Spurs play many times this season, I have come to a few conclusions now
we are about half way through the season ...
At the first match of the season, I was
anxious as we hardly have a great record against Liverpool, so I
wasnít expecting much, especially as we had a dire pre season.
However, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought Mendes was
excellent in the centre against Gerrard and Davis also played well.
I was also impressed with the young Phil Ifil and even though he
hasnít had a chance for a run in the side, Iím sure he will one
day. I was also impressed with Naybet who seeing as he had only
signed a few days earlier had a good game. Liverpool had made some
good signings and when Cissť scored, I sank into my chair expecting
another mauling. Then, when the players came out for the second
half, we started playing the Tottenham way and I wasnít surprised when
Defoe hit the back of the net, but was disappointed when he received his
booking for taking his shirt off. However, you have to argue if a
player scores why isnít he allowed to celebrate the way he wants
? Just like Keane cartwheels Defoe rips his shirt off.
Next up we had
Newcastle and Atouba, who I was unsure about, scored a stunner and
delivered up a large slice of humble pie for Mr. Carr.
Then we were away
to West Brom and we had a disastrous start, when we went behind to a
Gera goal, but, as usual, Defoe came to the rescue and we settled for a
draw. I was a little disappointed after a good result against
Newcastle and it was one we should have won when you look at the fixture
The next game was
against Birmingham and a nice Defoe goal, turning a defender and scoring,
settles the match. This
was the last match before the transfer window was slammed shut. We
had made a few good signings in the summer with Davis and Mendes looking
good and Pamarot looking capable at right back. We then signed
Calum Davenport, who has been labelled as the best defender in the Championship
and long term target Michael Carrick also joined. At the time it
seemed pointless, especially when he wasnít playing, but now Mr. Jol
seems to be giving him a turn. We also said au revoir to Gary
Doherty and I canít fault his commitment, but he was not the best
player to watch and now Norwich have the pleasure of enjoying his
We then faced
Norwich City in a seemingly easy match and with their star player being
Ginger Pele at centre back, I was hoping for an absolute rout and was
gutted with a 0-0 draw, as it could be a match that we are going to
regret not winning. However, they could have easily nicked it, but
we were saved thanks to the ever reliable Ledley King, who has been a
revelation this season. I knew he was good, but he has been
outstanding or in the words of Robby Bobson the "KINGPIN" of
Our trip to
Stamford Bridge brought the match that we hate. Chelsea. We
are just unable to beat them, but, in fact, I feel that we had the best
chance of the match ... a header from Keane, which the brilliant Cech
saved. But you canít take anything away from the back four and
Robinson, as they were immense.
Then came the
Carling Cup match against Oldham. I was worried that this could be
a potential banana skin due to our lack of goals,
but it was the exact opposite. A 6-0 thrashing and we were
safely through to round 3.
A home match
against Man Utd awaited us on our return from Lancashire. In my
friends view, this is the match we throw every year to gift them the
league. We played like the away side, gifting them chance after
chance, but the defence stood strong until a moment of madness from the
ref or Edman (Iíll let you decide) ended with a penalty to give Man
Utd a lead which they kept till the end.
We then had a
trip to Goodison Park to look forward to, which was another banana skin
in the waiting, with their good form and our unpredictable away
form. An excellent header from Pamarot gave us the win. Another
notable point was the X-rated Redknapp challenge and it was a shame the
ref didnít send him off. When will anyone realise he is a has-been and
is overrated and we have better
options ? Iíd rate him at 4th or 5th
choice personally. On the plus side Reto Ziegler was given his
first slice of Premiership action. An acquisition from Grasshoppers,
he has put in some outstanding performances and looks an excellent find
from Frank Arnesen.
Then, just as you
are thinking that we have made a good start to the season we play
Portsmouth and we play awfully; getting beaten by a Yakubu goal. It
really dampens the hard work from the previous six weeks and with some
good performances already this season against better sides, defeat was
extra hard to take.
Next up were
Bolton, who many would describe as an average side, but difficult to
beat. In the game, there are basic requirements like closing
Okocha down, which we didnít do and we lost, but Keane grabbed his
first league goal. I was also unhappy with the sportsmanship of
the Bolton side. If I were a fan of them, I would have been
disappointed. Putting a player in front of the ball to stop a
quick free kick or taking extra time to leave the pitch (serial spitter
Diouf was the worst offender) and after seeing that, I feel we should
take a look into rugbyís book. Failing to retreat means the ball
is put forward (the ball is played when the player wants to not when the
We then played
Bolton again - away this time - and after falling behind I was worried,
but we were rescued by Defoe, Bunjevcevic and Brown. I also took
note that at the Reebok, Defoe was booked for not retreating 10 yards
... maybe one rule for Bolton and another one for us ?? Also a
great performance from Ziegler, who really adds width and we play better
with him. Anyway, I was happy to be in the next round.
