The Blog that's not always wrong.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

We know our place

Man. Utd: Tottenham:  Hearts

We look down on them but  we look up to them

So now we are down in the relegation places and bottom of the league purely on merit. The team we played last night is top and the team we play on Sunday are second: so the heat is on. Two games played and some light shed on the shape of our season. Although with the transfer window staying open a week into the season for some reason known only to administrative nerds it's probably too early for any accurate assessments.

But we seem to have some guidelines. We are much better than the third best team in Scotland. (stand by for this to be confirmed on Thursday night.) But not nearly as good as the best team in England. Quite a space between them I admit and we will just have to find our level in there somewhere. But at least we know our place, more or less.

We certainly missed the ball retaining skills of Modric in Manchester. But all this 'his head is not right' stuff is bollocks, if you will excuse the expression.. The whole situation is positively 'Berbatovian' and we all remember how that ended. If he is fit he should have played on Monday. If he can't cope with the situation he should be sold immediately and the money re-invested before it's too late. Even at this late stage there must be some bargains left in the shops.

And I'm not talking about Adebayor who I wouldn't touch with a bargepole.( We interrupt this broadcast to report that a deal has been struck for the loan of Mr. Adebayor late of the City of Manchester. So we will see) He is in the same category to me as Bellamy or Joey Barton. Decent footballers who bring so much baggage that the extra luggage charges are more then the cost of the flight.

Even the modest hardworking ones can cause you terminal headaches as little Luka has shown These players perform for themselves and only incidentally for the team and Adebayor will have little regard for our tradition and history. If he scores 15 or more goals this season I will publicly recant and welcome him as a sinner repented.

The euphoria after Hearts has rapidly dissolved. 'Hot Spurs break Hearts in five star Europa qualifier performance.' was my headline for the match review, which incidentally easily triumphed in the 'Worst headline' in a Spurs Blog weekly Award. Actually I entered it for the 'Snappy Title' category but the Committee felt otherwise.

But titles apart that was how I like my Tottenham: ball to feet; one touch ensemble play orchestrated by Van Der Vaart who took upon himself the role of conductor in the absence of whatsisname.
As good a 45 minutes as I have seen by our boys in a long time.

All this without King, Gallas, Palacios, Sandro, and Corluka; all stalwarts of yester year. True we had a ten minute nightmare when they came out fired up after half time and forced three corners in quick succession. But that was about it. Barring miracles qualification is a cinch.

Van Der Vaart showing for the ball and with Defoe pressing high up the pitch, coaxed excellent performances from Kranjcar, Livermore, Defoe and Lennon. Kranjcar was a revelation in centre midfield. None of the three youngsters, Townsend, Walker and Livermore, who were 'Europa' bloodied looked out of place.

Defoe looked confident again, took his goal well after excellent work from Van Der Vaart and Lennon. Then he showed down the left hand channel and was brilliantly sent away by Townsend and set up Lennon for a tap-in. Tom Huddlestone chipped a classic trade mark ball over the top for Gareth Bale to round the keeper and score another.

Now Modric may 'no like chicken badge' (Thanks Harry Hotspur) but I like it when Spurs strut and preen just a little. What was supposed to be an intimidating venue and a tricky first leg was all but over before the half hour mark with Spurs 3-0 up. Still I accept it was only Hearts, but if we can put away the 'poorer' teams like that we will do better than last season.

But that was last Thursday and this is Wednesday of the following week.. We contained Man.Utd for an hour but did little more. After the first goal what had seemed very likely became inevitable and they ran out easy winners. In fact Friedel made several key saves and it could have been worse.

Gomes reward for keeping a clean sheet at Hearts was to sit on the bench and Friedel is clearly Harry's Premiership choice. Hardly the future, is it. Apart from an effort by Defoe which struck the post we found De Gea every time or blasted the ball high and wide. Either the boy's positional sense is uncanny or we need to aim for the corners more.

The team work of the Hearts game went missing as did our centre halves in the last half hour. Wrong choices and mistakes were the hallmark of our play and Van Der Vaart's reaction to Lennon's failure top cut the ball back to him 10yds out was indicative that he is used to playing at a higher level. What was Aaron thinking?

