Contributor Lee Bradley looks at the current state of play at the Lane ...
So there it is; another question asked another emphatic answer from AVB and his band of merry men. A nerve-wracking 97 minutes of football yesterday proved in many ways how far we have come this season even after such influential players left in the summer. During the game it felt as though we were hanging on for large parts but after the adrenaline and resting heart rate dropped to acceptable levels (about the time MOTD2 appeared on telly) I was able to watch and analyse the game rationally and to be honest we were never really troubled by our deflated neighbours; all the possession they had seemed to flit around the halfway line and third quarter of the pitch.
In years gone by that game would have been reversed and we would have had the more possession and done most of the legwork only to be outdone by a couple of lapses in concentration but it seems the tide has turned and that corner has finally been negotiated, all that is left for us to do now is walk along the corridor and not trip up.
Going back to our amazing run of form, it is wholly unfair to attribute this to one player – namely Mr Bale, every player bar the lethargic Adebayor should take a bow for Spurs being third as they have all played their part. Benny has come back from a period out and made the left back role his own again, Kyle Walker is starting to step up after a faltering second full season in a Spurs shirt. Hugo Lloris has been a revelation and will be up there with Bale for player of the season if he keeps up his form, Dembele continues to perform almost flawlessly after his seamless move from Fulham and Michael Dawson just epitomises what we are all about, I felt so proud watching him gee each player up individually and then take the huddle just before kick off yesterday. Dawson’s actions as captain on the pitch and AVB’s intelligence and passions off it are a big reason why we are such a together team nowadays. You can see everyone plays for each other.
So when lazy pundits and annoying opposition fans label us a one man team it really annoys me as we clearly are not. OK, we are about as “one man team” as Barcelona are and I don’t see anyone banding that label around !
Anyway, keep up the good work Andre, you have given us Spurs fans
the clearest hope yet that we are on the verge of something massive.
A strange “Jim White Day” for us Spurs fans as the usual wait for frantic activity at 10:35pm never materialised. The intrepid reporter stood outside the training ground all day must have thought he was in for some action of some sort, but the only action he got was his earpiece falling out on a live feed with some over zealous fans !
The transfer window itself, compared with previous last days, was a bit of a non event overall with Sky Sports trying to sensationalise every piece of activity that went on.
I thought as a whole we did superbly on the outbound front; getting rid of deadwood and loaning out youngsters to Premier League clubs for invaluable first team experience. I just hope that the Andros Townsend loan doesn’t end up being permanent, Simon Dawkins going to Villa was a bit of a surprise but hopefully he won’t be too scarred by the experience of a team in freefall …
And then there was the buying front with the infamous “Levy hour”… I thought the weak offer for Leandro was embarrassing to be honest; this is a player we have been linked with for what seems like three or four years and all we can muster is a half assed bid on the last day of the transfer window. We even have links with Internacional so that should surely give us first tabs on any talent! The way Levy conducts business on deadline day will either make him look like an extremely shrewd businessman or a chump, unfortunately overall he was more like the latter yesterday.
knows? Maybe AVB genuinely thinks we can push on for third or fourth
with the front line we’ve got, maybe due to posting losses this year
Levy is tightening the purse strings? One thing is for sure though; it
will be the same rollercoaster ride to the end of the season as it
always is with us fans gnawing away at the stubs on our hands for the
remainder of the games we play out this season …
Well, after the last instalment, it seems I can now say "what a difference one or two wins makes"!
With the unceremonious boo's now silent our season is well and truly under way. A less than convincing win against QPR but a win nonetheless, an extremely competent display against tough European opposition in the shape of Lazio in a game I thought we were very unlucky not to win convincingly, a good display by some of the younger members of the squad against Carlisle and of course the dramatic victory at Old Trafford have set us on our way towards a nice unbeaten run. Add to that the unlucky draw against Pana and a convincing win against a poor Villa and we are well and truly cooking on gas.
These results could not have come at a better time; now AVB has dispelled the huge pressure on him somewhat he can carry on his hands-on management of the players with a little less spotlight inspection. He is displaying the skills set we all crave in a manager – evolution. He has had the foresight to change things mid-match to make the right impact and in the end handled the Hugo Lloris situation better than I expected him to. I enjoy watching his reactions to goals and decisions during the match as you can see he is totally and utterly engrossed in play. This may be some sort of honeymoon period but long may it continue as I am really content with the squad we have at the moment even though we could probably do with one more striker.
