Spurs match reports

Man Utd 2-0 Spurs: In Defence Of Mark Clattenberg

First things first – in the sprit of Mark Clattenberg’s fairly liberal definition of the term “advantage” I thought it apt to mislead the public by using the phrase “In Defence of Mark Clattenberg” when really there is no such thing. Should anyone look towards me for clarification I shall merely shrug, in an exasperating and ever so slightly arrogant manner, which really clarifies nothing for anyone. Play on!The Preceding 83 Minutes

Rather a shame that our lot collectively drifted off for the free-kick that brought about the opening goal, for that aside we traded blows fairly evenly – no mean feat at Old Trafford. Various theories have been bandied around regarding whether the blame lay with Kaboul or BAE, or whether we marked zonally or man-for-man. Whatever the conclusions, this moment, rather than the Clattenberg farce, was the crucial moment.

The Van Der Vaart Conundrum

In the first half in particular Modders and VDV were afforded more space than was entirely wise by the United mob, who came within a post’s width of paying, but life became a darned sight trickier in the second as United tightened up. The disappointing truth is that when we needed to increase our urgency levels we were simply unable to, and while we defended well enough on the whole it is difficult to remember our forward line ever actually penetrating the sacred environs of the United penalty  area. The deployment of VDV in a 4-5-1 certainly gives our midfield a healthy glow, but brings with it the problem of a lack of presence in attack, and it hardly a personal criticism of Robbie Keane to note that he is not the man for a 4-5-1.

Elsewhere On The Pitch

Lennon started fairly brightly, but diligently pinged his final ball straight into the first man in red time and time again, and retreated back into his shell thereafter. Out on the left Bale was shackled fairly effectively, although a frisson of excitement did work its magic on yours truly when the Welsh demi-god went storming forward on his right foot rather than his left, in the second half. If it turns out that the lad is actually two-footed I may just pop from the sheer excitement of it all. The counter-balance to any excitement engendered by Bale is the feeling somewhere in between apathy and rage generated by Jenas, who seemingly deployed in a holding role, was his usual fairly anonymous self.


It was of course all overshadowed by the farce of the final few minutes, but for all the incredulity and expletives I would much rather we receive that sort of decision away to Man Utd, in a fixture from which we never really expect much anyway, than from a fixture against rivals for fourth spot.

Spurs preview

Inter-Spurs Preview. That’s Right – Inter Ruddy Milan vs Spurs!

This is it. I was recently texted the pearl of wisdom that being a football fan is like sitting next to Jessica Alba, with her alternately kissing you and punching you in the face. Well, following punch after punch the good times are now rolling. It’s been years in the making – ye older folk have been waiting five decades for this – while more recently we wept over dodgy lasagne, but when Crouchy nodded in against City last season, it set us up for nights like this. Tottenham against Inter in the San Siro. Crikey. What a night.




Yes, lovely and exciting – but instead of lapping it up I’m actually dreading the possibility that we might take a right thrashing tonight. My spies inform me that Inter have one or two chaps in attack who are pretty handy, and rumour has it that they actually won the entire competition last season. Slightly scary stuff, no?


As it happens I fancy us to beat Inter at the Lane, given the way in which we beat Chelski and l’Arse last season, but tonight, away from home, I do rather fear the worst. The drill tonight will presumably be 4-5-1 with the emphasis on a defensive, risk-free game – and I cringe at the prospect. It is eminently sensible and appropriate in theory, but our lot might as well be asked to go out there and play ice-hockey. The defensive, containing game just is not in our nature, and goodness knows how it will pan out. I suspect we will end up going at Inter hammer and tongs anyway, and come out the wrong side of nine-goal thriller.


The absence of Ledley is a particular cause for concern up against Eto’o, Snjeider and whatnot. We have coped without Ledley many times before in the past, but tonight of all nights his absence is a blow. Gallas, Bassong and Kaboul are all decent players, but this isn’t Fulham, this is Inter Milan, and one suspects their forwards will be a darned sight more clinical than that Kamara chap was against us on Saturday.


