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.