I have to say though, one of the real stars for me so far has been Vertongen. He is slotting in like a dream and I can only reminisce what it would have been like if he and King would have been partners...Some of the tackles he has made so far have been outstanding and his attacking presence is an added extra, he has transformed the shape of the team since he has slotted on at Left back, giving Bale even more confidence to push forward, much as I love Benny I can see Vertongen making the position his own now and we will have a natural overlap on each wing then.
So, as they say, while the sun is
shining let’s make all the friggin’ hay we can!!
What a difference a couple of wins make…
Like a few fans I have a frightening figure bouncing round in my head that signified the last big change at the club – two points from eight games. Obviously the club is in much better shape now and has a lot more togetherness than under the Senor Ramos regime although Huddlestone could probably do with a few weeks locked in a room with him !
Looking at the cold hard facts – one loss and two draws - it’s not the end of the world by any means. I didn’t expect to get much change out of the result at St James’ Park on the first day and if you really want to make excuses, then you could say we have just played two teams that have new managers and are therefore unknown quantities. I think what remains to be seen is if Dempsey and co can make the difference now that Modric and VDV have departed.
All in all I am relatively happy with our transfer dealings this summer albeit most of them done a little too late on. I would have been ecstatic if we had completed the Moutinho move as that would have completely replaced Modric, but I think Dembele will go a long way towards replacing him and also chip in with a few more goals than the creative Croatian used to contribute.
The only thing riling me is the Dawson saga; this shouldn’t even be a saga ! Michael Dawson is a stalwart of the club and a player that can be counted on time and time again, once fit, to give blood for the cause. In my opinion he should be captain, why he is being told he is down the central defensive pecking order is beyond me as Gallas is starting to show the similar wobbly signs that Ledley did last season. Vertongen looks to have settled in well so far and should retain his place but Dawson should be at least tested alongside him sooner rather than later.
I think a lot of what AVB tries to convey is lost in translation somewhat though; a perfect example being that he summed up Brad Freidel v Hugo Lloris for the number 1 spot by saying “Hugo is one for the future”…
Whatever has been lost in translation
needs to be found though if we are to start making avenues into
Champions League qualifying territory…
The imminent appointment of Andres Villas-Boas to White Hart Lane has been met with mixed opinions in the footballing world; largely negative from the Redknapp-loving red-tops in contrast with an open-minded optimism from a large number of Spurs fans - once the initial shock of the name AVB arose and his doomed exploits at Chelski were wiped from recent memory.
When AVB's name was first mentioned in conjunction with the vacant post I instantly rejected the idea based upon his disastrous tenure at the boys in blue and refused to consider the idea at any length, holding onto some blind hope that Guardiola would wipe out his sabatical to take the reigns. But the more I think about it the more optimistic I grow, here's why:
AVB is a real student of the game, a prodigy if you will. He is a Mourinho in the making that just needs to be surrounded by the right players and staff to make things work.
Levy has impressed me the last few years by learning and evolving from mistakes he has made, he can now learn and evolve from the mistakes made by his counter-part at Chelsea by keeping the dressing room young and hungry for success and development whilst also having more "well-heeled" veterans such as Ledley King and Brad Friedel around rather than the anarchiac John Terry and Didier Drogba. There will be no Old Guard to rid at Tottenham.
From his time at Porto and then Chelsea it appears AVB favours a strict formation and unwavering tactics, this does not mean one dimensional football though as it is as fluid as it is strict and unwavering. He simply wants his team to attack with width and speed when they have the ball and then squeeze and play narrow when they don't have the ball. He would have gone a long way to achieving this at Chelsea had he got his hands on the missing jigsaw peice - Luka Modric. Obviously it looks like we could be losing Modric but rumours are that we are signing the player that AVB first worked with at Porto; Moutinho, who in my opinion will bring everything that Modric brought to the table. With the securing of Bale's services and hopefully a fit Lennon, these players will fit perfectly into AVB's system. With Sandro and Moutinho in the middle and Parker sweeping up behind, then Lennon and Bale pushed up on the wings all we need is a striker in the middle that knows where the goal is...step up Defoe, your time to shine if ever there was one!
