against Spurs. Great to see Defoe in the squad but possibly a little early. Surely our Russian, a cult figure here at the pub, might chip in. 
The Thin Red and Blue Lines.
Down back neither team inspires confidence. Vermaalen is a big Arsenal miss. King,Dawson and Woodgate even bigger although Jonathon is almost in the demob stage unfortunately. A healthy army pension beckons.
Certainly there are some wildcards including Lennon on the bench and William Gallas returning home. Surely not the old goal against former club tactic. Unlikely but would be wildly celebrated ...
At A Kent Pub.
A relaxed week with no midweek games to worry about. What English, French encounter. A mere Wembly international programmed as a build up to the real thing tommorrow. At least all our internationals arrived home without injury.
Guarded enthusiasm reigns here at the pub. Ahead potential Champs League glory times. Tommorrow more importantly North London glory.
As Napoeon put it ...
                             " Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever."
Cheers ... hope Saturday is the former as I am sick of the latter ...   Greg Meyer.     coys.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

How do you like your opposition?

Lancashire Hotpot. Went down better than Trotters anyway

How do you like your opposition? Roasted is nice for a change and was certainly flavour of the week at White Hart Lane. Lancashire Hot Pot finished off with aplomb. 'Aplomb' not 'a plum': that's another dish entirely. It's quite difficult to choose a Chef de Jour as this was an excellent crew performance showing the usual flair of Harry Redknapp's signature dishes.

I hesitate to select Jenas who has been head waiter for some time now. I just say that this is the third or fourth time he has come in at short notice, this time for Major Domo Huddlestone, and when given his chance has seized it with both feet and I am delighted for him. He was clearly focused on providing a more spicy main course with a decidedly attacking bite instead of drifting about like the seaweed decoration on the Atlantic prawn consomme. He took to his new role with gusto and I award him four spatulas out of five

Bale served up two fine dishes and a well judged assist and cannot be overlooked for the Gourmet Honours list. He was frequently to be found in a more central role and having seen off Salgado again in the early stages scored with a near post header and then with a mis-hit shot, both from Van der Vaart assists. However Jenas would have had to be more than brilliant to better Modric, Bale, Van der Vaart, or even Hutton, who, spotting a parking place where the Van should have been, surged into it at the slightest provocation usually to good effect. Modric however just shades it for a non-stop performance of some distinction and he deservedly gets the Golden Whisk for employee of the day.

The enigmatic Pavlyuchenko created a Russian salad of very variable quality. Two of the ingredients were totally unacceptable but the final dressing saved the dish from being a complete disaster. He was both hero and villain. He missed a goal on a plate, one on one with Robinson, by going for glory; 'Eyes to big for his belly' as my Gran would say. He then dropped the dish completely when he took a solo spot. Even Crouch stepped up to the hot-plate and broke his Premiership duck.

The outstanding feature of the whine list is the preference for a rather insipid English vintage rather short on finish, over a fiery Russian brew that makes up for its inconsistency with a powerful kick just when you think its all over.( See Appendices 1 and 2.)

Now we come to a more challenging set of menus. First up is a French themed luncheon; then Black Forest Gateau; Scouse Pie; Black Country faggots with peas, a Dutch themed evening; Chelsea buns and Blackpool Rock though this has lost some of its consistency and is liable to crumble. Some of these are difficult undertakings but they are all crucial in determining the shape of our season. This win against Blackburn was a vital step towards setting the mood for the the Xmas festivities.

Before the game there were complaints about the lack of beef in the club sandwich. Could Modric, Van der Vaart and Jenas provide the necessary high protein diet in the middle of the pitch without the presence of Huddlestone or tough guys Palacios or Sandro. In the event the 'table de hote' menu provided plenty of variety and was sufficiently nutritious to send our opponents back to Lancashire as well beaten as the eggs in a Haringey omelette. Don´t knock it if you haven't tried it.

