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Spurs 2-0 Newcastle: How Beauty Killed The Beast

Irresponsible uncle that I am I cannot quite recall how the fairytale pans out, but I presume that in the end Beauty slays the Beast, and thus it transpired yesterday, life imitating art at the Lane.My north-east spies tell me that Messrs Tiote, Barton and Smith are normally the very models of chivalry, but the other day (Saturday? Sunday? This post-Christmas period is dashed confusing) they cunningly disguised themselves as the most vulgar types of hoodlum, all aggression and faces contorted with rage, as the barcode mob sought to stop us playing. And for the best part of an hour they succeeded, turning our trademarked beautiful game into a fairly forgettable procession of long-balls, intercepted passes and tumbling bodies, albeit punctuated by Pav’s physics-defying dalliance with the woodwork.

With Newcastle seemingly content to kick people and snarl at the ref, safe in the knowledge that none of them would be sent off, the game very much needed a Tottenham goal, just to open things up and force the other lot onto the front-foot. As such I am quite sure that even our vanquished opponents were secretly pleased that we did eventually break the deadlock, for it was a triumph for football. Lovely opening goal it was too, Lennon’s impertinence in just doing the whole bally thing himself screamed “What ho! Over here! It’s me, Aaron Lennon, shaven eyebrow and all, and I’m back on form – huzzah!” while Bale’s was yet another in our ever-growing catalogue of textbook counter-attack goals executed from start to finish in the twitch of a managerial head.

It cannot be too often that the ever-wonderful Modders is cast as “Beauty”, and he would no doubt greet such news as he greets every piece of news he ever hears, good or bad – by nervously pushing his hair behind his ears. The man is a vertically-challenged genius, and he was at it again on that indefinable day earlier this week, at the hub of everything, and with the most able ally nearby in the form of a similarly-wavelengthed VDV. The Beauty-Beast analogy may be a little over-stretched but you get the gist, and yet again Modders did not really care who was snapping at his heels, he just shoulder-dipped his way past them and picked out a pass. Lovely stuff.

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

Rather like the A-Team getting locked in a shed before bursting out in a home-made tank to round up the bad guys and save the day, our heroes have seemed determined all season to embed themselves knee-deep in adversity before shimmying away with victory. Ten men is evidently the new two-goal deficit, but I suppose it matters not, as the current Tottenham vintage seem quite capable of passing their way out of any given situation. This latest, surprisingly serene ten-man victory can be added to that at Villa Park a couple of days earlier, and indeed to against Twente several months back, after VDV’s sending off. Evidently then, red cards do little to impede us in the course of a match, but Monsieur Kaboul deserves nevertheless to be labelled “Buffoon” and pelted with rotten fruit, for his three-game suspension drags us ever closer to the ghastly doomsday scenario that is Vedran Corluka at centre-back.

Still, this remains wonderful fun. Successive Christmas wins, some unfamiliar specimen known as “a clean sheet”, an unbeaten run as long as a Peter Crouch limb and the added bonus of staying up all night to see the Ashes retained have made the return to office-work eminently bearable. Sooner or later the bubble will burst I suppose, but as we shimmy off into 2011 the Spurs just keep marching on. Happy new year one and all.

Spurs - Newcastle Preview: Scouting Andy Carroll

Reasonably enough our title chances are being written off by just about every man and his dog, but the great and the good of the football world will, with weary shakes of their heads, have to take us into account.Win today and we overtake Chelski, which would be fairly meaningless at this stage of the season but still jolly good fun, and quite the incentive. Indeed, four wins from our four festive fixtures remains possible, with Fulham at home and Everton away to follow the barcodes this afternoon. The uncomfortable truth is that as long as we keep winning the more commonly-accepted title-chasers will be unable to shake us off. Should we emerge from this little glut of games still within shouting distance of the title favourites, a couple of well-judged January signings could set us up for another corking year ending in 1.

