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« White Hart blame | Main | André, keep whispering sweet nothings in my ear »

Apparently we're playing this weekend

Lessons learnt from past misadventures will benefit us.

Andre Villas-Boas has already changed his approach with the media (shame he wants to speak only about football whilst they continue to poke questions about non-event sensationalism). He's more giving and less defensive. He also spoke of there being more warmth at Spurs than there was at Chelsea. I guess there are no stipulations and guidelines that have been outlined as imperative objectives. The more welcoming environment has allowed him to settle in far easier than his first attempt in England and his hunger remains rampant. AVB wants to win, he wants to achieve success and he is meticulous in his approach and preparation. He has a plan and he's being allowed to implement it, at his own pace.

So with all the story arcs this game possesses (the ones to be teased and taunted in the stands and exist as the spine of most of the pre and post match coverage) it's going to be a match that demands a fitting chapter if not a finale. Tottenham up against the team that robbed us of CL football and stuffed us in the cup. AVB up against his former club where he failed to impose himself and his ideals and was left humiliated, replaced by his number two, Roberto de Matteo. The only true defining story arcs exist with each club without influence of external influence. Chelsea, fluid but perhaps not as robust as previous sides are winning their games and Tottenham are progressing at a slow brooding rate, simmering not quite to the boil just yet. Both teams 'a work in progress'. But both with enough to be fairly confident of a sustained challenge at the top end of the league. Both far from being finished articles.

Chelsea have a wealth of creative talent (Hazard, Oscar, Mata) and will line-up not too dissimilar to us with holding midfielders. They've been fluid but not dominant but have been spectacular in moments. They can definitely be got at, but this will depend on how we defend and contain them, especially down Kyle Walker's flank. This match is all about the midfield battle and the tempo we attempt to impose on the game.

We're going to need to be disciplined defensively. We're going to need to dominate the centre of midfield. Close down players, win possession back, neat and tidy passing. Tempo has to be high and has to be pressured. Sandro needs to dominate Oscar. Dembele has to drive forward. The holding players might be defensive in their responsibility and positioning but they hold the key to offensive intent. Push up, push wide and push through the middle. Individual battles will influence who wins the war.

What is most telling of all is Villas-Boas in pre-match mode. Aside from some colourful descriptive work and business speak he can be simplistic eloquent and philosophical.

"The team and players are more important than me"

"This game is not going to decide the future of both teams in the Premier League - after this game there will be 30 more games to play, and both teams will have to have decisive matches in front of them. It counts as three points. It doesn’t win us a trophy"

"To a certain extent I feel this is much more about Tottenham in the sense that this is the team who took this club out of the Champions League, and this is the team who prevented this team from playing in FA Cup Final last year - so in the end we certainly have the ingredients for it to be a spectacular match”

“Taking it to an individual situation is not fair on me - first because it means absolutely nothing on the end of season and in which position you might finish, and because it is not a quest of an individual, it is a quest of a team, and where we want to finish at end of the season"

From the heart. No hyperbole or sensationalism. Just the way it is. I'm not nervous, I'm confident and I'm looking forward to it. I don't care for the statistics of the past, I care only for the next game.


Reader Comments (36)

We will conquer.....BELIEVE.

Oct 19, 2012 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Bowerman

First!!!!!! totally agree spooks for the first time in a long while actually looking forward to the game think we may have areal chance here COME ON YOU YIDZ!

Oct 19, 2012 at 9:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterMattybizzl

Ah, the hope! The expectations!
It's killing me.
27 years following Spurs have told me everything I need to know.
We're gonna crash and burn..

PS: big fan spooky

Oct 19, 2012 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterGinger_aannas

New Dawn
New Manager
New Faith
Audere est Facere
Go for the jugular :)
Take no prisoners.......

Oct 20, 2012 at 2:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterTrollytart

The league leaders Chelsea have won so much in the last seven years ; three premiership , many FA cups and they are current champion of Europe ahead of Real Madrid , Barcelona and Bayern Munich. While Arsenal stagnated. It is measure of our recent progress that the bookies make us favourite to win today.

Oct 20, 2012 at 7:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterSTATMAN

@ Trollytart/Wisky Tommy? !

Fully agree.... Lets slaughter them, - Gangnam Style !!

Oct 20, 2012 at 7:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterAllan

Everything the Moneylaunderers win reminds me they stole it from the impoverished Russian people, when by rights they were heading rapidly down the same path Leeds and Glasgow Rangers have taken.

Oct 20, 2012 at 8:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterCyril

Agreed Spooky.
There are so many class players on the pitch this will be a classic.
For me it’s all about how we transition from the inevitable Chelsea pressure into a swift free moving offence.
A perfect game for Vertonghen to show his skill. If he flows so shall we.

Wop…wop wop wop Ver..tonghen style….


Oct 20, 2012 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterfillar

Wop, Wop, Wop-Wop...Ver..tonghen Style...

Bring it boys!!


