Spurs match reports

Bolton 1-4 Spurs, Plus A Timely Catch-Up On Recent Events…

Heavens above. AANP ought to have known better than to wave away the whisky for five minutes while real-life gubbins intervened, but since I last tapped at these keys there have been debacles against Chelski and Norwich, followed up by rather professional dismantlings of Blackburn and Bolton. What to make of it all? Charge your glasses and follow hither…

Spurs 1-5 Chelski

Cast your minds back to Wembley if you will. Lest ye need reminding, all sorts of indignation flowed around the streets of North London, and quite rightly so, given that Chelski seemed to be awarded a goal for the fairly innocuous achievement of having a shot charged down in the area; but such is life, and of more concern at AANP Towers was the ease with which Chelski took their other four goals.

Rarely have our heroes performed with such gusto as when racked with the injustice of life and the refereeing decisions it produces, but equally notable was the decision taken en masse to give up the whole bally thing as soon as we went 3-1 down. Naturally enough Scott Parker can be spared too much criticism, fighting the good fight all the way to the 90th minute and beyond, but to see the rest of them collectively slump shoulders and exhale with 10 minutes remaining and the situation by no means irretrievable was dashed bothersome.

QPR 1-0 SpursThe usual ills, with which we have become depressingly familiar in recent weeks, were paraded in all their glory against this rabble – plenty of possession but precious little invention; a complete and resolute absence of off-the-ball movement; the mind-boggling determination to stick Lennon on the left and Bale on the right – but when the ever-reliable Brad Friedel gets an attack of Gomes-itis it really is time to remove oneself quietly and go for a lie-down.


Spurs 2-0 BlackburnJolly well more like it, and not a moment too soon. A pedant – and they are hardly a dying breed here at AANP Towers – would continue the season-long grumble about our profligacy in front of goal, with a 2-0 scoreline hardly justifying near-100% possession and 19 shots on goal, but given the travails of recent weeks perhaps we should just quietly sacrifice a small rodent in gratitude to the gods of Champions League qualification, and be grateful for what we have.


Sandro generally comes across as a good egg. Perhaps bereft of a couple of well-tightened screws, and not necessarily a chap you would entrust to feed your goldfish, but certainly not lacking in enthusiasm and dedication. This has at times manifested itself in wildly mistimed tackles, but on Sunday he struck all the right notes – winning every tackle with a merry crunch, surging through half a dozen challenges and straight down the heart of the Blackburn defence and at one point almost snapping the crossbar. (On top of which he dealt with the potentially awkward scenario of on-field vomiting most adeptly, by simply taking a deep breath and continuing to stretch every sinew for the lilywhite cause.)

Yes, ‘twas only Blackburn, but mediocrity of opponent has hardly prevented some insipid performances from our lot in recent weeks. In the absence of Parker, Sandro’s was a most useful contribution, and a most professional performance from our heroes as a collective.

Bolton 1-4 Spurs

What a difference an Aaron Lennon makes, particularly when the Brains Trust stumbles across the most novel idea of parking him on the right, winding him up and releasing him. From the off he was a blur of little legs and jazz hands, which provided a handy cue for the rest of our heroes to pile forward on top of their hosts and provide a few nostalgic reminders of that glorious era, Ye First Halfe of This Season.

And how right it all looked, with Bale galloping down the left, Modders yanking strings hither and thither in the centre and VDV always on hand to roll possession along. Lennon may not have necessarily been the outstanding performer, but his very presence on the right seems to provide stability to the fabric of the universe, and as a serendipitous side-effect it also gives our Starting XI a useful balance. Oh that ‘Arry had invested in a reserve right-winger in the January sales (or simply retained Master Pienaar).

Admittedly there was a wobbly 15 minutes at the start of the second half, when the incessant bombardment from the skies threatened the general serenity of things, but unlike against QPR and Norwich, our superior class and technique was translated into net-bulging. Witness Modders’ goal, and the weight of his pass for our third. Such moments deserve to win games, and the best Bolton could offer in return were the elbows of Davies.

If there is a point of concern from our two recent wins it appears to be Danny Rose’s continued ignorance of the basic tenets of playing left-back, playing football and the very principles of physics that govern the behaviour of a moving ball. By the start of the second half even his own team-mates seemed to think twice when he availed himself for a pass.

However, with two games left it is to the credit of our heroes that they have recovered from those self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the feet, and hauled themselves back to within a whisker of that ‘orrible lot down the road. Good grief, this might even come down to goal difference.