On a personal level too I feel sorry for Ledley – the poor blighter has been at the club for years, and if anyone deserved a chance to lollop around the San Siro with the Champions League logo on his sleeve, it his him.


Grounds For Optimism


But enough of the negativity. Hudd is maturing, has a passing range to die for, and will be licking his chops at the prospect of mixing it on the European stage. Bale was born for such nights as this, while Lennon looks to be inching back to form, and those two on the counter-attack ought to give Rafa Benitez good reason to stroke his goatee. I am also intrigued to know what Inter fans will make of Jermaine Jenas, now they finally get to clap eyes upon the man they have coveted for the last couple of seasons.


The absence of VDV is also a crying shame make no mistake, but we did a darned good job of things without him last season, and if anything his arrival seems to have gently nudged Modders into his shell a little. Fingers crossed then that he crawls back out again tonight.


Selection Posers


The 4-5-1 formation means that ‘Arry must pick a different face for the VDV role, in the hole behind the striker. Modders himself, as well as Jenas, Kranjcar, Lennon and Keane could all in theory be selected for the role, while our glorious leader also has to choose between Pav and the gangly one in attack. While I have never been a massive fan of Crouch, I am convinced that his rack-stretched frame counts for an awful lot in European/international football, where opposition defenders still seem a tad bewildered as to whether they ought to challenge him or just stand back and gawp.


And so on. Tonight’s the night. Crack open a few beers, settle down and enjoy.

Spurs match reports

(Back Catalogue) West Ham 1-0 Spurs: Time For A Settled XI?

Due to the horrors of the real world (new flat! new flat!), a near-lethal bout of man-flu and, most pertinently, a mightily ropey wi-fi connection, the AANP ramblings of recent weeks have been trapped, like the three evil types inside the glass prison in Superman 2, on a usb stick, unable to make it to the interweb. However, to ease the pain of the international break, this back-catalogue of previews and match reports will now finally see the light of day – which means that you lucky things will be able to relive all the hundred-miles-an-hour excitement of the past three weeks or so! Huzzah!

26/9/2010: Impossible to gauge, but I suspect I’m not alone in thinking that we would not be in this predicament if we did not have two games per week. Admittedly eight points from six games, and ninth position at this early stage, is hardly the most critical situation, but four points from the quadruple-header of Wigan, Wolves, West Brom and West Ham is pretty shoddy form, make no mistake.

Time to for a Settled XI?

I understand the principle of chopping and changing, resting players if possible and utilising our sizeable squad for the rigours of a two-games-per-week season, but with our league form now looking ropey I would quite happily see ‘Arry simply select his strongest available XI, irrespective of the competition, for the next half dozen fixtures or so. The Ledley situation is obviously the delicate issue here, but another month of haemorrhaged Premiership points would probably leave us playing catch-up in the bid to finish fourth again. Forget the notion of game-time for Sergeant Wilson, Jenas, Keane etc – could we not just pick our strongest 4-4-2 and try to rack up a few wins?

Lashings of Mediocrity

Rant over. The barrage of the West Ham goal for the last half hour or so was all very well, but our heroes were found badly wanting in the first half. There were some bright moments, particularly the interplay of Modders and VDV, but by and large we were second best to a team who simply appeared to want it more.

Rumours of Jenas’ latest resurgence looked woefully inaccurate, as he turned in the sort of anonymous, toothless display that has had all 36,000 at the Lane shrieking vitriol at him week in and week out for around ten years. Perhaps more bothersome, Hudd was also well below par, while Aaron Lennon’s shaved eyebrow does not look half as menacing when etched across a moody, frustrated visage. The back-four looked about as makeshift as Bale-Corluka-Bassong-Hutton sounds. Up in attack poor old Crouchy was on the whole starved both of service and company. If we persist with this 4-5-1 malarkey – and if it means more of the Modders-VDV roadshow there is a compelling reason to do so – we blinking well need a forward who can put the “1” into 4-5-1.