I don´t want to make a meal of this but in fact it was only when the midfield destroyers came on that we conceded both goals. Coincidence I am sure but it might give the advocates of red meat in the diet some food for thought. At the end of the game the after 80 minute mints and coffee were spoilt by a couple of incursions from late game revellers. We were just 10 minutes from a clean plate.

Appendix 1 ( just limbering up for a medical themed feature in the near future)

Pavlyuchenko remains our joint top scorer with Bale but with a much better minutes played to goals ratio.
Pavluchenko scored 8: 1 goal every 106 minutes.
Bale scored 8: 1 goal every 213 minutes.
Van der Vaart scored 7: 1 goal every 133 minutes
Crouch scored 6: I goal every 202 minutes

Appendix 2 ( JimmyG2 discovers 2nd Appendix to make medical history)

Last season: Pavlyuchenko scored 10. I goal every 123 minutes.
However he played only a third of the pitch time of Defoe or Crouch. That´s better than a goal every one and a half games. No wonder the crowd love him although the mood might have turned uglier if we had lost. He crossed himself and looked to great Maitre d'Hotel in the sky when he scored, as well he might.

I have given up predicting Spurs performances let alone results at the moment. Injuries are causing some disruption and news is that Huddlestone is to undergo ankle surgery and may be out until February. At least he will rested for the run-in. Squad members have come in with varying degrees of success and Dawson and Defoe may be back soon. Other results have helped us maintain a reasonable position and form at Spurs and elsewhere seems to have become more haywire than usual this season.

We played poorly last year at The Emirates where Fabregas ran the show. They are getting good results at the moment and a draw would probably be a bonus. Unless of course we outplay them with a Bale, Jenas, Modric Van der Vaart midfield. However I expect to see Palacios join Jenas, and Van der Vaart to play off Crouch or possibly Pavlyuchenko as Crouch may play in the friendly against France on Wednesday. We wish him well and all our other Internationals and a safe return.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Greg Meyer Guest Column: Shakespeare: one of the first Spurs fans.

Greg Meyer has been doing some research into early Tottenham history and amongst some very dusty documents has come up with some startling revelations. 
The ale at a Kent Pub must be getting stronger methinks.
This is not your average rubbish that you get on your normal Spurs blogs. This is a vastly superior sort of rubbish. And all for free
But hey, dont blame me. I'm only the messenger. Take it up with Mr.Meyer in the comments section.
I've never even met the man.  I wouldn't recognise his ghost if it walked my battlements.

