Spurs match reports

Spurs 0-0 West Ham: Tottenham Go Commando

Commando. Truly, one of the great films of the ‘80s, quite the celluloid embodiment of the all-action-no-plot mentality. From start to finish it is held together by the very wispiest of fragile plots, whilst also punctuated by numerous illustrations of the linguistic difficulties that Arnold Schwarzenegger never quite mastered (“All that matters to me now is Chenny”). As the number of blood-spattered bodies littering the screen gradually increase, it approaches its quite marvellous denouement, in which Arnie, armed to the teeth with guns, grenades, sticks, stone and catapults, strides through an entire army, killing the lot of them. For their part they line up one by one and fire everything they have at him, for about ten minutes flat, but simply cannot hit him, and all get wiped out.That climactic scene, in which one soldier after another lines up, shoots and misses, was faithfully recreated yesterday at the Lane, by our heroes in lilywhite. A 90-minute homage to one of Schwarzenegger’s finest moments, Defoe and chums pinged shots left, right, off the post, off the line, off the ‘keeper – anywhere but the target, leaving West Ham to rescue Chenny and scarper off back to the Olympic stadium.

If anyone ever wanted to see the complete opposite of the 9-1 Wigan victory this was possibly it. Where once Defoe scored chance after chance after chance, this time he missed them all; where once a  late free-kick hit woodwork and ‘keeper and then bounced in, this time it bounced out via the same combination. Nil-nil, after over 20 shots on goal. Crivens.


In terms of ‘Arry’s role in proceedings, I’m not sure there was much more he might have done. Swapping VDV for Pav made sense (and might have been done earlier) for ‘twas not an afternoon for a five-man midfield, while the lonely Defoe was repeatedly swarmed upon by what seemed to be dozens of claret shirts lined up across their area. There may have been a case for withdrawing BAE, and switching Bale to left-back, in order to give him a running start on Bridge, a move that would also have introduced Kranjcar. In the final analysis however, the problem was burying the chances, not creating them.

Which leads I suppose to young Defoe. The haters will probably be stomping around incandescently, but I’m inclined just to leave him be, and wait for him to start scoring again. He has done it enough times in the past to suggest he’s not the complete malcoordinated buffoon of yesterday’s two-yard misses.

Lovely Sunny Day

On the bright side, what a lovely spring afternoon. Modders and Sandro looked sprightly in midfield; Daws suddenly popped up with a pretty impressive VDV impression; and there were none of those mental meltdowns from Gomes. Admittedly he only had one or two saves to make, but nevertheless, the longer he can go without charging off his line and launching himself at the feet of a striker, the happier we all become. Apparently it takes 21 days for a practice to become habit, so let this be a start.  Mercifully, with Man Citeh and Chelski hurling their money-bags at each other for 90 minutes this afternoon, someone will have dropped points by supper-time, but as everyone ambles into the final straight it is becoming increasingly evident that on our submission form for qualification into next year’s Champions League, we have applied to do it the hard way. Again.


Spurs preview

Spurs – Inter Preview: Five Reasons Why This Will Be A Glory Glory Night

As the great man said, it’s a funny old game. Prior to a trip to a slightly below-par Man Utd I could not for the life of me envisage a three-point haul; and yet ahead of the visit of European Champs Inter I bound around AANP Towers all bonny, blithe and gaily optimistic that this will be one of the most famous nights in our history. Never mind a DVD, this will be turned into a surround-sound, home cinema, 3-D, HD, blu-ray. Pourquoi, you ask? Come hither, and discover the five reasons why…


1. The Lane Under Floodlights


To suggest that in these evening kick-offs White Hart Lane becomes a fortress would be to stretch the truth fairly outrageously, but nevertheless the stadium does have absolutely crackle on nights such as these. And the current crop of players have shown that they duly rise to these occasions – note just last season the floodlit wins at home to Man City and l’Arse, and the rip-roaring start against Young Boys this season. The wins over Chelski (admittedly by natural rather than artificial light) and l’Arse last season have convinced me that when everything clicks at home we can beat the best in Europe. Produce our best tonight and we’ll be nattering away about it when we’re grey and old.


2. The San Siro Comeback


Another five minutes and goodness how things would have panned out back in Milan. The Bale hat-trick certainly papered over a few defensive cracks and general all-round timidity, but we at least have conclusive proof that Inter are vulnerable. As Arnold Schwarzenegger so sagely opined in Predator, “If it bleeds, we can kill it.” So let’s go for the jugular, and make Arnie proud.