Oct 20, 2012 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaterham7

Great sub by AVB to bring Ade on for Dempsey. Should have come earlier but hey...
Hopefully it produces results now...

Oct 20, 2012 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterNochman

Shows you what we have without 2-3 key players, very very average,

Oct 20, 2012 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterHotspurs

You're not going to dominate teams like Chelsea every time you play them whoever you are. We were in it until Walker gave the ball away for the 4th. Good game, shame about the result. Well played Defoe. Adebayor looks rusty.

Oct 20, 2012 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterDeadly

I find myself wondering if that was the beginning of the end for Brad. He made some great saves but was caught standing like a deer in the headlights on goals he probably couldn't save anyway. At the very least it seems like a good excuse to start bringing in Hugo. I have to think his speed off the line would have helped today.
On the subject of old players, Gallas had what I thought was a bizarrely up and down match today.
Hudd did okay but I think his performance underlined why he doesn't fit in with the system. Dempsey was useless, Siggy frustratingly still not there though I feel like we saw glimmers of what he can do.
I did think we looked so much better with Ade.
That last goal really soured the match. Was ready to leave with head held high but it really added insult to injury.
Still, I do think there are reasons to be positive. I just hope AVB draws the right lessons.

Oct 20, 2012 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered Commenternycyid

Pulsating game ! At 2-1 our makeshift midfield were
overrun by probably the best midfield in PL. Despite
making a goal, Gallas looked extremely shaky and
Walker, oh-well ! Work in progress...
We shall overcome !

Oct 20, 2012 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterAllan

I don't think the international break did us any favours-I would rather have played Chelsea a week after THAT man u. game,
not a fortnight. Had a feeling we would not get anything from this game. So not hugely disssappointed. Oh well.

Oct 20, 2012 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered Commenter4Mullery

Have Spurs won a single game at home since the bearded twat arrived ?

Still at least there is always the cups to play for.

Oct 20, 2012 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered Commenteras

Well, not what we wanted but I think we have just lost to a side that will finish either first or second.

What can we glean about our true position from today? Simply, we will not win the league. We knew that but it was confirmed today. Ok, not the end of the world but where does it leave us?

I think we will be in the fight for fourth. What will it take us to win the fight?

In two words, fight and ability.

So start with dropping Gallas for absence of former and Demps, Frieds and Lennon for latter.

Oct 20, 2012 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnock Knock Spurs

Frustrating - no Bale and Moussa denied us what may have been one of the best games ever seen at the Lane.
Hate Chavski - no more than a product of Roman`s wallet - but the football fan in me can`t deny that they have a great side.
Hazard, Mata, Oscar sliding it about in midfield was impressive. For all that, 3 of their goals were easily avoidable.
Walker - sort yourself out you`re better than this.
Brad - thanks but bye for now.
Defoe - keep going son.
Kaboul - get well soon.
Dempsey - WTF???

Oct 20, 2012 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered Commentermoe

I cant believe Bale didnt play...
Sigurdson is not ready.
Dempsey wasnt useful on the wing.
Friedl showed slow reaction on the first goal.
We could have won this game. Massive disappointment!
Given the circumstances at the start of the game my side would have been: Lloris, Walker, Gallas, Caulker, Vertoghen, Sandro, Huddlestone, Lennon, Dempsey, Townsend and Defoe. (if it didnt work, would have put in Ade for Dempsey and Defoe behind Adebayor).

Oct 20, 2012 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterFab

@Knock Knock Spurs

Drop Lennon for a lack of ability. Er. . . WTF? Not sure what you've been watching this season. Should we get Jenas back?

Oct 20, 2012 at 6:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaptainYid

..there is no Brad Friedel vs. Hugo Lloris situation. Its AVB's only fault so far. Bench the grandpa. He's never really been exceptional or undroppable. Reliable he is. But in a very average sense. Bring on Hugo Lloris. He will make some mistakes as he adapts but, the sooner the better. He is the present and future.

Its a non-issue really Mr. AVB. Please make the right decision.

As for the game. We gave our best. Mistakes happen.

Oct 20, 2012 at 6:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterRonnie

Good game...I thought maybe Naughton for Gallas would have matched up better against the speed of chelsea. Missing our best defender, midfielder, forward and spurs were close.

Oct 20, 2012 at 6:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid G

"Tottenham up against the team that robbed us of CL football and stuffed us in the cup."

Again: Chelsea did not screw you out of CL football. Tottenham screwed itself.

Spurs could have easily held on to number 3 position on the table. Then Harry Redknapp had a little brain fart towards the end of the season, possibly distracted by a potential England job. Spurs dropped many points. Remember?

"AVB up against his former club where he failed to impose himself and his ideals and was left humiliated"

Oh... AVB certainly imposed himself and his ideals at Chelsea. A shoddy win % that led to Chelsea finishing 6th. You know, that 'high line' attacking football that he prides himself on? You are reaping the 'benefits' of it now: losing 2-4 to Chelsea at WHL. Enjoyed it?