.Friday 12 November 2010.
Beware The Ides Of Blackburn  ... Wherefore Are You Tottenham ... Is This A Chelsea Dagger I See Before Me.
William Shakespeare was a London football fan and playwright. Known marginally more for the latter than his reputed love of Spurs. As legend would have it each Saturday morning he would depart the Globe Theatre, row across the Thames and make his way up ye olde High Street before settling into a few pints at ye very new Bricklayers Arms. Having knocked out another sonnet or two he would join his mates at Ye Auld Lane for the new game called football back in 1599.
The game against Sunderland may not have inspired the Bard muchly but there were elements of farce and theatre, not to say comedy on show.
All The World's A Stage ...The Sunderland Goal and Two Points Down The Gurgler.
Titus Bramble came to The Lane. Regular readers will recall our pub consensus as to his vaudevillian style of defending. There were flashes of his comedic talent particularly in the second half presenting a 3 on 2 to a Spurs breakaway. Squandered by Spurs.
Signs of a new headline act unfortunately began to emerge on Saturday. The Spurs centre defensive duo played reasonably well for 92 of the 94 minutes. Thespian ambitions did emerge however around the time of the Gyan tap in. Nothing to do with tap dancing though.
What Titus Kaboul and Willy Bramble were playing at was mystifying. More like laughable and not laudable says our lawyer. It brought a collective shaking of heads and that sinking feeling in the stomach region. Our pub medico diagnosed the condition as shockus defendus usually associated with symptons of manic laughter, violent flights of nearby objects and cries of "not abloody gen".
Hopefully Windy's Blog has or soon will be providing detailed analysis. Yep just noticed he has. Then again it won't give the 2 points back.
Otherwise the Spurs cast stuck to the script. The routine knockdown goal from the Van der Crouch double act. Even Bottler Webb remained on script , unhappily so.  Surely he will never referee another Spurs match. Still he cannot be blamed for our present quandry.
Wherefore Art Thou Going Tottenham.
Bogged in looming midtable mediocrity. Perhaps there are shafts of light through our pub window :
  Man.City drop points against United. Liverpool draw away to Wigan.
 Spurs have it in their own hands. Blackburn at home with Liverpool visiting shortly. Oops a visit to the Emitates 2 games away.
 Defoe's imminent return. On the bench this Saturday. The drought may break . The continued health of a certain Dutchman is paramount.
So how, who, or what, registered plumbers aside,repairs the gushing fawcets that double as our defensive middle. Kaboul continues to progress but remains a work in progress. However his Gallic mentor does seem in decline. On the near horizon we have Dawson ( Player of the year last season),King this year perhaps, and Woodgate 2011 anyone. Seems we need to hang in there , burgle some points and then charge on once we have a near strength side back. Our lawyer reckons at full strength we will match anyone. Don't think he has been drinking too much of the full strength stuff ...
At A Kent Pub ... Once More Unto The Breach.
Saturday at The Lane sees another winnable game against The Sam Allardyce Players. As the very much improved Allan Hutton says, a massive game but very winnable. Hear hear.
That little run we recently mentioned needs a three point boost before our visit back towards the Globe Theatre next Saturday at the Emirates. A little further on things have turned rather bloody at Stamford Bridge.
Is this a dagger which I see before me. No Ray Wilkins it is a bloody great axe. Strange decision says Mine Host particulary when the Chelsea bandwagon is going so well. You can bet Kevin Bond ( the Ray Wilkins or one of at Spurs) comes out with gushing and sympathetic perplexitudes for the press.
Oh for some classical Spurs this Saturday. Given our bulging treatment room things look a little grim. Still that well known man manager and motivator supreme should see us right.
" Friends, Pavlyuchenko, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Blackburn( forget about Caesar) not to praise them. "   W. Shakespeare circa 1599 and borrowed by H. Redknapp circa 2010.
Cheers  ... Surely Beware the Ides of Van der Vaart, Blackburn ...  Greg Meyer.       coys.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Headaches and Heartaches

My heart's in my mouth and my head's in my hands

Today the head goes head to head with the heart in a heart to heart. Confused? Let me explain.

The head says a draw with Sunderland is not a disaster, well not a total disaster anyway. We have key players injured and the squad members who have come in have done well. They have enabled us to excel in the Champions' League after one or two false starts and maintain our place in the league. They have held the fort as it were whilst we get the chance to welcome back Defoe and Dawson and perhaps Ledley so that we can push on.

The squad has been strengthened by the signing of Van de Vaart and Gallas and the return to form of Lennon and Modric. Hutton has been a revelation and even Jenas has impressed. Kaboul has emerged as a tower of strength at the back. Crouch and Van der Vaart have developed an affinity and Rafael has made even Crouch look like a proper footballer.

We are handily placed above mid table and there are two thirds of the games still to go. The head's theme tune seems to be that 'things can only get better' both for the team and the manager who is developing his tactical skills as the season progresses. None of our rivals has made real progress as Man.City have stumbled and Everton and Liverpool are still recovering from poor starts. Fourth is still up for grabs and we need to get things into perspective and take the longer more rational view.

We are playing attractive football and Gareth Bale has emerged as a world beater. Daniel Levy recalculates his resale value on a daily basis. We are making plenty of chances: last night we had 17 corners, and only the absence of our key striker is frustrating our results. We suffered a poor decision for Bolton's opening goal which was offside and were denied a clear penalty against Sunderland when Bentley was scythed down in the area by Zenden.