On the subject of January signings we all get a chance to compile our own personal scouting reports on Newcastle’s long-haired hoodlum of a centre-forward, Andy Carroll. The AANP verdict is “Sign him up pronto”, because while he might not necessarily be as effective an emergency substitute centre-back as Peter Crouch, he appears to be approximately a thousand times better than the gangly one when  it comes to the more routine trades of leading the line, bullying defenders, heading with power (and direction, dagnabbitt) and scoring. Moreover, he has the muscle and aggression to suit the VDV-inspired 4-4-1-1 quite neatly. Our heroes have traditionally struggled against great big muscular centre-forwards – Messrs Heskey, Martins, Drogba and even Daniel Amokachi way back in the day, I’m thinking of you – so I expect Daws to have his hands full today, and given that we always concede I might put today’s tenner on Carroll. For their consolation goal, you understand.

With both Modders and VDV in midfield we rang glorious little rings around Villa, but two games in three days might be a bit much for the Dutch master and his brittle hamstrings. ‘Arry may therefore toy with the idea of resting him today, by switching to 4-4-2, or bringing Jenas into the midfield. Defoe now misses three games, so Crouch and/or Pav will be called into action in attack, but whatever the personnel and formation, the game-plan is hardly shrouded in mystery – attack, attack and attack some more. We played for long periods at Villa Park on Boxing Day as if we were the home team, even when down to ten men, so I rather look forward to more pretty triangles  all over the lush Lane turf today. It would be nice at some point to nudge the goal difference up and over double-digit level, but given the attacking threat posed by this mob today I would settle for three points by whatever means.

Aston Villa 1-2 Spurs: The Barcelona Five Minutes

Forget the goals, and the red card, and the slightly bonkers refereeing and whatnot – the entire game pales into insignificance besides that quite blisteringly good five minutes just before half-time. Away from home - and down to ten men - our heroes, as they had threatened to do from kick-off, indulged in a lengthy period of the most glorious keep-ball, borne of impeccable technique and worthy of Barcelona. Villa huffed and puffed and we just kept pinging the thing around, in a manner that would have been rather cruel had it not been so absolutely ruddy brilliant.

Fittingly enough, our two goals were jolly special too. I’m sure all Brummies present last night will agree that Modders deserves to have a bronze bust constructed of his diminutive frame outside the gates of Villa Park, solely in honour of the scything 60-yard diagonal pass for Hutton, for the first goal, bisecting half the Villa team. We were then treated to the archetypal counter-attack goal, featuring all manner of lovely touches and awareness from VDV, Bale and Lennon, and all was right with the world.

Not that this was an impeccable performance. Our heroes demonstrated one rather enduring flaw, with what one might term a 90-minute bout of Assou-Ekottitis. Everyone who touched the ball in or around their own penalty area seemed determined to dribble or dink or back-heel their way out of danger. Admittedly when BAE himself executed one-such back-heel at the end of the first half we might as well have stopped the game and enjoyed a full five minute standing ovation, because it really was that good, but the team in general (and, curiously, Modders in particular) took the principles of the beautiful game to a charming but slightly dangerous extreme, with their insistence upon glorious little triangles, no matter how limited the confines and pressing the danger.

Elsewhere On The Pitch

The renaissance of Sergeant Wilson continued; while, most curiously, Gareth Bale stumbled upon the opposite of alchemy, with the result that almost every time he touched the ball in the first hour things went quite awry. Kaboul again gave a performance to suggest that he will become quite the colossus at centre-back; Daws was again near-flawless; Gomes made some good saves and poor judgements.

Those Great Big Officiating Calls In The First Half

Moaning about the ref is not really the modus operandi here at AANP Towers, so the big calls of the first half will be awarded only the most cursory analysis.

Gomes-Heskey Pealty Shout: Thought Gomes got a fist on the ball myself, but if you want objectivity you most certainly have stumbled into the wrong corner of the interweb.

Kaboul Goal: Whole of the ball crossed the whole of the line? Did not appear thus from the comfort of the armchair. The ball was kept in, and the goal should have stood. An incident notable for being possibly the first time in history that anyone in their right mind has ever wished those pointless fifth officials were present.

Defoe Red: Bit daft of the wee man to go flailing his forearms thus, and by the letter of the law the ref will not have lost any sleep, but it was hardly a chainsaw massacre.

