Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why Spurs Don't Need a New Left-Winger

For most of the past few years we have been looking for a left-winger to fill what has been a gaping hole in our midfield. I could write no fewer than fifteen names of players we've been linked with over the past three seasons. But we've never really had someone to come in and fill that role. And I want to make a bold statement. We don't need to go buying one this summer.

Luka Modric was bought last summer to be our playmaker in the center of midfield, but thus far Harry has been reluctant to play him in the center of the pitch, unless it has been in a 4-5-1 formation, other than a few isolated occurrences. But we have gained form over the past few months with Luka given a free role to move infield, but he is nominally a winger for us.

He still does keep the width in most cases, but having the ability to roam as he wants has allowed his creativity to flow, and the team looks all the better for it. BAE has done an outstanding job of covering for Luka, and providing that width on some of our forward movements, remember the cross he made for Woody's winner against Hull.

The two of them have formed a good duo on that left side, and while Harry might look to upgrade our left-back position, I would tell him not to look for a left winger now. A traditional winger is something we're all used to, so for our own sanity we keep looking for that type of player, but how can we argue with the results of the past few months?

Make sure that Luka has a good connection with his left back, and make sure that back is someone who can cover when he drifts and provide the width we need as a team, and we'll be fine. So please Harry, don't fix what isn't broken this summer.

Striker Down for Tottenham

Darren Bent has been ruled out for at least two weeks, possibly longer, with a ligament injury in his knee. That means he will definitely be out against West Brom and Everton, and just be coming back to fitness when we face Manchester City.

If this was almost any other player I would say that we wouldn't see him on the pitch until the next preseason, but since I have a feeling Harry will be wanting to offload him in the summer, he will probably try and get him some time, at the worst against Liverpool, to show potential buyers the goods aren't damaged.

Bent had finally started to show a little more form, and then he goes and picks up a knock. I assume the injury occurred when he went down early in the second half. He shouldn't be out for too long, since he was able to continue playing. I'm hoping he makes it back, I never like to see a player injured.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Can Spurs Secure a Europa League Spot?

As the season heads into the final stretch, it is amazing that we are asking if Spurs can finish in 7th position and qualify for the Europa League. Many of the biggest Spurs fans on the planet would have declared you insane if you would have mentioned it 3 months ago. But, nonetheless, the club is in a position to make that push with 4 games to go. What I want to do is look at the teams who have a realistic shot at 7th place, and determine what their point totals could be looking at the remaining fixtures. I'll of course start with the club that will finish in 7th, and no, it isn't West Ham.


5/2: West Brom- The Baggies have played hard throughout the season, but are going down. Have to take care of business. 3 points.
5/9: Everton- Going to Goodison is not an easy task, and I would love a win, be happy with a draw. 1 point.
5/16: Manchester City- The final home match of the season, and City are in the Europa League hunt as well. Another must win. 3 points.
5/24: Liverpool- The final game of the season sees Robbie return to Anfield, where I think the reception will not be as cool as it could be. Liverpool could be playing for nothing at that point, and we did beat them earlier in the year. 1 point.

So I see 8 points from the next four games for the club, giving us a total of 52, 50 more than when Harry took charge of the club, he'll be sure to tell you.

West Ham:

5/2: Stoke City- Going to Stoke is not an easy task this year, and West Ham will consider themselves fortunate to get a point. 1 point.
5/9: Liverpool- Liverpool will be fighting for the title, no shot in this match. 0 points.
5/16: Everton- The Hammers go to Goodison the week after we do. If we get a point, they won't get anything. 0 points.
5/24: Boro- By then Boro will be relegated, and West Ham will take the three points easily. 3 points.

So for West Ham I see them getting 4 more points, although I will admit my view is a bit biased. Total points: 49 points.


5/2: Chelsea- Hiddink has admitted the title is not within their reach, but they'll still come out firing. 0 points.
5/9: Aston Villa- The Villans are in a nosedive and I can see Fulham taking some points easily. 3 points.
5/16: Newcastle- Shearer won't keep the Magpies up. But he'll get a draw here. 1 point.
5/24: Everton- Everton plays a role again, a good solid draw on the last day. 1 point.

So Fulham should take 5 points over the last four matches, for a total of 51.

Manchester City:

5/2: Blackburn- Big Sam will be working to make sure Rovers are safe. City are awful away. Loss, 0 points.
5/10: Manchester United- Will be dismantled by United, who will be looking for another championship. 0 points.
5/16: Tottenham- Well, we all know how this will go won't we? 0 points.
5/24: Bolton- The last day of the season, Bolton will be safe and stranded mid-table, should be a win. 3 points.

So, this is probably unlikely, but I see City only getting 3 points over their last 4 games, giving them a total of 47.

So, let's look at the totals based on my crystal ball.

7. Tottenham- 52 points
8. Fulham- 51 points
9. West Ham- 49 points
10. Manchester City- 47 points

So, based on my scientific analysis, Spurs will finish in 7th, and qualify for Europe, who would have thought it would be possible in October?

Zokora Looking to Exit

In the last week, Didier Zokora has been quoted as saying that he may be looking to move on in the summer from the club if he isn't playing regularly. Since he has come to the club, Didier has been a lightning rod of criticism. He came in to replace Michael Carrick and has never quite done that. Granted, he's a better tackler than Carrick ever was, but what made Carrick special was the way he transitioned from defense to attack, with incisive, probing passes, something Didier cannot do.

Many attacks have gone the way of the dodo in the past few seasons because of errant touches or passes by Didier. If there are three options on a break, it seems that he'll choose the one that will break down the attack. I have never faulted Didier's effort, or his tackling, but at this point, we need more than that in a holding position, and Wilson Palacios fills that role.

I am not going to criticize Didier for his comments, because he was simply speaking the truth. He said that he wants to make sure he is contention for the World Cup next summer, and the only way he can be sure of that is if he's playing regular football. Didier has filled many roles, and he would be an invaluable utility player in the next few seasons, but as a good servant of the club, I can't fault him for looking to new challenges.

What do you think of Didier? Would you be sorry to see him leave? Or would you help pack a bag for him?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jenas' Remarks Show Some Fire

Well, I needed a few days to bring my blood pressure down before I started posting again after the performance we had on Saturday. It was really a shock to have this incredible high followed by this tremendous low with those halves. As most Spurs fans know, Jermaine Jenas made some comments about Howard Webb's refereeing Saturday, notably the dubious penalty that started things off for United.

The FA have now written to JJ and asked him to clarify his remarks. We all know that JJ will be fined some amount for stepping out of turn and criticizing an official, even though Webb has admitted that the penalty was dubious at best now. But the FA cannot be seen as not backing it's officials, so JJ will be given a slap on the wrist for his comments.

Personally, I'm fine with those comments. Many people who support the club are not fans of JJ, and often times what I hear is that he lacks fire, isn't concentrating, or doesn't give his all on the field. I saw him give his all on the pitch on Saturday, but those quotes have shown me a lot about JJ and his character. He is normally pretty soft spoken, saying the right things when needed, but this showed some fire. He was upset, embarrassed, and quite frankly, pissed off the team had lost the match. He didn't agree with the call and said so. It may seem like spoiled grapes to some, but this shows me the lad cares about whether we win or not.

Granted, I might have been happier if he would have ripped into the team, but they all played hard, they were outclassed and shellshocked in the second half. I want to see more from JJ like this, this showed more leadership than almost any other thing he's done this season. We all agree the penalty was wrong, and he stepped forward and said so, knowing he would probably take a hit in the wallet care of the FA for it, but he stood up for his goalkeeper in a round about way.

And honestly, would any of the teams in the Top 4 not had at least one player who said the same thing, and more than likely each of the managers rehash it for an entire week? I think we can all agree that they surely would have. I don't want our players acting like petulant children on a regular basis, but this one time I think it showed more good having said it than anything else.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Defoe Out Against United With Family Tragedy

Jermain Defoe did not travel to Manchester with the team due to his brother's serious medical condition. Gavin Defoe was attacked in broad daylight in London on Monday, and has been in the hospital in intensive care since the attack.

Gavin Defoe passed away in the early hours of April 24th, and Jermain will play no part as he stays with his family to cope with this senseless tragedy and to make preparations for the funeral.

I know that all the thoughts of Spurs fans are with JD at this difficult time. Thus far there are no suspects in the attack that ultimately claimed Gavin's life. Please leave your thoughts for JD and Gavin if you would like. Puts perspective on the game now doesn't it?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Dawson Injury Update

According to Spurs Mobile, Michael Dawson has a partial ligament tear in his ankle, and will be out of action for 3 weeks. This is much better news than first thought, when he went off on the stretcher Sunday, I thought he was a long-term casualty. This is good news for the Dawson, though I doubt we'll see him again on the pitch before the season ends.

