The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Delicately poised

Harry checking the credentials of our striker recruits 

Two points from nine but only one defeat in the last eleven Premiership games. Statistics are easy to present but it's the conclusions that you can draw from them that are difficult. Another striker blank sheet to put on the pile which at the moment you need a small stepladder to access. I'm getting the lightweight extending aluminium one out of the garage just in case.

In the Premiership our four strikers have scored between them; all together that is; adding all their contributions up; combined as it were, the same as Bale and less than Van der Vaart. Our four nominal front men have scored 7 goals between them in the Premiership; five of them by Pavlyuchenko. I know, I know, strikers are not just about scoring goals but it's not a bad starting point for assessing their qualities.

Lennon saved our proverbial streaky at Newcastle with a late equaliser. Darren 'the tweet' Bent made the weekend less gloomy by scoring on his debut, again, to give Villa a narrow victory over City. He was 'over the moon' apparently. Seems to spend a lot of the time on the Dark Side that boy.

We are still in touch but if Chelsea win on Monday we are in danger of slowly slipping off the ledge, sliding soundlessly below the waters, and generally disappearing from the limelight back to the edges of mid-table mediocraty from whence we came. We are a single point ahead of Sunderland. We are 4th in the form table over the past six games but of our rivals only Chelsea are below us. We seem to be at a point of delicate balance at the moment.

Harry,' I'm not a wheeler dealer' Redknapp is in the process of swapping Kranjcar for Piennar. To what end I wonder. Perhaps we might make a million on the deal but in playing terms is there much to choose between them.? On yesterday's showing not a lot. In my view it was a mistake to put him straight on ahead of Kranjcar after so little time to acclimatise to his new club. But he did alright and hopefully will improve.

In the light of yesterday's results Arsenal and Man.Utd look to be the title contenders both winning with ease. At the moment we are only 'possibles' for top four. We might have to set our sights on winning the Europa Cup next season if we don't win the Champions' League this. However with 16 matches to go anything can happen but the trends are so-so.

The extent of Bale's injury or Ekotto's are unknown at the moment but this could seriously limit our ambitions if their absence is prolonged. These two have been almost ever present in the team for the past two seasons. You could argue that Bale has been overplayed as he has been struggling with the back problem for several weeks according to Harry. We're back to judicious rotation again.

Lennon made the switch to left wing yesterday and his quick burst inside, which is normally his quick burst outside on the right, cut out two Newcastle defenders trying to show him down the line and set him up for an equaliser which found the very corner of the goal. That’s his second late, late intervention this season; he scored the winner at Liverpool in injury time and he seems to be getting back to form.

Neither Pavlyuchenko nor Keane were on the bench, leading ITK's to begin musing on possible departures. Keane has been in 'left luggage' so long we might have to pay a penalty charge to get him out. Crouch came on as sub for the last 10 minutes and had a hand, a head actually, in the move that produced the goal. He headed on Dawson's long ball to Defoe who passed to Lennon who scored. I think that's called an assist, once removed.

Jenas and Hutton will receive their usual abuse but both played reasonably well. Cudocini should have saved the goal but made two match savers late on and again gave a decent overall performance. Defoe was cleverly set up by a Van Der Vaart flick just before half time but Harper saved well.

Their goal was the result of a fine cross-field ball by Guthrie, extremely well taken down and finished by Collocini, a centre back who suddenly appeared on the left wing. Hutton haters will blame him for the goal. The most surprising statistic from yesterday's game was that not one yellow card was shown, not even to a somewhat 'over enthusiastic' Newcastle side.

On the transfer front with only a week to go the targets continue to mount up. Most are a tribute to the ingenuity of the media and the gullibility of the so called 'In The Knows': Suarez, Forlan. Fabiano,Van Nistelrooy, Pele, Lassana Diarra and Benzema in the last couple of days alone. Some of these are over 30 and with little chance of any pay back are unlikely to interest Daniel Levy. They are also mostly on more than Harry a week which is just not on. I slipped one in the list to see if you are awake.