And let these incidents never be spoken of again. Instead let us talk forever and a day about the quite wonderful pre-half-time five minutes, the glory of our two goals and the truth, which should by now be universally acknowledged: present us with a powder-puff midfield and we will pass you to death. (Evil laugh, fade out)

We clung on in the final few minutes, but deserved the three points for the deific masterclass of the first 80 minutes. In fact it was so good I thought we deserved four points. No Spurs fans particularly  mind Villa but we all hate Robert Pires, so hopefully Joe Jordan battered the daylights out of him during the post-match formalities.

A fine evening’s work, setting us up nicely for a productive festive fixture-list. What a merry Christmas this has been.

 

Aston Villa - Spurs Preview: Look Who’s Back

What-ho ho ho! All I wanted for Christmas was the return to a full fitness of a top-notch midfielder – and lo, the good Santa provideth. VDV is back, the baby Jesus be praised, and the rather enticing prospect now looms of him lining up behind Defoe. Topping stuff I’m sure you will agree, unless you are a Villa fan stumbling confusedly across this little corner of interweb (in which case – seasons greetings!).In fact, from the ashes of the injury-decimated first half of the season there now rises a phoenix that probably is only one Huddlestone and a Ledley short of being our first choice XI. Marvellous stuff.

As it happens,

the impromptu Christmas break has allowed quite a few wounds to heal, meaning that, Kaboul, Jenas and Kranjcar are also now straining at the leash ahead of kick-off today. The return of VDV is by far the glitziest, most sparkly news, but in a more understated sort of way we at AANP Towers have poured a cheeky whisky and toasted the news of Kaboul’s return. We are certainly reaping the benefits of ‘Arry’s masterstroke of employing seven central defenders, as yet again we go into a game with two of them fully fit. 

The wonders of the fixture-list mean that there are about a million points up for grabs in the next few days and Villa, Newcastle, Fulham and Everton in theory represent four winnable games.  The good men and women of the dedicated Tottenham Hotspur A&E Ward should probably also brace themselvs, for while four games in a week present all sorts of wondrous points possibilities, they do threaten to decimate the entire squad and leave the Spurs Lodge a blood-soaked mess of limbs come early-January.Pushing into 2011 unscathed on the injury front, and with seven or eight points in the bag would represent a success. The fun and frolics begin this evening, and on both sides’ current form a trip to Villa Park represents a chance for us to target three points rather than one.

Spurs 1-1 Chelsea: Make Sense of That If You Will

Dashed confusing from start to finish. Two points lost or one point gained? What the devil is Gomes playing at? And what the dickens inspired BAE to perform thus?First Things First: Two Lost or One Gained? 

Gomes: Return to the Bad Old Days? 

Time for ‘Arry, and indeed Tony Parks, to earn their corn. We do have a pretty able deputy in Signor Cudicini, but dropping Gomes would probably be a tad over-reactionary. In his defence shot-stopping is generally the strong part of his game, and the mistakes today (and indeed so far this season) have not been due to ineptitude, but rather spasms of mental meltdown. One suspects it would now be in his interests as much as anyone else’s to go through the Christmas period in nice, low-key manner, rushes of blood to the head locked well out of reach for a few weeks.

Daws and Palacios: Returns to the Good Old Days?

On a brighter note however, there were some most encouraging offerings from various others of our clan. Michael Dawson was absolutely ruddy awesome throughout, barely a hint of rust on his broad shoulders. (AANP is quite happy to add its name to the petition to exonerate him from blame for the Chelski goal, on the grounds that he was outwitted by a rogue Ivorian arm.)

Rather spiffing stuff too from Sergeant Wilson, whose performance was a wonderful throwback to those giddying days of early 2009, when he stormed into the Lane and went about mauling any opponent who toyed with the idea of crossing the halfway line in search of our net. With barely a misplaced pass and crunching tackles a-plenty, in conjunction with Gomes’ aberrations, it was like a charming sepia-tinged memory from yesteryear.

