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Spurs 0-0 Man Utd: A Delayed Match Report – And With Good Reason

Apologies for the delay –since the final whistle sounded on Sunday afternoon the denizens of AANP Towers have spent every waking minute traipsing the country searching for anyone – anyone – willing to buy Peter Crouch from us. It does not have to be the chairman of a football team. He could be bought by a British Basketball Association franchise, or shoved into a museum for small children to gawp at. In fact, since the finishing touches are being put to my latest abode, and I now scour the world’s furnishing shops for a tall lamp to stand next to the very sexy black glass shelving unit, I am considering pilfering Crouch myself and shoving him a corner with a candle in his ear. Admittedly it will not undo the entirely vacuous contribution he made against United, but it would probably ensure that ‘Arry buys the striker we’re crying out for, or at least that he next time picks Defoe, or Pav, or even Carlo blinking Cudicini in attack.I perhaps exaggerate the blighter’s ineptitude, but only marginally. The dust has been allowed to settle for several days, yet harking back to the match still fills me with mild apoplexy. If anyone on the pitch looked conspicuously short of Title-challenging quality, ‘twas he. Presumably included on the basis of his ability to tee things up for VDV he was exposed as woefully incapable of offering any sort of aerial challenge to the sinister Vidic, leaving me and several of those around me to wonder whether Defoe might have caused the United back-line more problems nearer ground-level. Crouch was also treated to possibly the clearest goalscoring opportunity of the match but, alas, used the moment to add to the ever-expanding body of evidence that he is anything but a natural goalscorer (or even, to quote the more acid-tongued, a natural footballer). According to the bespectacled, anorak-clad types at Opta Crouch’s pass completion rate was apparently 32%, suggesting an allergy to the ball rather than an ability to hold it up and link play. Damning stuff, when taken in its entirety.

Anyway, if Niall Quinn is wondering why he has had champagne and caviar delivered to him every evening, a gleaming new Lamborghini has turned up in his driveway and several bars of solid gold left on his doormat, all accompanied by notes reading, “With compliments, AANP”, it is because Sunderland are rumoured to have a passing interest in signing Crouch. Egads man, take him! Take him!

Elsewhere On The Pitch

Elsewhere we fared well enough, our heroes having the better of the game without ever really convincing anyone that a goal was imminent. There was imperious stuff from Modders and Daws, and adequate stuff from Sergeant Wilson; while BAE, fast making a career of flitting between sublime and ridiculous, opted for the former, shoving Nani into his rear pocket and keeping him there for the duration, presumably to the incredulity of Alan Hansen. One mildly disappointing aspect was that after the sending-off young Master Bale did not slowly turn to ad hoc right-back Darren Fletcher and give him the blood-curdling grin of a fully-blown psychotic type, before absolutely mutilating him. Fletcher got off rather lightly in those final 15 minutes, for no obvious reason, and a thigh-slappingly good opportunity to barge back into the title race – and, more pertinently, the top four – gently edged away.

Leaps and bounds no doubt, but the progress of the last couple of years is probably not such as to make us title-challengers yet. A couple of well-chosen signings ought to do the trick. On which note…


In all honesty he’s someone I know by hearsay and Match of the Day’s condensed highlights, rather than having scouted vigorously for the last few years. However, although not the rampaging striker for which we yearn, he seems a talented attacking sort, and can apparently play left, right or centre. Moreover, if his arrival shoves Jenas down the pecking order then I will happily lock myself away in a dark for several years while I grow my hair, before braiding it and tattooing “Pienaar 40” across my back. Bolstering the quality of playing personnel as we move into the second half of the season seems a noble practice, and increasing the competition for places ought to give a healthy edge to things. Finally, as a valedictory note I wish to applaud the young man for opting for Spurs over that odious bunch from West London. Bravo sir, may your stay be long and successful.

Spurs preview

Blackburn – Spurs Preview: Fighting The Good Fight Against Anti-Football

We at AANP Towers are generally peace-loving folk, but amongst the few things that have us stomping our feet in apoplexy is the brand of anti-football purveyed by Sam Allardyce.History is littered with epic confrontations – Good against Evil; Beauty against the Beast (not sure that was a fight actually); Bruce Willis against Hans Grüber and his henchmen. As Spurs’ Beautiful Game is today pitted against Allardyce’s Anti-Football, our glorious heroes can look in particular to Kranjcar and Lennon to lead the charge. Lots of good honest man-love has been flung Niko Kranjcar’s way in recent weeks, and rightly so for the chap is in blistering form. The very presence of Kranjcar – as well as Lennon and his wondrous new, improved crossing ability – gladdens the heart. No Modders today apparently, but what a compliment to Kranjcar to be able to say that we have adequate cover.

I should stipulate at this juncture that I have no particular gripe with Blackburn themselves – as with most other sides I neither like nor dislike them, and on any other weekend I’ll wish them luck. Allardyce however, makes my blood boil. Countless times with his Bolton side, and then last season against us, I seem to recall, at Ewood Park, he drilled his charges into the art (has there been a more spectacular misnomer?) of pumping the ball into orbit and sharpening elbows in readiness for the ensuing melee. There’s no grass in the sky, Mr Allardyce.

On a cheery note, any such approach ought to provide Michael Dawson with another opportunity to thrust out his chest and do what glorious leaders do. The man has been immense in recent weeks, performances against Villa and Man City in particular doing much to dispel the notion that he still needs a calming influence to play Yoda to his Luke and shepherd him through games. While I’m not about to go the full hog and start banging the international drum, on current form it’s entirely uncontroversial at least to mention his name in the same breath as Lescott, Upson, Jagielka and Cahill.

Daws is one of the few leaders in our ranks; another, apparently, is Robbie Keane. Many have complimented him on his attitude in midweek, in shaking the hands and geeing the spirits of his team-mates when they strode out for the second half against City, while he prepared to return to the bench. Personally I missed that moment (as it happens I only saw him shake hands and share a joke with opposition ‘keeper Shay Given during the half-time break), but the notion that Keane is a big, vocal influence in the Tottenham camp had credence long before he organised the merry festive japes in Dublin last week. While his on-pitch form has been unconvincing, as a boisterous member of what generally seems a painfully timid bunch it seems he does play a significant role. That said, I see no reason for him to return to the starting line-up today.

Naturally enough, there has been lots of excited chatter after the Man City win. The howls of rage and despair that greeted defeat to Wolves just four days earlier seem to have been forgotten in the blink of a 3-0 win. I even noted Hansen on MoTD drawling that the City game was our “Best performance of the season,” and that we were “Brilliant from start to finish.” To each their own I guess, but from this vantage point it seemed we started (and indeed ended) a little shakily against City. However, although results have not reflected it, our football over the last month or so has been impressive, which gives grounds for optimism ahead of today’s game. Adopt the mentality of recent away days – Everton, Villa, Man Utd – by seizing the initiative from the off, and Blackburn won’t be able to live with us (until we start panicking in the final 15 mins).


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