However the heart is still simmering after the Sunderland and Bolton games and replies that the head would say that wouldn't it. The Sunderland result taken on its own is neither here nor there but in a sequence of Premiership games which have produced 2 points from a possible 12 just as some of our rivals are picking up points. Everything is not happy in the London Borough of Haringey

The Sunderland game shows that we have problems to the front and to the rear. Our lack of goals from Harry's preferred striker is embarrassing and the failure to keep a clean sheet in 11 Premiership matches is preventing us from closing down games. In fact we have conceded in the last 15 games in all competitions. Even Gomes is making silly errors again and has stopped making those match saving stops of last season. Gallas is living proof that free gifts are not always good value for money. Van der Vaart's goal was handball so the refereeing decisions even themselves out.

Harry has started to blame the ref. A sure sign of tension as he is usually quite dignified in defeat and victory. Worse ,he has attacked the fans for booing in terms once again that shows little respect for the club and its history. I do not condone booing under any circumstances myself being a 'carrot' rather than a 'stick' man but Harry is in danger of being unable to fulfil the expectations he himself has raised. I remember greater teams, players,managers and results that Harry can only dream of. All we've done under Harry is come fourth in the Premiership. We haven’t even got through to the knock-out stages of the Champions' League yet.

The heart definitely ruled after Tuesday night and it hasn't been listening to the head in the meantime. Its fingers are firmly stuck in its ears. It detects a growing crises of team and managerial confidence. It senses a growing feeling around the club that last year was a one off and that we had better enjoy the Champions' League while it lasts because we sure as hell won't be in it next season.

We are 6 points off a top four place and 6 points off the relegation zone. We are level on points with five other teams. The top four including Manchester City have opened up a gap with following pack and we need to go on a run before Xmas. A couple of wins would probably work as beta blockers but I said that before the Bolton game and I'm definitely getting palpitations just thinking about Blackburn who have just beaten Newcastle away from home.

Creating chances and not being able to take them has been a recurring problem over the last two seasons even when Defoe was fit. Our failure to sign a world class holding striker still rankles. No doubt we will eventually sign one but will it be in time to save our season. t took us 3yrs to sign a left sided player. At the current rate of progress even the Europa will be a stretch. There you see, the heart rates up again just thinking about these things. At the moment the heart is in the ascendant, its not happy and whatever the head says its beating won't be stilled.

So temporary headache or indications of a serious underlying condition? Further tests beginning with Blackburn will be needed to complete the diagnosis. The latest set of results involving Newcastle, Liverpool, West Brom. and Everton have given us some breathing space to in which to convalesce and the defibrillator can stay in the cupboard for the moment.

However the longer we wait the more drastic the treatment required. My doctor has firmly rejected my application for a heart by-pass on the National Health on the grounds that I am an ageing Tottenham fan and therefor qualify. He says, like my head, that after a couple of wins I'll be fine.So for the moment my heart's in my mouth and my head's in my hands but I will recover. I always have done before.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Highs and Lows

Palacios, Sandro and Sherman tanks. Ineffective against aerial bombardment

 Tottenham fans are no strangers to the exhilaration of the peaks and the choking depression of the troughs. It doesn't make it any easier to bear, but we should have had enough practice by now to cope. From beating Inter Milan to losing at Bolton within a week sums up our irregular progress not just this season but over the years.

The leftovers from the Champions' League celebrations haven't had time to go stale and some of the balloons have barely started to deflate and go all wrinkly. Partially deflated is exactly how I feel.. We have fallen to 7th level on points with Bolton, Sunderland and W.Brom and behind Newcastle  At this rate qualification for even the Europa League looks difficult let alone the Champions' League.

We can't say that it's because we haven’t adjusted to playing in the Premiership after the midweek jaunts in Europe because we haven't actually won at the Reebok in the ten years since the Premiership was formed. Perhaps Harry decided that he might just as well experiment as we were going to lose anyway..That might be why he rested Huddlestone and moved Modric up to second striker and played Palacios who has been out of form for a year alongside a Premiership rookie who has yet to adjust to the English game. It wass Sandro's dithering that led to the first goal.

