Spurs preview

Blackburn – Spurs Preview: Fighting The Good Fight Against Anti-Football

We at AANP Towers are generally peace-loving folk, but amongst the few things that have us stomping our feet in apoplexy is the brand of anti-football purveyed by Sam Allardyce.History is littered with epic confrontations – Good against Evil; Beauty against the Beast (not sure that was a fight actually); Bruce Willis against Hans Grüber and his henchmen. As Spurs’ Beautiful Game is today pitted against Allardyce’s Anti-Football, our glorious heroes can look in particular to Kranjcar and Lennon to lead the charge. Lots of good honest man-love has been flung Niko Kranjcar’s way in recent weeks, and rightly so for the chap is in blistering form. The very presence of Kranjcar – as well as Lennon and his wondrous new, improved crossing ability – gladdens the heart. No Modders today apparently, but what a compliment to Kranjcar to be able to say that we have adequate cover.

I should stipulate at this juncture that I have no particular gripe with Blackburn themselves – as with most other sides I neither like nor dislike them, and on any other weekend I’ll wish them luck. Allardyce however, makes my blood boil. Countless times with his Bolton side, and then last season against us, I seem to recall, at Ewood Park, he drilled his charges into the art (has there been a more spectacular misnomer?) of pumping the ball into orbit and sharpening elbows in readiness for the ensuing melee. There’s no grass in the sky, Mr Allardyce.

On a cheery note, any such approach ought to provide Michael Dawson with another opportunity to thrust out his chest and do what glorious leaders do. The man has been immense in recent weeks, performances against Villa and Man City in particular doing much to dispel the notion that he still needs a calming influence to play Yoda to his Luke and shepherd him through games. While I’m not about to go the full hog and start banging the international drum, on current form it’s entirely uncontroversial at least to mention his name in the same breath as Lescott, Upson, Jagielka and Cahill.

Daws is one of the few leaders in our ranks; another, apparently, is Robbie Keane. Many have complimented him on his attitude in midweek, in shaking the hands and geeing the spirits of his team-mates when they strode out for the second half against City, while he prepared to return to the bench. Personally I missed that moment (as it happens I only saw him shake hands and share a joke with opposition ‘keeper Shay Given during the half-time break), but the notion that Keane is a big, vocal influence in the Tottenham camp had credence long before he organised the merry festive japes in Dublin last week. While his on-pitch form has been unconvincing, as a boisterous member of what generally seems a painfully timid bunch it seems he does play a significant role. That said, I see no reason for him to return to the starting line-up today.

Naturally enough, there has been lots of excited chatter after the Man City win. The howls of rage and despair that greeted defeat to Wolves just four days earlier seem to have been forgotten in the blink of a 3-0 win. I even noted Hansen on MoTD drawling that the City game was our “Best performance of the season,” and that we were “Brilliant from start to finish.” To each their own I guess, but from this vantage point it seemed we started (and indeed ended) a little shakily against City. However, although results have not reflected it, our football over the last month or so has been impressive, which gives grounds for optimism ahead of today’s game. Adopt the mentality of recent away days – Everton, Villa, Man Utd – by seizing the initiative from the off, and Blackburn won’t be able to live with us (until we start panicking in the final 15 mins).


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Spurs transfers

‘Arry at the January sales

With the honeymoon over, the side struggling and reinforcements seemingly needed in every position, all-action-no-plot casts a wary eye over a handful of ‘Arry’s (supposed) shopping list…

Stewart Downing (Left winger, ‘Boro, £8-£12 mil) – Yegads ‘Arry, don’t do it! I’ve only ever seen him play well once (Eng vs Germany). He’s naturally left-footed, and as such would balance our midfield, but so is our Welsh simian Gareth Bale. Save around £10 mil and give Bale a chance. And encourage the midfielders to get into the area before investing in another crosser…

Craig Bellamy (Striker, West Ham, £6 – £8 mill) – Wrote on this one yesterday, and my opinion hasn’t changed overnight. Good striker, but a walking asbo, who has never settled at a club due, presumably, to his penchant for attacking team-mates with golf clubs.

Shay Given (Goalkeeper, Newcastle, Maybe £3 mil?) – Tempting, but this is like heading to the supermarket when hungry, and consequently buying food you just don’t need. Gomes is doing fine at the moment.

Lassana Diarra (Defensive midfielder, Real Madrid, £20 mil) – Out of stock.

Jermaine Defoe (Striker, Pompey, £10 mil give or take) – Pompey may sell if the debt stories are true, and the lad certainly knows the route to goal, but ineligibility for Europe might be offputting. Can’t really see it happening, much as I’d love to.

Peter Crouch (Striker, Pompey, £10 mil give or take) – ‘Arry bought him at Pompey, and might be tempted by a goalscoring target-man. Again, ineligible for Europe.

Emile Heskey (Striker, Wigan, £3 mil or less, as his contract’s running down) – Hardly a proven goalscorer, but has, over the last 12 months shown an ability to hold up the ball and buy time for languid supporting midfielders to amble into the area. Exactly what we need then.

Matthew Upson (Centre-back, West Ham, £6 mil or so) Only likely if West Ham are forced into a Woollies-style closing-down sale. Their chairman is Icelandic, so this may indeed happen. With King and Woodgate falling apart, and Corluka ineligible in Europe, we could do with a reliable centre-back.