Admittedly, but for the fingertips of Green (barely recognisable from that World Cup clown) and the width of the woodwork, we might be purring admiringly about this being a well-ground out away point or three, but that is one for a parallel universe. Our lot looked a long way off another top-four challenge, and the players have the air of those who consider their Chamipons League status to equate to a cloak of invincibility from criticism. It is plain darn worrying that the urgency to scrape every point going, which by and large was present last season, is lacking this time around. Last season, falling behind at Upton Park meant fighting back and winning, because there was fourth place to play for, and every point gained in autumn would prove precious come May. This time around the thought of May, and points, and fourth, seems of less concern, a wrong that needs righting pronto.

West Ham – Spurs Preview

25/9/2010: A few years ago, during the glory glory days of Christian Gross and Gerry Francis, a trip to the bottom team would have been precisely the sort of fixture our heroes would lose. Back then, we were also the team against which a generally useless foreign striker, without a goal in half a dozen games since arriving in England, would break his duck; or when up against a team that had gone four games without a goal, we would find ourselves two down by half-time.

In recent years, and last season in particular, we appeared to have cured these maladies. Travel to a team in the relegation zone, and last season we tended to dig in and grab all three points. As a reward for such pains we now get to hear the Champions League theme tune every week or two. Admittedly there were hiccups at home, but generally we fared well at the Lane, and showed most un-Tottenham like fight on our travels.

Not quite sure where we stand this season however – the win at Stoke was marvellous, the home defeat to a Wigan team that had, until that point, been doing everything in their power to cast themselves as the division’s whipping-boys, was painfully reminiscent of the Francis/Gross eras.

So tomorrow off we toddle to those delightful folk at Upton Park, for a game against the bottom team in the Premiership, which on paper at least spells out “three points” in block capitals and stencil font, as used to such emphatic effect in the A-Team. The nagging worry is that with all the bells and whistles of the Champions League, back in the Premiership we are morphing back into the Francis/Gross teams.

Mercifully, the Tottenham circa 2010 can be distinguished from its 1990s equivalents by a handful of genuinely top-notch attackers. In van der Vaart, Modders and Bale we have three little nuggets of awesomeness, and even should the rest of them fail to fire on the requisite number of cylinders, I back these three, between them, to do enough for three points.



Spurs match reports

(Back Catalogue) Spurs 1-4 Arsenal: Never Mind The Kids, What About The Grown-Ups?

Due to the horrors of the real world (new flat! new flat!), a near-lethal bout of man-flu and, most pertinently, a mightily ropey wi-fi connection, the AANP ramblings of recent weeks have been trapped, like the three evil types inside the glass prison in Superman 2, on a usb stick, unable to make it to the interweb. However, to ease the pain of the international break, this back-catalogue of previews and match reports will now finally see the light of day – which means that you lucky things will be able to relive all the hundred-miles-an-hour excitement of the past three weeks or so! Huzzah!


22/9/2010: I guess this is what it would be like if the A-Team were locked in a shed, constructed their usual tank and burst out of said shed – only for it to break down immediately and for all four of them to be dragged out and shot to death. Having rather hung on for 90 minutes, extra-time promised some sort of rousing finale, so there was an unfortunately anti-climactic feel to the manner in which the game so swiftly became a lost cause, with the best part of half an hour left to play. (That said, pats on backs to all those who hung around to sing their hearts out in the dying minutes – oh that those on the pitch might have shown the same passion…)


The Kids


Rare starts for Livermore and Naughton, and a debut at centre-back for Caulker. Each of them did just about what you would expect: some slick technique, plenty of youthful enthusiasm, some false bravado and a few moments of panic when hairy situations arose. None had me salivating in frenzied anticipation, nor cursing the day they signed up as lilywhites. Good luck to all three.