3. Hudd and VDV – Fully Fit and Raring To Go


This is crucial. I was not so much crestfallen as crestplummeting when VDV hobbled off at the weekend, and the prospect loomed of taking on Inter with a midfield bereft of both him and the Hudd – a midfield which would therefore presumably comprise Jenas and Palacios, with Modric in the hole. Joy upon joy then, that VDV is actually a bit of a drama queen when it comes to niggles and strains. It seems that the suspected hamstrung twang was no such thing, and with Hudd back in training too we will be able to field a midfield high on technique and vision. Bale-Modders-VDV-Hudd-Lennon might not exactly offer the back-four much protection, but if we are going to beat this lot we will have to play to our strengths, which means high-tempo madcap attacking from the off.


4. The Ref


I don’t know who he is, but as he is almost certainly not Mark Clattenberg in a mask, the chances are that if he decides to play advantage at any point he will signal that he is doing so by stretching out both arm ahead of him, in ye olde recognized fashion of a robot newly-freed from a straitjacket, thereby making quite clear to all the good folk watching and partaking exactly what the deuces is going on. Marvellous.


5. “Sammways Ahead… And Lineker Uses Him By Not Using Him…”


Naturally enough we’ll all be looking impatiently at Gareth Bale to go motoring past the Inter team every time he touches the ball, but the chances are that Rafa will have instructed all eleven of his mob to swarm all over Bale every time he even sniffs in the direction of the ball. Given the treatment meted out by Everton and Man Utd since his San Siro hat-trick, in pointedly directing him infield onto his right foot, it is just possible that his impact may be a little muted tonight.


So be it, but this need not be to our detriment. Harking back to the glory of St Hotspur’s Day, in the Wembley sunshine of April 1991, Gary Lineker gave an unlikely masterclass in the virtues of exploiting the space created by a team-mate whose presence was distracting bewildered opponents. Should Inter decide to focus on Bale, opportunity will knock for Modders, VDV and even Benny Assou-Ekotto to make merry in the space vacated.


By golly this is exciting stuff. White Hart Lane will rock tonight, and if things go well they’ll hear us all over the country. Inter Milan at White Hart Lane – bring it on.

Spurs preview

Werder Bremen – Spurs Preview: An Awesome 5-A-Side Team

Even observing from across the Atlantic, AANP is well aware of the worrying signs that, for all the cheer and merriment created by our Champions League qualification, our heroes are doing a dashed good impression of a pack of mutts who have bitten off more than they can chew. I’m not quite sure how tiredness can be a factor so early in the season, particularly as many of the players had an international break, but there has been a sluggishness to our recent league form, and the forthcoming glut of CL games is unlikely to freshen up any of our heroes.

Still, we can worry about all that on Saturday. Playing in the Champions League cures all known ills, and there is probably no better way to drag the players out of their stupor than to parade them in the front of the cameras to the soundtrack of the CL theme tune and 36,000 braying lilywhites in the stands.

4-4-1-1 Again. Huzzah!

“Da more I interact with humans, da more I learn.”

So drawled Arnie in Terminator 2, undoubtedly the greatest film ever to grace the AANP Towers cinema reel, and our very own glorious leader is demonstrating a similar capacity to modify his behaviour in reaction to external circumstances. In such a manner was the 4-4-1-1 birthed, and as our heroes will be gambolling across foreign soil today, the designated away formation will be unleashed upon an unsuspecting world once again. After Saturday’s periodically abysmal draw at West Brom confidence will be sky high amongst ‘Arry, Joe Jordan and chums that 4-4-1-1 will make us kings of Europe, and providing that Werder Bremen are no better than the WBA we should be absolutely fine.

Alas, our absentee list would make quite some 5-a-side team, with Gomes, Daws, Defoe and potentially Modders all staring forlornly from the sidelines, but the prospect of Ledley returning to the fold always soothes the savage beasts here at AANP Towers.

The addition of van der Vaart to our ranks reinforces the notion that our side is positively teeming with potential match-winners, and between them I fancy Bale, Kranjcar, Lennon, VDV, Hudd , Pav et al to grab a goal or two. However, this is no ordinary club competition, this is the Champions League – and with such power comes great responsibility, particularly at the back, where dubious defensive lapses will be magnified and punished. A point would represent a fine night’s work – on present form dare we hope for even more?