Rooney, Nani and the boy Cleverly found the gap between the lines and Kranjcar and Livermore didn't have the space and time of the previous game, though both played well especially in the first hour.

Selling Modric and Bale is perhaps our only way of generating income. Harry thinks he can buy four decent players with that but as Greg will tell you they will be 'old' bangers rather than limousines. Sell on and rebuild is our only way forward in the present financial circumstances and it might be a good time for Luka to put his head on somebody else's block.

So Old Trafford yielded its usual result but we will always have Edinburgh. It might have to be enough for now. By Sunday night we might know better.

Breaking News.
The NDP is on again as Spurs drop their legal challenges to W.Ham taking on the OS.
A deal has beent struck with Boris.Get it in writing Daniel as our mentor Sam Goldwyn opines that
'A verbal contract is not worth the paper it's printed on'

 Stand by for Dan the Man to claim that the OS escapade was a diversionary tactic and that he personally started the riots to get the politicians' attention.


Frank said...

I thought we more than held our own in the first half on Monday - there only looked like one team in it after 30 mins.

Collapse is collapse, but unlike some I don't believe losing at Old Trafford in August == mid table in May.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy,you really are an old misery. I remember you slagging off the decision to take on Gallas. He was also going to be a disruptive influence. Hopefully, you will be proved just as wrong about Adebayor. That is, if we actually sign him.

With regard to "our place", it was pretty obvious that the team that performed so well against Hearts would struggle against United away. Obvious to everyone except Harry it seems. Kranjcar wasn't a revelation to me against Hearts (although Livermore was much better than I expected). I already knew that Kranjcar is an excellent and skillful player. Unfortunately, as shown against United, he doesn't have the pace for a top Premiership team. It also seemed obvious that we were struggling in midfield before United's first goal. But as usual, Harry did nothing about it until too late. Then, the substitutions made it certain that we would continue to be overrun. I can never understand the approach to needing a goal which says that you just throw as many forwards on as you can, although it is a favourite response of Harry. A team can't score unless they can first of all win the ball and then deliver it into dangerous areas!

I also can't believe that any Spurs supporter of longstanding could be fooled by Defoe's performance against Hearts. Against top class opposition, he will always be found wanting. He doesn't have the pace or physical presence.

Finally, your breaking news on the OS was a bit premature, wasn't it? Could be that you are a bit too eager to see us stay where we are.

Too much wishful thinking in this edition of your blog Jimmy.

JimmyG2 said...

I have a bad feeling about this season.
But we will see.

Anon 21:17
'An old misery?'
You know me so well.
I would happily stay at WHL with an upgrade of the stadium (toilets and that sort of thing)
The OS has been a piratical land grab, a distraction at best.

Gallas I can take or leave and injuries might make his appearances as fleeting as Ledley's. Adebayor is yet another stop gap.(Friedel too)

I would like to see some real talent brought in and blended with some of our youngsters to build for the future.

elwehbi@ibleedhotspur said...

Lennon was terrible at Old Trafford and Dawson needed to command the team better in my opinion. Anyways, that's behind us now.

I am on the opposite end when it comes to Adebayor. I think he and Diarra would be fantastic additions to the squad. A 5-man midfield of Bale, Modric, Diarra, VDV and Lennon delivering to Ade' is comparable with some of the best out there.

Am I wrong to think so?

JimmyG2 said...

It's all about judgment and opinions el.
I will be the first to 'fess up' if Adebayor is a success but I don't trust his attitude if he is not regular first pick.
His scoring record is good and he can certainly head a ball.
You paint a glowing picture. I hope you are right.

Van Der Vaart for captain for me and in the absence of Modric the first name on the sheet.

'It's not the good players that are the problem'

elwehbi@ibleedhotspur said...

Well the "glowing picture" I painted doesn't seem to have that surrounding aura anymore... seems like Diarra might no longer be a possibility.

VDV as captain seems like a much better choice for me as well.

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