Spurs preview

Blackburn – Spurs Preview: Straightforward on Paper…

1. Collect Underpants
2. ?
3. Profit
As the South Park Underpant Gnomes so crucially failed to diagnose, some things are a dashed sight more difficult in practice than they appear on paper. Nota bene, ‘Arry and the assorted Hotspurs, for bottom of the table Blackburn may be, but alas it is unlikely that they will simply roll over and allow us to tickle their tummies before disappearing into the night with three points. Teams at the squalid end of the table certainly gave us problems last season, and after a generally below-par performance away from home last week complacency would be a grossly misjudged sentiment going into this one.‘Arry has to choose between VDV and Defoe in attack, the former generally preferred for away days, the latter looking frightfully bright and perky in recent weeks. The return of Sandro to the fold in midweek gives an extra option in midfield, but the unlikely chaps in the spotlight pre kick-off today will be the behemoth that is Kaboul and the not quite so imposing Bassong, without whom we may be forced to field life-size cardboard cut-outs of Ledley and Daws. Having said all that however, if we turn in a performance of the ilk of those in September, Messieurs Kaboul and Bassong ought to be spectators for much of this one. Three points please chaps.

Spurs match reports

Blackburn 0-1 Spurs: BAE Cheats Death, Others Not So Lucky

Everyone feeling better now? As is typically the case with our one-nil wins it was all frightfully nervy stuff towards the end, what with the aerial bombardment and off-the-line clearances, but three cheers for a clean sheet and away win. Huzzah, huzzah and thrice I say, huzzah!AANP: Pretty Ignorant When It Comes to Football

So having banged on to anyone who will listen for past six months about how useless Crouch is with his head, lo and indeed behold the sight of the gangly one nailing an absolute textbook header in the opening moments. I am still inclined to suggest that half of his headers fly upwards, and another quarter fly wide, while 0% have any sort of power behind them – but like a broken clock stumbling upon the jackpot twice a day, Crouch has his moments and this was one. Bravo sir.

Another line regularly trotted out in this corner of the interweb is how, for all his perceived deficiencies in other areas, Jermain Defoe is lethal in front of goal. Behold again then, the sight of Defoe missing our clearest chance of the game (although admittedly he did at least have the good grace to do his usual thing of thumping the ball on target and forcing the ‘keeper to make the size).

Thus, the victory bourbon at AANP Towers on Wednesday night was glugged in accompaniment to a sizeable portion of humble pie, as further evidence was provided of why those who know such things work in football, while AANP witters away at a keyboard.

Only BAE Can Do What BAE Does

Nobody quite knows how, but Benny Assou-Ekotto repeatedly dices with death on the football pitch, and gets away with it. Cruyff turns in his own area, and nutmegs on the goal-line are all part of a day’s week for BAE, presumably before he goes home and narrowly avoids burning down his house despite stubbing out cigarettes on his curtains. It defies logic, science and belief, yet so numerous are the examples of BAE’s astonishing close-shaves that a full compendium has been compiled by geeky types, and a second is in the offing.

Be ye warned however: BAE and BAE alone can pull of such footballing Evil Kenievelry. Daws tried to dabble in a BAE impression last week, and was rewarded with conceding two goals and getting sent off within the first fifteen minutes. Then on Wednesday at Ewood young Sebastian Bassong attempted similar tomfoolery on a couple of occasions, and almost came a cropper. Leave it to Benny, chaps.

Elsewhere On The Pitch

William Gallas’ attempt to make himself a million times more likeable than he ever was at that ‘orrible lot down the road continues apace. Lest anyone should have been in any doubt as to his physical condition he made sure to throw in a wince and a grimace every thirty seconds, but the business of keeping hulking opponents at bay was carried out with what is becoming typical aplomb.

A gentle round of applause too for Jermaine Jenas. Filling the boots of Luka Modric was an exercise of near-futility, but while he lacks the Croat’s class he at least retained the mentality of looking to keep possession at all costs, and supplemented it with a couple of darned well crucial defensive interventions.

Heart-warming stuff. Minus some key personnel this was a fabulous result, and did enough to suggest that the Top Four game is not up quite just yet.


By the by – sincere apologies for the tardiness of recent posts, but the real world gubbins is proving jolly time-consuming round these parts at present.

Spurs match reports

Spurs 4-2 Sunderland: 4-4-2 or 4-5-1?