Team News ahead of Man United

Jermaine Jenas should be fit for tomorrow according to reports. He's been training this week and his hamstring injury seems to have healed sufficiently for him to play a part tomorrow. I would expect to see him in the startin 11 against Man United, pairing again with Wilson Palacios in the center of midfield.

Unfortunately, Michael Dawson will not be in the squad, with his ankle problem. He had a scan on his leg on Monday, but I haven't heard anything about the results as of yet, but I'm scared that the news isn't good. Since Ledley King was rested last week, he should be fit for the United match, though if not we'll have Vedran Corluka slide into the center and have Alan Hutton start at right-back.

As mentioned in a previous post, Roman Pavlyuchenko will not feature in the match because of his back injury.

Even though he netted the only goal for us last week, I don't expect to see Darren Bent in the starting 11 tomorrow, not that Jermain Defoe is reaching full fitness. He played 20 or so minutes last week, and his training should have helped him further regain his fitness.

Here is my projected lineup for the match tomorrow. If we get 3 points I will be so happy, but I will also be ecstatic with a point with having to travel to Old Trafford.

Projected Lineup:


Corluka, King, Woodgate, BAE

Lennon, Palacios, Jenas, Modric

Keane, Defoe

Substitutes: Cudicini, Hutton, Bale, Bentley, Huddlestone, Zokora, Bent

Pavlyuchenko Out Against United

Roman Pavlyuchenko will not feature against Man United tomorrow. His back injury has not healed, and it is feared it might be more serious than first thought. He was quoted in a Russian newspaper as saying that he had had an X-ray on it Thursday which revealed no serious damage, but he is still in pain when he moves.

I thought after he'd been out last week he might be fit for tomorrow, which would have been nice to put that type of height against United's center-backs. With the season winding down, and back problems being something that can take some time to recover from, I wonder if we're going to see Roman back on the pitch for the club this summer. Here's hoping that Roman gets better soon, I'd love to see him some more before the end of the season.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Muntari Will Not Come to Spurs

So this week's big rumor is the Muntari will be the newest face at White Hart Lane next summer. This follows about half of the other players in European football, so it seems like it's time for the summer silly season to begin.

I am going to go on the record and say that I like Muntari. I watched him against Juve on Saturday, and have seen him play a number of times this season, and each time I've come away impressed. He's a battler, but still creative, and can get forward and nick a goal.

That being said, he won't be at Spurs next year. Yes, Harry had him at Pompey. Yes, Jose has seemed to be interested in Jermaine Jenas for awhile, but this is a move that won't happen. As much as I love the club, I don't see Muntari giving up a title-winning team, a favorite to win the League again next season, and a Champions' League place to come back to English football.

If we were in the Champions League next season, I might think we'd have a shot. But we'll all dance in the streets if we qualify for the Europa League. Also, JJ isn't going to be heading to Inter. It seems Jose is interested, but until I see a firm bid, it will be transfer speculation that "The Special One" is so good at. Though not as good as Harry at getting people unsettled.

So, I would love Muntari to come to the team, but the odds of it happening for me are somewhere in the range of 25/1.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spurs Sneak One Past W/Player Ratings

Newcastle never really looked like a threat against Tottenham, but there were still some tight moments for us Spurs fans today. Nice to be up 1-0 early on, but I kept feeling like this was a game similar to Blackburn, a team we were dominating but not putting away. I kept holding my breath, hoping that the other shoe didn't drop, and thankfully it didn't. Honestly, Newcastle really look like they're going down to me, there was very little fire within that team.

Not a bad performance from us, but not one that is going one the highlight reels for sure. We played some good football, but couldn't finish our opportunities. It would have done my heart good to tack on one or two more, but I'll take the 3 points, no problem.

Player Ratings

Gomes- 7.5 Didn't really put a foot wrong, other than being in no-man's land on one corner. He is starting to look very solid, and his outlet to BAE on the goal was great play. I'm happy he's made good on the promise coming into the season.

Corluka- 7 Charley played really well since he slid into the center just after the half-hour mark. His passing wasn't quite what it had been in recent weeks, but he didn't put a foot wrong when in the center and marked up well. Excellent cover in the center for us.

Woodgate- 7 Woody was solid as always, only letting Martins get free once or twice, but he also totally shut Owen down. Also almost had another goal on a corner in the second half. Did a good job of marshaling the back line with Ledley out.

Dawson- 7 Was playing well before he got injured. It's a shame, this was his 200th League appearance, and Dawson has played his heart out all season. Let's just hope it's not too serious, though I think it's going to be some ligament damage unfortunately. He was spotted leaving the stadium in a protective boot, and he'll have tests tomorrow on the ankle.

BAE- 7.5 Most improved player this year. His outlet to Modric for the goal was first class, and he was solid in the tackle all day. Got forward well, but still tracked back, which he wasn't doing earlier in the season. If he keeps this up, we won't need another left back in the summer.

Lennon- 7 A good day for Lennon, was unlucky not to score in the second half. Wasn't super involved in the play in the first half, when we feed him the ball good things happen, but that just wasn't the case today. Some good crosses and runs, typical of his play this season.

Palacios- 7.5 Good to have WP back in the side. Controls the middle like no one else, and his touch is getting better. Was unlucky not to get his first English goal today. Made the tackles that needed to be made all game, and his distribution was solid. Really is going to be a bargain, even at the price we paid.

Huddlestone- 6.5 Tom got the start ahead of JJ who was out injured today, and I'm sorry to say he didn't really assert himself in the position. Had some magnificent passes, and a few cracking shots, but I think he was left wanting too often. Let WP do most of the dirty work in midfield, and didn't get too involved in the second half. One thing with JJ as of late is that he's been tracking back to help out in defense, something I wish Hudd had done.

Modric- 7.5 A good game for the little magician, great pass that ultimately led to the goal. Probably should have had an assist in the early minutes with his ball to Bent, who was clearly taken down with no call. Set things up all day, though it did seem he was looking for his own shot a good bit, not that I'm complaining. His play was solid and his passing was crisp as always.

Keane- 6.5 Got involved a good bit, he continually tracks back to get involved in the play, but few opportunities for him to actually try and score. The goals are coming though, and his work rate can't be faulted.

Bent- 7 Good take on the goal, he was persistent and it paid off. He made good runs throughout the first half and looked to be pretty dangerous. Seemed to disappear a bit in the second half, maybe he was tired, and it was a good substitution by Harry. Glad to see Bent get a goal though.

Hutton- 7 It was the first time we've seen Alan in a long time, and he looked good. Got involved upfield, and had a couple of dynamite crosses that should have been finished off. His defending was solid, and he combined well with Lennon. I expect to see him get some more time before the season is through.

Defoe- 6.5 Came on for Bent, and it was great to see Jermain back on the pitch. Had a couple of shots that were blocked by outfield players, and he didn't look too dangerous, but he brought some fresh legs when they were needed and helped us spread the ball around and take control of the game back a bit. I expect to see him starting with Keane by the West Brom game.

Spurs Lineup Versus Newcastle

Well Harry has thrown a surprise into the mix, one that worries me a little. After being fit for 5 straight games, Ledley King has picked up some knock or his knee is acting up, as he is not even in the squad for the match versus Newcastle. He will be replaced by steady Michael Dawson in the center of defense.

Tom Huddlestone does indeed get the start with Jermaine Jenas out with his hamstring injury. Otherwise not too many changes, we'll see how the game goes, it seems that Newcastle is going with a 3-5-2 to try and overload our midfield. Personally I don't think it'll work. COYS!!



Corluka, Woodgate, Dawson, BAE

Lennon, Palacios, Huddlestone, Modric

Keane, Bent

Substitutes: Cudicini, Bale, Hutton, Bentley, Zokora, Campbell, Defoe

Newcastle Lineup:


Beye, S. Taylor, Bassong,

R. Taylor, Duff, Butt, Nolan, Jonas

Owen, Carroll

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Loanee Update, and Townsend Scores

Andros Townsend scored his league goal today for Yeovil Town. John Obika had an assist as well, and Danny Hutchins played the full 90, but Yeovil went down 3-2.

Yeovil have to be very happy with our lads, they've come on, played solid minutes and factor in the match outcome, Obika has scored and had assists, and Townsend got his first goal today. This bodes well for the future at the club, I would expect to see Townsend and Hutchins out on loan again next year, but Obika might get a chance with the first team.

Danny Rose started for Watford, and was substituted near the 60 minute mark. It seems he played in the center of the park, and was substituted more because Birmingham were ruling the center of the midfield than anything else, Watford lost 1-0.

