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Bolton – Spurs Preview: Clinging to Meagre Hope

The response to our current blip has included a vitriolic chorus from some quarters for the sacking of ‘Arry. Having dragged us from the relegation zone to contention for the top-four – via Wembley – in little over a year, it seems a slightly disproportionate reaction, but defeat in the Cup today would not go down well amongst already restless natives. Coming on the back of arguably our worst performance of the season, a trip to Bolton is hardly ideal, but we have enough quality in our ranks to win this.For all our possession againt Wolves in midweek we showed precious little fluency, and our midfield ball-players now owe us a nice slick performance. While he may now be a fixture in the team Hudd’s performances still alternate between outstanding and ineffective; while Niko Kranjcar has gone off the boil in recent weeks, beavering away  diligently enough, but with precious few of his inventive ideas coming to fruition, a syndrome typical of the entire team. Modders has shown the odd flash of genius since returning from injury (the assist against Fulham is adoringly ingrained in the mind) but he too has hardly hit the heights, and we need one of these chaps to pull the strings for us today, as the weight of attacking responsibility currently weighs rather heavily upon the shoulders of Messrs Bale and Bentley.

The Rarely-Sighted Pav is apparently back in contention, which suggests we have a choice of two from four in attack, but nevertheless I would be surprised if ‘Arry did not revert to Crouch and Defoe. Apparently there are injury worries over both Ledley and Daws, and with Kaboul presumably cup-tied this could mean either Hudd or Corluka moving to centre-back.

While recent form makes me feel nothing but pessimism ahead of this one, I cling to the meagre hope that Spurs are always capable of producing the completely unexpected – pointing to a rip-roaring performance and handsome victory today. Ahem.


AANP’s first book, Spurs’ Cult Heroes, comes out in early March and is now available to pre-order from WHSmith,Amazon , TescoWaterstones and Play 

And as ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the players to be featured in Spurs’ Cult Heroes: Danny Blanchflower here, Dave Mackay here, Cliff Jones here, Martin Chivers here, Alan Gilzean here, Pat Jennings here, Cyril Knowles here, Steve Perryman here, Glenn Hoddle here, Chris Waddle here, Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jürgen Klinsmann here, David Ginola here, Paul Gascoigne here

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4 replies on “Bolton – Spurs Preview: Clinging to Meagre Hope”

A captain, my kingdom for a captain (leadership qualities essential, ability to snarl at under-performing fairies a definite plus )… Otherwise, it’s Redschapps telegraphing his displeasure with an extra twitch and a look at his watch!!

When you read the facts as clearly as you state them in your first paragraph, I would agree, it seems ludicrous to be calling for yet another managers’ head.
However, when you look at it from a more qualitative perspective, it’s not hard to see why some quarters are becoming restless.

A fantastic start to the season (every man and his dog was telling us it was the best start since the double) followed by our fellow pretenders to the throne (4th) penchant for dropping more points than Danielle Loyd has dropped pairs of knickers, saw us in a relative position of strength. What was at one time a seven point lead on the scousers, has, due to a run of relegation form (6 points from 6 games), quite quickly resulted in us being a point behind. The scousers return to form has also coincided with City axing the draw specialist, Hughes (I bet some City fans thought that was ludicrous too), and picking up more wins than draws which now sees them also a point in front but with two games to the good.

The reason for our apparent reverse in fortune is a mixture of bad tactics; another shambolic transfer window that saw the human yo-yo leave for his other dream club and yet another player that wasn’t up to it the first time, return (‘he’s improved a lot down at Pompey you know’) and the obvious lack of application from players who are individually – (j)anus excluded – much better than their collective whole. The blame for under performance in these three areas can quite reasonably be laid at the feet of a certain saggy chopped chappy.

Now, of course, I’m not calling for instant dismissal – there’s still The Cup to play for – but if opportunity were to knock, ie. a truly top class manager became available at the end of the season, I for one wouldn’t be adverse to more regime change.

Fair points well made sir. Personally just wary of more regime change as potentially destabilising (a la Jol-Ramos).

The current Spurs is not the finished article, and in the short-term we may well miss out on CL, but there seems to be a basis for possible longer-term progress. The squad depth is improving (Kranjcar, Bentley, Bale, Gudjohnsen, Bassong are handy players to have on the bench), and while we have to learn how to beat ten-man defences, the fact that we even face this problem at all is testament to the progress we’ve made.

‘Arry has made a few clangers, and there are still some squad changes to be made, incomings and outgoings, but if we continue to improve next season (eg Hudd become more consistent, Palacios rediscover form, Lennon return etc) we could take the next step up without too much tweaking.

Challenging for fourth is the minimum for us at the moment, and represents decent progress on the last couple of seasons; in the next season or two we should build on this and raise the bar higher, by nailing fourth and aiming higher. If in two seasons time we are still struggling to break the top four I would be more inclined to query the manager.

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