As if Sergeant Wilson’s brief renaissance was not sufficiently mind-boggling for one afternoon, further treats were in store behind his left shoulder. Having spent the best part of the season ranting at BAE for his unparalleled capacity for creating trouble where there be none, as he bestowed upon us all the gift of going completely mentally AWOL at the least appropriate moments, I could scarce believe my beady eyes yesterday afternoon, as he delivered a veritable masterclass in left-backery. Heaven knows what got into him, but I would not mind a swig before tonight’s 5-a-side. As with Sergeant Wilson, fingers are firmly crossed that every last details of this performance can be carefully memorised, then transferred identically to next week, and every week thereafter until the end of days. Or at least May 2011.

Pav: Good Day and Bad Day All In One Neat Package

One eye-catching piece of news emanating from the Lane this week indicated that the sinister agent of Pav has been keen to invite Tottenham representatives into his office for vodka shots and contract discussions, regarding his employer. Should any such new deal be inked, I presume that one clause certain to be retained would be the stipulation that Pav is only allowed to score spectacular goals. No tap-ins. No penalties. In addition to scoring spectacular goals it seems he is also permitted to whinge about being bundled over, but nothing else. As such, anyone wondering why he rocked on his heels rather than galloping forward in the second half, when Crouch flicked a header into his path, presumably  needs to be directed to his contract and the stipulations contained therein.

All in all a slightly mixed bag, but I suppose we should be grateful for the point, and concentrate on thrashing Blackpool next week. The unbeaten run is now half a dozen league games, which is far from shabby, considering that they have been juggled with midweek commitments. Moreover, with Daws and Defoe fit again, and various others presumably likely to amble gingerly back into contention, the outlook this Christmas is quite merry.

 

“Spurs’ Cult Heroes”- A Christmas Stocking-Filler

With the Christmas season upon us this seems as good a time as any to reminder ye good folk that AANP’s first book, “Spurs’ Cult Heroes” is on sale now - on Tottenhamhotspur.com, Amazon, Play and WHSmith, as well as in Waterstones and the Spurs shop.

As well as cheerily reminiscing over the Tottenham careers of 20 of the club’s most popular fans’ favourites (Greaves, Blanchflower, Hoddle, Gazza, Klinsmann and the like) the book also covers some of the most fabled traditions etched into Spurs’ history: big European nights, magic Wembley moments, exotic foreign arrivals, questionable musical offerings, dodgy mullets etc. Quite the stocking-filler for the fellow lilywhite in your life.

Spurs - Chelsea Preview: No Fate But What We Make…

“The future, always so clear to me, had become like a black highway at night. We were in uncharted territory now, making up history as we went along. The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it for the first time with a sense of hope, because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can, too.”
Sarah Connor, Terminator 2

 

Rather ironic sentiments from Ms Connor, I’m sure you’ll agree, given that the following two Terminator films were pretty darned awful, and her own character was promptly killed off, but one understands the point, and such buoyant optimism is shared at AANP Towers ahead of kick-off this afternoon.For the first time we go into a Chelski game with the bookies finding it difficult to choose between us (Spurs 7-4, Chelski 6-4). The bookmakers rarely get it wrong, and all things considered this is probably as good as time as there has been in the last ten years or so to play this lot. Drogba is still shaking off the ill-effects of swine-flu or some such pestilential malady, and Chelski have only scored three in their last six games, or something similar. Admittedly we ought not to become too over-excited by this, as the Chelsea Pensioners could probably stick a couple past us in 90 minutes, given our current form, but up the other end their defence has been by no means watertight, even with the dastardly John Terry restored. Our trusty game-plan, of not worrying too much about defence, and simply outscoring whoever trots out in front of us, ought to serve us well today.

The midfield will presumably be where this game is won and lost, and with VDV and Hudd still unavailable much depends on Modders. The clean-shaven Jesus has been in coruscating form, albeit a tad underrated, given the glamorous types hogging the headlines all around him, but with Lampard sitting this one out, the stage is set for Modric to assume control.

