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Rubin Kazan 1-0 Spurs: Bassong – Bad For Your Health

More dedicated followers of  AANP will be well aware that when I do eventually conclude fighting the good fight and prepare to meet my doom, ‘twill not be in a hail of bullets or blaze of glory, but coronary failure sustained while watching our heroes. While cheering the news that the various pokes and prods to ‘Arry ‘s cardiac area proved successful, I rather fear for him if he observed on the telly-box the inept tomfoolery of Monsieur Bassong in contributing to our downfall. On an evening when the more experienced, international types needed to lead by example, his ill-judged amble out of defence and straight into trouble inevitably led to a goal, as well as a booking, which may or may not have been officially awarded for jaw-dropping imbecility. I don’t mind admitting that when Gallas went off and the armband passed to the arm of Bassong, I could barely suppress a tut, so enraged was I. One rather hopes that someone averted ‘Arry’s eyes as the incompetence unfolded.

That Cudicini was in fine form says much about our performance, but this is hardly a slight upon the kids, whose brows were, as ever, furrowed with determination and effort. Of offensive threat there was none, Defoe and Pav given so little service and space that every time the ball did make its way to them they celebrated by charging into offside positions. In truth, the most notable developments of the night were the worrying sight of Gallas withdrawing injured, and the quite brilliant pun delivered by yours truly upon the arrival into the fray of young Parrett.

A win and defeat against this Russian lot, with no particular violation upon the equanimity of the goal difference between us, is probably what most of us expected. Progress remains likely, and the kids are learning, so there is therefore sanguinity in defeat, at least at AANP Towers.

Rubin Kazan – Spurs Preview: Dashing Back for Kick-Off

Rarely do I expect our heroes to lose – away to the Manchester clubs are about the only fixtures this season in which I would regrettably project nul points – but to that roll of dishonour let the epithet “Rubin Kazan. Away. And With Kids” be added. Those Russians can rightly feel a tad aggrieved at having to slop back off to Siberia with nothing but commemorative THFC thermal underwear, for they had the woolly mammoth’s share of possession and chances that night, and are likely to cause us a fair degree of bother on their own patch.Our midfield looks particularly light tonight, with Sandro and Parker spared the air-miles, understandably enough, a blessing similarly bestowed upon Modders, Bale, Lennon, VDV and Adebayor. However, Gallas and Pienaar will gingerly tiptoe onto the 90×120 for the first time in a while; Livermore will head up the usual troop of Boy Scouts; and Gomes/Cudicini, Bassong, Defoe and Pav are also involved. Much will rest on the young shoulders of Livermore to win the midfield battle, but all things considered a draw would represent a decent achievement, while the 5pm kick-off time finally lends some point to the existence of ITV4+1. The dash back to AANP Towers commences imminently…

Spurs 1-0 Rubin Kazan: Somehow…

Me neither. In fact, I’m not sure there is a soul alive who understands quite how we managed to toddle off from that with a win, but bearing in mind the perils that lurk within the mouths of gift-horses I suggest we stuff the three points under our jumpers and sneak off before anyone notices.It might be an idea for Jake Livermore and Sebastien Bassong to bond over a Jason Statham DVD night or some other such bromantic activity, because last night neither seemed to be aware that the other was of the same species, let alone the same centre-back pairing. The Russians had a fair amount of joy poking and prodding at this soft and squidgy underbelly of ours, and frankly had enough possession and chances to wrap this up well before the last person left and the lights were switched off. Not for the first time AANP is left to muse that the difference between our mob and esteemed opponents is a sprinkling of class in attack.

While here I may as well cast an eye over the various performers of last night, before they are stuffed back in their packaging to warm the bench during Premiership games.

Older Heads

Make no mistake there were good saves from crazy, crazy Gomes, saves that secured our win, but he managed in 90 minutes to deliver more completely unnecessary scares than Friedel has done in seven full games to date. A line of thought is beginning to develop around these parts that the better the ‘keeper the less AANP notices him.

