After yesterday’s supposed Liverpool-Spurs “preview” morphed onto a completely different topic, I spent the entire night racked with guilt. (Actually, that’s a pretty blatant lie – I spent last night pickling my liver and hurling down shapes on various London dancefloors. That new Dizzee Rascal number is rather a toe-tapper).Nonetheless, I thought it best to look in a little more detail at today’s game – it is the last of the season after all. As with any soap-opera season finale, the madcap all-action-no-plot soap opera that is Tottenham Hotspur 2008-09 has its main plot, sub-plots and all manner of character developments.
Not that it will be easy. Far from it. While we’ve been stringing together one-nils, Liverpool have assumed the all-action-no-plot mantle, with four-goal salvos against Man Utd, Real, Chelski and l’Arse to name but a few. Even last week, after the title had been lost, their players gave notice of quite how psyched they were for a meaningless game vs Blackburn or someone by indulging in a spot of mid-match fisticuffs with one another. Golly.
Although a win for us is unlikely, it’s nevertheless pleasing to be going into the final day with a goal (that isn’t relegation-avoidance) for which to aim. It just about elevates us above mid-table obscurity. Just.
Then there’s Robbie Keane, a sub-plot containing levels of coincidence that could feasibly have been penned by a particularly predictable script-writer. A game which ought to have been about him making a point to his former employers now sees him rather needing to convince an increasingly cynical Spurs faithful that he does more than point and shout. The man’s stock has fallen this season, and while it would be fitting for him to grab the headlines with something spectacular, recent history suggests his contribution could again be muted. I’d suggest Jamie Carragher is more likely to score from us, at least from open play.
Another sub-plot, which is almost certain to stretch into next season, is Defoe-Keane. They get another run-out today, but it’s a riddle we’re no closer to solving.
Some characters exit shows in pretty dramatic fashion, especially if they’re bald doctors in ER, but David Bentley’s likely exit will probably be without fanfare, perhaps just briefly alluded to in an episode next season. Departing characters are par for the course in the world of soap operas, but while some members of the supporting cast are likely to bow out (Bent, Giovani etc), the central figures ought to remain, thank goodness. None of the Berba-esque shenanigans of last time, thank you.
After respectively quiet and downright inauspicious starts, Modric and Gomes have become key members, around whom plotlines regularly centre. If an episode of the Spurs soap opera had opening credits, those two would feature, together with Palacios, Ledley, Woodgate and maybe one or two of the strikers.
(As full-backs, Corluka and Assou-Ek rarely get starring roles in any given episodes, but they’re background presence is reassuring.)
It would certainly be nice to end this season with a bang, and I’ll certainly have an eye, or ear, on the Fulham score, but realistically we’ll need as much luck as we had back at the Lane earlier in the season. Once more unto the breach, dear friends…
(nb AANP is now on Facebook and Twitter. Ruddy marvellous).