There may also be a timely return to action for Dawson, which would help stiffen things up at the back, but such is the way of things at the moment that even pre kick-off I now accept that we will concede at least one. However, with Modders back, Defoe sharp and Bale simply present on the pitch, we will, as ever have goals in us. The last 12 months have been a whole succession of marks of our progress; this afternoon should herald yet another.

Twente 3-3 Spurs: And More, Much More Than This…

Admittedly it was more school playground than Champions League, but never mind that – huzzah! We won the group! And as ever, we did it the Tottenham way! Lovers of the drab and dreary on Tuesday and Wednesday nights have been swooning in horror ever since we began this merry European jaunt with that kamikaze first half in the Wankdorf Stadium against Young Boys, but they can ruddy well buckle themselves in and hold their breath, because we’ll be marching back for more in 2011. Outstanding.Tuesday night was the usual Tottenham fare – goals, the obligatory penalty, the obligatory two injuries, and yet more goals.

Our heroes decided to mark the occasion by becoming almost a parody of themselves, delivering a performance of the usual quite absurd level of action, but this time with even less plot than normal, as the concept of trying to control the game in midfield was studiously ignored. The decimation of our midfield resources meant no VDV, Hudd or Modders, and with the ever-willing Jenas also hobbling off early, poor old Niko Kranjcar was hastily shunted into the centre, to watch the game whizz by him. Indeed, so desperate has the medical plight now become, that following the selection of two substitute ‘keepers last weekend, we finished the Twente game with quite possibly the least well-equipped central midfield in our recent history: Sergeant Wilson and Robbie Keane. 

We Need A New Left Back 

Benny may be an accident waiting to happen every time he sets foot on the pitch, but he was probably a tad unfortunate with the penalty, in that his options were a little limited as the slightly messy scenario of decapitation-by-ball beckoned. No complaints on the decision though - it would be hypocrisy of rather a high order to complain on this front given that we have benefited twice from similar scenarios in recent weeks.In just about everything else he did however, BAE made rather a pickle of things. His defending for the headed Twente goal consisted of simply watching on in typically unconcerned manner as his opponent rose right next to him, and I lost count of the number of times I roared my displeasure at the screen as he paused, looked up, set himself and fired the ball 40 yards to an opponent.

Elsewhere On The Pitch

The whole concept of keeping possession was generally ignored by just about every one of heroes last night, while not for the first time Gomes was a little erratic between the sticks.

More cheerily, Jermain Defoe looked sharp. The little fella seems to have a number of detractors, who are only too happy to chastise his greed or technique or whatnot, but for his sheer bloody-minded hunger for goals I am downright thrilled to see him back, particularly with the memory of Crouch’s inept finishing of recent weeks lingering so firmly in the memory.

I

 

t may not have been flawless but the ends justified the means, and once it become apparent that elsewhere on the continent Inter had taken the night off, and we would top the group, the tensions was eased a tad, and we were left to concentrate on avoiding further injuries. (A task, rather inevitably, in which we spectularly failed).  With just about an entire team of players set to return in time for the knock-out stages, and a tough but by no means insurmountable list of potential opponents lined up, our Champions League future seems rather bright and beautiful.tenw

Twente - Spurs Preview: The Case For Resting Gareth Bale

No doubt there abound all manner of permutations depending on the various scorelines tonight, but there is a pleasing simplicity about the fact that victory tonight will guarantee us top-spot in the group. This would be a handy time to do away with the latest statistical quirk being waved in our direction by that dastardly band of would-be detractors: apparently our heroes are yet to win outside Londinium this season. Last time I checked the Netherlands was located outside the M25, so victory here would be welcome.Team News: Changes Afoot

Whispers in one corner of the interweb have it that Michael Dawson may be shunted back into action this evening, which would probably leave Sebastian Bassong a trifle miffed, but would otherwise be greeted with fairly universal thigh-slapping. Robbie Keane is also in the squad, while Jermaine Jenas is fit again, and not a moment too soon.

‘Arry has suggested that he might make a couple of changes in this one, in the interests of protecting the little lambs ahead of the festive schedule, on which note my thoughts turn to the boy Bale. Might this be the time to let him catch his breath? Aside from the Carling Cup shocker against l’Arse I am not too sure he has missed a single game yet, and with qualification in the bag – not to mention Niko Kranjcar grumpily twiddling his thumbs on the sidelines – this might be the night to truss him up in cotton wool and keep him out of harm’s way.

