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Entries in away draw (6)


Could be worse. £13.90 for fish 'n chips

Maribor 1 Tottenham 1

Turns out it wasn't a must win game. Just a standard stutter our way through and gain a point type of game. Unbeaten in Europe and thanks to Lazio conceding a late goal, the group remains wide open. I don't have the energy or the inclination to read enough into our current performances in the Europa League as some form of progression gauge. We just don't have it going on in this comp currently. That sense of being underwhelmed plays heavy on the mind for most. I guess it's reflective from supporters to players.

Our 'lads' (official Tottenham Hotspur label for the players) don't look comfortable. The system has no identifiable swag and for the most part it's all untidy and complacent. Off the pace. I guess I should stop expecting the world and settle for a very small comet instead. A meteor. A hailstone. A melting snowflake. Okay, fine, a sweat bead from a flea.

Even though our line-up retains strength and experience on paper, a healthy mix allowing for key players (and some of the old men) to rest, not much happens out there.

Sure, we could have so easily beaten Lazio. And away in Athens, had we held on. But we drew both and we drew this one simply because we can't muster up enough urgency to boss the game. No disrespect to Maribor but I'm sure they really gave it a go. We just turned up, set ourselves to autopilot and came out the other end with enough shots over the bar to win us twenty rugby world cups.

But it's just a game. Best for me to remember it's also just the group stages. The two home games now are the ones that will define if the players truly want to see their way through to the knock-out stage. Hopefully we'll have players back for selection that we're unavailable this evening meaning a little more of that much required shape in the middle. Still no necessity to go full FULL strength, but something that little bit more direct and creative is desirable.

The only shape we had was Tommy Huddlestone that casted a shadow that resembled the titanic strapped onto the back of a ketmaine induced Godzilla. The only difference being that Godzilla would turn over in his sleep faster than Hudd moves. Easy there, it's just banter. Huddlestone is nowhere near being head fit let alone match fit. His defending for the goal conceded was akin to me forgetting to ask for chilli sauce on my kebab and turning back towards the counter to ask for some. No rush, it's going to happen no matter how slow I move.

Bang! 1-0. Bang! Chilli sauce over my doner.

Is it worth talking tactics? I'd love to know what Villas-Boas is telling the players in prep for these games and then before and at half time in the dressing room. I know there's no conspiracy (i.e. AVB not really that bothered with this competition) and it's also obvious that VB is aware of quality of opposition and is confident the players selected can 'do a job'. Have we ever really been in a position where we feared we would lose? Don't answer that.

As cited, Lazio could so easily have been three points and that performance was very controlled. But the two games after that have been lacklustre - or have they been calculated? Are the games just a lot more tricky than we perceive them from our lofty position of instant hindsight? By calculated what I'm referring to is, explicit instructions not to perhaps over exert ourselves (any less exertion and we'd be asleep - players and fans). Just that the execution is clumsy and without any sustained intent.

No argument, you could pull apart one or two performances from the games. Players isolated, ineffectual. Fluidity and passing erratic. Is it worth doing that? Are these games in isolation to the domestic bread and butter of the league? Are these perhaps missed opportunities by some to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and stand out from the rest? What am I doing? I'm trying to rationalise again when in the most simplistic terms the game can be summed up with:

Didn't play with enough conviction to boss midfield and game and failed to create enough chances to win. Poor first half. Better second half. Never in danger of losing but could have lost and never in danger of winning.

Nice movement for our equaliser. Nice until the scramble splat itself all over the penalty area for Sigurdsson to score. Not quite as comical as that first goal the home side gleefully accepted.

Sandro and Falque played well (I'm using the barometer here that I remember them more than any other players on the pitch, thus, they must have been quite involved). As for Maribor, they do love their dramatics. Ref more bothered with Naughton daring to fall after being fouled in the penalty area. Their home support more alter boys than ultras.

In conclusion, it's like having a beautiful woman in your bed only for her to ruin the moment by wearing red lingerie. You fancy her but you know your performance wouldn't be up to scratch. Red is simply not sexy on a woman, it's a massive turn off. Should always be black lingerie. Or something. That's all I've got people. Good night.