The grown-ups however ought to have known better. In the first half in particular there was a lack of leadership, with Sergeant Wilson – now resembling a poor man’s Zokora, of all things – Giovani, Bentley and Pav a little too willing to let the buck be passed, rather than leading by example.


Aside from the personnel, the first half formation was a mite curious. ‘Arry seemed to go for three deep midfielders, in Sandro, Livermore and Palacios, and they spent much of the first 45 getting in each other’s way; while Bentley was stationed out on the left, and Pav moped around waiting in vain for some service or some company up top. All generalisations you understand, but in general the tactical approach of the first half seemed rather a muddle, and we also spent rather a long time learning that precious little damage can be done if we don’t have the ball.


However, the second half brought more purpose, most obviously through the introduction of Keane, who bounded around with an enthusiasm that put several of his team-mates to shame, and the reversion to a more orthodox 4-4-2. Given l’Arse’s curious penchant for trying to win through looking pretty rather than outscoring the opposition, we actually created the better chances over 90 minutes. For all their possession, including that three or four-minute spell in the first half where we simply could not get a touch of the ball, we actually defended in sufficiently organised fashion to prevent them making many clear chances.




Thrown on when we went 3-1 down and the game was officially being stamped with the big red sign that reads “Cause: Lost”, I did rather scratch my head and wonder why ‘Arry opted against his inclusion from the start, particularly having made all sorts of noises beforehand about giving him some game time. True, he hardly covered himself in glory during his 20 minute shift, but the chap is still a mighty useful player, and I would purse my lips in frustration if he were shunted out of the door come January.


Silver Lining


A damn shame to get knocked out like that, and the baiting from my Arse-supporting chums was an unwelcome throwback to the days of yore, but it is fairly undoubtedly a measure of how far we have come that the Carling Cup, the trophy that was the pinnacle of our season just two and a half years ago, is now this far down our list of priorities. Having taken a hammering at home to that ‘orrible lot from up the road, the sentiment on the train back up to Enfield was one of only mild annoyance, for this was very much a match played with the bigger picture in mind.

Spurs preview

Spurs – Arsenal Preview: Plenty in Reserve?

A good bourbon. Terminator 2 with surround sound. Scantily clad nubile young women prancing around AANP Towers. Just a selection of some of the finer things in life, which get the juices flowing here at AANP Towers, and to this exalted list can be added an evening kick-off at home to l’Arse. Some of the sheen of the occasion may be spoilt a little if the two managers, understandably, decide to mix and match with their team selections, but a rip-roaring atmosphere ought nevertheless to whip up beneath the floodlights.


Rare Opportunities Knock


I neither know nor care particularly who Wenger picks, but amongst our lot there could be a couple of eye-catching selections. Amidst all the drooling over the arrival of VDV, poor old Niko Kranjcar has been left to fiddle with his alice-band from the sidelines. I feel mighty sorry for the blighter, as he is a cracking little player, about whom I suspect all and sundry might rave were he English. A bargain at £2 million not so long ago, his days may be numbered if his path to first-team football continues to be obscured by a couple of Modric and VDV-shaped obstacles, but tomorrow he has a chance to go out and impress.


The morrow will also signal a debut for young Sandro and his sensational beard. High hopes around these parts, not least because of the gradual decline of Palacios, who looks more rookie foot-solider than Sergeant these days, but who will nevertheless also be on show.


Elsewhere, injuries mean that Hutton is likely to start at right-back, while I imagine that l’Arse will be spared torture at the hands of Bale. ‘Arry has already suggested that the worryingly unfit Gallas will not reacquaint himself with former chums, while Ledley will be up in the stands somewhere, firmly ensconced in cotton wool.


Cudicini; Hutton, Bassong, Hudd, BAE; Giovani, Palacios, Sandro, Kranjcar; Pav, Keane.I guess that the starting XI may look vaguely like this, but whoever the personnel I jolly well expect that they go at the other lot hammer and tongs.