Blessed relief. With the 4-4-2 formation, flowing pass-and-move stuff and hatful of chances throughout this was vaguely akin to the glory glory days of way back in season 2009-10. Seeing Paul Robinson look on forlornly as the ball crashed repeatedly into the net really did give the afternoon a retro feel, but after our recent run of form the priority was three points in any manner possible, and they have accordingly been lapped up most gleefully around these parts.


4-4-2 or 4-5-1?


For all the doom and gloom of poor form and lengthy injury-lists in the build-up to this one, I was thrilled to bits to see our heroes trot out in good old-fashioned 4-4-2 formation. It served us jolly well last season, both at the Lane and on our travels, but the kids these days are all peddling some variant of 4-5-1, and with VDV blazing magnificence in every direction we have duly adopted it ourselves. It is understandable enough away from home on big European nights, but at home to Blackburn ‘Arry quite rightly decided to revert to the more attacking set-up of yore.


It all worked fine and dandy. Jenas and Modders took turns at loitering deep, but by and large all four across the middle merrily wore their attacking hats; and with two bona fide strikers on the pitch we did not face the difficulties of previous weeks, of lacking presence in attack. Here at AANP Towers we whisper snide remarks and begin malicious hate-campaigns against one-man attacks, and stomp our feet in rage when that one-man attack consists entirely of Peter Crouch, but conversely, nothing soothes the savage beast around these parts quite like a two-pronged forward-line, and so it proved yesterday.


Of course, the flip-side of a 4-4-2 is that it leaves VDV homeless. Presumably he was the nominal right winger on the teamsheet, but by and large his contribution to the right flank amounted to little more than an occasional glance in its direction, as he took up residence further infield near familiar chums like Modders and Bale. By accident or design VDV’s general neglect of the right flank proved not to be a problem, as Alan Hutton seemed quite happy to do the job of two men, bombing up the flank and sprinting back to defend faster than you could say “Vedran Corluka”.


I can grudgingly admit that there is indeed a time and a place for 4-5-1, but not at home to colourless mid-table fare of the ilk of Blackburn. Given that we beat l’Arse, Chelski, Man City and Liverpool at the Lane last season with 4-4-2, I quietly hope that more often than not at the Lane (that is, in matches in which our heroes amble out onto the pitch as favourites) we retain this approach, and find a way to accommodate VDV accordingly.


Odd Stuff From Pav


On the subject of our two forwards, what a curious old bean our resident Russian is. He seems dashed determined not to score unless the finish involves high levels of complexity and a jolly good hammering of the laws of physics. As such straightforward penalties and one-on-ones do not interest our Pav, but the less-than-entirely-straightforward chance presented yesterday was positively gobbled up with minimal fuss. All told it was a good lively showing from the Russia, moaning and fussing about the nasty Blackburn rotters ‘tis true, but also demonstrating a laudable willingness to scurry to all four corners of the lush green turf.


The same could hardly be said of the gangly one, who for a 6’ 7” striker remains infuriatingly poor at shooting and heading. While he earns polite applause for his goal, in general his greatest value seemed to come in the aid he kindly offered the back-four, from set-pieces and the like. (And on the subject of his defending, it is curious to note that the exact challenges for which he is routinely penalised when attacking (arms splayed all over the torso of an opponent) go unpunished when used by the gangly one while defending.)


Modders and Jenas – A Startlingly Effective Central Midfield Combo


I would like to think that long after the game has finished and fans have departed, Modders remains out on the White Hart Lane turf simply for love of the game, continuing to control the ball immaculately, dip his shoulder and look for a pass. Not as headline-grabbing as some of his peers, but a joy to behold and currently looking like a man thoroughly enjoying life.


As for his central midfield partner – lo and behold. No doubt the entire global membership of The Society of All Things Sideways and Backwards watched on aghast yesterday, as their leading proponent repeatedly broke the habit of a lifetime. Jermaine Jenas has generally edged the better side of average on his appearances this season, and it was most pleasing to observe yesterday that every time he received possession he seemed determined to push forward in search of glitz and glamour. He is hardly in the same class as Messrs Modric and VDV when it comes to caressing the ball as if it were a svelte brunette in a revealing dress, but his energy and attacking intent were most impressive, and he helped give our midfield fairly healthy balance – quite a feat considering that we were without either a genuine right-sided outlet or deep-lying holding type.