Spurs involved in Greek tragedy

Panathinaikos 1-1 Tottenham

Highlight of the match was half-time when I cooked a rather delightful fry-up consisting of bacon, sausages, two fried eggs and some fresh buttered bread (not toasted) to soak up the golden yolk. The mug of tea (Yorkshire Hard Water) another bright moment in what was a completely satisfying feast. Unlike, unfortunately, the football that slept either side of the fifteen minutes it took me to serve up.

A half-empty stadium with no atmosphere and our hosts looking rather limp and ineffectual, whilst we bossed it without really trying too hard for forty-five minutes only to then mimic the Greek side by not really bothering to do much more in the second. Which meant it didn't take much for them to hold onto the hope of an equaliser, which came by way of a pass deserving of one. The high-line, Dawson looking lethargic, all the defenders looking lethargic. Sigh. It was generally a performance of much ado about nothing and thank **** we didn't end up with nothing. Honestly, I was begging for the ref to blow the whistle towards the end because I thought they might end up nicking it in injury time. That's insane considering how easy things looked early on. Daws did score though. That's the script the tabloid hacks dreamt about last night.

Sure, we should have had a penalty, once again we were sort of robbed but still, that's too apologetic a reason to accept as for the disappointment. Effort gentlemen please. Bit of emotion? Passion? Even some arrogance would have been acceptable. If Andre Villas-Boas is taking this competition seriously and if the players and side being selected is pwoper norty in terms of bullish strength, why so lacklustre? International break after the Villa game, right? I'm left scratching my head.

Far too many below average performances, a few cameos and plenty of homework for VB to chuck at his Powerpoint presentation for the flight home. Careless possession too. Walker remains lost positionally, Dawson - love him, but just because I want to slap his back and hug the big lad doesn't mean he's good enough for our team. Nice gesture to give him the captains armband but on this evidence you can understand why QPR was a viable option for him during the summer. I'm trying to be gentle here.

Huddlestone looked like he cloned himself pre-match then ate his clone and decided to run around without burping first. Yet still he manages to produce the odd sweetly hit volley or pass. Damn you Tommy, if only you were born in the body of Zidane. Lloris played. So bored he was, he even let the ball slip out of his hands just so he had something to do in the first half, correcting his mistake.

We should have just steam-rolled them. We should have come out for the second half and steam-rolled them. Judging by our coach on the touchline seeking players to push up more, we lacked urgency and lacked common sense. Really need to want it more Spurs. I guess perhaps that was the crux of it. Should of steam-rolled them but instead, slowed down in body, the soul and spirit. We could have done with a Shamrock or two on our shirt.

It's still tricky to be too critical of the selection. Had VB selected a less 'first team' heavy side would the players in the side been more enthused and prepared to impress enough to claim the win with comfort? Won't ever know. Redknapp played youth and we got nowhere because everyone at the club wasn't that bothered about it. Seems we need to be trying that little bit harder. Too many players with their mind on the Prem? Probably.

Andre citing 'heat and tiredness' post-match. I think he's being too kind. But all part of the learning curve I guess. This wasn't quite a wet and windy midweek away day at Carlisle. But at least he's honest and upfront about it all. You get the feeling he's noting everything down and that mistakes made are going to be processed on the training pitch, rather than being tagged with a 'one of those days innit' label.

Another point gained but we'll have to do better at home in the next Europa League game by actually winning otherwise dreams of Amsterdam will go down faster than a sassy brunette in a kamer. Maribor double header up next.

No injuries either. I guess bundles of energy stored up now for Villa at the weekend. So, no excuses right?

AVB resignation on hold until then.


Danny wouldn't be impressed

Sunderland 0 Spurs 0

I'm fairly certain the reason we lacked any vibrant sharp urgency was because our players were battling narcolepsy having to watch Sunderland that close up. I know I was. I spent most of the game counting sheep. There was no tempo to our play which was a massive shame because had we stepped it up a notch we'd have won this comfortably. Although it would have entailed our players firing rubber bullets to get past Martin O'Neil's ten man demonstration against forward progression.

