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Entries in blackburn (6)


Triffic against traffic cones but sweet FA for 'arry

Spurs 2 Blackburn 0

We got everything right without really hitting full pelt. Selection, tactics and tempo. Players looked brighter and more hungry for it, the football flowed and had the final ball been a notch better we'd have been comfortably out of sight long before we scored a second. Blackburn Rovers turned up. In the stands. On the pitch, fairly non-existent. They just set themselves up to contain but hardly managed to do so convincingly. We utterly dominated from start to finish (something ridiculous like 71% possession). We had 17 (or 19) shots they had nothing. Not even a shot off target. It was a akin to training match against traffic cones that had wheels attached to them and someone on the touch-line was remote controlling them really badly to force our players to run a little more energetically towards goal.

Sandro was sick. Literally and in terms of class. Beastly in effort. Tenacious with and without the ball, it was good to see this again in Lilywhite. Plenty of solid tackles, neat and tidy play. Unlucky with his shot that struck the bar and his marauding run was a proper punching the air with encouragement moment. He was solid in his defensive duties (winning the ball back, tracking) and tasty going forward. Parker wasn't missed. Seeing players wanting to win, it shouldn't be a luxury, it should be a given.

Chipped away at Rovers for the 1-0 with Rafa scoring. The second a brilliant free-kick (oh my God, direct from a set-piece!) from Kyle Walker. Sorry Robbo.

Defenders had little to do. Flankers were involved without being overly exciting. Bale still roaming (although against Rovers it was the only way he could probably remain awake). Modric was free to collect and lay off in the middle to his hearts content and although this game was made easy by the lack of endeavour from the opposition we still had to work as a unit, which we did. Wasn't spectacular. Not going to complain either. We had to win, we did. That's enough for me.

Bolton next. That won't be easy in comparison and a far sterner test. Been here before post-Swansea win. Spurs, Harry...still with plenty to prove.

As for Roy Hodgson being approached by the FA who have yet to approach anyone else, either they will ask to speak to others or they've decided against Harry or perhaps they we're never really interested in him in the first place. Where the irony sits is up to you and your own perception of this saga. 

Was the FA ever interested in Redknapp?

Could they not have released a statement and clarified their position unequivocally at the beginning (when Fabio was sacked) to say they will appoint someone in the summer when the season is actually over? Because if they did that (I forget) it still feels like its been dragged out with dollops of uncertainty landing in our back yard.

Does the FA not think they are causing uncertainty and distractions by doing their business when the season is still running its course? WBA still have games left to play last I looked.

If the FA did not approach Harry, then does the blame sit with Harry and his media mates who whored and manufactured a relentless campaign of hype where England was constantly mentioned and cited?

Why did Levy and Redknapp not meet behind closed doors and agree to draw a line under it and release a statement to reiterate focus on Spurs and Spurs only? If a manager is constantly talking about another job even if it's in response to media questions, surely a quiet word on professionalism wouldn't go a miss?

Good luck Roy.

It's funny to think that the FA might have had Redknapp in mind but changed it after the Spurs blip. A self-fulfilling prophecy of doom. If we don't qualify for the Champions League will Levy want to part with a mass of (compensation) money by sacking his manager? Or more to the point, is he now stuck with him? Or do we plug away with what we've got, because what we've got is still good enough to fight for a top four place next season? Even though it means we have to tolerate the continued disassociation and naivety which will point towards under-achieving - though this will depend on your perception. Competing top end of table is hardly under or over achieving if we keep doing it but could we be doing better and is the blame shared with Levy or is this simply the highs and lows of progression we should be enjoying? Kudos for removing the mid-table anchor but we should never ignore the sentiments in aiming high. Or are we limited due to wage budget and therefore at a level that can't be surpassed when comparing ourselves to the clubs above us?

I don't get this free-pass mentality that is being bestowed on Harry simply because 'we've never had it so good'. I still stand by what I said recently. Look at the position we were in early this season then look at the collapse and the subsequent handling of said collapse. Do you want to risk going through that again at a pivotal moment next season? I won't cover old ground (read The regression of Harry Redknapp's Tottenham, four parts for a far more detail look at this season and the future).

Still, the person that needs to step up this summer is the chairman. Longevity, transfers and decisiveness. We've been far too cautious for too long. Can we afford to speculate with a little more oomph? It's still tricky to work out whether we have the funds or not. How much of a hindrance (until built) is the NDP if at all? Are we aiming high or simply looking to sustain continuity.