Wether the Vertongen deals goes through remains to be seen but with Dawson on the mend and Kaboul going from strength to strength not to mention a great under study in Steven Caulker, the defense seems to be on the right track especially with full backs as regular as they come in BAE and Kyle Walker. Although Friedel is a calming influence on the defense I would like to see this position secured for the future, someone like Hugo Lloris or Michel Vorm.
Obviously the above paragraph only scratches the surface of our squad and AVB may see something in certain players in training that push them into the team.
All in all I get the impression that like me, a lot of Spurs fans are warming to AVB being appointed because it means we will have tactical nous. It IS all 'ifs and buts' at the moment but this could be the start of something big for us and like everything it may need time to bed in. I just hope he is given enough time to plump his pillow!
Just remember Brian Clough was sacked by Derby after 44 days, then went to Forest and the rest they say is history...
I virtually spent the whole night walking around shaking my head in disbelief as I watched the reputation of our great club dissolve as the words “BERBATOV PASSES MEDICAL AT MANCHESTER UNITED, SPURS YET TO GIVE PERMISSION TO TALKS” ran along the bottom of the Sky Sports News screen along with Berbatov slinking about the corridors of the “Theatre of Dreams.” In the back of my mind a little voice was saying, “Surely Levy will just order him back and make him rot in the reserves for this”.
On went the night, as expert after expert claimed he had texts from the cleaner at Upton Park that Ronaldinho had just boarded a plane to Quebec ... sorry that does seem a bit far fetched !! Anyway, I left the madness that is the transfer window behind at about 20 minutes after midnight safe in the knowledge that it had closed and as there was no statement from White Hart Lane Berbatov and Fergie obviously hadn’t got their way ...
WRONG !!!! As soon as I awoke in the morning I was alarmed to see the headline “BERBATOV SEALS £30.75M MOVE TO MAN UTD” coupled with “SPURS SECURE FRAZIER-CAMPBELL ON SEASON LONG LOAN.” So now not only had we sold our star player after blatantly witnessing him being driven around by Fergie but we had been roped into giving one of their youngsters a year's experience in the Premiership too !!! God knows what goes through Levy’s head sometimes.
All I can think is that he is looking out for the shareholders to keep sweet in case someone comes in with an offer for the club. Why else would he talk the talk and then hide away like a scared mouse ??
Following the farce at Old Trafford last night surely there will be repercussions from the behaviour of the “executives” at Manchester United, an enquiry needs to be started seeing as Daniel Levy seems to be forming an annoying habit of forgiving people when he should be tightening the grip on the situation. This sort of thing will keep on happening and the ‘top four’ will just pump a couple more million into the price to keep people happy ...
I have set up an online petition regarding this and when enough people have joined it I will make the FA aware, please take a minute to join if you will: (after reading this article of course!)
I know that most people think it will be pointless but with the power of the internet and passionate football fans this could be big ...
At the moment we must
have the most talked about frontline since Prince Harry decided to try
his luck in Afganistan ! Linked with players as varied as Huntelaar to
Heskey (god no!) the board and Ramos seem to be quite happy hogging all
the column inches in the various web blogs and newspapers, I suppose to
act as a massive smokescreen so they can operate incognito and spring
surprises on us unsuspecting supporters.
There are other more
encouraging aspects such as he is the only player to score more than ten
goals in the last three consecutive seasons in Russia which apparently
is no mean feat. On the other hand he was also undecided about whether
he wanted to leave Russia due to his wife and young daughter not wanting
to go elsewhere. All these things seem to make the deal a bit of a
gamble but hey, Berbatov had a playboy reputation when he arrived at WHL
and he did/done alright for us. Only time will tell...
So the search and
Sulker For A Sulker
As the start of the season moves ever nearer and transfer rumours get ever desperate, there seems to be two linked to Spurs that just won’t die, both equally likely to fail or go ahead.
Obviously I’m talking about Berbatov’s long haul courting by Manchester United and Andrei Arshavin’s slave like imprisonment at Zenit St. Petersburg. Both players are talented strikers capable of turning a game on it’s head and both players also have agents capable of selling ice to Eskimo’s !!
My trail of thoughts turn firstly to Berbatov’s behaviour and comments (regardless of whether they were made through him or his agent) since he was made aware of Man United’s interest in signing him just over a year ago; a fact backed up recently by a Martin Jol interview on Talksport where he candidly and openly stated that Berbatov has wanted to travel north since as early as the first transfer window opened the January after he signed for us.