RIP Bobby Smith


Tomorrow night should also give us an opportunity to pay our respects to Bobby Smith. Presumably I am not alone in being too young to have seen him in action, but any member of our Double-winning team deserves to be regarded as a hero, and Smith was an integral member of the class of 61. Many a time and oft my old man, AANP Senior, has lamented the absence within the Spurs team of “a great big striker, like Bobby Smith”, and his 200 plus goals for the club merit the highest adulation.

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Spurs – Wigan Preview: Same Again?


And so, slightly dizzying, we head straight back to the Premiership. It seems like it was only yesterday we gathered around the wireless to listen to the Champions League draw, with the breathless excitement of children on Christmas morn. From Inter to Wigan in the blink of an eye. ‘Tis a lifestyle to which we will have to become accustomed fairly rapidly.

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There was something vaguely memorable about Wigan’s last trip to the Lane, and memories of that heady November evening, combined with two early-season thrashings, suggest that our visitors may approach this fixture with a fair degree of trepidation. However, I would quite happily settle for a 1-0 win this time, our heroes having put an awful lot into their midweek jaunt.

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Time for all and sundry to murmur knowingly about “squad depth” again, and opportunity therefore potentially knocks for the likes of Kaboul, Bassong, Jenas, Kranjcar, Gio, Pav and Keane, while beady eyes will presumably need to be cast over the fitness of Gomes and Modders. Saturday also heralds a potential debut for William Gallas, and having already offered my tuppence worth on his signing last week I am now quite curious as to what sort of reception he receives at the Lane.

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Alas, I will need to be informed of this and all other developments via furtive text messages while I nod and smile appropriately in church, as AANP is donning its suit to head to a wedding this weekend. Do keep me posted won’t you?

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Spurs – Young Boys Preview: A Glory Glory Night At The Lane?

Audere est Facere? Tonight it’s Aut Vincere Aut Mori – kill or be killed. Do or die. Damn well strain every sinew on pitch, while we scream ourselves hoarse in the stands, and keep it going until we’re in the Champions League group stages.


The rabbit-in-headlights approach of the first leg was vaguely understandable, but as every other game we play these days seems to be the biggest in our recent history, there should be no stage-fright this time. No dodgy surface either. Tonight, instead, we’ve got the pristine White Hart Lane carpet, floodlights, the Champions League theme tune and a 36,000-strong choir singing the slow “Oh when the Spurs…”.


For all the time I spent patiently trying to explain the permutations to my female colleagues last week in the aftermath of the first leg, the nub of the matter is that just about any win will do. Admittedly we are the sort of team uniquely capable of winning 4-3 and thereby knocking ourselves out, but broadly speaking victory will suffice. And while the complete disintegration of order, game-plan and sanity in the first 30 minutes last week was a tad difficult to stomach, I’m secretly actually happier knowing that our lot have to go out there and attack, rather than, say, try to protect a one-goal lead for 90 minutes. Remember ye the 5-1 thrashing of l’Arse, when we went into the game facing a 2-1 deficit, psyched ourselves appropriately, scored after 2 minutes and didn’t let up thereafter.


’Arry’s seems to have the right idea. Castigated in some quarters for an over-adventurous mentality in the first leg, there is no point in sitting back this time, so his tag-line tonight is the rather exciting “Swarm all over them”. The absence of Modders does not exactly aid the cause, while my admittedly sparse medical knowledge has me querying the wisdom of sanctioning Defoe’s involvement when he is apparently in need of groin surgery. Nevertheless, we should have plenty at our disposal. Ye gods be praised for the return of Ledley at the back, while we look like scoring every time Bale touches the ball, and Pav demonstrated last week the value at this level of a striker with a touch of class, even on an off-day. Add to that the return from injury of Keane and Giovani, the fact that Lennon makes his CL debut and an already promising start to the season from Hudd, and we have ourselves an impressive cast-list. I fret a little that the absence of Modders may mean that Sergeant Wilson starts, but given the need for goals I suspect ‘Arry will look elsewhere – to Kranjcar perhaps, or maybe even Jenas (if it came to it I think I would prefer an immobile Modric to a fully-fit Jenas, but it’s ‘Arry’s call).