I will end with this quote (from Harry's favourite tabloid) from Harry: “Good luck to Roy. I can see my future at Tottenham and I would like to stay. But that is down to the chairman.”

No wonder he looked so glum post match.

Never a dull moment at Spurs. 



What are you made of?

Friedel, Walker, Kaboul, Gallas, Rose, Lennon, Modric, Sandro, Bale, Van der Vaart, Adebayor.

Subs: Cudicini, King, Nelsen, Livermore, Giovani, Saha, Defoe.


What are you made of Tottenham?


A jelly and crisp combo or gritty metal with a sharp point?




Rafa refuses to dance to Samba beat

Rovers 1 Tottenham 2

I keep waiting for us to explode into rampant action with devastating consequences. The sort of performance that has our players swinging from the chandeliers holding bottles of champagne whilst the opposition sit in the corner, shaking, slowly moving backward and forwards foaming at mouth whispering to themselves...make it stop, make it stop, make it stop.

In my pre-match comments I eluded to the fact we are rather good. At least we should be rather good when up against a side like Blackburn that are struggling. We were good in patches and had enough quality to see the game through. Our luck will run out at some point if we don't resolve the centre-back injury crisis (by resolve, I guess all we can do is muddle through) and other key players don't re-discover their mojo. What is most definitely good is the fact that we continue to be capable of playing average football away from home and still come away with all the points. Luck or basic survival instincts, either way, we're 5th and our excellent run since the Manc spankings continues.

Due to the manner of the victory and the once more fragmented tempo to our game its tricky to delve too deep into whether we have learnt anything new from this performance. Have we? Go on then, you pushed me into it. Although I still don't think we've learnt anything new. Just echos of old. Taking observations made solely on Blackburn away I'd probably go with:

van der Vaart. Four opening goals in four games. Love him. The finish for the first goal was classy stuff and his second equally majestic and impossible to stop. You might sit there and debate what else he does on the pitch and how his wandering is detrimental to the side and whatever, shut your mouth and just look at the facts. He's a born winner and no matter the opposition he gets the job done. After years of complaining that we lacked true fighters, men who know how to win and have the desire to, now we finally have such a player we should just sit back light up a Cuban and enjoy. Top drawer. It's just dandy to have a player that can sometimes not play out of his skin and still score a brace and win us the three points.

Was it just me or did Friedel look a little unconvincing at times? Even so, if this was an off day for the big man, then I'm happy. Didn't cost us but could have. But didn't. Just seemed to notice a lot more in this game that he does love to stay on his line more often than not, which means the onus is on the centre-backs to attack the ball. Have a word Harry please. With the physios. Bassong struggled here (high balls) because that's a weakness to his game. Still, some very decent saves from Brad when called upon.

The problem with not having King available is that we don't have King in the side and can therefore spend large portions of the game looking like we've got the Queen playing at the heart of our defence with a corgi by her side. Was no surprise that Rovers pressured us with high balls and physicality. Samba was a handful. A brute (and given the freedom of the pen area) which led to their equaliser. We don't look convincing at the back but then what team would if they had three seasoned centre-backs 'watching' from the sidelines? Samba does love to make us dance around at the back.

Kaboul was vocal. I like that in a player. But much like Bassong he struggled with the aerial assaults Blackburn bombarded us with. You almost felt like Rovers could have scored more because we slacked way too much. The pressure we were sometimes placed under mostly down to the lack of a telling partnership with Bassong and Kaboul (who seemed to struggle when in possession).

If Sandro is not fully fit, then I look forward to when he is because (as cited pre-match) a midfield with Sandro and Parker in the middle would allow the South American to dominate and boss, cleaning up and chasing down whilst Parker can slot back into his more accustomed role of box to box football. Scott is hardly built like a Brazilian Bane and can be out-fought in the middle of the park. No amount of 1950s hair flicking is going to scare the opposition. It's difficult to lead on the pitch if you're being consumed by a couple of heavy duty responsibilities. He needed more help in the middle. He can handle himself, he can get stuck in but he needs a partner in the thick of it.

Don't be too harsh on Lennon. He needs game time and he needs more of it. Tracked back okay on occasions.