Adel Taarabt came on as a sub in the 63rd minute for QPR, but couldn't help the club beat Wolves, who won 1-0 and were promoted to the Premier League. Sad to see Taarabt not starting, he has loads of ability and that's why we sent him out on loan.

Chris Gunter has settled at Nottingham Forest and played another 90 minutes today. Seems like getting regular football is very good for the young Welshman, this should help his confidence ahead of next season. Nottingham won the match 1-0 with a goal just after half-time.

And finally, Doran Dervite played the full match for Southend United, but the club still lost to Leceister 2-0, who were promoted. Dervite couldn't be faulted for either goal, the first was a penalty and the second a rebound off of a free kick. I still think he's got another year until he's ready to compete for a first-team spot.

Not a bad day for our lads out on loan. It's good to see them getting some time out on the pitch, it's good experience and can only help the club in the long-term.

Team News ahead of Newcastle

So Spurs have a chance to move up to 8th, if we win by more than 3 goals against Newcastle tomorrow. Not out of the realm of possibility, but I think we might be staying in 9th position tomorrow. Not too shabby considering where we were just two months ago. Here's some news ahead of the fixture at the Lane tomorrow.

Jermain Defoe might be in the team tomorrow. Harry has been impressed with his training this week and he could get a run-out. Which is definitely good since Roman Pavlyuchenko could miss out on the game with an injury. I'm not really sure what the injury is, but he is in danger of not being fit.

Also out for the match will be Jermaine Jenas, whose hamstring problem has not improved dramatically since his substitution at half-time of the West Ham match. JJ might be fit for the trip to Old Trafford next week, but he'll be watching this one like the rest of us tomorrow.

Wilson Palacios returns from his one-match suspension for his red card against Blackburn, and the odds are on Tom Huddlestone partnering him in the middle of the pitch tomorrow. My earlier post today details my thoughts on Huddlestone and his role tomorrow, so feel free to check that out as well.

Alan Hutton is back to fitness, though it remains to be seen if he'll feature in the match tomorrow. I would like to see him make the bench and get some playing time before the end of the season.

Here is my projected lineup, I'll post the official one in the morning:


Corluka, Woodgate, Kind, BAE

Lennon, Palacios, Huddlestone, Modric

Keane, Bent

Substitutes: Cudicini, Dawson, Bale, Zokora, Bentley, O'Hara, Defoe

Huddlestone Likely to Start

With the news that Jermaine Jenas will almost certainly sit out the Newcastle match with his hamstring injury, it appears that Tom Huddlestone will be given another opportunity to prove his worth, more than likely starting alongside Wilson Palacios tomorrow.

Given the freedom to play in an attacking role, I think Hudd will have a good game, Palacios can do the dirty work and let Hudd make the probing passes he does well. Will he keep his place when JJ is healthy? Almost certainly not. And with the comment by Harry in the Sun and the Times, it makes you wonder if Hudd will be here longer.

In The Sun and in the Times Harry talked about how he knows players want to play, but he is the manager, and the results speak for themselves. With Hudd making another comment this week about his lack of playing time, I think this was a not so veiled warning to Hudd by Harry.

I've mentioned before how I like Huddlestone, and think he would be a good player for us, but I don't see him staying beyond this summer. But maybe I'm wrong.

Harry Redknapp: Unhappy Spurs players are free to leave
Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, has told Tom Huddlestone, the unsettled midfielder, that he can leave White Hart Lane at the end of the season if he is unhappy.

Redknapp believes his selection policy has been vindicated, having transformed a team who were fighting against relegation when he took over in October into one currently sat in the top half of the Barclays Premier League table and his remarks apply also to David Bentley and other fringe first-team squad members.

“I came and took over a team that was doing no good,” Redknapp said. “So I'm sorry but if people are not happy because they are not playing I really don’t care to be honest with you.

"Whatever I have done I have done it right because I am picking a team that is winning football matches. I have brought players in and the competition became fiercer.”

Huddlestone, who began his first league match in nearly four months against West Ham United on Saturday, should start alongside Wilson Palacios against Newcastle United on Sunday, with Jermaine Jenas out with a hamstring injury.

“Tom is a good player, a terrific player,” Redknapp added. “He could be a top player and he was excellent against West Ham last week but I brought Wilson Palacios in from Wigan Athletic and he has done well for me. It is competition for places. That is how it is for everybody.”

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Jenas Injury Concerns

The hamstring problem that forced Jermaine Jenas to come off at halftime of the match versus West Ham last weekend will more than likely see him miss the clash with Newcastle on Sunday.

No one outside the club knows the extent of JJ's injury, whether it's a pull, strain, or something more severe, but word is that he is a doubt for the clash against Shearer's men. What is unclear is if he'll be back for the game against Manchester United.

With JJ set to miss out, I would think Tom Huddlestone would be the player taking JJ's spot, with Wilson Palacios returning from his suspension. It's pretty clear Zokora won't pair up with Palacios, as we need someone more attack-minded, but we could see Bentley, O'Hara in the middle, or even have Modric shift inside. But if I was a betting man, I would expect to see Hudd in the middle Sunday, and hopefully JJ back to fitness for the trip to Old Trafford.

Ryan Babel to Spurs?

Ryan Babel is unhappy with his role at Liverpool, and is ready to move on in the summer. Harry has been interested in the Dutch international for awhile, and could be interested in signing Babel in the summer. Babel can play on the left-wing and also stay upfront if needed as well.

David Bentley could move to Liverpool, in a swap deal, with some cash going on one side or the other. This move would be good for Bentley, he needs a fresh start and Liverpool's options on the right wing are not the best. I think currently it's Dirk Kuyt is who is usually deployed on the right wing. I would have liked for Bentley to succeed, but he's not going to at the club and he needs to get a fresh start.

Babel could be a good move for the club, he has pace, and the times that I have seen him play he's been effective. My only concern is the way he's been complaining about his lack of first-team time with Liverpool. Liverpool are doing well, and he probably shouldn't be be complaining about his lack of playing time.

But given a chance to play on a regular basis, I think Babel would be a good addition to the club, although I don't want to send Bentley and money for Babel, it would just be too much.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Agent Not Happy with Pavlyuchenko's Place

Roman Pavlyuchenko's agent is wanting to talk with Harry Redknapp about Pavy's place in the side. He is concerned for Pavy's place with him not starting since the beginning of March against Boro.

We've had rumors of Chelsea wanting to come in for Pavy in the summer, which are enough to unsettled anyone, and Harry talks about how Pavy needs to get rid of interpreter and train harder to maintain a first-team place. Now the agent is throwing gas on the fire.

I know an agent's job is to look after his player, but I don't think this is going to ingratiate Pavy to Harry any if the agent goes through with this. All it will do is antagonize Harry. You can't really argue with the run of form the club have been on with Pavy not being a regular in the first-team, so I'm not sure what the agent will accomplish.

As much as I hate to think this, I'm feeling that there's going to be some movement in the summer by the club, with Huddlestone, Bentley, Rocha, Gilberto and Pavy all finding new locations. For the longest time I thought Pavy would be staying, but these comments from the agent worry me, and hence we'll have even more turnover at the club.

Huddlestone will Exit Club in the Summer

Tom Huddlestone will likely be leaving Tottenham in the summer. I have always liked the lad, and when he is on form he is a great midfielder, but I think he will be plying his trade somewhere else next season.

He started his first match since Boxing Day this past Saturday, and he played decently in the 1-0 win. But he is still talking to reporters about considering his future options with his lack of first-team football. He was happy the team was close to seventh, but concerned for his place.

I know he is concerned, Harry knows he is concerned, hell, my wife knows he's not happy with his place in the team, but you don't talk to the press about it. He's been saying mostly the right things, but he keeps talking just a little too long, and poof, the papers have a story of a player unsettled. If I was 22 and playing professional football, I'd want to be playing every match as well, so pipe down Tom, we get it.

I don't think this type of action serves a player well, anytime. He comes off as looking selfish and not as interested in the team results as he is his own personal stats. By just putting your head down and training, he'd have more goodwill from everyone.

I will say this, David Bentley is moving on this summer as well, but we haven't heard a peep from him about his frustration with his playing time. We all know he'd like to be playing more, but he's keeping his mouth shut, and I say good for him.

No matter how much Harry might like the potential of Huddlestone, he will sell him on in the summer, provided the price is right. The more of a fuss Tom makes, the easier it becomes for Harry to put him on the market. But that's just my opinion, tell me what you think.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Defoe to Begin Training This Week?

With the success against West Ham, Spurs are in a relatively comfortable position, now sitting at 9th in the table, and within shouting distance of a Europa League spot. With Newcastle coming to the Lane next Sunday, another 3 points could be in the offing, and our injury woes are starting to ease up.