So how are your nerves? I presume I’m in a minority of approximately one, but in all honesty I’ve rarely felt as confident about a Spurs game. We’ve spent the last 12 months playing some fantastic football, particularly at home: do it again tonight and we will be fine. Admittedly the colour will drain from my face if we go into the final 15 with a 2-1 lead, but things really are set up frightfully well for us. Young Boys had a glorious opportunity to put us out of sight last week and blew it; while it is scarcely conceivable that our mob could play as badly. As mentioned above, even the one goal deficit at kick-off ought to work in our favour, in terms of our mentality.


Just the thought of hearing the Champions League theme tune five minutes before kick-off has me in goosebumps. I know it’s almost a legal requirement at this stage to be practically paralytic with nerves, but I can’t wait for this, potentially a real glory glory night at the Lane.

Spurs preview

Stoke – Spurs Preview, Plus William Gallas Musings

After the glamour of Tuesday night’s European jaunt, it’s the seedier side of this Champions League lark today, with our travel-weary heroes heading up north for a fixture that is not quite ideal. Still, if we are to progress in Europe we will need to get used to this business of returning to Premiership fare with a trip to less than entirely salubrious locations.


The fall-out from Tuesday suggests that our lot have just returned from Afghanistan rather than Berne. Defoe, Keane, Pav, Modders and Giovani all apparently ended up amongst the bodies strewn across the Astroturf, and as a result the gangly one will plough a lone furrow up top today.The injuries in attack suggest that ‘Arry may now be forced into adopting some variant of 4-5-1, having occasionally dabbled in it in pre-season. I must confess to feeling ever so slightly baffled at the level of apoplexy that adherence to 4-4-2 seems to generate these days. The hip kids apparently play 4-2-3-1, with plenty of it on show during the World Cup, while a 4-3-3 is the modus operandi for the great and good on their Champions League away days. Thus, in the wake of the Young Boys debacle ‘Arry copped a fair amount of flak for loading up with ammo, removing the safety-catches and going out all guns blazing with 4-4-2. However, the 4-4-2 served us remarkably well in the Premiership, notably in the victories over l’Arse and Chelski, as well as away to Man City, and everything seemed tickety-boo last week at home to City too. I can’ t help thinking that the personnel gets overlooked for formation sometimes, but nevertheless, a 4-5-1/4-3-3 beckons this afternoon.

After effectively dropping two points last week, a win would be particularly welcome today, and come the end of the season, if we are to challenge for fourth again, Stoke away is one from which we would really need three points.

Musings On William Gallas Of All People

By the pricking of my thumbs William Gallas this way comes.

Well first things first: on the credit side, the car-crash that was the first half hour against Young Boys suggests that we would benefit from a central defender with the experience to marshal troops, organise bodies and generally steady the ship whenever it stops violently a-rocking. Gallas also ticks off one of the criteria on AANP’s pre-season wish-list, for an older head to come into the squad and provide a spot of off-the-pitch guidance as well as on-pitch nous, à la Naybet and Davids in years gone by. Moreover, Gallas knows the ins and outs of the English game as well as any defender around.

However, to put it rather euphemistically, the signing has been granted with full-blown wariness at AANP Towers. The blighter has something of a history of upsetting his colleagues and lobbing his toys from the pram, so it remains to be seen quite how positive an influence he has on the squad. As well as this, when we secured fourth at the end of last season, and rubbed our hands in Champions League-inspired glee, Gallas’ was not amongst the list of stellar names anyone had in mind for our summer shopping.