Kranjcar needed a game but playing him on the right seriously unbalanced the side as positional discipline is not his strong suit and he should have taken the second striker role. Perhaps Harry thought that Hutton would have more room to come through on the flank which he did eventually but the game was already lost. It enabled the Bolton defence to concentrate their attention on Bale who even so made several breaks and three or four good crosses which all went begging.

Harry rightly takes the credit for success and rightly takes the blame for failure. This was a poor performance by a poorly selected side in a poorly thought out formation. Bad refereeing didn't help as Davies was clearly offside for the first goal and deliberate fouls on Bale went uncarded from the start. Eventually Robinson the angry man's angry man was booked for a foul on Sandro. But the first early chopping down by Steinsson and a cynical full body massage by Davies went without comment. Huddlestone may well be suspended for a stamp on Elmander which the referee judged accidental but on video review could be seen as more than just clumsy. This is not the first time that he has been charged with an unnecessary over-reaction.

To concede four goals against Bolton is quite a difficult task but the defence and the midfield certainly put their minds to it and in the end accomplished it with ease. They could have at least a couple more but for Gomes and although the first and arguably crucial goal was offside we couldn't really quarrel with the result.

In open play we created very little; Sandro and Kranjcar were clearly wearing some of Zokora's old boots and peppered row Z. from good positions. A solo run by Hutton ending in a fine curling finish and a Pavlyuchenko wonder strike almost put us on level terms but once again we had left ourselves with too much to do. Not for the first time this season.

How can Harry get things so right on Tuesday and get such a fine team performance out of the squad and then get it so wrong at the weekend? How can he consistently get it wrong over Pavlyuchenko who is by far our best striker in terms of goals scored/per minutes on the pitch, and was last season too and at the moment our leading scorer in all competitions? In the absence of Defoe he should start every game. Crouch at best is an impact sub. who can come on to change a game and give us something different. This is the well known theory though personally I feel that he is not good enough at anything to justify a place in the squad despite his three assists.

On Tuesday we face Sunderland at the Lane and although we are 10 points off the top position we are only 8 points off the bottom with eleven teams level or within 3 points of us. Last season we beat Sunderland 2-0 at home and then overwhelmed Wigan in the following home game. We have two good opportunities before the Arsenal game to put six points on the board against Sunderland and Blackburn. If we don't take them we could find ourselves floundering in the pack.

'Don't panic' I hear you cry but yesterday even the players who have been rested and who should have been out to stake a claim for a place while we are suffering a widespread injury list looked lethargic. Those anticipating great things from Sandro, as they did for his predecessor Palacios may be sorely disappointed again. Bolton don't play through the middle; they play over the top and a couple of Sherman tanks would have been just as useless against this form of attack.

We missed Huddlestone's passing skills and the ability of Modric to carry the ball out from the midfield.. Huddlestone was eventually brought on to salvage something in the last half hour and Modric moved back into midfield. A tacit admission that the initial strategy was misconceived.

Momentum from the Champions' League has never materialised and we need to put some results together before Xmas if this is not to peter out into a very average season indeed: Champions' League excepted of course. Only at Spurs.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Greg Meyer Guest Column; Celebration time at a Kent Pub.

Celebrations throughout the land. Greg brings news from Kent which was no doubt typical of many parts of the coun try and indeed the world.  Another of his wide ranging , learned and knowledgeable columns. References to Guy Fawkes, Churchill, Spurs legends old and new and a little peek into the future, well Saturday lunchtime anyway.  We both agree that it's a good time to be a Spurs fan.  Let's hope it still will be at  Saturday tea-time.