Still, our passing was sloppy. Even with a whacking 65% possession we failed to test their keeper. Did we fail to break down Sunderland? Yes. Trying to skip around a brick wall rather than attempting to jump it proved futile. Then again we don't have too many that can jump. As for our hosts they were the epitome of anti-football (if you haven't guessed yet).

I called them 'organised' and 'committed' in the match preview. Oh the hilarity of irony. They were defensive and negative and the personification of footballing boredom, drilled for containment with the hope of perhaps getting lucky from a set-piece. No want and desire to make a game of it. Shame on us for failing to snap out of the snooze and slap them down. Up to them how they wish to play (even if IMO a home team should be the one setting the pace of the game rather than camping out in their own half for ninety minutes. Each to their own).

Frustrating that we appeared to hold back. I thought about this earlier. Perhaps that pre-match focus (take one game at a time and treat it as the one that matters most till you get to the next one) failed us. If we did hold back with Norwich and Chelsea in mind when you attempt to understand what that means in a pragmatic sense, you can't. Well I can't. Does playing within yourself mean that exerting to say play a decisive forward pass in an up-tempo patch of football have a knock-on effect for the next game and the one after that? Is it possible for a collective, a unit of players to decide to play at 60% effort and restrain imagination from having the expansiveness of a lucid dream right down to a forgettable day dream?

I've played football. Its been many years now, but on occasions for whatever reason, things just don't work on that day. Whether you're off the pace or lethargic with pass and move, it's all a little clustered and without fluidity across all players in the same jersey. Fluidity is something we've recently rediscovered so perhaps in the back of the players mind a point was enough and that's what ended up playing out. That's a shame because every game should be about the three points. One will have to do this time.

Then again, we probably didn't hold back that much. We just couldn't muster the required craft and guile to trick our way over their brick wall. Being constantly hacked down didn't help with the rhythm either. The stadium extinguished light to darkness.

One to forget.

Danny Blanchflower would have frowned at this.



The spur of the cockerel needs to be sharpened

Swansea 1 Spurs 1

Not the best of days. Jaded, fragmented and lacked shaped, more so when Harry changed it up with the two substitutions in the second half which only served to invite more pressure from the home side. Two points dropped? Well no, not really. It was a point gained considering how much of the possession we gave up in the second half. The hosts were the better team.

The thing with mentality is our players should ask themselves why it failed today, why were we not at the races? Ask then put right next game and next time we’re away to a tricky side that might cause us a few problems. What I mean is, if there was a casual aspect to our play and if we held back in the early exchanges then there has to be a collective reason for it. Don't think it was anything more than the aforementioned jadedness.

Personally, I don’t buy into complacency or believing our own hype. Doubt very much we went there believing we’d just need to turn up to win. We just lacked that spark and all things considered, if we’re going to have an off day away from home then a point might as well be acceptable. Swansea had all the right in the world to attack us. Sadly we could only produce pockets of possession and could not get a handle on the midfield. Don’t underplay the fact that it only takes one or two players in the team to be just a little off balance in terms of performance level for that to have a knock-on effect.

Lack of rotation? Sure, that’s a reason, an obvious one. Perhaps because we haven’t quite defined our plan b we rely too much on a particular style of play which means rotation can have a detrimental effect on the side thanks to a lack of like-to-like replacements in the squad. We’ve played and won without key players before, but perhaps we’ve over-stretched a little and it’s caught up on us.

Still, if its fatigue we have an opportunity to be clever with selections in January (in our home matches) and capitalise on what looks to be an inviting fixture list. Also, it points towards the necessity for activity in the transfer window because we’ve still got a fair few games to get through and there is nothing more frustrating than losing out on something because we lack cover and then having to cite that as an excuse. When we were down to the bare bones last time, we somehow managed to finish fourth. It’s different today because we’re in a better position as a team and expectancy is on us to keep up the positive results.