Love Walker. There was me thinking he'd be providing cover for Corluka this season. His effort and determination going forward is an inspiration. If he was a boxer he'd bring it to you, punching relentlessly, always looking for the haymaker. Brilliant run for the opener which deserved the goal.

Adebayor still looks like he's playing with that hamstring worry. Subdued. Did drop deep a lot, fairly frustrated I would imagine. Still, he was involved rather than disinterested. I hope.

Modric looks like he's worked out how to shoot at goal with menace. Decent game, bit more bounce in his play this week but not the best circumstances to dictate.

Bale. His form continues to bubble along at luke warm temperatures. He's a left-winger, pulsating at best when released down the flanks...but something, that edge that spark, it's not quite there. Harry has to take some responsibility here to get Bale back to his best. Man management is fine, but tactically out on the pitch Harry has to perhaps focus on how best we utilise him to get him back up to boiling point. A bit of freedom perhaps? Instructions to cut inside (ala Modric back in the days when he stood out on the left)? He's not exactly been woeful. The standards he has set himself is what magnifies his lack of impact. He'll get back to it, no doubt. I guess Harry has to ask himself, how best to galvanise Bale? At the moment its all very bog standard.

Overall, its time this 'luck', this scraping through a game and surviving to hold on is brushed off and we start to brush off our opponents with more pomp and splendour. Not just Bale that needs galvanising.



We've got 99 problems but the pitch ain't one

We're missing a few centre-backs.There's continued debate about whether Defoe should start ahead of van der Vaart. 442 or 4411? Is Rafa (in his head) bigger than Spurs? Is Harry scared to drop him? Why shouldn't we accommodate a match-winner into the side even if he can only last 70 minutes? Does the team have more structure and understanding with a traditional top two up front?

There's more.

A question mark post-Newcastle as to whether we still struggle to sometimes truly lay down authority with a mixture of silk and slaughter and boss and win games we're expected too. Is Adebayor fully fit? Do we miss Lennon? Do we need Lennon? Why does Bassong have some fans choking on their hearts? Can Kaboul command the back four? Harry's left-field selection on the right for Bale - why persist with this failed experiment to provide balance? Or is it an unavoidable consequence of the right-handed quirk we possess what with no natural cover for Aaron?

Questions. All to be answered soon, you would hope. Technically speaking, none of the above should be classed as problematic. Tag them as conundrums and they are all mostly birthed from positive (be it sometimes heated) discussions. We're hardly spending the aftermath of a weekend game dissecting an obituary of a result. These are good days. Not quite hedonistic but there is continued tangible progress (that's in terms of what we expect from 'this' season). Although for some that's another arguable point; The wealth of talent in our squad. Some say a more tactically astute manager would produce more powerful performances. Perhaps we do need Redknapp to be more head strong and consistent. It's not impossible for this team to fail, but failure would be unacceptable no matter how glorious.

We have a beastly spine sprinkled with glam midfield players. Dynamic and demon. But sometimes frustrating and fruitless. What we need is that extra spark to ignite something bullish and brutal. You sense its not that far off. Injuries aside, one or two of our 'stars' are enigmatic, erratic. Still, five games unbeaten. That's good going for a team with plenty of imperfections.

Blackburn is a chicken piece in a bucket.
The fighting cockerel is nothing if it does not fight then crow.

Sandro, Parker in midfield bossing it. Modric, vdV and Bale dictating, leading and marauding. Adebayor flying. Sounds great in writing. With all the problems and conundrums we supposedly have the one place we should not be concerned with them is out on the pitch at Ewood Park. Even if most of the problems are lost in formation.

Let's try it again. Sandro. Parker. Modric. vdV. Bale. Adebayor. Hairs on back of neck should be standing.

Complacency and underachieving? No thank you. Swagger and belief? Yes please. From the players foremost. Don't leave us red faced Spurs. Never red.

I get that the media emphasis is on Blackburn and their manager and that can usually inspire in their favour against the odds. Our centre-back pairing is not our first choice. We might be put under pressure, both physically and aerially. Smash the cliché to pieces. What about the pressure we should be placing them under with ball being pushed around on the pitch, with fluid confidence?

Get the job done Tottenham. These ilk of games are equally as important as any top tier clash.

Cock a doodle doo.


How did we do?