Alan Hutton is getting back to full health, he has played in 2 reserve games in the past few weeks and could make the bench sometime soon. Jermaine Jenas had a hamstring problem which forced him to come off at halftime against West Ham, and there is no word from the club on the severity of the injury. He could play next week, or he could be out for several weeks, no one is really sure, but I'm thinking we'll see him on the field.

The other good news on the injury front is that Jermain Defoe should be coming back to training this week, provided that all goes well. His metatarsal injury has been healing well, and he should be sufficiently healed to return to training with the lads.

My guess is that he'll train this week, possibly play in a reserve match next week, and then Harry will evaluate his fitness to see if can come back into the team. Before the end of the month we should have Defoe back in the fold, and I for one, would like to see him paired up with Robbie Keane. I never saw the problem that Martin Jol did in the rare times he did play them together in the past, and I think the two of them could play off each other nicely. Yes, neither of them are the old-fashioned center forward, but I think with the way we've been playing as of late, a center forward is not the ideal option, as we are not launching balls upfield, but playing a composed passing game.

We'll see what happens when Defoe is fully fit, which should not be too much longer now. I'll let you all know as soon as Defoe is back out on the training pitch.

Harry Not in For Petrov

Harry Redknapp has let it be known that Martin Petrov won't be joining Spurs in the summer. He was quoted as saying that he had never thought about bringing him to Spurs, so the rumors that we have all been reading in the last week or so are rubbish, like most of what you read.

I think that Harry is being truthful on this one, sometimes he acts like he isn't interested to get a better deal, but Petrov has been out injured since October, and he is 30 years old. It seems weird to talk about a player who's only 30 as someone who's too old to come to the club, but I'm pretty sure Harry is looking to younger players.

So we all know that Harry is looking to bolster the left side in the summer, so the question now becomes who is wanting? The most obvious answer is Stuart Downing from Boro. Boro did get a win yesterday, but I still think that they are going down in the summer and there will be a fire sale at the Riverside. The other name that is on people's lips would be Aidan McGeady from Celtic.

Either player is younger than Petrov, though probably will be more expensive. Personally, I am not sold on either of the two that seem to be on Harry's wish list, but once again I'm reminded in not in charge of the transfer policy at the club. Is there another dark horse from the continent that might make their way to the club in the summer? Who knows, but it is interesting that Harry supposedly doesn't have any interest in Petrov. We'll see what happens in the window.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Rumored Want Aways Come Good

The match versus West Ham brought Spurs to 41 points, which is the magic number for safety in the Premier League. I think most Spurs fans had stopped seriously worrying around the time of the victory at Villa, but it is nice to be sure of Premier League football next year. Who would have thought we'd be in 8th position with 6 games to go when Harry took charge of the club? The days of 2 points through 8 games seem like only a bad dream at this point.

One thing that has been happening constantly over the past month is the rumors that both Tom Huddlestone and Roman Pavlyuchenko would be sold in the summer, most likely to Fulham and Chelsea respectively. During the West Ham match, both made contributions to the cause, and no contribution was bigger than Pavy's goal.

Both players have been on the outside of the team looking in for the past few months, and Huddlestone has been quoted as wondering about his future with the club. The fact that both saw significant action yesterday certainly helped their confidence, and Pavy's goal might have convinced Harry to try him with Robbie Keane against Newcastle next week.

Huddlestone did not light up the field, he had some good shots and his passing was up to par as usual, but he certainly didn't displace Wilson Palacios in the lineup, though if Jermaine Jenas doesn't recover from his hamstring problem, Hudd could see another start.

Both players have bright futures, though here at Spurs is yet to be seen. I'm happy both of them got a run-out against West Ham, if for no other reason than their asking price went up if Harry does want to sell them. I think Huddlestone will be moving on, but Pavy will be back at the Lane next summer, but for one day, both were just happy to be back in the team.

Spurs Back on Track W/Player Ratings

After the blip against Blackburn Rovers last weekend Tottenham are back to their winning ways. A good 1-0 win over West Ham puts us on 41 points, so safety is now definitely assured. After seeing the defense fall apart late on last week, I was pleased to see the team hold its shape and not concede late on. I was nervous today, but I felt that the team would do better for some reason, and thank goodness I was right. A really nice little goal came from Roman Pavlyuchenko who was seeing his first action since Sunderland a month ago now. That should give his confidence a boost. Overall, a good 3 points, now we have to make sure we keep this up against Newcastle next Sunday.

Player Ratings:

Gomes- 8 One of Gomes' better games. Did well coming to punch the ball clear against Boa Morte's challenge in the first half, and was solid all game. Blocked shots when he needed to, and didn't give up bad rebounds like he has in the past. Maybe he's starting to find his stride, because the last month or so he has looked like a different keeper.

Corluka- 7 A good effort from Charley today. Got forward well, though his final ball left a little to be desired, but he is a defender right? Could have had appeals for a penalty, but the referee wasn't having it. Defended well as per usual.

Woodgate- 7 The only reason I don't rate Woody higher is the slip-up he had with Di Michele in the second half that gave Di Michele a free shot at goal, which Gomes stopped. Otherwise Woody was solid as always, winning headers and keeping the ball moving through the defense.

King- 8 Did Ledley put a foot wrong today? I don't think so, you barely heard anything from Tristan and he covered well on the left side when BAE ventured forward. He and Woodgate are one of the best center-back pairings in the Premier League without a doubt, and today was proof of that again.

BAE- 7 BAE did a good job shutting down Boa Morte for the most part, and did well getting forward, allowing Modric to put inwards. His final ball was missing something today, the crosses were just not there, but he helped add width to the team, and did his job defensively. I will say that he is not my whipping boy anymore.

Lennon- 7.5 Good game out of Aaron, the dummies and flick-ons were in full effect today. His final ball is getting better, but still let us down a few times. But his crossing is much better than earlier in the season, you can tell he is working on that in training. Was unlucky not to score on that late breakaway, but held the ball just a bit too long, a first-touch shot might have caught Green in no man's land.

Huddlestone- 7 Tom's first start since Boxing Day, and he acquitted himself well. Had several good shots that were parried away by Green, and one other that was a little ill-advised. His passing was good as always, and he did a good job defensively. Not the best player on the field, but he did a good job filling in for Palacios.

Jenas- 7 Went off at halftime with a hamstring issue, but he did well in the first half. Worked well, especially with Keane and Lennon. Tracked bet to help provide support for Huddlestone like I thought. He's putting out the effort now and keeping his concentration more than he did earlier in the season.

Modric- 7.5 Great job by the little guy with the assist for Pavlyuchenko. With JJ out in the second half you saw him push further and further infield, with BAE helping to add width. May have held the ball a little too long at times when a shot might have been the better option, but I'll give Luka the benefit of the doubt any day of the week.

Bent- 6 Not a bad effort out of Darren, and had one of the best chances of the first half with his flick header. Never really synced up with Keane, so he went off early in the first half.

Keane- 7 Robbie did a good job dropping back as he usually does to generate play. He'll think he deserved a penalty, but even I didn't think so. Was unlucky not to get the goal late-on with the good clearance by Collins. I realized something in the first half when I watched him tracking back and starting the play, this is what we were missing earlier in the season, a striker getting involved and helping overload the midfield.


Zokora- 5.5 Today was a good example of Didier and his play. Reckless challenge leading to a card shortly after his introduction. Some errant passes that stalled the movement of the team throughout the second half, and a horrible touch late on when he had Pavy and Lennon as options that would have killed the game off. And also his attempted shot when he had Keane and Modric available that went well wide. Pretty much sums up Didier for me. But he did add the grit we needed to kill off the game.

Pavlyuchenko- 7.5 Great goal from Pavy, I was really happy for him. Had a good flick header earlier on, and a few more efforts. Got involved in the play, and especially late on helped kill off the game by collecting and holding the ball well. Was unselfish looking for Lennon, I don't think a lot of strikers would have done that. I'm happy he had a good shift today.

Good effort by the boys today, hopefully they enjoy their Easter Sunday and get ready to take on Shearer and Newcastle next week. COYS!!!!!

Spurs Lineup Versus West Ham

So Harry did have a surprise in store for us, and a reason for talking up Tom Huddlestone this week. He comes into the side instead of Didier Zokora for the suspended Wilson Palacios. I mentioned in my preview yesterday how this could be an option, I think that Harry preferred the passing ability of Tom to the tough-tackling of Zokora. I expect to see Jermaine Jenas tracking back even more than he has in the past few matches to give support to Hudd. Otherwise no other changes to the side.