Friday 5 November 2010.
Two Stars Born ... Gareth Bale And A Living Spurs Legend ... All Aboard The Hotspur Taxi.
Before we get to the existing legend, a man who even had streets named after him, a quick backward glance at Tuesday last at The Lane. A night when a taxi was hard to find even though there seemed to be plenty of fans willing to help. Nice one Spurs fans. English football humour in a class of its own.
Travelling With Spurs ... More Rollercoaster Than Taxi.
The elephant in the taxi certainly could not be ignored any longer. His gestation period started with a goal against Arsenal, regressed into injury and for something like 24 games the elephant come jinx in the corner hovered in limbo. Manager Redknapp broke the jinx bringing on our Gareth with him finishing in a winning side.
Thereafter Benny slipped a disc on the dance floor. Bale took his chance and as Rafa Benitez would say, the rest is history. Sorry he was talking about a recent Champs League encounter on Tuesday night. Milan were certainly history after inexplicably failing to turn up for the second half at the San Siro.Whats worse someone forgot to put the dvd recorder on . Seems they had no idea as to Bale's exploits in Italy. Certainly had no game plan against him at The Lane.
Perhaps that is a little harsh. After all the ex Liverpool head waiter did seem to have a plan of sorts. After scoring three at the Siro there was a prioritory. Stop him scoring.
Ole Rafa. He certainly stopped him scoring. Unfortunately there was the little matter of the gold plated assists provided by the Welsh wonder. Both unmissable. Probably a more important element in the plot as regards Peter Crouch. After his first half blunder he was mightily relieved to score. Roman Pav. All he does is come on and score. Some say that indeed is all he does. The come on bit says our bank manager. Not a universal view here at our pub. We like him.Roman that is. Can't stand banks.
Our lawyer like you thought there were a few if not ten plus others that were heroes on a glory, glory European night. It does lead to the inevitable question as we return to Saturday football. Surely we can take most of that to the Sporting Shoe Stadium and obtain a Premier result.
Before coming down from the clouds and stepping off the rollercoaster our pub have raised a glass today to a Spurs legend. As Mine host says who else but ...
From The Halfway Line.
Nayim ( known to his mother as Mohammed Ali Amar) is 44 years old today. Our Spanish legend joined Spurs in 1988 and stayed until 1993.But just two highlights.
Spurs won the 1991 FA Cup thanks to two assists from Nayim. That was the one where Paul Gascoigne went a little enthusiastic and ended up being stretchered off.
In the 1995 UEFA Cup Winners Cup playing then for Real Zaragoza ( in a Spurs undershirt surely) Nayim scored from the halfway line with a calm lob over David Seaman in the final minute of extra time. Real 2 Arsenal 1. How sweet it was.
In 2006 the sensible elders of the quaint little village of Trasmoz named a street ' Gol de Nayim'. Arsene Wenger did not attend the dedication ceremony.
Truly a moment to celebrate. Moments galore this week and celebrated in fine style ...
At A Kent Pub.
Football is life apparently. Not Winston Churchill, certainly not Rafa Benitez. Probably Joe Blow of your pub and ours. From a comedic farce at Manchester, a glorious night at the opera on Tuesday,tonight Bonfire night, and next up a grinding slog at Bolton.
Can the European superstars do it at the Reebok. Kevin Davies ( he who regularly scores against us) and a very well drilled unit will make life difficult. An understatement complete says our journalist.
Why can we not go on a little run says our lawyer. Bolton, Sunderland and Blackburn are all winnable. Oh and the run should not stop there.
You know who is next after that.
Keep daring , keep doing, and dreaming. Thats what Guy Fawkes was doing when they rumbled him in the wine cellar beneath the House of Lords a mere 405 years ago.
Oops and Cheers .... hope the fireworks are to Spurs advantage at Bolton ... Greg Meyer.      coys.

Inter for supper: Trotters for lunch

Trotters for lunch. Figuratively speaking for those on strict diets.

It's been building for a while starting with the Carling Cup win over Chelsea under Juande Ramos. We shot ourselves in the foot on that one but fortunately landed on top of Harry when we fell over. Then the feeling built up again in the run in last season to clinch 4th. The tremors could clearly be detected and in the Champions' League this season the volcano erupted, the avalanche finally struck. sweeping Inter Milan and a lot of pundits away. Tottenham always let you done, but only sometimes, Mr. Hansen.

I 've waited a very very long time for this and whatever happens next they can't take this away from me. They said we wouldn't make fourth; then that we wouldn't qualify; then that we wouldn't make the knockout stages, and of course in the end that we couldn't win it. Well don't look now but we are top of our group with two games to go. Of course they may well be right 'in the end' but in the meantime they have to admit that we are worthy representatives of English football standing shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the Top Four.