One worrying aspect that remains concerns the players we do have, the fringe players, and which will perhaps (finally) be sold on as there is little chance of us signing someone when we’re not shifting others out. When you start looking at the semantics, it can turn into a nervous game of patience with varying arcs dependent on other clubs and the business they seek to do.

In the past this usually means nothing happens until the final week or day (if that). As I said back in the summer we need to be decisive. We don’t need a massive overhaul. Just consolidation in key areas. If the politics of management and other off the field dramatics play a part in Levy’s decision making, then it gets messy. The side and its immediate future has to take precedence. Long term questions can be answered in the summer of 2012 (i.e. new goalkeeper). The messy bit for Levy is the decision that might need to be made regarding a new forward. Not just the element of risk if Adebayor gets injured. It’s the conundrum of whether we need to look to bring someone in this January and how that might affect the potential signing of the Man City loanee.

Considering we didn’t splash out £20M+ for a La Liga or South American player and opted for a loan deal you might find yourself agreeing that Levy is playing a waiting game.

As for the game; It was high tempo – end to end at times. Very ominous towards the end. You just knew they would equalise and it was deserved even if I would have accepted the 1-0 in our favour (obviously). Perhaps better goal-keeping would have seen us steal all three points. I guess it’s a thin line. Hold on and win and we’d have lauded the performance of grit when not playing too well. We drew and thus, we’re disappointed in the two points dropped from a winning position. But in each case, the performance is identical. Just an instinctive reaction or reflex (or lack of) makes the difference. Either way, we did not lose the game. Consistency and work ethic is part of that mentality we’ve built up, which means the old skool capitulation disorder is no more. We know how to compete.

I could not care less about other results. Let them worry about us rather than us rely on them slipping up.

It was untidy. The substitutions did not influence the game in our favour (they aided the opposition). The impact of losing both Rafa and Parker (who is in dire need of a rest) was pretty much as subtle as a brick in the face. We failed to adapt and appeared reactive to the play, with Sandro doing his best to defend everything. Reason enough to rest Parker and allow Sandro to fly solo. Kaboul also impressed again and Rafa (with the goal) worked hard for the team before going off.

When presented with opportunities we did not make the most of them. Adebayor not great with his first touch and only needs to be offside once more this season to equal Defoe's all-time record. Too many lethargic performances. Should work in our favour though. A reminder we have to work harder and Harry has to be careful as to avoid that rather obvious excuse in the making burn-out. In the grand scheme of things, our festive tally was a decent one what with the games played away from North London.

Special mention for Gareth. Stop it and cut it out of your game. As for his positioning, Harry should have instructed him to anchor himself a little to the flank rather than free-roam centrally where he appeared to have little impact. These things take time to work themselves out, so no need for a knee-jerk.

39 points from the last 48 points available. Third in the Prem. I’m content. I’m ecstatic to be honest. Sure, I’m hungry for more and we should not get into the habit of accepting second best but we still have to be realistic. We continue to evolve and the most vital aspect is to retain that consistency and momentum we’ve built up.

And if you are inclined to show interest in what is going on elsewhere, it’s apparent that everyone is beatable at the minute. Nobody is quite the same force they once was. The Prem continues to flux in its state of transition. I wouldn’t go as far as suggesting four or five teams are level-pegged – but the difference is hardly insurmountable.

We need to quickly nail down how best to rest/rotate and rejuvenate when we hit a lull and still retain our style of play or adapt accordingly for damage limitation.

It’s been a cracking season, one that I hardly imagined when we got tonked 5-1 at home and then lost (as per usual) up at Old Trafford. We’ve been exceptional without always being spectacular, but we’ve embraced our traditions and have continued to add new traits to our tenacity. We’re playing fantastic football at times and have players others envy. It’s hardly a shabby position to be in so do more than enjoy it. Wear your heart on your sleeve. Always.

We are Tottenham. All hail the arrival of 2012.

Love the shirt.