Corluka, Woodgate, King, BAE

Lennon, Huddlestone, Jenas, Modric

Bent, Keane

Substitutes: Cudicini, Bale, Dawson, Chimbonda, Bentley, Zokora, Pavlyuchenko

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tottenham- West Ham Preview

Tottenham take on West Ham at White Hart Lane tomorrow. The first meeting this season occurred shortly after Gianfranco Zola took over the club, and Spurs emerged victorious 2-0 with the first goal in three years for Ledley King and a cracker late on by Jamie O'Hara to settle things.

Since this meeting West Ham have moved up the table steadily, currently sitting in 7th position. But Zola will have some injury concerns, with strikers Dean Ashton and Carlton Cole out with injuries, and Scott Parker is a game-time decision as well. Jonathan Spector is out with a concussion and Kieron Dyer will probably not be fit for the match either.

Tottenham have been moving up the table as of late, with last week's blip against Blackburn excluded, and we are nearing full fitness again, with only Jermain Defoe out for the match. Alan Hutton should be back in the squad for the first time since November against West Ham, which gives a boost to the defense. We will be without Wilson Palacios due to his suspension, so I expect Didier Zokora to take his spot, though Harry's positive comments about Tom Huddlestone could lead to a surprise inclusion.

The loss last weekend did not effect Spurs too much as all of the teams around us were on the wrong end of things as well. I won't look at it as an opportunity lost, but as a good weekend to have an off-day. But tomorrow needs to be different. The Hammers have been really strong in the last few months, but are still vulnerable. Tomorrow especially their strike force will be limited, and if King and Woodgate can hold their strikers in check, we should have a fighting chance.

I want to say that we're going to snatch a win and reach that 40 point promised land, but I can't be sure. I'll take a draw, which would move us to 39 points, but a win would move us closer to a European spot. But I'm just looking for a good performance from the lads.

Here is what I think the team will look like tomorrow and I will post the official lineup as soon as I have it. COYS!!!!


Corluka, Woodgate, King, BAE

Lennon, Zokora, Jenas, Modric

Bent, Keane

Bench: Cudicini, Hutton, Dawson, Huddlestone, Bentley, O'Hara, Pavlyuchenko

Will Huddlestone Stay a Spur?

With his lack of first-team action in 2009, it had almost seemed like a foregone conclusion that Tom Huddlestone would be moving on this summer. But with Harry's comments yesterday in support of Huddlestone, and his comparisons to Glenn Hoddle I am wondering if Harry wants to keep Hudd at the club, or is he just talking up a player to get his price up in the summer?

Since the new year Huddlestone has found himself on the substitutes' bench most of the time, with cameos here and there in the League and some starts in the Cup competitions we were in. Huddlestone has expressed his frustration with his lack of first-team opportunities in the past few months. As he has continued to voice his displeasure I assumed it was only a matter of time before he moved on.

But yesterday Harry made the comment that Hudd has a big future at Spurs, and I must say that was a surprise. My first reaction was that Harry was blowing smoke, trying to inflate the price for a player that has been on the fringes for the last few months. As I continue to think about it, I still think Harry is talking up the price on Hudd, though I would want Hudd to stick around, I think he could be a good player at holding midfielder and at center-back. But, I'm not in charge of the transfer policy at Spurs.

We'll see what happens, though I still think Huddlestone will be in a Fulham uniform next season.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spurs News for 4/10

Just a few random bits ahead of the big clash with West Ham on Saturday. Zola has his men playing much better, but Carlton Cole is out and Scott Parker is fighting to be fit, which can be trouble if he isn't fit. No injury news for Spurs, which is good heading into the run-up of the season.

Alan Hutton managed the full 90 minutes in the reserve clash on Thursday night, which Spurs won 3-0. It's always good to beat the Gooners, it doesn't matter if it's first-team or reserves or youth team. With any luck, Hutton could be in the team this weekend, I'm glad he's back to full fitness. Jermain Defoe should be getting back to a reserve match soon and he might be able to make a first-team appearance before the end of the month.

Fulham have now been linked with Gareth Bale. With Inter, Manchester United this yet another team that seems to be seeing something in Bale that Harry is missing. Bale has not been good this season, but he does have loads of potential, and we must weight if Harry can develop that or need to sell him on.

Harry has given Tom Huddlestone a boost in confidence by comparing him to Glenn Hoddle. High praise, and I tend to agree with Harry, Tom's passing and vision on the field is impressive, but I don't think it's enough for Harry to keep Tom around next year. Fulham seem to be my betting favorite to secure his signature, but there does seem to be a host of teams interested in him.

And finaly, QPR have sacked yet another manager, and this matters very little to Spurs fans most of the time, except that Adel Taarabt is off on loan there, and I am curious if there will be any effect on his development. There are only 5 games left in the season, so it won't be too serious, but I hope Adel keeps his place in the side and doesn't wind up on the bench, that's not what we sent him out for. Here's hoping.

9 Million Pounds for Bent? We'll Take it!

Sunderland are apparently ready to sign Darren Bent this summer for 9 million pounds if they retain their place in the Premier League. Cisse may not be back next season if Sunderland cannot work out a permanent deal for the loan player at the moment. Also, Kenwye Jones is still a target for other clubs, including our own unfortunately, so the Black Cats are looking for replacements.

If we're offered 9 million for Bent I say we take it and move on to the next target. He's never quite fit in at the club and after the Pompey miss we all knew he was bound for somewhere else. It's time for the club to cut our losses. In my analysis of Spurs transfers (the Fabulous Flops...) I noted that 2007 was a pretty wretched year for us in the transfer market, and this would only complete the misery.

The high price tag brought expectations for Bent that he could never live up to. Moving on will give him a fresh start, and let us find another striker than can be a 3rd striker, or start alongside Keane. Nice knowing you Darren, now I'll help you pack.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Fabulous Flops & A Few Diamonds in the Rough at Spurs Part 3 of 4

Today we move on to the 2007 transfer signings for Spurs. More big money signings, and some departures, namely Martin Jol and the introduction of Juande Ramos. Let's look at what came in and out during the year, and before Ramos started making some wholesale changes in 2008.

January 2007:

Ricardo Rocha- (3.3 million pounds) Came in as defensive cover from Benfica during the January window. I was never impressed with him, he was basically insurance, and not very good insurance I must say. Never paired up well with Michael Dawson and Ledley King was hurt most of this season. He hasn't played much since those first couple of months, and what I remember is him getting torched by opposing strikers.
Verdict: Flop

Ben Alnwick- (900,000 pounds) Came in as a future player for the club. We've seen his first action this year, and while he wasn't great in those first appearances at the club, I think he's going to be a good player at some point.
Verdict: Jury's still out

Dean Parrett- (2 million pounds) Came over from QPR and made his debut for us in the Shakhtar Donetsk game. Has still been playing in the youth squad, and might make a run at the first team in preseason training next season.
Verdict: Could be a Diamond

May 2007:

Gareth Bale:- (10 million pounds) It was a bidding war for his services with Manchester United, and most of us Spurs fans considered ourselves the big winners. Started okay, then got injured, so the first year was pretty much a waste. This year I think Gareth almost would have preferred to be injured. He's fallen out of favor with Harry, and now he's been in the reserves for a time. I wouldn't be surprised to see him sold on this summer, he's young and I think he could have a future at the club, but unfortunately it seems the bloom is off the rose so to speak.
Verdict: Unfortunately a Flop

June 2007:

Darren Bent- (16.5 million pounds) What an expensive 3rd striker. That's pretty much what Bent has been since he arrived for a small fortune. If you can believe this, he's our most expensive striker on the books at the moment. I think his career at Tottenham has been summed up during the Portsmouth game when he missed the sitter. Moving on this summer for sure, I'll dance with joy if we even got 10 million pounds for him.
Verdict: Flop

Adel Taarabt- (Unknown) Came in during the summer window and saw a bit of playing time before Ramos sent him to the reserves. Another one of the players not given a squad number this season. Showed some life in his Carling Cup and FA Cup appearances for us at the beginning of 2009. Is currently out on loan at QPR and doing well down there. Could still make something of himself with us, remember he is only 19.
Verdict: Jury's still Out

July 2007:

Younes Kaboul- (8.2 million pounds) Another fabulous flop, lasted one season. Did not play too much, and when Woodgate came into the club, Ramos didn't even put him in the squad most of the squad. Sold on to Pompey in the summer, it's a fly by night thing it seems. One of the biggest of the flops because he cost a lot, and left in less than a year.
Verdict: Flop

Kevin Prince-Boateng- (5.4 million pounds) Came over from Germany with all the expectations on his shoulders. He played a few times for Martin Jol before Ramos came in and then was shoved to the bench. One of the players not given a squad number this summer by Ramos, we've all known he was on his way out since then. Is currently out on loan and probably could use a fresh start. Lacks a bit of maturity, something that seemed to run with a number of the players we signed during this year.
Verdict: Flop

Danny Rose- (1 million pounds) Still down in the youth and reserve teams, he is seen as the next great hope for the club at the left-wing position. What I have been able to read and see about the youngster is promising, but this was definitely a purchase with an eye for the future.
Verdict: Could be a Dimaond one day

Well now, 2007 was not the best year for transfer dealings at the club. At least 48.3 million pounds spent, and no real stars have emerged for us out of this group. 1 has already been sold on, and more than likely 3 more of these will be leaving in the summer. The most promising aspect of these purchases was the youngsters such as Parrett, Rose and Alnwick, hopefully they will come good at some point. But good grief, what a track record during this year.