Home again. Spent a couple of days up norf, within spitting distance of Old Trafford (tested and proved). Highlight, on the delayed journey back, was sitting within stalking distance of Kaya Scodelario. I'm practically twice her age. I disgust myself. But not as much as I disgust the o2 network and it's weak 3G connection. Following the football on Twitter whilst travelling on route from Manchester to London whilst salivating is hardly the best way to get my THFC fix.

So what have I missed during my bout of cold turkey?

Luka out for three games including the first leg of the monumental double-header against Meelan.

King delays op because he can't find his passport (you can't make this sh*t up).

Harry is still telling everyone stories about the almost/nearly signings in this past transfer window which saw us fail to resolve the ongoing forward conundrum saga.

Spurs win. Away. Gritty I'm told, not perfect and not vintage but some highlights including the performances of our fullbacks, Gallas, vdV and Jenas. Crouch scored. Defoe has forgotten how to.

And apparently if we beat Bolton on Saturday, we'll be one point better off than we were this stage last season. Not to shabby, even though some of us are struggling to stay afloat in a sea of negativity.

The arguments are aplenty and I'll formulate my take on all the deadline day mishaps when I've had nine hours worth of sleep.

Would appreciate some honest 'reports' of the game against Blackburn. Fill ya boots (i.e. the comments section).

DIY blog for this early early morning.





In support of Jermaine Anthony Jenas

No - the blog has not been hacked.

Welcome to the JJ and Pav Appreciation Society. Membership is free.


You'll have noticed four things this past weekend. That's if you are straightforward with your honesty. I know I did, and it was echoed by others. A minority it would seem in parts - but I guess due to past crimes many of us struggle to come to terms when attempting to quantify then justify and compare one of the greatest of Spurs conundrums...and any supporting acts touring at the same time.

The rest shrugged and stated nothing has changed. And it probably hasn't. Because their perception of Jermaine Jenas has remained constant so it supports their opinion of the player, no matter what changes around him.

Now before you start accusing me of over-reacting or suddenly acquiring misty eyed delusions, I'm just pointing out that both Jermaine Jenas and Roman Pavlyuchenko (two of the most much maligned players we possess who sit on the bench of besmirch with Bentley, Keane and one or two others) played well. That's it. Not saying that for example JJ has suddenly achieved redemption and is owed respect and medals of honour or that Pav is the answer to our lack of cutting edge up front.

All this article wishes to state (in a traditional long-winded manner of therapeutic acceptance and apology) is that to balance out the Spursverse and stop the stars from falling from the skies, it's only fair we get into the habit of acknowledging those that deserve some praise, be it a gentle pat on the back or something more. The culture of knee-jerk, blame and favouritism remains and its easy to ignore anything that might contradict your opinion. We are guilty of it.

And sure, it was only Blackburn Rovers, but then it was only Sunderland, Bolton, Everton, West Ham, Wigan etc etc. We need players performing, no matter their apparent squad importance.

Both Jermaine and Roman deserve polite plaudits. I'm hoping this won't send some of you into cardiac arrest. So considering how quick we are to throw rotten fruit, it's only fair right? And equally so, my feet are firmly on the ground in terms of expectancy from both players. Because we've been here before, especially with JJ, who has flattered to deceive countless times. When he does play well its easy to confuse a standard performance for most other players with something sublime or superb thanks to it's rarity when he delivers the goods. And soon you come to the common conclusion that it's a blip, a positive spike of energy, and normality will resume. It's the ongoing soap opera we follow with Jenas, the same plot line repeated over and over again.

Not sure if its the smell of the NLD that has him looking sharp and focused, in time for a possible hopeful obligatory Tour de force cameo against the scum. Or if he has simply dug a little deeper with no spot-light on him. Arguably one of our best performers on Saturday against Rovers. What with rumours of Huddlestone crocked (now confirmed - 3 months), although both are completely different ilks of players, on form, Jenas isn't too shabby a player to have as a replacement. On form. Which is where the problem has always been. He's not always on form. Or to put a finer point on it - he's never the player we expect him to be. Which in some ways is the reason so many of us look on in despondency and always expect him to be below average. Even when he's not.

JJ is nondescript, say, in comparison to a Hudd or a Luka. You know the strengths and weakness of both of these players but with Jenas, he's just box-2-box but doesn't excel in one particular area other than his energy levels and his long-busting runs. When on form. With Hudd, it's his quarter-back stance and power-shots and vision and Luka is a crafter, a dinking magic man. JJ is always meant to be something, but we're never quite sure what that something is meant to be.