It is fair to say that this speculation created unrest at the club, mainly with the supporters and board because you can’t argue the fact that Berbatov has still chipped in with enough assists and goals to propel Tottenham forward. With this speculation on our star striker’s future hanging like a thunder cloud, along came the real strike of lightning with the comparatively quick and shocking move of a certain Irishman to a certain Scouse lot. This changed Berbatov’s future at board level I believe as the club and Levy in particular realised that they had a reputation to think about.
Therefore I believe that the only way we will sell Berbatov is by securing the services of Arshavin. Which brings me to my second trail of thought; if we get rid of one sulker in Berbatov, are we buying arguably a bigger sulker in Arshavin ?
Rewind to a little over two years ago to when we were signing Berbatov from Bayer Leverkusen and you would have been hard pushed to link Andrei Arshavin to a European club of any standing let alone the likes of Barcelona.
Present day is a different matter all together with eye catching performances in the UEFA cup and Euro 2008 propelling Arshavin into the limelight and the work of an ambitious agent not afraid to over hype things and hey presto ! You have the now essential commodity for any successful club known as Andrei Arshavin.
The first rumblings of transfer rumours looked promising for a number of clubs from Barcelona to Juventus, detouring to Arsenal, Spurs and Man United. Then things fell silent for a little while as Arshavin’s agent proclaimed the player’s ever lasting love for Barcelona but with the asking price hiked up daily by Zenit, the deal slipped away. Enter Spurs ...
Suddenly with Keane gone there was a hole to fill at the Lane. Rumours were rife that Daniel Levy had flown to Russia to secure both Arshavin and his international counter part Pavlyuchenko. True or not, Arshavin’s agent suddenly started releasing little statements to the press that his client would be interested in moving and that Tottenham were the only club making a firm offer; which turned out to be a lot less than Zenit had wished for. Talk was circulating that a gentleman’s agreement had been reached for Arshavin’s wages, rumoured to be the highest in Spurs’ history and all that had to be agreed was the fee between the clubs. Spurs’ offered slightly higher, Zenit wanted slightly more and being a Russian club bankrolled by billionaires that make Abramovic look poor, they could pretty much do what they wanted as long as Arshavin was under contract. So, out comes Arshavin’s agent with cries of "Slave !! Slave !!" followed by the player’s decision to sit out of a cup game against Sibir Novosibirsk supposedly on strike.
So here we are present day and despite their agent’s admirable efforts, both sulkers, er I mean strikers, still at their respective clubs, but for how long ? The rest of the season, if my theory is correct, because the rules seem to be different in Russia with the owners of the club the possessing the power and not the players; which would mean no Arshavin to Spurs hence no Berbatov to Man United.
This could be a blessing in disguise though; if Arshavin is willing to get a transfer by playing hardball with Russian businessmen that take crap from no one then I dread to think what he would do should he play a blinder for us this coming season and then Barcelona/Real Madrid come calling next season.
I’ll take “sit out the odd friendly or two” Berbatov over that any day !!
The press conference of David Bentley was a
very interesting affair indeed.
Stunned, disappointed, angered, betrayed ...
With Ramos seemingly obsessed with bringing
talented youngsters to White Hart Lane, I can see a few of a our present
stars-in-waiting getting more than a fair chance this season, here's a
few lads to ponder ...
Reports from "The Newspapers" (I use this
term loosely as lately they should be called the
"make-things-up-for-the-good-of-ManUtd-and-Liverpool" papers) suggest
that Juande Ramos is willing to sell Berbatov and Keane...
Call it blind faith if you will but I have
not heard a bad or wrong word from Ramos since he has been at the helm
of our club. I trust him completely and it feels slightly strange
to say such a thing considering we've had Ossie and Christian Gross in
recent times!!! You cannot fault his training methods so far, after all,
it was our improved fitness levels that proved instrumental in beating
Arsenal and Chelsea on the way to cup glory last season, Spurs teams of
the past would have given up and been huffing and puffing round the
pitch lobbing wasteful passes anything past the seventy minute mark.
I believe with the fitness levels reaching the levels they have we will
not see many "defeats grabbed from the jaws of victory" this season that
dogged us so badly last season.
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