The absence of Bale would obviously detract from our attacking potency somewhat, but in terms of our shape and ability to dominate proceedings I am more concerned by the news that Modders has a bout of man-flu. Bale is an undoubted match-winner par excellence, but out on the left he injects the occasional uncontrollable, game-changing burst, rather than pulling the strings from first minute to last. The job of keeping operations ticking over is assigned to Modders, and his importance has been heightened by the absences of Hudd and VDV. A Modric-less midfield would probably comprise Jenas and Sergeant Wilson, and although these two could probably carry out the basics for 90 minutes, one suspects that their combined offering would not be drenched in the obscenely high levels of technical mastery to which we have become accustomed in central midfield this season.

Conundrum

It is a little difficult to know how to approach tonight’s festivities. Victory would mean we neatly sidestep Real, Barca, Bayern et al for one further round at least, so there is some incentive; and it seems fairly safe to assume that, as ever, our heroes will set out in their usual naïve, gung-ho fashion, for it is fairly universally acknowledged they would not know how to play a restrained, slow-tempo containing game if it smacked them in the face with a wet fish.

Nevertheless, Chelski come traipsing up the High Road this weekend, a match in which victory really is vital – so should our heroes end up ambling around tonight with all the apathy of an Australian seam bowler being relentlessly pummelled into the ground, hour after soul-destroying hour, one would appreciate why. It would not be an approach with which I concur, but the rationale would be understandable. Wholesale changes are unlikely – primarily because we barely have the personnel even to fill the substitutes’ bench – but should both Bale and Modders be omitted we will know where our glorious leader’s priorities lie. I suppose a best-case scenario would see these two omitted and the eleven selected still delivering victory, but, alas, one way or t’other I can see us surrendering top-spot in the course of the evening.

Birmingham 1-1 Spurs: How to Lose Two Points in 45 Minutes

Curses. There has been some debate across various corners of the interweb, but here at AANP Towers we had rather been enjoying the exalted status of title dark-horses, and accordingly mark this down as two points lost. No catastrophe, but if we can win at the Emirates we should be able to win just about anywhere, especially after giving the opposition a one-goal first-half thrashing, if such a thing there be.Everything looked fairly tickety-boo in the first half. While Birmingham occasionally reminded us that they were taking part, flapping around in their own area and occasionally placing half a foot on the little round thing, we generally bossed proceedings. The usual suspects were summoned and duly earned their corn. Modders dictated matters in between nervous flicks of his mop; Lennon occasionally surfaced to race past his man, before racing just as quickly out of the limelight; and Bale continued his search for new and exciting ways to escape the ever-growing army of deviants sent to contain him.

One-way traffic, which ought to have been reflected by a half-time scoreline greater than one-nil, but such are the hazards of operating with Crouch in attack. He seemed hell-bent on getting all his limbs under control before attempting to shoot. Reasonable enough I suppose, but it made for typically infuriating viewing at times, when the ball itself seemed to beg him to be thumped into the net.

In our official capacity as Kings of the Second Half Comeback we really ought to have known better than to wither away and gently die after the break, but that we did. Irony abounded in fact, for not only were we this time on the receiving end of a late fightback, but Birmingham even used against us that very Plan B to which we assumed we had exclusive rights. On came their giant striker, the aerial bombardment began, the goal arrived. The introduction of Birmingham’s very own slightly inept beanpole as we defended a one-goal lead with ten minutes remaining might have been the cue for ‘Arry to reinforce things with the introduction of Michael Dawson, but such a call is easy to make after the event, and as caution is not exactly in the Tottenham DNA the only substitution ‘Arry plumped for was Princess Pav for Defoe.