On Saturday he covered the pitch with intent and purpose, wanting it, playing balls to the flank for Bale, cross pitch marauding runs and some trademark box to boxing, driving forward (almost scored) eating up the space ahead of him. He's played decently a few times this season, but in comparison to the Bale and vdV hype, nobody tends to notice. Unless he plays sh*t, then we notice.

I know I've probably been guilty of ignoring him and grabbing the Kleenex for fast wrist action when watching Gareth destroy the left wing. Kleenex obviously required to wipe away the tears of joy from my eyes as my wrist struggles with the constant grabbing of the remote to rewind and replay.

This time though, I've found myself basking in Jenas tackling and battling on the field of play. Okay, basking is a touch too far. Pleasant. It was pleasant to see and with our injuries, it's fairly joyful to have a forgotten player reminding us that he can still offer his services to the side. Unlike Bentley who never appears likely to re-discover form he possessed prior to his move to Spurs.

I suppose you might still not be impressed and you might cite something I've always preached about  Jenas. When he plays well, as aforementioned, it's a blip. Levy's original poster-boy for 'sell-on value'. He is the perpetual prince of potential, forever we await for him to grow out of footballing puberty and then grow some much needed balls. Belief, he lacks it. And the home support equally so lack belief in him.  Hence the target on his back. We all want him to be the player he's expected to be.

He was never (going to be) a blood and thunder die hard mentally strong player we could build our midfield around. Whereas perhaps now, he can simply offer us some energy and directness, not as a Plan A, but as a Plan B.

"Uh, no, they're saying "Jen-urns! Jen-urns!"


We stand by the likes of Modric etc when they under perform because we know how well they can consistently play when on form. We hate on JJ because we expected him to be Gerrardesque in terms of stamping his authority on games. Perhaps not so much these days. Once upon a time when we lacked class in our midfield, he was our only hope. Hence the misguided faith and expectancy that weighed down on his fragile ickle mind. Now the landscape is one of riches so Jenas can - when given the opportunity - get on with doing the hard graft work whilst others swagger and silk.

He has played well this season, with a couple of poor performances thrown in. Much like many of our players have too. Considering how easily we excuse some of these players and look the other way and whistle.

So what four things did I notice on Saturday? Not rocket science this.

1) JJ played well

2) Pav played well

3) JJ still gets maligned via the 'Jenas is crap' reflex

4) Pav gets support from the crowd even when he's missing 'open goals'

Now the latter is great to see. Not the missing of open goals, but the support. Roman shots wide a glorious chance, then misses a penalty, but still we cheer him on and when he scores we lap it up. He always notches up a goal does Pav, even though most of the time he lacks much of anything else. But we seem to accept him. Did play very well against Blackburn and showed the type of movement we need from a forward whilst we wait for JD's return. And he showed strength to get on with it and stick the header away.

As for JJ, when the pressure isn't on, he turns it on. And we could go on talking about how a player who needs to be handled with care is not the right type of player for the club in the direction we wish to continue going. But it wouldn't be so much of a problem if we didn't treat him like he goes around bragging he's the best midfielder in the country.

Well done Jenas, I appreciate your efforts. You're not exceptional in any great way and your abilities are less special than say the likes of Modric and Huddlestone and company that offer those dinking runs and sublime passing but on this type of form, if we just accept you for what you are and can be (a solid squad player) then hopefully we'll see more of this from you. With the odd anomoly that has you playing out of your skin. And we promise not to expect from you every week.

Consistency, it's all we want.

JJ. Not reinventing bread just lightly toasting it. The Marmite is optional.

Support your team. Support your players*.

*if you play sh*t JJ, I will ruin you mate.


As for Pav, he needs a run in the team, otherwise we'll never know if he's just the right man in the right place when coming off the bench (Darren Bent anyone?) or a forward who can work as part of a cohesive fluid Spurs side.

As for the game itself. Good to have you back Spurs. Well, at 60%, but good enough. Disappointing to concede two late on, especially in the soft manner we did, but otherwise it's important to knowingly nod at the fact we scored four goals at home comfortably with two goals from forward players in a 4-4-2 formation (bastardised a tad to account for vdV's wondering into central positions).

Back to basics Tottenham and Harry. Huddlestone injury to be discussed later. NLD previews on the way.

Onwards Spurs.





A lot. At the minute. Hoping that minute turns into hours.