Please, do not let that victory at Old Trafford get over your heads yet. Don't you even dare use the absence of Bale+Dembele as an excuse for the defeat.

Oct 20, 2012 at 6:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheck your facts please

You have more money and bought yours one great midfielders.
Even so we played you without our best players and were close to getting a point. True you were missing your neo-nazi at the back.
We are still Spurs and you are still a bunch of muggy chavs.
Money don't change that blue scum.

Oct 20, 2012 at 7:22 PM | Unregistered Commenternycyid

Thanks Norwich!

Oct 20, 2012 at 7:36 PM | Unregistered Commenternycyid

Well put.. money doesn't change anything ! Chelsea has a Good team.. very good team..but a shit club ! Proud of the performance on the day ! We aren't there yet (to be title challengers) but we are where we should be ( fight tor top 4) !

Oct 20, 2012 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpurs4life

Agree with some of what is said and these are my thoughts;

As soon as I heard Bale and Dembele out - I thought we would do well to get anything out of the match.

We didnt look that fit during the last 20 mins.

We need to learn how to keep possession.

Lloris will now become the No 1 goalie

Walker doesnt look the same player as last year. Shame on those who are giving him abuse.

Gallas - well we all know what happened.

Sandro - seemed quieter than normal

Vert - good and lloking forward to him and Kaboul as CH


Huddlestone - showed why hes not normally in starting 11.

Siggy - got lots of chances and needs to start scoring.

Ade - rusty and looked a bit disinterested.

Lennon/Defoe - played well.

Look forward to return of Naughton/BAE/Kaboul/Dembele/bale - with them it would have been closer.

Oct 20, 2012 at 8:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterbridgendspurs

From the Guardian and cant disagree

'It had been a stodgy Tottenham performance. Huddlestone's passing has regressed badly and his partnership with Sandro lacked mobility, inferior by some distance to Chelsea's two holding midfielders, Ramires and Mikel John Obi. Perhaps more worryingly for Villas-Boas, Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson are taking their time adapting. Early days, but Chelsea look like title contenders, just as Villas-Boas had planned but with a different manager in place'.

Oct 20, 2012 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterbridgendspurs

Yeah, stodgy is a good word for much of it. Some good patches and some positive signs but overall not quite good enough.

Oct 20, 2012 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered Commenternycyid

Didn't we once have a midfielder named Yuka or Zuka or something?
He played in the Dembele role if I recall correctly.
Seems to me he was quite creative and unstodgy. Whatever happened to him?

Oct 20, 2012 at 9:17 PM | Unregistered Commenternycyid

While we were never in control we had enough chances to have won, even with Gallas, Walker, Gylfi, Clint, Brad all having poor or inconsistant performances. There was spirit in the performance that say wasn't in the Norwich game. Onwards and upwards keep positive.

Oct 20, 2012 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterDD

I think Ade would fit in the role behind Defoe which Dempsey played today. Defoe often takes possession on the left side of goal it seems this is when you would want Ade to come forward. We somehow have to start playing both Defoe and Ade in games like this. While he still loves to shoot first Defoe seems to have a better positional and distributive abilities under the new system. As much as I would love Dempsey to succeed I'm not sure he's up to this level to play yet. Gylfi I think will certainly get better. Hudd is simply not going to work out in the new system as much as I love him. Nevertheless you can bitch about AVB all you want, this one came down to the fact we had half a squad missing. We can learn from this one and move on. It's a long season.

Oct 20, 2012 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered Commentermikey s

Bale, why didnt you play the game. score a goal for your kid, celebrate with a heart and go to the hospital then? I know its personal, but loads of footballers have done it before. I remember Bebeto and Romario celebrating the birth of the formers son during a game of the world cup in 1994. And it payed off, they beat Holland and were champions later.
For Spurs, like last seanson, if Bale or Lennon are off, the team is half the threat. This was one of the reasons for the flat performance in the end of the last season that cost us the 3rd place. (Not only Redknapps distractions) I think thats why AVB wanted to get William in, to have a cover for the flanks. After the game today, I think for playing in the top four, a bit of coverage is missing in the squad. But we were close. Just a shame we didnt hold on to the 2x1 lead. The brutal pressing in the first half also killed the players, so that many had no legs left after the 60th minute. We almost where there to take on the russian thieve and his mercenaries side!!! COYS

Oct 21, 2012 at 3:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterFab

Just for the record defoe was amazing yesterday, I haven't seen him play that well in a long time

Oct 21, 2012 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterDD

Er, are people really questioning why Bale didn't play the game? Mental...

Anyway, yeh, the Chavs are looking good. Shame we had to play them after the break and without half our first team....

Oct 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered Commentermo6020

What is wrong with our support? Could only watch on TV but heard more chelsea singing throughout...even Cole is having a pop on twitter about how quiet we are. Then after 'fans' abuse one of our best players for having a bad game. Im sure that will help when a richer club come calling when he is back on form....

Oct 21, 2012 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJC

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