Moreover, I suspect I’m not alone in feeling downright unclean at the prospect of pilfering someone from that ‘orrible lot down the road. I’ve spent much of my adult life loathing William Gallas, and occasionally even expressing the sentiment through the medium of words. From now on I suppose he will receive some polite encouragement from this quarter I suppose, but with the illogical approach fairly unique to a football fan I just don’t like the idea of buying a player from our rivals. If ‘Arry wanted an experienced centre-back to shore things up, I would have thought there were others around to whom he could have turned. Off the top of my head, for example, that Mexican lad Marquez went from Barca to the MLS this summer (I think, may be wrong). He may not necessarily be the chap for us, but just as an example it suggests that there are other players of the required ilk out there, and if ‘Arry, Joe Jordan and chums had banged their heads together for a couple of hours, they’d have sore heads and quite possibly a list of likely candidates, without having to resort to shopping at the Emirates.

Still, every time I have doubted ‘Arry (from the comfort of my armchair) he has proved me wrong, so I’ll back him on this one too. Through gritted teeth I proclaim: William Gallas, AANP Towers welcomes thee to White Hart Lane.

Spurs match reports

Spurs 0-0 Man City: Curses Upon Inspired Opposition Goalkeepers

Off and running anew then, but in various senses it was if the old season had never finished. The personnel all looked pretty familiar for a start, the sumptuous brand of football rolled out brought back sepia-tinged memories of the finer moments of season 2009/10 – and alas the profligacy of old also made an unwelcome return.AANP’s wish-list for the new season may have been hastily scribbled at the eleventh hour on the back of an envelope, but (unnervingly) at least one point has already proved frsutratingly prescient:

Be More Clinical In The Crunch Games 


While the blank we drew yesterday was due more to the heroics of the opposition goalkeeper than to egregiously bad finishing from our heroes, the point remains that one avenue for improvement is in increasing our ratio of gilt-edged chances created to goals scored.

A Thousand Curses Upon Inspired Opposition Goalkeepers

Tempting to search for a scapegoat, particularly after such a one-sided first half, but in truth just about all eleven of them – plus the three subs – turned in above-par performances. In such circumstances the default option here at AANP Towers is always to blame Jermaine Jenas, but, levity aside, it would be rather harsh to attribute point the finger at any of our lot. ‘Twas just one of those days. With a sprinkle of good fortune we would now be mixing it with Blackpool atop the table; alas, within the four walls of AANP Towers it is a truth universally acknowledged that if there is any luck going in North London, it goes the way of l’Arse (last-minute own-goal equaliser, the swines).

Last season, there were a number of games in which we created umpteen chances. Sometimes it seemed that just about all of them flew in (Wigan springing obviously to mind); on other occasions we came up against a goalkeeper turning in the performance of his career (Hull City, and that darned Boaz Myhill – whose obscurity since has been reflected by a headline-avoiding low-fee transfer this summer). Yesterday fell into the latter category, but we are consoling ourselves around these parts that more often than not our heroes will be rewarded for such performances with three points and shiny gold stars.

Consistency? At Tottenham Hotspur FC? Madness. 

The lack of transfer activity has caused a degree of disquiet in some quarters – including these, I must confess – but the benefits of a summer bereft of transfer activity could be witnessed from the off yesterday. While the City team assembled at a cost of approximately several million billion trillion pounds looked every inch a bunch of strangers newly-introduced, as they struggled to get a touch of the ball for the first 45 minutes, our lot gave an interesting tutorial in the benefits of consistency (not an adjective bandied around these parts too often in recent years).

The starting XI bore just the one change (Charlie for Kaboul) from the team that beat City at Eastlands last May, and as Bale and Lennon set about harassing the City full-backs (if that was Micah Richards’ audition for a White Hart Lane move I’d rather we politely discontinue our interest) it really was as if last season had not ended. None of that business of new management needing to dish out name badges, or a whole platoon of new faces needing to gel – our current lot should know each other’s deepest darkest secrets by now, and they set about their business on the green stuff looking accordingly square pegs in appropriately-shaped holes.