Further Progress in Construction of The Ultimate Footballer


Having already proved himself adept at dribbling, crossing, shooting, as well as boasting the ability to hurl in a throw-in like a man possessed, young Master Bale has now ticked “Scoring With Head” off the list of attributes required by a bionic footballer. His questionable fashion sense remains however, the man who once sported a hair-clip pin thing (to give it its technical name) in his mop yesterday opting for bright pink tape across his thighs. Still, whatever works for him.


Other Points of Note


A bird? A plane? For those scratching their heads in utter bewilderment I can confirm that it was indeed a Tottenham goal from a corner. My oh my, whatever next?


We threatened to throw away a 4-0 lead, but 15 minutes proved not quite long enough for the Kaboul-Gallas comedy routine to hit top gear (I should retract that actually, as both made cracking goal-line clearances), and in truth we ought to have won by far more than a two-goal margin. With l’Arse, Liverpool and Chelski all rapidly approaching on the horizon, a win yesterday was an absolute necessity, so give yourselves a round of applause chaps. The league remains such that the current occupants of the top four positions have been dropping points with gay and fairly frequent abandon, so fret not at our current state, behind Bolton and Sunderland. Despite the mishaps of recent weeks our heroes are by no means out of the running just yet.

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Spurs – Blackburn Preview: Bloodied Limbs As Far As The Eye Can See

Heavens above, have you seen our injury list? What the blazes are they doing to the players in between match days – wrestling with tigers? Jumping through fiery hoops?  Just standing in a big circle thrashing each other with great big iron bars? Whatever the training drills, something has gone horribly wrong, as Bentley, Hudd, Lennon, Keane, Giovani, Daws, Ledders and O’ Hara are all out, and whinging Princess Pav is a doubt (although I am willing to wager that he’ll be tickety-boo come Saturday afternoon).


No further injuries amongst the back-four, which I suppose is a good thing, although given the madness of recent games I’m not entirely sure how to greet the news that Gallas and Kaboul will be strolling out shoulder to shoulder on Saturday.


Scavenging amongst the bloodied limbs at the training ground, ‘Arry and chums have actually managed to rescue a midfield that retains a rather exciting look, which is a pleasant surprise. Bale, Modders and VDV have all been cocooned in cotton wool, and will be carefully unwrapped and delicately placed out on the pitch. They ought to be joined by Niko Kranjcar, who has been quietly shuffling towards the exit door in recent weeks. The chap’s grumblings of discontent are understandable, but it was unfortunate that he performed quite so anonymously when granted his neon-lit chance at Bolton last week. I fervently hope he excels tomorrow, because although it is difficult to accommodate him within the current starting XI he did enough last season to indicate that he is a quality player, and one very much carved in the Tottenham mould.


Three Points! Three Points!


One way or another we really ruddy well absolutely have to pick up three points tomorrow. Concerns about our striking deficiencies, the startling regression of Sergeant Wilson and the cracks in our back-four can probably wait for another day. The eleven who take to the pitch are likely to be the only ones not covered in bandages and supported by crutches, so we will jolly well have to accept and support them. The suspicion here at AANP Towers is that l’Arse and Man City will keep dropping points every now and then, but it won’t matter a jot if we grind to a halt at home to the likes of Blackburn each week. Three points, I beseech ye, three points.

Spurs match reports

Spurs 3-1 Blackburn: Why Can’t Corluka Run Properly?

Like a craggily-bearded convict using the walls of his cell to chalk off the days until freedom, it is with growing excitement that I desecrate the walls of AANP Towers with scribbles signifying another game played, and another win recorded. Nine games to go, and our heroes are fulfilling their side of the bargain. I must confess that at this stage of the season I find myself caring less and less about the style, and more and more about the outcome. Spring has sprung and victories are now paramount, particularly with the injury-list lengthening.

Corluka’s Ridiculous Running Style: A Theorem

Not long ago I went for an unhealthily long run around the streets of North London, the result of which was that for the following two days the inevitably tight hamstrings had me waddling around like a man recently sodomized by a horse. The aftermath of said run gave rise to the notion that perhaps Coluka’s bizarrely laboured, trundling approach is due to the fact that the night before every game he sets off on a half-marathon, leaving him absolutely spent by the time he waddles out in lilywhite. Admittedly it is a hypothesis that might not necessarily withstand the most intense scrutiny, but with each passing game I gaze in utter bemusement at the sight of this top-level professional athlete undergoing such a struggle simply to run.