It was back down
to earth with a bang with a 2-0 defeat at Fulham in a match which we
should have got some points from, but we deserved to lose. We were
awful. In my view this was the the worst performance of the season
Charlton match, Santini resigned citing personal reasons. However,
it has come to light it was because of the signing of Carrick, who
incidentally played an excellent role in this game. We were 2-0
down thanks to two Bartlett goals and within a few minutes of the
restart, we were three down. Then the inspired substitution came,
with Carrick coming on for Redknapp and within minutes we won a penalty
due to handball by Bartlett, who, in a moment of lunacy, thought he was
goalkeeper and saved a Ziegler shot. He was subsequently sent off
and Keane converted the penalty. Then we bombarded Charltonís
goal, but it still wouldnít come. Eventually a misplaced pass by
the usually reliable Holland was intercepted by Defoe who rifled
home. This set up a nervous final 10 minutes, but nothing came
On the back of
the defeat we played Burnley in the Carling Cup and won easily 3-0 with
two goals from Keane and one from Defoe, which was a gem. Nevertheless,
we were through to the next round.
It was then time
for the big one. By this time, Jol was installed as permanent
manager and the Scum came to the Lane. In the first half, we were
a lot better than them and thanks
to a lot of luck we were only drawing.
We went one up thanks to Naybet, but my watch had it that we were into
the 2nd minute of injury time when Henry scored and there was
some debate as to whether he had used his hand, but it stood and I am
pretty sure that if the goal wouldnít have stood we would have
won. Then came an action packed 2nd period with our
rivals starting brightly and they got a lucky penalty, when Ljungberg
was tripped by Pamarot and Lauren stepped up and converted it. To
add insult, Vieira ran through the Spurs defence and slotted home. Then
there was a moment of magic from Defoe. He scored the 2nd
best derby goal ever behind Paul Gascoigneís free kick. Surprisingly,
the enemy hit back through Ljungberg, then King scored to make it 3-4
and unfortunately, Pires scored and we could only get one back through
Kanoute. Things about the Arse that I noticed were Vieira was
generally unhappy about Brownís tackling and Lehmann trying to harass
a ball boy. I think someone should get the police onto it.
The worst bit was I then had to take defeat in front of all my graceful
Arsenal supporting friends, who were also graceful when they lost to Man
After the pain of
derby day defeat, we played Aston Villa, who we played badly against and
were beaten by a solitary Solano goal. Six in a row was hard to
take, especially when we should have won some of them. Although a
stone wall penalty was rejected in this game to
add to our woes.
We then pulled
our socks up and played well against a strong Middlesbrough side.
However, we were fortunate that Queudrue decided to lunge at Pamarot and
he saw red. We then scored through Defoe with a brilliant team
goal and then came goal of the season from Kanoute ... well I suppose
they all count.
I was raring up
for the Carling Cup match against Liverpool, with a semi final place at
stake against a mediocre Liverpool side. I have to wonder how the
match didnít finish in normal time, as we had some good chances with
Keane the worst culprit. So, extra time was played and we went
ahead through Defoe, but then unfortunately conceded a silly penalty due
to Kanoute's unnecessary handball, which Pongolle converted and the
match went to penalties. Brown and Kanoute missed, sending us out.
It was desperate that we had to recover from the penalty agony as we took on Blackburn. We had a good first half, controlling the game for long parts and Defoe went close to scoring. In the second half, I forgave Brown for his miss against Liverpool as he made a surging 70 yard run and setup Keane. We hung on for a good win to leave us on 19 points, which is better than last year.
Just like at
school, where I receive my Christmas report I have graded each player
Robinson - B ... has played well for a lot of the time, but hasnít been impeccable. Hasnít recaptured early season form, but has made good saves.
Pamarot - C+ ... has looked solid and has put in some good performances, but has lacked the ability going forward. Not as good as Stevie Carr; however might change.
Edman - B ... Played well early season and has been injured for long parts.
Atouba - C ... Not convinced; looks slow and uncomfortable.
King - B+ ... Good so far; deserved his player of the month gong.
Naybet - B ... Started well, but looked weak whilst fasting and made some mistakes.
Ziegler - B+ ... Taken to the premiership like a duck to water; his first goal canít be far off.
Davies - C- ... never recaptured the form when playing alongside Carr; maybe time for him to leave.
Davis - B ... has been solid, but is injured. Adds some bite to the midfield which we are missing at the moment.
Mendes - A ... Been a brilliant buy; comfortable on ball, but needs to be in the centre.
Redknapp - D ... has been extremely poor; lacks drive; needs to leave.
Brown - C ... has been alright, nothing special; not a Premiership player in my view.
Carrick - B- ... a good debut and some good performances, but there have been a couple of not so good ones.
Defoe - A ... Star player would be in trouble without him
Keane - B- ... Good contribution; donít want to see him sold, especially with his knack of scoring goals against old clubs. Is similar to Defoe though.
Kanoute - C+ ... Unforgivable error against Liverpool; still finding it hard to score; lacking in confidence
During January work needs to be done. We need to sign a natural right winger as Ricketts or Davies donít seem up to the job and Mendes needs to be in the centre. With the talk of him leaving, Phil Neville would be a decent buy, as his versatility would be useful. A sub goalkeeper is needed, as Keller is not up to the job and a 4th striker, possibly Ashton, needs to come in, but we shouldnít sell Keane. Get rid of Redknapp and we have the makings of a good side that could possibly challenge for a UEFA Cup spot.
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