Carew to Spurs?

Various outlets have been reporting that Aston Villa striker John Carew is a target of Harry this summer, with a player swap deal being a possibility, and having Jermaine Jenas move to Villa.

My first reaction is "What?!?!?!?" I like Carew just fine, but he won't be a first-choice striker at the club, and we would be sending JJ, who at the moment is holding down a first team place and starting to play like he knows how to. It doesn't seem like a deal it seems like a mugging. Carew hasn't done a ton this season, but he has a good track record from past seasons. He won't be our first choice striker with Keane though, I think he'll be a squad player, much like Pavlyuchenko is at the moment.

I've been accused of being a JJ apologist, but I don't see why we're wanting to sell him on so much. He's been linked with a ton of clubs, including Inter in January, but he's a good footballer. His big problem has been concentration and losing his focus at times. But in the past month he has been on form and reminded us why he's and England international.

So please Harry, if you want Carew fine, buy him, I'm sure you can get a good deal, but don't do a player swap with JJ. It would be highway robbery for us if you did.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Fabulous Flops & A Few Diamonds in the Rough at Spurs Part 2 of 4

So we have looked at Tottenham's purchases throughout the year of 2005, and surprisingly we didn't spend all that much. It seems like the last year of truly sane spending before the figures become astronomical. So today we are going to look at purchases made in 2006, and whether we did any better in the market in this year.

January 2006:

Hossam Ghaly- (2 million pounds) Could his career have gone much worse at the club? I never liked his play, he always seemed a little too combative for my tastes, and his passing was always lacking. Throwing his shirt to the turf was the last straw, and I think that no Spurs fans were sorry to see him exit the club in January. More known for his attitude than his play, which is a shame.
Verdict: Flop

Danny Murphy- (2 million pounds) Here is a signing I thought would be great for the club when it happened. An England international, he came to us on the cheap, and could play on the left side if needed at times. He was combative, a decent passer, and could score the odd goal. But no such luck at the club. He was limited to mostly substitute appearances, when he even made the team at all. A year and a half later he was sold on to Fulham, where he has become captain and the cornerstone of a team that recently built Manchester United. If only he'd done that for us.
Verdict: Flop

June 2006:

Didier Zokora- (8.2 million pounds) Zokora was bought as the replacement for Michael Carrick in the summer of 2006 after it became apparent that Carrick would be moving on from the club. A good player in France, he came here with big expectations after playing in a World Cup and trying to fill the void of Carrick in our midfield. One thing Didier is not, and I doubt ever will be, is a gifted passer. He works harder than almost any player on the field and he'll tackle like no one's business, but it's final ball, whether it be a pass or shot, that lets us down. We have lacked that link between the defense and offense like we have with Carrick, and Zokora was built to nominally fill that role, and has never done so. We have now seen Harry bring in Wilson Palacios to play this role, and he has done it very well. But I don't think we're going to see Didier going anywhere, he is still a favorite of Harry's it seems.
Verdict: Disappointment

Benoit Assour-Ekotto- (3.5 million pounds, rumored) Here is another player that I had very high hopes for when we bought him. He had played on a championship side in France and was just starting to come into his own. But injuries marred his first season at the club, and indifferent play for another season or so made him my personal whipping boy. But after Harry took control of the club he started to get something out the hairdo. His performances over the past couple of months have been solid, if not spectacular. I think there may be a player here yet.
Verdict: Starting to Come Good

July 2006:

Dimitar Berbatov- (10.9 million pounds) A great buy, no other way to look at it. A really gifted footballer, he knocked in quite a few goals for us in two short seasons. Yeah his attitude seemed poor at times, but everything is forgiven when he nets at the frequency he did. I thought he was gone after one season, but we held on to him for another year. It was clear he wanted to play somewhere bigger, and it turned into a good piece of business, we made what, a 17 million pound profit from him? The biggest problem I had was the lateness of the sale, making it tough to bring in other players to fill his spot.
Verdict: Diamond in the Rough

August 2006:

Pascal Chimbonda- (5.5 million pounds) Here's another player I wanted no part of, handing in a transfer request while still in your uniform on the last day of the season, Pascal clearly didn't care about anyone but himself, and I didn't want him at the club. He displaced Paul Stalteri at right back, but to be honest his performances were no better to Stalteri most of the time for us. It also always bothered me that he wore gloves, even in August. Lost favor with Ramos and I was delighted when he was sold on, and gutted when we paid another 3 million for him to rot on the bench again. Please, please sell him this summer.
Verdict: Flop

Steed Malbranque- (4 million pounds rumored) I liked Steed and am sorry he's not a the club any longer. Made his debut in November and always played hard, and was a nifty little passer and knocked in the occasional goal. Could also play out on the left wing at times, most Spurs fans liked him because of his effort. Unloaded during the Ramos era, he's another player who I don't think should have left the club.
Verdict: Solid Buy

Mido- (3.5 million pounds) This was the month that we finally made Mido a permanent player, and not just a long-term loan player, and I think this is about the time he fell off the face of the earth for us. Was a great player in 2005/2006, but once Berbatov came into the club Mido found himself warming the bench, and not very happily I might add. Went off to Boro, and is now at Wigan. If he could rediscover that form of 05/06 he could be a great footballer.
Verdict: Solid as a Loanee, Flop when we paid money for him

So that is our spending spree of 2006. A total of 39.7 million pounds spent, more than likely, and who is still at the club? Zokora, Assou-Ekotto and Chimbonda is on his second tour of duty. Less than a 50% retention rate, which is worse than 2005. Not the best job of Damien Comolli of buying players. And the other big thing from this year was the sale of Michael Carrick. Yes, I know he wanted to go, and we were paid a lot of money for him, but until Palacios came along we had never really replaced him, and his leaving left a huge void in the midfield, which certainly impacted how we looked at signings in the transfer window.

So 2 years down, 2 to go. Tomorrow we'll look at the signings of 2007, and if Spurs did some good business that year, see you then.

The Fabulous Flops & A Few Diamonds in the Rough at Spurs Part 1 of 4

With the news of players going out on loan in the last month, I started looking back on the past couple of years of signings for the club, and seeing that we don't exactly strike gold every time we hit the transfer market. I am going to go through the signings the club have made in the past few years, and honestly evaluate if they have helped or hurt the club.

I also want to look at some of the departures and wonder if we are sending out some players that should have been in the side more often. I am going to look back on the past 4 years worth of signings for the club, stretching all the way back to January of 2005. I will look at one year's worth signings a day, as we buy so many players I can't do it all in one sitting.

January 2005

Andy Reid- (4 million pounds) Thought of as the answer for our left-side problem and couldn't keep the pounds off and away from the training room to make a big impact on the club. Was a decent player on my FIFA 06 game though, but that's about it for us. Was sent off to Charlton, who were relegated, and has made his way north to Sunderland where he is playing decently, better than the form he showed for us.
Verdict: Flop

Michael Dawson- (4 million pounds) Hard to believe that Dawson was the makeweight on the deal that brought us Andy Reid and Dawson from Nottingham Forest in 2005. The fee was reported to be 8 million pounds for the pair, and at the time I think the split was closer to 5 million for Reid and 3 million for Dawson. But Dawson has become one of the best and longest-serving players for the club now. He was a rock for us in the 2005/2006 season, and played well in 06/07 also, even earning a call up to the national side, before falling off last season. Back on form this year, he has done well stepping in for Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate this year, and is probably on the short list for the club's player of the year award this year. Looking at the prices of defenders now, he seems like a bargain.
Verdict: Diamond in the Rough

Teemu Tainio- (Free) Teemu came from Auxerre, and was an established Finnish international when he came to the club he supported when he was young. A favorite of Martin Jol, he was a useful squad player and could play several different positions. He was plagued with injuries at the club , and was sold on by Ramos in the summer of 2008. I think he didn't get a fair shake with Ramos, and is the type of player that Harry would have liked. A lot of supporters weren't fond of him because of how much time he spent in the trainer's room, but I liked him and am sad he's not at the club anymore.
Verdict: Solid Buy