‘Twas a mixed performance from the Croatian. Now prevented from producing his wondrous link-up play with Lennon, I have taken to viewing the world’s oldest-looking 24 year-old with an increasingly critical eye. As ever his distribution was regularly sloppy; and, as ever, his defensive duties were carried out fairly solidly. On both counts however there was a notable exception today. His was a vital and superb contribution to the opening goal, the intelligent movement in the area and textbook downward header positively Sheringham-esque. Yet on the debit side his penalty area lunge in the first half was thoroughly ill-advised, and might have been deemed a spot-kick on another day.

And On The Subject of Penalty Shouts…

It appears that the impeccable Howard Webb would only have awarded Gareth Bale a penalty if the Blackburn mob had chopped him in half with a chainsaw. The handsome young Welshman was once again outstanding, with Sergeant Wilson also turning in another strong performance. Quite the bonus too that the midfield pitbull negotiated the full 90 minutes caution-free, to avoid an untimely two-game suspension.

Elsewhere on the Pitch

Modders showed a few flashes of class, but again could not really be said to have bossed things from central midfield. Similarly fitful stuff from Kranjcar, although it made a delightful change to see us actually score from a corner, the Croatian’s set-piece delivery on that occasion achieving the rare feat of beating the first man.

Super Pav

Actually “Super” is something of an exaggeration, as on two occasions he swung at the ball with all the mal-coordination of a fat kid in the playground, from not much further than six yards. However, when you’re hot you’re hotski, and our Pav still chipped in with his now customary brace. If nothing else it will bump up his transfer value come the summer.

Is There A “Bad Time To Score”?

Good predatory stuff from Defoe too, to celebrate the return of the Wembley arch atop his pate. Conventional wisdom has it that the closing moments of the first half are “a good time to score”, and whatever the science of that particular theory a half-time lead is always well-received around these parts, for our lot have developed the laudable habit of turning such half-time leads into full-time victories.

Perhaps not vintage Spurs in the final analysis, but a job well done nevertheless. With resources depleted it is quite a relief to shake hands, turn on our heels and wander off into the sunset with three points securely stuffed in our cases. It is three successive League wins now, precisely the adrenaline shot our top-four push required, and with seven days until our next fixture our walking-wounded have some precious time to remove their band-aids and bolster the ranks.

AANP’s first book, Spurs’ Cult Heroes, is now available in the Spurs shop, all good bookshops and online (at, as well as WHSmith, Amazon , Tesco, Waterstones and Play).

All are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding the players 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. Also featured in the book are Sandy Brown and the late, great Bill Nicholson.

You can become a Facebook fan of Spurs’ Cult Heroes and AANP here, follow on Twitter here

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Spurs – Blackburn Preview: Five Things I’d Like To See From Tottenham This Weekend

Strangely nervous ahead of this one, precisely because we are such overwhelming favourites. We at AANP Towers would happily trade all of the following for three points, in any way or form, but as I idle away the final minutes of the day-job, the following notions float to mind…A Dull Home Win

The list of Games-To-Rue-Come-May is far too long already; let’s not add to it, eh chaps? Just a standard, by-the-numbers, mundane home win will do just fine thank you. You know the sort – a goal from Kranjcar in the first 15 minutes; a good hour of dominance; a slightly nervy feel that we ought to turn said dominance into goals; and finally a Defoe goal in the last ten minutes to kill the game off. The sort of regular home win that gets shunted well done the Match of the Day running order. No alarms and no surprises, as Radiohead might venture.

A nice stress-free win is all the more appealing given that our fixture-list begins to take a few turns for the worse in coming weeks. Admittedly Pompey at home should just about be negotiable, but Stoke away could be a tad tricky; Man City away could be crucial; and we also have games against the top three to come. Three points are being dangled White Hart Lane-wards, and it might be an idea to stock up now, before such resources become scarce in April.

No Caution For Palacios

One more yellow and Sergeant Wilson misses two games. Bad enough at the best of times, the current injury crisis means that one more mishap might see Kaboul or Corluka shoved into midfield, as part of a tactical re-jig best defined as Close-Your-Eyes-And-Hope. The chances of Palacios lasting the final ten Premiership (plus Cup) games without a booking are nil, but if he could just hold out until the likes of Hudd and Bentley return that would soften the blow somewhat.