Sexy beast, not so sexy

Newcastle 2 Tottenham 2

It's almost like the footballing Gods read my preview for the game then worked the proceeding ninety or so minutes to play out like a tapestry of mockingness with canned laughter playing at critical moments. In this case both times Newcastle scored. I highlighted (in the preview) that we don't tend to do well up at St James Park. We switch off. It can be calamitous. That wasn't the case on Sunday.

Wasn't so much calamitous. More cataleptic. Yard off the pace for practically the entirety of the first half. The odd moment of progressive movement but mostly on the back foot. In fact no, not on the back foot rather both feet up on the sofa. We didn't get going. Not so much Sexy beast. More sleepy beast.

The intent, well, it can't be constituted as genuine intent if its powder-puff.

The formation, the lacked. Sat thinking we need a goal here. A Newcastle goal. What I got (mockingly bitter-sweet from the Gods) was a penalty for Spurs. Rejoice, yeah? 1-0 at half-time. My head is then full of rhetoric about how 'big teams, they create their own luck, they don't need to play well to win games'.

I then start to think back on the stale first forty-five and wonder why we haven't quite woken up to the concept of perhaps perceiving the game as must-win. But then psychology of this ilk is redundant. You have to be physically losing one nil for the team to wake up. In this case we we're winning one nil by sleeping. Seriously, HELLO? WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?

Before I came to a comforting conclusion, it was 1-1. What now? Pretend like we're losing? Take nothing away from their build up play other than taking it all away. We should have defended far better than that. The word 'casual' popped into my head and I finally had a tag to label that first forty-five with. In that crazy unexplainable fashion that only professional footballers and managers understand we suddenly take shape (pretend like we're losing <-- oh yeah, psychology 101) and poke Newcastle a couple of times in their belly-button, almost flicking out that coloured fluff that lives there. Alas, not quite.

At least the second forty-five had some tempo to it.

What is going on then? Is this Newcastle, a team that's 'okay' nothing special but obviously doing something right and playing well...playing well against us, Spurs...a side that hasn't quite found the pace of the game easy to run alongside too. Or is that harsh? Do we expect too much from our ourselves? Is this simply an off-day? And if an off-day is drawing 2-2 away to an unbeaten that not a good day? Or should the Toon take more credit?

Oh yeah, 2-2. That was the final score. King, we had lost. Walker over-worked. Bale wasn't playing (he wasn't playing right?) and Defoe replaced van der Vaart and promptly scored a belter.


Oh, hindsight, you wonderful thing you, with your frilly knickers and red lipstick. Let's be honest here. We were collectively on a low ebb first half. The intelligent play I expect from Rafa and Ade was all half-arsed and casual (there's that tag again, it's not gone to waste). Perhaps both players were not quite 100%? Although with Rafa I should rephrase; Was Rafa perhaps not 70%?

Possibly being unfair to Newcastle United and their midfield. Might lack obvious quality and depth but they got the job done against us. That's job done enough to stop us from taking it by the scruff of the neck. But then onus on home side. We can't have it all our own way when we play away from the Lane when we expect it.

Also probably unfair on Ade. He looks a class above in terms of movement and possession. I think we might still be two or three games away from actually clicking. We need to cut out the schoolboy thinking when attacking and look for the more measured pass. More often. Happened today a couple of times second half (Parker and Modric). Clickety click soon hopefully.

As for bringing JD on, a player who wanted to prove a point...well that happens all the time. Why didn't he start? Because he wasn't selected. I know, ground-breaking. Would have been lovely to have had Parker and Sandro in the middle also but you just have to deal with it. The formation wasn't great. But nobody would be saying that if Rafa played in Ade and he scored. One match proves nothing. Didn't work on Sunday. Let's just be grateful the substitution did.

What a belter. Then Defoe displayed the more frustrating aspect to his game. Lay the ball off son, lay it off and we'll score again. Selfish strikers, what do they know?

Then another sub breaks our hearts. 2-2, 86 minutes.

