Spurs news, rants

King reigns, Modric arrives: West Ham 0-2 Spurs

A bunch of positives from last night – a clean-sheet; cracking double-save from the much-maligned Gomes at 1-0, that was worth a goal (although a draw would have been harsh on us); little Lennon’s final ball matching the quality of his initial scampering; and the sight of the team generally bossing the game for much of the second-half. Personally though I was most chuffed with our little midfield fairy Lucy Modric.


Some context first – he was hardly Pele out there last night. In the first half in particular his tendency to drift wide and stay there left poor old Pavluychenko trudging around the penalty area with no white-shirts anywhere near him and only that nasty Lucas Neill for company. However, even in the first 45 Modric started to look like the flashy Hollywood midfielder we’d all heard about over the summer. A couple of neat step-overs, some twinkle-toed dribbles and the odd cheeky nutmeg – he suddenly appeared to fancy English football, and to believe that he really was a better player than Parker, Behrani et al. Then, for 20 or 30 mins in the second half, we began to dominate the game and Modric seemed to be at the hub of most things good. While maintaining a fairly central position he made himself available for a pass, and regularly took the opportunity to swagger towards goal and pull a few strings. It would be stretching it to say he bossed the game, but for the first time since arriving he seemed to enjoy conducting things, and occasionally he delivered the end product of a pleasingly incisive through-ball (we Lane regulars like that sort of thing). Finally it seems, Modric could be finding his feet in this Tottenham team.


Bless him, he still seems to be made of talcum powder and string. A gentle nudge doesn’t just knock him off balance, it sends him hurtling about ten feet across the pitch. At times it seemed he was sent tumbling by a gentle breeze in the East End night, or the blast of air carrying from the ref’s whistle. More cunning teams will work out not to give him too much time on the ball, and instead just kick, as he’s liable to snap, but cunning didn’t appear to be the West Ham way last night. Admittedly there was not much to which it can be compared, but I’d say Modric’s performance last night was possibly his best in a Tottenham shirt, which bodes rather well – I particularly look forward to seeing him dominate some Uefa cup games, where he has more time on the ball


Elsewhere on the Pitch…


Modric looked the sort of player that Bentley would love to become – ie a class above and he knows it. Bentley still doesn’t look entirely comfortable. It’s as if the whole business of getting stuck in on the pitch is a rather irritating distraction from living out his dream of living the celeb lifestyle in London.


Elsewhere, Assou-Ekotto continued to amble around in auto-pilot with that curious, expressionless stare of the undead, before doing his best to concede a penalty (relax Hammers fans – yes it was a pen, but we should have had a blatant one at the other end).


Corluka looked like a big lumbering bear, with little pace, and generally preferring to exercise pragmatism over guile whenever in possession.


Zokora did a decent job defensively, but conceded possession too often in the first half when going forward. Almost got his goal in the second half, mind.


And good old Ledley capped a solid display with a goal he can now drink to, stumble to and get in a fight at Faces to. His goal celebrations looked surprisingly sedate for a man whose celebrations were so heart-warmingly captured by the tabloids earlier this year.


First half we were as sloppy as I’d expected we’d be, second half we were much improved, a really impressive, controlled and inventive performance. Also nice to see us (generally) sensibly play the game out in the last few mins, just keeping possession, aside from the needless concession of a couple of free-kicks. But even those had a silver lining, as Gomes was able to enjoy his moment in the sun. Take a bow lads.

Spurs news, rants

Cliches and Aaron Lennon’s leggings – West Ham-Spurs preview

I’m not a fan of footballing clichés – my dislike of them was suitably exacerbated when l’arse went and signed one (with a girl’s name) – so if you’re similarly riled by them perhaps briefly avert your eyes at this juncture: I’d rather have points in the bag than a game in hand.  However, the fixture-gods (ie the tv money-men) have decreed in their wisdom that this weekend we sat at home and twiddled our thumbs, waiting until Monday night while everyone else notched up another point or three on the Saturday and Sunday. Thus we go into tonight’s game at West Ham just one point above the drop zone. While it would be a bit dramatic to say that there is daylight between the mid-table gang and our humble selves, the three-point gap (from us in 17th to West Ham and Man City in 15th and 14th) could start to stretch if we get nothing from our game in hand tonight, especially as we’ve got Man Utd next up…

The possible return to fitness of the waif-like Modric could prove timely, as he would allow us to revert to a five-man midfield, whilst also providing a bit of craft and guile in the final third. Even if Modric isn’t fit, the return to the team of Jenas will add some energy to the midfield – and will also handily give the travelling Spurs support someone at whom to vent their spleen if things aren’t going well ( West Ham’s recent win at Sunderland was their first Premiership victory in ages, and while the draw at Anfield last week was also an impressive result, they’re hardly in red-hot form. They certainly look beatable – but then I think that of most teams we face… We for our part have looked sloppy recently, but I’d hope that the derby atmosphere and evening kick-off will be sufficient to impress upon the players the need for some urgency. Won’t make a prediction – the Premiership is far too tight and inconsistent this season to be laying money down – other than that Aaron Lennon will wear gloves and possibly even those dubious legging things, the big girl’s blouse…