The going has been tough at times over the years, tedious and boring at others but our turn was bound to come round again and it certainly has. The rise and fall of teams is cyclical as Leeds , Nottingham. Forest and perhaps Liverpool fans will tell you but the Tottenham cream looks to be rising to the top again. We've done it the right way too without becoming a billionaire's vanity project or by recruiting mercenaries on silly money. We've assembled a talented team of artisans and artists, renovated a few rejects and blended a squad that I am delighted to see wearing the Tottenham shirt with something that looks like pride.

We might not qualify for the next knockout round: that would a misfortune. We might lose to Bolton at the weekend; that would be careless but we will always have Inter at the Lane. We weren't just good, we were better than the Champions' League Cup holders, and possibly not just on the night., They can't say they weren't warned. Benitez in general and Maicon in particular clearly have very short memory and attention spans.

Take out the first 15 minutes of the first game and overall we beat them 6-2. We started where we left off in Milan, Bale in particular and played like a proper team, disciplined in defence , inspired in midfield by Modric and Hudddlestone, the Little and Large of the Premiership, and lively from wing to wing in attack. We had Crouch up front but scored three goals without the ball leaving the ground. We did it in style too.

The first goal was a delight. It's all very well making making a run as Van der Vaart did but you need someone to react intelligently to it. Step up Luka Modric back to something like his sparkling best. A heady mixture of excitement and anticipation is coursing along the my veins thinking about what this team might be capable of. We took Inter on and beat them.

You have to highlight Bale, and Modric too was a delight. But everyone played their part and Gallas enjoyed his best game for us yet. Cudocini's save that allowed us to go in 1-0 up was crucial. Crouch's miss didn't matter after all. Pavlyuchenko doesn't do much else but score: you could say the same thing about Defoe and Eto but it's not a bad fault for a striker.

Lennon, almost back to form and Bale stretched them and Van der Vaart and Modric flowed through the breach dear friends. Crouch once again prospered from the lack of close attention that he gets at this level and for England and he was unlucky not to set up Van der Vaart again. He might be more effective in the Premiership if referees were to keep tighter control.

I'm calm and cool again now and that's the way to be. Too much excite ment and over-reaction makes it look as if we're not used to this kind of success.. I wasn't so on Tuesday. Bar stools apparently were raised above head level, though there was nobody sitting on them at the time. I have no memory of such an event but I'm sure they are right.

In fact where I was there was very little sitting at all. Punching the air and hugging was the order of the day. If anyone has bottled the atmosphere at the Lane it might fetch a fortune on e-Bay. I'd certainly bid for it. I'm surprised that Daniel hasn't though of that already.

Credit Harry again; the direct substitution of Jenas for Van der Vaart was unexpected but it worked because it left the defense and midfield intact. Harry accused by many, including me at times, for being tactically naive certainly put that slur firmly back in the box. He's the man of the moment for Spurs and the man for the moment. He said he was going to have a go because that's the only way this team can play and Benitez neglected to take him at his word. Harry doesn't speak with forked tongue all the time. The problem as Benitez discovered is that sometimes it's hard to sort the nonsense from from the rubbish.

He's having a good week, facing down the FA over interviews and after- match comments and Benitez on the pitch. The first won't have done his England chances much good but the second certainly will I'm afraid

. Now for Bolton. We struggle with the mundane, the routine, the everyday grind but if ever there was a time to surf to victory on a rip tide of adrenalin, confidence and success Saturday is the time to do it. Let's not make a dog's breakfast of it. We had Inter for supper, let's have Trotters for lunch. Figuratively speaking of course.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Another fine mess Mr. Clattenburg

Remember this? How many cock-ups make a conspiracy?

First to the interesting part; the second goal, which in truth had no impact on the result but which raises several points and allows us to ignore our appalling and shameful record against the old Top Four sides away from home for a few more hours.

You've all seen it so let me get to some of the issues that it raises.

