Spurs match reports

Spurs 3-1 Man City: The Incredible Hudd (& Other Superheroes)

Quite the 80th birthday present for AANP Senior. Is there a more joyous sight to behold in nature than a tide of adrenalin-pumped lilywhites pouring forward in wave after wave of irresistible attack at a sun-baked White Hart Lane?  A spritely cheetah catching a young upstart of a gazelle and tearing it to pieces perhaps? That scene in Terminator 2 when Arnie shoots the padlock while riding his bike, then reloads seamlessly by twirling the shotgun around in his hand, and shooting another padlock? All worthy of a moment’s silent admiration, and reason if ever it existed to top up the tumbler with a fresh splash of bourbon in a gesture of unadulterated admiration – but by golly the sight of our heroes simply overwhelming the current champions in that mesmerising final 20 minutes, to the soundtrack of the most remarkable White Hart Lane din, was enough to make me smash a bottle of champagne against the side of the nearest ship, so rip-roaring were the events unfolding.

All of which came about, incredibly enough, after a dispiriting hour in which the dream looked set to die. The willingness of our heroes could not be faulted, but in the early stages ‘twas eerily reminiscent of many a Saturday evening in the nightspots of London, when AANP has attempted to woo the good womenfolk of London by delivering a ten-minute stream of unfunny bluster, before a rival cad strolls by to instantly sweep the young maiden off her feet with little more than an arched eyebrow. Thus was our valiant but slightly desperate gameplan of headless chickenry swiftly punctuated by one effortless flash of genius from Tevez, and lo – we trailed.

The pattern changed little thereafter, our attacking trio of Dempsey, Bale and Sigurdsson conspicuously lacking the nous of a Tevez, while ahead of them Adebayor gave a glimpse of a dystopian future in which teams play without a striker.

AVB’s Moment of Glory

But enter stage left the sort of managerial jiggery-pokery so barnstorming it can shoot pterodactyls out of the sky whilst blindfolded. While here at AANP Towers the suggested solution was nothing more progressive than a plaintive whinge about swapping strikers, AVB turned the universe on its head by switching from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3, and unleashing the Hudd. Memories of the introduction of Jamie Redknapp at half-time in the Euro 96 England-Scotland match no doubt came flooding back to the lot of us, as Hudd instantly brought with him the perfect polygamous marriage of calmness, vision, technique and hair, giving us complete control and a nifty selection of dreamy, defence-splitting passes. The lad looked like he owned the ruddy pitch, and with Holtby buzzing around like a demented wasp ahead of him, Bale flicking the ‘Magic ’ switch on his left boot and Defoe showing the sort of bloody-minded eye for goal that Adebayor would not know if it slapped him in the face with a wet fish, all pretty swiftly became right with the world.

This does create a wonderful few conundra for AVB, around whether to select Defoe or Adebayor next up (relatively straightforward methinks); and whether to go with the brand of sorcery that Hudd delivers a little too effortlessly, within a 4-3-3, or the tireless but slightly directionless pirouetting of Parker, in a 4-2-3-1 (perchance more of a poser). These are queries for another day; now is without doubt still the time for making merry and, frankly, rubbing our eyes in disbelief. Where on earth it came from is slightly mystifying, but our heroes have got their groove back, and it was rollicking stuff.

Spurs preview

Spurs – Man City Preview: Last-Home-Game Bingo

Not normally a betting man, but I might just stake all my worldly possessions and the lives of some of less significant relatives on Spurs winning 1-0 today. Nothing in particular to do with the opposition or circumstances, it just seems de rigeur at the Lane these days. If Spurs were a cricket team they’d push an early single, then stay on 1-0 for the remainder of their overs.Actually, on a more practical level, this might be a more open game than we’ve witnessed in recent weeks. The continued and understandable absence of Wilson Palacios might leave us a bit flakier defensively than we have been in general at the Lane. To compensate for this, last week the formation was re-jigged to 3-5-2 with wing-backs, and with Lennon also still unavailable this might be deployed again. Either way we’ll be poorer for their absences.

Last-Home-Game Bingo 

’Arry presumably will take the microphone on the final whistle and deliver a few home truths. Never shy of voicing an opinion, he may slip in some sort of reference to the perils of the bottle, in his new-found role as one of Britain’s less likely anti-drink campaigners. Far more probable, bordering on certainty, is a mention or two of T-P-E-Gs. Sigh. With Jamie Redknapp also due on the coaching staff next season, there is at least a suitably tenuous reason now to wheel out Louise, and parade her around to all four corners. Triffic.

We can expect Ledley to be on his best behaviour, but I’m rather tempted to take a thousand photos of him during the game, then sift them for one in which he is caught blinking and stumbling, and sell it to the tabloids, claiming it’s proof that he regularly takes to the field drunk.


Get your cameras out too for what might be the last chance to see a few players in lilywhite at the Lane. Chances are that David Bentley will be monopolising the mirrors in someone else’s changing rooms next season, which I personally find rather a shame. Admittedly there was little scope for him to fit in with Lennon in such form this season, but for a player of very decent quality it’s a real shame that the best we’ve seen of him has been only that volley against l’Arse and the youtube clip of him hitting the skip.

Of greater consternation around N17 will be the possible sale of the Hudd. He’s made little secret of the fact that he wants first-team football, and if we play 4-4-2 with Palacios taking one central midfield berth, it’s unlikely that he’ll be a regular starter next season. A 3-5-2 formation today could be his last chance to press that claim.

Fewer tears will be shed for the departure of Darren Bent, particularly if we replace him with a real juggernaut of a centre-forward, but the post-match lap of honour is likely to be his last Lane appearance as a Tottenham player too. Bless him, he’s worked his socks off, never sulked and scored 17 goals despite being in and out of the team, but has not been given his own song. On which topic, this might even be a final farewell for one Jermaine Jenas, if the more mischievous rumour-mongers are to be believed.

However, I’m getting ahead of myself somewhat. There is first a game to be played, and for better or worse, 7th spot to be sought after. For those who are interested, of our rivals for 7th, Fulham are away to Newcastle today, and West Ham travel to Everton.