Elsewhere On The Pitch… 

Gallas continued to lead by example, and Sergeant Wilson’s ongoing malaise does not really show much sign of abating, but one of the most eye-catching aspect of proceedings was on the bench rather than the pitch. Egads – two substitute ‘keepers! This injury business really is veering wildly out of hand, and with those marvellous FA suits deciding that squads this season are limited to 25 we are only a couple more groin strains from the sight of Cudicini showing Palacios how it’s done in midfield, or even an appearance from Niko Kranjcar.

Elsewhere Off The Pitch… 

Monsieur Bassong has also hinted at a move over the weekend, on the not unreasonable basis that he wants first-team football. He certainly does a handy job as sixth-choice centre-back, but presuming Daws and Kaboul return to fitness (Ledley and Woodgate represent a different kettle of fish) young Bassong’s chances will remain limited, and “adieu” it may well be.

Back to the game. An unfortunate weekend to drop points, with l’Arse and Man City both winning, but it hardly signals the end of our season, and there will be weeks when we profit and others slip up. Six points off top-spot - and on a four-game unbeaten run – represents fairly healthy going, particularly with a decimated squad, so I urge ye to pause before creating those “’Arry Out” placards. Victory against Chelski next week – and we can jolly well fancy our chances – would put us right back in the thick of things and banish the memory of the two points lost here. Silver lining? That our progress is such that we now consider a draw at Birmingham two points lost, while looking forward with confidence to the visit of Chelski.

“Spurs’ Cult Heroes”- A Christmas Stocking-Filler 

 

As well as cheerily reminiscing over the Tottenham careers of 20 of the club’s most popular fans’ favourites (Greaves, Blanchflower, Hoddle, Gazza, Klinsmann and the like) the book also covers some of the most fabled traditions etched into Spurs’ history: big European nights, magic Wembley moments, exotic foreign arrivals, questionable musical offerings, dodgy mullets etc. Quite the stocking-filler for the fellow lilywhite in your life.

Birmingham - Spurs Preview: Maybe This Time We’ll Go Defensive?

It is the best of times; it is the worst of times. Victory upon victory upon victory is undoubtedly corking stuff; but our heroes seem incapable of tying their shoelaces without someone pulling up injured. Never mind the football - I don’t think anyone doubts that there will be goals a-plenty and we will ultimately come from behind to win. The real poser ahead of today’s game is which one of our mob will be injured next. (My money is on Modders, on the grounds that he snapped something or other against this lot last season.)Merrily however, it seems that there is actually also good news emanating from the treatment room, as the great big loveable Michael Dawson is back in the squad. Huzzah! And not a moment too soon, with Kaboul exiting stage right last week. Not sure if Daws will be ready for a full 90 minutes, so we could be due the glorious sight of Corluka trundling around the centre of defence for the first hour or so. Presumably then the game-plan will once again have to be to outscore the other lot, rather than “keep it tight at the back”…

Slow-Paced Defensive Game of Containment 

I rather sneer at the man who places a wager on our heroes to keep a clean sheet these days.

The Bremen game was very much the exception, because in general our lot cannot help but cram all sorts of attacking mayhem into their bi-weekly 90 minute act. Pause a moment just to imagine the looks of sheer incredulity amongst the faces of our heroes, if ‘Arry gathered them in the changing-room and told them to play a slow-paced, defensive game of containment. The horrified silence would presumably only be punctuated by a resounding thump, as Gareth Bale fainted, and the sobbing of Luka Modric, gently rocking in the corner. Opposition fans might not necessarily like our lot, but we are pretty well ensconced as the neutral’s favourites at the moment, for the glorious entertainment value.With no VDV today I presume we will have to adopt a more attacking 4-4-2 today. It might leave us a little over-exposed away from home in the Champions League, but away to Birmingham it ought to make for an hour and a half of fun. If my Fantasy League team has taught me anything this season it is that the Birmingham defence do like a clean sheet or two, which ought to throw down the gauntlet to Gareth Bale and chums.

Everywhere one looks at the moment the top teams are dropping points, and while Birmingham away is hardly straightforward, we do have a jolly good opportunity for a fourth consecutive league win, ahead of Chelski next week. Ordinarily I would settle for a draw in this sort of fixture, but on current form I expect nothing less than another late, late winner from our heroes.

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