Meanwhile AANP continues to scratch its head in bafflement at Giovani. Admittedly the Spurs website runs a line propaganda that would have made that Comical Ali chap blush, but every time Giovani returns from international duty it is to tales of wondrous success and match-winning heroics emblazoned across tottenhamhotspur.com. Presumably ‘tis his evil and slightly more mundane twin turning out for Spurs in the Europa League, because the name aside there has been little about him to suggest any particular Latin panache.

Da Yoof

Young Carroll had a cracking game in the centre, so neat, tidy, skilful and sensible that he might have had the letters M-O-D-R-I-C emblazoned across his back. Kyle Walker also excelled, whatever his limitations as a natural defender he expiated with oodles of bona fide jet-heeled pace. Out on t’other flank young Rose, for all his earnestness, was less wondrous in his doings – although a high-five is waved at him for fine and noble feet jinkery to win the crucial free-kick. BAE can sleep untroubled in the short-term at least, safe in the knowledge that his left-back spot is under minimal threat (not that there is likely to be much that causes the His Royal Unflappableness to lose his nightly shut-eye).

La Donna e Mobile 

AANP’s various fun-filled escapades in the world of courting have introduced him to a range of female types, amongst the most incomprehensible of whom are those whose moods and behaviour swing wildly from one extreme to another at far less than the drop of a hat. Thus is Pav afflicted, for when good, as yesterday, he can be very good; and when bad, he is a whiny exasperating pest. Like one of AANP’s more temperamental would-be paramours, Pav was in buoyant spirits from the off yesterday, keen to fox Russia’s watching millions into believing that he is the main

??????? in Premiership circles. Cue a performance of threat, a cracking goal and a general level of interestedness of which I had rather forgotten him capable.Add to all that a fair degree of luck, and Younes Kaboul producing the best cameo since Ben Stiller popped up with a ‘tache in Anchorman, and ultimately it turned into the three points that probably ought to see us through to the next stage of this interminably long saga. Lovely stuff.

Spurs – Rubin Kazan Preview: Pav’s Big Night

Few things in life scream “Pointless Money-Making Charade!” quite like a Europa group stage game, but this one actually has relevance, sub-plots and all other sorts of curious goodies the like of which have rarely been seen on a Thursday night on Channel 5.On a formal note, this game is actually laden with group-deciding significance no less. We and the good folk of Rubin Kazan appear to be trotting along towards the dizzy heights of group leadership, so the glorious crown of UEFA Europa League Group A Victor is likely to be decided over 90 minutes at the Lane tonight, followed by a similar stint in some sprit-crushingly chilly corner of far-flung Siberia two weeks hence. I must confess that I tend not to wile away my hours examining the whys, wherefores and qualification criteria of the Europa League, but I suspect that winning the group would grant us relatively gentle opponents in the next round, so there is an incentive of sorts for triumphing over this Russian mob ce soir.

Moreover – they’re Russian! And we have Pav in our ranks! It will be like when Spock fought against the Vulcans! That’s right, a headline-writer’s dream, if Pav can somehow be cajoled to stop whingeing and don his shooting boots for the night. Might also help him secure the move back to the motherland that he presumably craves. 

The usual phalanx of kids will presumably be shoved out there again, and it’s made for interesting viewing in previous weeks, so AANP graciously grants permission for the policy to continue. Defensively however we have something of a problem, as only Bassong and Kaboul have the requisite number of working limbs for this one, and with Premiership concerns on Sunday ‘Arry would probably prefer to rest the latter. As such, a case may be made for young Livermore to deputise at centre-back, because frankly I’m not sure if anyone else has the requisite bullet point on their CV. Rose, Townsend, Kane, Carroll and possibly Walker are also likely to feature, as well as Giovani, and anyone else returning from injury (Lennon? Pienaar? Kranjcar?)

Presumably it will be a much sterner test than Hearts, PAOK and the Irish lot; but the AANP fiver is still being slapped down on the side of “home win”.

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