Happy with the point when we could have been happy with all the points but then also could have quite easily gone home with nothing more than a souvenir bra from the night out in Newcastle on Saturday.

If this type of performance happens two or three more times, then we can start discussing whether Harry still can't get to grips with having certain players playing in certain positions. I'm sure some of you will point to the right hand side and the fact we have conceded a few via the make-shift flank we have there (get fit Azza).

For now, may as well put this down to a sleepy day at the office and just about getting away with doing as little work as possible without being found out. That cut-throat beastly slap we need to be smacking down on opponents in games is still something we haven't quite worked out. Would have been perfect had we nicked it at 2-1. Had we, this match review would have been a universe apart when in reality, there is very little in comparison. Well, apart from two points.

Onwards. Five games unbeaten. Game in hand. This show IS on the road. Even if we have nine players out injured, and two not fully fit...Shh quiet, hush.

COYS. Love the shirt.



COYS, get a move on

Hello. My name is Spooky and I am not a knee-jerker.

However, I am concerned.

Not 'last season was a fluke, we're going to finish 7th this year, all our players are sh*t, especially the sh*t ones, Harry doesn't have a clue' concerned. Just a little bit concerned. In fact, not that much, not really,  mainly because if one lesson was learnt last season it was - believe, at all times, just believe.

I have complete faith in both our management and our squad.

Starting slowly, well, it's a common trait for several teams. It's just that, what with us losing a player a game (even when we - THFC - are not actually playing), you start to scratch your head about the lack of settlement with consistency, flow of play and tactics. It's all out of sorts and disjointed at the moment. And yes, I do prefer this ilk of crisis to ones of previous seasons when we would lose all the time (although technically back then it wasn't a crisis it was just standard form).

We usually lose at the Hawthorns, but just because we didn't doesn't make it acceptable that we failed to win. Perhaps if Modric hadn't have gone off. But still, not a one man team, are we? The point is, we conquered one level last term, we have plenty more to conquer this time round if we wish to stick around in 4th. Early days, but my money is on this season being practically identical to last in terms of how many clubs have their eyes on that 4th spot and how many can genuinely challenge for it.

If we wish to continue on forwards, we can't keep stuttering. Fact is, we have a chance to build on last time out, and possibly even make it a more comfortable experience (my heart, my poor weak heart, will surely give way if we have to do the same as 2010).

So, 1-1 away.

It's by no means disastrous, is it? The injuries however are not good, obviously, because after last season I would have hoped we had some luck and thus been able to select from a full strength squad for league and CL. But that's fantasy. Everyone always has an injury or two to deal with. Gutting two of ours came by the way of International duty, and a third thanks to plenty of kicks to Modric that saw him go off (thankfully no fracture, travelling to Germany with CL squad). He was triffic for us on Saturday.

We do have depth. But tinkering and mixing it up is having adversed effects, mainly because Harry can't settle on what is best and isn't helped by our run of bad luck with crocked players. It also has a fair bit to do with the first leg of the CL qualifier that saw us crashing back down to earth. And the fact we got a certain Dutchman on the cheap. No complaints there, but Harry has to fit him in quickly (perhaps fit in others around him quickly).

My concern is that we are making it difficult for ourselves, struggling to ignite and spark our season with some of that ye olde Tottingham magic. It's there. Just no bunny rabbit out of the hat. But please, do not head to the bathroom with a toaster. It's not quite David Copperfield, but then it's not exactly Tommy Copper either. Had Bale scored on Saturday, we'd be saying, good old Spurs, winning away without playing well, that's the sign of a proper side that is.

Why am I even entertaining the negatives and knee-jerks? Because I know a couple of you need the therapy. And I probably need some too.

Brilliant first half v City at the Lane. Couldn't quite find the net. The aforementioned Young Boys spanking away and recovery along with brushing past them in the return leg. Sandwiched in-between the Young Boys (what?) was a gritty ugly 2-1 away win at Stoke. Then we had the Wigan home defeat, which was just one of those days that we tend to have under Harry. A blip. Which we experienced last season, but still found the guile to correct and make up for them as the season flew past.