Now I appreciate that the members of the 'In Harry we Trust' society will assume I'm calling for Harry's head again which I am not. I'm just looking at our situation as objectively as I can. If you want adulation of Mr. Redknapp I'm sure he has a website where you can register your complete satisfaction with the way the team is being managed.

I forecast that the fans would start getting more than restless if we lost three consecutive games but at the moment it has taken only one loss, two draws and the injury to Bale to get people on the boil. Perhaps it's the tension over the Stratford bid that's making people edgy.

What I respect Harry for above all is that he loves good football. This is what makes him a good fit for Spurs.His adulation of Modric, which I share; his delight in watching good players play, which I share; and his endorsement of the idea that good football is the route to success. This is the basis of Spurs Musings attitude too. Compare our foul count with our opponents in most matches for a concrete example of this attitude in practise.

For all this I will forgive Harry almost anything. Changing managers give a brief boost sometimes; the new manager bounce, but usually achieves little in the long run, The replacement of Benitez by Hodgson who ticked all the right boxes at Liverpool, to be in turn replaced by King Kenny is a case in point. We will have to wait and see on that one.

JimmyG2 award for the 'Silliest Transfer Window story' of the week:
Woodgate to go on loan to Arsenal. This has been firmly quashed but how could anyone have invented it in the first place? 


Matt84 said...

Excellent as allways. However, Hutton got caught under the long ball for their goal. At the level that should be expected of him, not good enough at all. It is not cool that we hide behind the "well he is good at going forward", because he is a defender first. It was also bizzare to see Dawson look lost out there, in fact it was the poorest i have seen him in a very long time.

elwehbi@ibleedhotspur said...

It's scary to think that we can never depend on our strikers to pull us out of a bind. It's the sole reason why I'm always worried going into a match. We have the creativity to hold the ball and penetrate any defence in the league; however, I'm sure the frustration of not scoring ends up having an effect on the players' confidence levels. We need a solution quick.

Gordon Moon said...

I just wonder if Bale's back problem is only a few weeks old. Harry has said that when Bale joined the club he was a bit of a namby pamby (paraphrasing!) Bale may have had some hint of a problem for a while now but didn't want to mention it in view of Harry's comments. It doesn't help that Harry doesn't understand rotation or that he should keep his opinions to himself where players are concerned.

As far as transfers go I've seen a number of comments on Spurs' fan sites suggesting getting rid of a couple of strikers to fund a big signing. Keane can clearly go but we don't want to be put in the position of signing another Rasiak should so-called marquee signing not materialise.

JimmyG2 said...

There's always a trade off with attacking fullbacks between the positive side of them getting forward and the negative side of them being out of position.
In Bale's case it's worth the risk but in Hutton's case it's more balanced.
Personally I like Hutton, allowing for the occasional lapse, I think the positives outweigh the negatives.
It allowed Lennon to swap wings to good effect without losing the threat down the right.
But it's a judgment call.

I think Dawson is happier on the right hand side of
the centre halves.

In the final analysis none of our four strikers are top class.
Defoe and Pav. are worth keeping for the time being but neither is confident; Defoe through lack of goals and Pav. because he isn't played regularly enough.These two need to start.

Gordon Moon.
Over-used in my opinion, back problem or not.You need to nurture young talent.
Strikers see above comment.
WE musn't get into the position of saying 'Oh my god Bales out. we are all doomed I tell you,doomed'
We coped with Modric out last year, Huddlestone out this year.
It's a squad game and we have a strong squad.

IKnowAlanGilzean said...

Let me just say I football-love Lennon and I am almost willing to want him in the team over a better or more in form player, just because I love to see him in a Spurs shirt.

Nonetheless, while he made some good ground fast on Saturday and scored at the end, and is slowly coming back to form, he is still reluctant to really take on the full back on a regular basis.

I think having Charlie in behind him may give him more confidence to do this. Hutton has done well, mostly, but players go in waves and I think his, for now has hit the shore.

A good point away there for me. 4th is still there, City are volatile and one good win for Chelsea does not mask there problems. Though we have our own.

No to Stratford

Beso said...

Brilliant article, I love the way you write Jimmy! Keep it up.

But.... Hutton is dreadful. Simple as that.

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