Destruction of All That Sam Allardyce Stands For

Sam Allardyce might be quite the philanthropist – on a personal level I cannot comment – but as a manager I despise him and his ways. ‘Arry has gone the diplomatic route ahead of this game (“

Everyone plays how they play, they have their own style…Whatever Sam does, he has been one of the most successful managers”) but I fervently hope that we subject Allardyce’s charges to a masterclass of one-touch, olé football, and pass them to death. Although I’ll settle for a mundane home win of course.None of That Hollywood-Ball Gubbins From Daws

Daws’ defensive form has been pretty darned impressive, barring the occasional rush of blood to the head, but I do wish he would stop the Beckenbauer impressions. Just be a good boy and knock the ball short to Modders or someone, rather than trying to launch it sixty yards to one of the attacking midgets.

Robbo Circa 2008 Onwards

Once upon a time Paul Robinson was awesome. A few years back, when we were last challenging for the top four, it seemed that between him and Ledley a certain goal would be prevented every game, and I duly worshipped his balding pate. However, ever since that missed kick against Croatia it has been nigh on impossible to think of him without seeing the grinning face of Borat heralding another slapstick mishap, poor blighter. More of the same tomorrow please. Let’s see him flap at a 30-yard Kranjcar effort, or flap at a set-piece and end up chucking the ball into his own net.

Up the other end, Gomes has barely made a mistake all season, and this juxtaposition alone ought to be enough to seal the three points.

The teamsheet will presumably be fairly similar to that posted against Fulham last week – BAE at left-back; Bale left midfield; Modders in the centre – although Defoe can be expected to return to the starting line-up alongside Pav. The early kick-off gives us a chance to put a bit of pressure on the other challengers for fourth, and watch them stew in their own juices over the course of the weekend – and there are few preferable activities around these parts of a Saturday afternoon.


AANP’s first book, Spurs’ Cult Heroes, is now available in the Spurs shop, all good bookshops and online (at, as well as WHSmith, Amazon , Tesco, Waterstones and Play).All are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding the players 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. Also featured in the book are Sandy Brown and the late, great Bill Nicholson.You can become a Facebook fan of Spurs’ Cult Heroes and AANP here, follow on Twitter here


Spurs match reports

Blackburn 0-2 Spurs: Who Saw That One Coming?

Well hands up who saw that one coming? All I wanted for Christmas was a good bourbon and some peace and quiet, but a performance of grit, clenched fists and all manner of dogged resolution had me rubbing my eyes in disbelief.I had not dared dream of such riches as three points and a clean sheet. Blackburn away is not exactly our land of milk and honey at the best of times; Blackburn away in the snow had me perfecting my bleats of annoyance at our insipid lack of fight even before kick-off. We after all, are supposed to be a team of shaved eyebrows and leggings beneath the shorts, not rolled-up sleeves and bite. Rarely have I exalted quite so merrily in the error of my ways.

We’ve Turned A Corner 

Tempting, but instead of “Champs League I Tell Ye or I’ll Eat My Own Face” I’ll have the tattoo “Work-in-Progress” scrawled across my forearm. We’re in fine fettle, no doubt about it, and have ticked several new boxes already this season – Demolish The Premiership Urchins; Play The Tottenham Way; Adopt A Home Mentality At Away Grounds; and now Dig In As Necessary. All heartening stuff, but realistically, I imagine we will still suffer the occasional lapse, the odd Wolves/Stoke moment between now and May. And when it happens I won’t unsheathe the samurai sword and wave it around at neck-level, I’ll just remind myself of how things are by looking at my tattoo, like that backwards chap in Memento. While a six-match winning streak would be lovely I’m just grateful for what we’ve got at the moment. Things are looking good, we generally play well, we have now shown a capacity to dig in and scrap for a win. We’re not quite Brazil 1970 however, or even Chelski, but we’re moving in the right direction.

”Defending From The Front” And All That Jazz 

Nice to see Lady Luck blowing us a kiss this week. On just about any other day in the history of time Crouch would have been penalised when heading his goal – not because it was necessarily a foul (didn’t see much protest from the on-pitch Blackburn mob) but because it was Crouch. The McCarthy shot which hit the post also bounced kindly for us – sometimes we get them, sometimes we don’t. If anything though, fortune favoured the brave, and this was well-earned.

Have a happy Christmas then, from AANP, God bless ye merry gentlemen.


You can become a Facebook fan of Spurs’ Cult Heroes and AANP here, or follow on Twitter here 

And as ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the players to be featured in forthcoming book 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.

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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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