It's been erratic. Nothing more, nothing less.

Anything below amazing would be, considering the way we ended last season. But such is expectancy. We know what this team can do, so we are right to feel aggrieved that they are currently not producing the goods with swagger and swashbuckle. But no need to head-butt the panic button.

So, the WBA game. Decent first half, up until the mess (from our perspective) of an equaliser which saw Gallas ghosted and the rest of our defence do little as they watched the ball bundled over, cancelling out the Modric opener. We kept the ball well, carved out a few moves. Lost the impetus when Modric went off. Don't agree he's injury prone. Do agree he gets kicked a lot. Leave him along, ffs. He's only little! Ref, where's the protection?! vdV put in a good shift I thought, all things considering, debut away. 4-5-1, not quite working, mainly because Pav seemed lost up there on his own. He was playing right?

More stuff I noticed/thought about post-match:

CC in goal saved us in the second half. Some quite desperate/wonderful saves to keep us holding onto the point. But I'd rather have the Brazilian mentalist Gomes back between the sticks.

Defending wasn't Kingesque. Struggled with set-pieces. Gallas? Off the pace. Mugged for the goal, but then we played like mugs in our attempt to defend it.

Lennon is struggling with his form. Perhaps we need a fit Bentley to give Azza a psychological kick up the head. I don't buy all this 'he's been found out' BS. It's a lull, not been bright since his return from injury. He'll get there.

WBA were dirty (ooh small team bullied us, so unfair), and thought Webb was lenient/blind on a few occasions, and yes, Modric did seem to be kicked an awful lot. Have I mentioned that yet already?

Pav offered not a lot. The fact he started and Keane didn't says all you need to know about what Harry thinks about Robbie. If Robbie comes good, no doubt we'll get the same sound-bites we heard when Bentley re-discovered his form (although that didn't quite work out long term any ways).

Wilson Palacios needs to be given extended time off to sort out his head. I don't agree that we over-rated him based on his early performances and that those decent games masked all his average games. Some of us are saying this. The thing, with his brother, clearly screwed him up (would screw anyone up) and he has not been the same since. He has lost his composure. Not that he was a beautiful studs on ball type of player before, but he was Gandalfesque with his 'You shall not pass' ethic in centre midfield, biting ankles and such. He is the definition of 'all over the shop' currently. Fast-track Sandro please.

vdV showed plenty of class and has quite obviously settled in quickly with the squad and did not look out of sorts at all. Good range of passing, vision and technical abilities. No shocker there. Not too bright on pace, but then we knew that. Don't agree with the suggestion that he has no work rate or physical presence (I need to stop reading message boards). He was all over the pitch. But do agree that if we don't get our forward conundrum sorted out, we won't be using him to full effect. Can't wait for a WHL showing. Bit more freedom to sex it up, and hopefully over the next few weeks he'll blossom with the mechanics of the EPL.

Tactics. The formation died when Modric went off. Huddlestone disappeared and lacked any control over the midfield. I'm still content he was given the captaincy over Gallas. Didn't work, but still content. Moddle is vital. But let's have some reminiscent of structure please when we have to change it because of a departure.

I just don't like Bale at left-back, even though I knew he'd start there. I'm sure Harry, I know Harry is astute enough to see what did and didn't work. And what with all these injuries, bare bones and tings, we might find ourselves having to take advantage of the misfortune and settling down with the key players we have available in key positions, without tinkering. That's if we manage to avoid any further losses. We'll muddle through, but will prefer to Moddle through.

So where does the spark come from?

Plenty of candidates. Just hope it happens mid-week then at home to Wolves. Because, may God have mercy on Glory Glory and all the other Spurs message boards and blogs if we don't win at the Lane next weekend. Perhaps the slow start is simply nerves what with the CL just up ahead for us. If we are getting distracted by Europe, then we might as well call time on our EPL top 4 challenge right now.

Focus, Spurs, focus. Momentum. Build it up. Then turn it on.

Concerned? Nah. Just impatient.  COYS.