Tom Huddlestone- (3 million pounds) Tom came to us from Derby, and was hailed at the next great prospect. It took a few years to break into the team, but he has impressed at times for the club. His passing and shooting ability cannot be denied, but his focus and tackling are often lacking. He's a bit of a frustrating sort, he has loads of talent, but rarely displays it to its fullest. Is one of the most likely to move on from the Lane in the summer, with Fulham being rumored to want his services. We have to remember he's still very young, he played for the England U21's last week, but if he isn't happy here he will move on.
Verdict: Disappointment

July 2005

Aaron Lennon- (1.5 million pounds) Talk about a good deal, Aaron came to us for peanuts really, as a youngster from Leeds. Had a breakthrough season in 2005/2006 that led to him making the World Cup team. The next two seasons weren't nearly as kind, and I think some were starting to wonder if he would fulfill his potential. Changed that theory this year, and has been one of the most dangerous options in attack for us. Liverpool is sniffing around and I hope Harry fights like hell to keep him.
Verdict: Diamond in the Rough

August 2005

Jermaine Jenas- (7 million pounds) Came down from Newcastle and formed a core partnership with Michael Carrick in the 2005/06 season. Has been up and down as a Spur, his passing can be sublime, but he seems to lose concentration at times. Was tipped with a move away from the club in January, but has looked solid since he made it back into the side. Can be a great player if he is in the right mind set.
Verdict: Not a flop, not quite a diamond yet

Grzegorz Razsiak- (2 million pounds) Only made 8 appearances for the club before being loaned out to Southampton, and eventually sold on, less than a year after being signed. A tall, target-type forward, he should have been able to work with Keane and Defoe but had no luck or chemistry.
Verdict: Flop

Lee Young-Pyo- (1.3 million pounds) Lee was a versatile fullback for us, he played on the right, played on the left, and even turned out as a left winger if I remember correctly. Martin Jol seemed to rate him, and I never doubted his work-rate. Not a favorite of Ramos, he was sold on this past summer. It was probably for the best that he moved on to get regular football, he wasn't quite Champions League quality, but better than a lot of fullbacks around.
Verdict: Solid Buy

So, looking at our purchases in 2005 we have 2 Diamonds in the Rough, a couple of solid buys, and a few disappointments and flops. Of the 8 players we bought in the course of the year, 4 are still with us, with one more than likely on his way out of the club. A 50% retention rate, at least it's better than the financial market at the moment. 22.8 million pounds spent, so really not bad business looking at the outrageous rates we've seen in the last couple of months.

So tomorrow we'll look at the movement in 2006 and see if we've still got anyone here.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Who Will Harry Sell in the Summer?

The rumors have now begun in earnest about who Spurs will be selling this summer. I thought I would run down the percentages of who would be moving on in the summer very quickly.

David Bentley: 99% Nothing is ever 100% in this world, so I will make it 99% on his being moved on this summer. It's not totally his fault that his time here at the club has been a failure. His price tag was extremely inflated in the summer, and so expectations were always going to be high. The other problems involve him being played down the left side much of the time he's been on the field, and let's be honest his left leg is not good for much more than standing on. The other problem has been the scintillating form of Aaron Lennon, which has kept him from playing his natural position all season. It's too bad since he was a fan of the team growing up, but that's how life goes.

Darren Bent: 95% Even though he is playing, Harry doesn't rate Bent, and he was close to being sold in January. The comment after the Portsmouth game probably sealed his fate. Like Bentley, too high a price tag, so expectations were high, and he didn't live up to them. Personally, I won't miss him too much.

Roman Pavlyuchenko: 55% I say this because Harry doesn't seem to love the big Russian and might want to put more of his stamp on the strikers. Bent had recovered by Saturday, but I thought it would have been a good time to give Roman a run-out, but Harry thought otherwise. Hasn't settled this year, but I would want to give him another season.

Jermaine Jenas: 40% With the way he's been in the side as of late, I don't think Harry wants to sell him on, but there still will be the rumors. I think he's been playing better as of late, but it's a love him or hate him case most of the time with most Spurs fans. I'm very confident that he'll be here next season.

Gareth Bale: 65% I don't think we should be giving up on Gareth as of late, but I think he'll be moving on, if for no other reason than he'll be wanting first-team football next year, and I don't think Harry believes he's ready.

That's the list for the moment, the big names that are being rumored. We'll see what happens as the summer goes along.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Effect on Team with Palacios Out

So we have started to have some continuity in the side, and have been seeing the results from that continuity, and now things will be changing. While I would love to see Wilson Palacios' red card overturned by the FA, I don't think the chances of that happening are too good.

So we'll see Wilson out at least one game and more than likely two to three, through West Ham, Newcastle and Man United more than likely. The question now becomes what will Harry do with this while Wilson is watching from the stands?

The most obvious answer is to slot in Didier Zokora into Palacios' slot. No Spurs fan can ever question Zokora's work-rate, it's his passing that has always let us down. I think one of the reasons for our resurgence has been the incisive passing by Palacios at times and switching us into attack quickly. Didier is not going to do that, but he'll tackle anyone and everyone around.

One of the other options would be to put in Tom Huddlestone in the midfield with Jenas. One thing you certainly get with Tom is the passing ability, but his tackling and decision-making at times can certainly be lacking. But he can hit that cross field pass on a dime, so that is another option.

Harry has to decide what he would rather have, tough tackling in the midfield or the incisive passing heading into attack? I think we'll see him choose the option of the tackling shoring up the midfield, and more pressure will be put onto JJ to launch the club into attack.

The thing that would be ideal, but is not even an option because of his injury situation would be to have Ledley King in that holding midfield role. He has the tackling and passing ability to stand in for Palacios, but his knees couldn't take that type of pounding.

I still don't think Wilson's second yellow was deserved, but that's how things go, and we should not be so reliant on one player, if we are a good side, we should be fine. Are the hopes of Europe dead now? Perhaps, though West Ham is certainly a winnable game, as are Newcastle, West Brom and Man City, all at home. We even nicked Liverpool earlier this season, so it's not out of the realm of possibility. But Europe does seem a far off place now doesn't it? It does seem weird writing this as everyone from 8-11 in the table lost this weekend, so I'll see this as an opportunity lost to move up.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory W/Player Ratings

Well that is a depressing way to start a weekend. I'd been worried all week that with the international break our run of form was going to crumble in some way, and I'm very sorry that I was right. What follows are my stream of thoughts through the match, with my mood going from okay to elated, to depressed to despondent.

The first ten minutes were nerve wracking for me, it seemed like we weren't ready to play football as of yet, but Blackburn were doing no better.

Then things start to settle down, we're making some passes and looking better. Then the dubious penalty. As a former referee myself, I would say that was debatable but I wasn't going to complain. I think what set the fans off on the referee more was the placement of the ball on the penalty, which is assanine I think. 1-0. I'm a happy man, and generally enjoy the rest of the first half.

Throughout the rest of the first half I'm thinking, "We need a second goal, we need a second goal." Didn't happen, but as the first half ended I was happy enough. Blackburn looked awful and I thought we might be okay, but the little voice in my head kept saying, "We need a second goal." I start counting down the minutes, and hoping our form holds. We showed some creativity, and Keane was basically running things with the way he was dropping back. We keep getting close, and I'm thinking it's only a matter of time before a second goal comes.

Then Blackburn bring Tungay on. Just before he was brought on, Palacios was bulldozed by Moenka. As it happened live, I thought Wilson had been punched, because he dropped like a sack of potatoes, on replays it was a shoulder, but a deliberate one. He should have been sent off and not substituted, but that's how things go I thought.

The second half ticks along, and Wilson picks up a yellow. No big deal right? Perhaps Harry might even bring in Zokora for Wilson to protect him. Before Harry could even think about doing that, Palacios is off, for tripping himself basically. He stumbled and caught Dunn, I don't believe in anyway that it was a second yellow, but I think the referee was looking for something to give to Blackburn, as a way of making up for the penalty call perhaps.

Okay, 10 men with 10 minutes to go, we can kill this off, though I'll have no nails left. I start pacing around my living room, waiting for Zokora to come on, probably with Harry sacrificing Bent, we don't need anymore offense, give Jenas some help in the middle.

Goal. Damn. Okay, Blackburn took it well and we were caught out. I'll still take a point, it's better than none, but we'll regret giving this one away later on. Zokora on, for Lennon? Well I guess that's why I'm not managing the club, it would have been Bent for me.

Push forward a bit, try to find a winner, don't let things get loose in the back boys I keep thinking. Secure the point above all else. Great shot by Warnock and a better save by Gomes. Goal. Double Damn. Set piece problems and late goals conceded, this sounds familiar doesn't it?