Other Points of Notes

As BAE’s volley dipped and swerved AANP idly wondered whether an audacious brush with the spectacular is going to be an annual first-day-of-the-season offering from the lad. Further up the field, he may not have been a big-money transfer as such, but the introduction of Giovani from the bench was a reminder that recalled loanees are vaguely akin to new signings, and the sprightly Mexican is one who would have commanded a sizeable fee. May he live long and prosper at the Lane.

An honourable mention too to HRH the King. Given the urban legends about his ricekty knees it is always reassuring to see some small child stumbling out of the White Hart Lane tunnel hand-in-hand with Ledley, just prior to kick-off. Having managed three games in a week at the end of last season it is not inconceivable that he might yet be good to go again on Tuesday in the Champions League (I trust it feels as good to read those last few words as it did to write them…).

So two points dropped they may be, but after careful inspection of the liquid content, refraction of light and meniscus level, AANP ventures that the glass is half full.  To spend 45 minutes fairly uninterruptedly slicing open one of our principal rivals for whatever it is at which we’re aiming this season (fourth? sixth? a trophy?) constitutes a decent start, and bodes fairly well. Even though standards were noticeably lower in the second half, we arguably created more – and better – chances. Darned frustrating stuff, but a decent start nonetheless.

Randomonium Spurs news

Tottenham Hotspur 2009-10: The All Action No Plot Awards

Something for your withdrawal symptoms if, like yours truly, you have such a Tottenham-shaped hole in your life that you now spend the first half hour of your working day actually working, rather than trawling the interweb for morsels of Spurs news. Before season 2009/10 becomes but a sepia-tinged memory sending good vibrations through your very core, it is only right and proper that the second AANP End of Season Awards are dished out.Dear Mr Levy, at Jimmy G2’s abode and at the ever-entertaining Who Framed Ruel Fox? – but please do now pour yourself a good bourbon, stick some Julie London on the gramophone and ask a kindly neighbour to perform a suitably dramatic drumroll…

The Storm From X-Men Award For The Most Pointless Superpower in Christendom 

The Play-Off-Chap-Who-Chipped-It Award For Most Mental Penalty Of The Season 

On top of all that, ill-fortune also befalls our lot when penalties are awarded our way. Defoe has had several saved, and the Hudd broke the habit of a lifetime when opting to place his shot rather than leather it, in his penalty against Bolton. However, amidst the blitz of spot-kicks this season, the one stands out is Robbie Keane’s against Everton – an effort initially saved by Tim Howard, prompting a melee more akin to playground football, as Messrs Bale and Bentley went charging in for the rebounds, and Howard produced about six separate parries before Keane eventually slammed the ruddy thing in. Truly, ‘twas all-action-no-plot, in penalty form.

The David Bentley Award For The Best Speculative Punt Against l’Arse 

The Bacary Sagna’s Hair Award For Fashion Faux Pas of The Season 

The Clegg-Cameron Award For Unlikely Partnership Of The Season 


The Saving Private Ryan Award For The Most Mental, 30 Minute, All-Action-No-Plot Sequence Of The Season 

While there was an astonishing all-action 30 seconds or so late on in the season, at home to Pompey (when Thudd almost snapped the woodwork in two, Crouch volleyed the rebound against the very same spot, and then tried an overhead kick from the resulting corner), the most astonishing half hour of this – and quite possibly any – season, was in the second half at home to Wigan. Jermain Defoe donned his Midas suit, and Niko Kranjcar responded to our last-minute please for “One more, we only want one more”, as a little bit of history unfolded at the Lane.The Et Tu Brute? Award For Attacking Your Own Team-Mate 

The “Sod It – Who Else Wants A Go?” Award For Most Popular Position Of The Season 

The Geoff Hurst Award For Hat-Trick of the Season 

The Teddy Sheringham Award For Moving Exceptionally Slowly For A Professional Athlete 

The Klinsmann-Dive Award For Celebration Of The Season 



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).  

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