Firstly; how is it that the referee and the linesman failed to respond to Nani's handball? If it wasn't a penalty it was simulation. But for the deliberate hand-ball it would have rolled out of play, which adds insult to injury.

Why did the linesman raise his flag several seconds after the goal?

Why was Modric booked for politely, as captain, continuing the discussion with the official?

Why was Ferdinand who was not the Man.Utd. captain allowed to harangue the two officials throughout their consultation when every other player had been sent away? He continued to berate the linesman even after the goal had been given. What did he want; two goals? He should have been booked.

Clattenburg clearly says 'I saw it' but if he gave advantage why did he not blow his whistle when no advantage materialised, as refs often do? It's a strange advantage that leads to the advantaged team conceding a goal,

How can an experienced International keeper get it so wrong? Play to the whistle Heuralho whatever that is in Portuguese. He had plenty of time to take the kick or roll it to Ekotto. Nani was still on the ground when he was placing the ball. Why did he seek Clattenburg's permission to continue?

The Old Trafford file of bizarre decisions is pretty close to bursting . How much longer can it continue before I change from a cock-up to a conspiracy theorist? How many cock-ups in fact make a conspiracy?

It was interesting to see Ekotto ushering everyone except captain Modric away as the linesman clearly tells him that he has seen the handball. Benny the Peacemaker! Coming soon to a Stadium near you.

So yesterday's game raises many questions some of which Harry and Mr. Winter might answer in due course, although I doubt if any of the officials will fail to support Clattenberg. The referee, the linesman and Gomes are all culpable here but I agree with Harry that it probably didn't make any difference to the result, though you never know what might have happened in the last five minutes and extra time ( If there was any allowed as they were leading.)

Modric was my Man of the Match, I have suggested to Mrs JimmyG2 that we adopt him but she doesn't think the spare room is big enough. I'm measuring up the garage tomorrow. Harry's selection of Keane raised some eyebrows in view of his poor form but in the spirit of 'In Harry we trust' I tried to think of some positives: we would have to keep the ball on the ground: it would prevent Crouch being chopped up into small pieces by Vidic and delivered back to Abbey, or his Mum in a body bag; it might be the start of a new dynamic relationship up front; it might make Pavlyuchenko so angry that he would come on as he has done in the past and score a couple of goals.

None of these things happened except that Crouch was unharmed. I was surprised that Sandro and Kranjcar remained on the bench even when we were chasing the game but Palacios came on to replace Jenas and not only didn't get a yellow card but played quite well.

It was a very good game with plenty of skill and effort by both sides. We played without fear or signs of inferiority and certainly gave as good as we got. We fell behind to a set piece through poor marking by Kaboul and Ekotto allowing Vidic to get across the front of him.

Modric and Van der Vaart are beginning to link up more and this bodes well for the future. Lennon played well in the first half, several 'give and goes' which he hasn't had the confidence to do lately. Bale looked as if he was saving himself for Tuesday except for a late run that almost produced a fine solo goal.. We did OK in defence especially as both centre backs wereboth on early yellows. Gallas had a better game and Jenas worked hard to protect the back four but looked slow on the ball and will be remembered for some poor passing.

All the old Top Four scored goals in the last ten minutes of their games this weekend, and we didn't. After ten games we are ten points off the top and five off the relegation zone. I'm just saying. We need to start winning in the league as we have not made enough of our 'easy' start. The only bright spot yesterday was that Man.City who might be our main rivals for fourth lost to Wolves and started arguing amongst themselves. Everton and Liverpool are starting to make steady progress and it's all rather too tight for comfort. We could slip to 6th if W.Brom get a draw tonight.

On Tuesday we welcome Inter Milan to the Lane without Defoe, Dawson,Van de Vaart probably King and Gomes. I hope that we are not too welcoming. A draw would be a good result for us but without key players it's a hard ask. It would be just like Spurs to win it but I am not putting a lot of my pension on it. I hope that we adopt an attacking attitude. As usual with Spurs anything could happen but it would be nice to score the first goal just for a change.