Okay, so it's not like we're in the relegation fight again, but with the way the side had been playing I was hoping for more. West Ham next, with West Brom, Newcastle, Manchester City, Everton, Manchester United and Liverpool to go. We're safe at 41 points, and I know we're going to get it. I see several more winnable games, and we can get some points away as well. Still, we need to get our form back. We had started to look like the team we were all waiting on, hopefully this will light a fire under the lads again.

Player Ratings:

Gomes-7 Can't really fault Gomes on either goal. Poor set piece and a clearance from the set piece and a lack of man-marking led to the goals. He's really settled down, he's not really bothering my blood pressure anymore.

Corluka- 6 Good shift from Charley, got forward pretty well. Could have had a penalty called, but did alright. Let down with the marking late on, but otherwise okay, he's our right back and that should be that.

Woodgate- 6 Woody didn't look as confident today as he has in prior weeks, but played alright. Let us down a little with the marking there at the end, which is a shame because this back 4 were starting to look really good.

King- 6.5 Did well throughout much of the game. Came close to getting his second goal of the season. Again, loses a little because of the late defensive let-down.

BAE- 5.5 BAE has played much better and is a good left back, but was off a bit today. Had some shoddy clearances, and probably should have done more to close down Warnock late on.

Lennon- 6 Not the blinding form we've seen from Aaron in recent weeks. Made a few runs and his crosses are better, but not up to par yet. Disappeared at times, instead of taking the game by the scruff of the neck like in recent weeks.

Palacios- 7 I agree with Harry that Wilson was probably our best player, he and Keane, before being sent off. I've already expressed my thoughts on this. 10 men is always difficult, but the glue really did come undone when he was sent off.

Jenas- 7 I'll take a beating for this, but JJ played well also. Had some great passes, the cross in the second half should have had Bent latch on to it and kill Blackburn off. His tackling is better, and his passing has been picking up, he's remembering that he is a player.

Modric- 6.5 Luka got involved and played well, but left a little to be desired. He wasn't as magical as he was against Chelsea, but then again he can't be that every game can he? Probably should have had a shot in that nice combo with Keane, held it a little too long.

Keane- 7 Robbie was the one dictating play throughout the day. Took the penalty well and kept dropping back and collecting the ball. Passed well, had good vision, if only he could have gotten a second.

Bent- 6 I wasn't sure if he'd be fit, but he was. Had a good shot, and made some decent passes, but invisible a lot of the time. Disappoint when we don't get more out of a second striker.

Zokora- N/A Only on for a few minutes, didn't really get too involved. I won't rate him because he probably should have had some man marking responsibilities on that second goal, and I didn't see him anywhere.

A frustrating day, wasn't it? But at least we don't have to wait two weeks to get the taste out of our mouths against West Ham. COYS!

Spurs Lineup Versus Blackburn

The lineup for today's match is out, and Darren Bent has passed a fitness test and will start for the club. It's the first unchanged lineup for the club all season. Alan Hutton is now fit, but does not make the bench for the match, although David Bentley does make it to the bench on his return to Blackburn, at least he wasn't left out of the team totally.


Corluka, Woodgate, King, BAE

Lennon, Palacios, Jenas, Modric

Keane, Bent

Substitutes: Cudicini, Chimbonda, Dawson, Bentley, Huddlestone, Zokora, Pavlyuchenko

Friday, April 3, 2009

Don't Lose the Plot Now Boys

After what seems like forever our beloved Tottenham are back in action this weekend. We travel to Blackburn and this can be a trap game. We've picked up six points from our last two games, when most of us would have been happy with 2 points to be quite honest. Villa and Chelsea have been strong all season, and Blackburn haven't been.

Earlier this season most Spurs fans were driven to the point of insanity with the inconsistency of the club. This is a big match for us because of that fact, we need to have a solid showing to keep the momentum of the last month going. The international break couldn't have come at a worse time for the club, as we were certainly on a roll.

So tomorrow we have to put forth a good effort, and we really need the 3 points to maintain momentum. If we secure another away win, we'll truly be safe, and can start looking towards trying to compete for Europe. Who would have thought we'd be saying earlier in the season that Europe was a possibility.

So I'm making an appeal on behalf of all Spurs fans, don't look at this game as a sure thing, or not concentrate going in. Buckle down, go in to Ewood Park, show your quality, and make this season be one all of us will remember with your amazing comeback. Just don't lose the plot now that you've finally found your form again.

Petrov to Spurs?

Manchester City winger Martin Petrov, who was a target of ours in 2007, is supposedly on the block this summer, and City would be prepared to take a loss on the 4.7 million pounds they paid for him. I remember thinking that Petrov would have been a good signing when he was a target of ours.

Petrov has fallen out of favor with Mark Hughes since he picked up a knee injury in October, and while I'm always skeptical of us buying players who have been sitting on the bench somewhere else, I think this is more of an injury case and City having silly money to spend.

One rumor that I have read is that David Bentley could be heading to City for Petrov and some cash in a swap deal. Putting Bentley out of his misery would be a good thing at this point, the lad has certainly had a season he'd rather forget.

Petrov is quick, has good speed, a good left foot, and scored several goals for City last season. At the moment I am perfectly happy with Luka Modric on the left with the form we've been showing, but I know that Harry will be looking for improvements in the summer.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Team News Before Blackburn

The lads are all back at the Lane now, getting ready for our match Saturday versus Blackburn. The thing that always gets me nervous during international duty is potential injuries, but no news on injuries other than the Darren Bent knock from the other day. Still no word as to whether Bent will be fit for Saturday, so it's possible that Roman Pavlyuchenko could be set to get back in the squad.

Robbie Keane notched a late equalizer against Italy last night, and I have to say the last time he netted a goal for Ireland is what set him back on track for the club, so hopefully this will only boost his confidence further.

We have been linked with a move for Wigan loanee Zaki. The 26 year-old has had spats with Mido his fellow countryman while at Wigan, and was blasted by Wigan boss Steve Bruce today for his unprofessionalism, failing to show back up at the club after international duty. We're linked with a thousand players it seems, and most never pan out, so I'm hoping this is another one of those cases. Harry, don't buy him!!!

No major news ahead of the match tomorrow, I fully expect to see the lineup that we've been deploying as of late, with possibly Pavy in for Bent, depending on his fitness. I also think Alan Hutton will make the bench, and I don't think Defoe is far off from being back for us.

Projected Lineup:

Corluka, Woodgate, King, BAE

Lennon, Palacios, Jenas, Modric

Keane, Pavlyuchenko (Bent if healthy)

Subs: Cudicini, Hutton, Dawson, Zokora, O'Hara, Huddlestone, Pavlyuchenko/Bentley

Lennon Wins PFA Player of the Month

Tottenham's very own Aaron Lennon has won the PFA Player of the Month Award for March based on his performances in the month, and let me say it was richly deserved. Starting on the 1st in the Carling Cup Final, he has been on fire, and honestly he'd been playing lights out since before that.

He edged out Van Persie of Arsenal, which makes the award that much sweeter for us Tottenham fans. This should be a base for Aaron to continue on his play and to build on what he's done this year. The call up to the England squad was deserved and hopefully this award will not go to Aaron's head. He's still got so much potential and this is only the start of it I think.

Harry Please Don't Sign This Player!

I've watched a few Sunderland matches this year, and wasn't impressed with Kenwye Jones and I was wondering what Harry saw in him to warrant a big money bid. I watched Jones play in a World Cup Qualifier last night for Trinidad and Tobago versus the United States and I will say it again, Harry please do not sign Jones this summer.

I was especially interested in watching Jones last night since it seems that Harry is still infatuated with him, and he might as well have been sitting in the stands for all he did. Granted T&T looked awful, lackluster at best, but there were several instances where T&T were on the counterattack and Jones not only didn't produce, he didn't get in positions to even have a shot at making a difference. One counter down the right wing saw a dangerous cross whipped in, and it was cleared easily by the American center backs. Jones was sitting at the top of the box, and didn't even make a run at the cross, a few steps towards the right side might have put him in a position to make a play, but he was left watching.

That summed up the entire evening for Jones. I'm sure he has some ability or else he wouldn't have gotten this far, but tactically he seems to be missing something. If a player could be in the wrong positions all the time, it was Jones, he just never got involved or connected with his strike partner Stern John. He looked a little bit like Darren Bent on his bad days, and we all know how we feel about Bent on those days, Harry included.

So Harry please, for the love of Tottenham, resist the urge to go after Jones this summer, I know you like to tinker, but signing him would move our strikeforce back two steps after moving forward with bringing back Keane and Defoe.