The blog has moved. Just browse to


the fighting cock podcast
blog best viewed on

Firefox, Safari, Chrome and IE8+.

Powered by Squarespace

Entries in Fabrice Muamba (3)


Knees? Check. Trembling? Check.

Spurs 3 Bolton 1

I watched the FA Cup game against Bolton in a hotel bar in Swansea with a West Country Spurs fan on a big screen without audio but with the unwanted ramblings of a quiz master reading out daft questions and playing awful music from the 70s and 80s. Hardly borderline surreal but not my ideal setting to watch Spurs. Even so, for or all I cared I could have been tied to a chair and been subjected to Chinese water torture, it would not have distracted me from my enjoyment at witnessing a rebirth (of sorts) for team in Lilywhite who swaggered, swashbuckled and displayed the urgency, fluidity and sharpness in touch and pass that has been missing for several games.

Sure, okay, no need to point out that we lacked that clinical composure where it mattered but this is still a team, a group of players, attempting to climb back off the ground, dust off and gently jog to warm up those muscles before running at full speed again.

It might have felt ominous at times, I'm sure everyone watching flirted with the potential for us to be sucker-punched what with all the possession and chances we were carving out. But also you would have flirted with the thought that one goal would suddenly make more easier to come by. Rejoice, the latter was the satisfying conclusion.

Bogdan (Bolton's keeper) seemed to get his body/hands/finger tips onto everything kicked his way. Granted one or two opportunities should really have been buried past him beyond any doubt. But to return to the metaphor of getting ourselves off the floor and back up standing proud, in some ways the patience and perseverance probably worked out for the best because it now truly feels like we've exorcised the demons that have recently haunted us.

Harry got the starting line-up right and made the right change at the right time (although we're still far better with one upfront than two). Was impressed with Livermore. To be honest there was little not to be impressed about taking into consideration how we've lacked this ilk of tempo and now we appear to be have got it back. We scored from a set piece - surely that's deserving of smiles all round. In fact there's been a steady improvement of dead ball kicking recently, although that's hardly something to shout about when you check the stats and remind yourself of how poor we've been for seasons now.

What we need to do now is replicate it in the league. Can't think of a better way to do so than to go toe to toe with the tippy tappy free flowing Swansea side this weekend.

All to play for. Our season is alive.

We're going to Wembley. Not proper Wembley, but it's still 90 mins or so away from a Cup final.

I'm having some of that.



Thick and fast

What do we want from our players in Tuesday nights FA Cup replay? I'd say something comparable to the tempo of the first game against Bolton (before it all ended in the 41st minute) without the defensive lapses and surrendering of too much possession with additional confidence collected from the 0-0 at Stamford Bridge. Harry will no doubt tinker a little but I'm hopeful of a strong line-up and a win. It will no doubt be emotionally charged, plenty of Fabrice chanting in unison from both sets of fans but when the poignant moment is over everyone's focus and support will be for the football being played. Honour the lad and his recovery with a ding dong cup tie.

Bolton will be fired up. As for us, two successive draws in the league is hardly glory football but its a stepping stone for momentum. We've got to reclaim that winning mentality and we've got to rediscover that bullish swagger we've lost. One game at a time, but with so few left every game has to form part of a tapestry of tenacity.

No pressure then. They're coming thick and fast. Potential semi-final against Chelsea awaits and going on the game we just played against them its not too far fetched that one or two knees will go a little trembley with excitement. But first and foremost Bolton Wanderers.

Silverware + top three would crown off a crowing season even with our recent choke.


Will be travelling tomorrow and not back until Wednesday night. I might have to make do with Twitter to follow the game. Sad times.


Strength. Width. Tempo.

Stoke, under the lights. I'm sure once I get to N17, walk down the Seven Sisters, have a beer or two and take my standing place in the Park Lane Lower I'll find myself edging back towards the necessity of us acquiring all three points. I remain fairly detached still from the pressures of finishing in the top four and retaining third place ahead of the two other London clubs below us.

Fabrice Muamba remains in our thoughts. It's great news that he's no longer critical and is in a stable condition, progressing well. Life goes on and so will football, even if for the moment it still feels some what unimportant in comparison. I wasn't at the Bolton cup game. I'll be there this evening (a rare occasion post-fatherhood) and I guess I wont know until the game kicks off how subdued the atmosphere will be. Hopefully it wont be. Harry said no player will be selected if they're not in the right frame of mind. If anything, we'll honour the lad as he continues to fight on and off the pitch. I'm positive all players will want to participate and do so with utmost professionalism.

I think the manner in which we played in the abandoned cup tie (aside from the openness in defence) would be a good starting point to continue with this evening. That means Bale out wide on the left in a more traditional flank role. Modric in the middle and van der Vaart free to roam from the right. It's a must-win game. Doesn't feel like it is but placing everything aside and taking the game in isolation - we can't afford to drop points at home. Not just in this game but all our remaining fixtures at White Hart Lane. Chelsea away to City, Arsenal away to Everton. It wouldn't be that surprising (considering the roller-coaster nature of this season) if the home sides falter. Ironic that for the best part of the season I've always cited how other results are of no interest to us. However now, the interest in what happens elsewhere is of a slightly more keen nature. It would be nice if our rivals came unstuck.

We need plenty of spirit and desire and complete focus at the task at hand. We're up against a side that has already beaten us twice this season. Make no mistake it's a tricky fixture under normal circumstances let alone following what happened in our last one. They are physical and dangerous from set-pieces. We need to grip the midfield and play our game and let them worry about attempting to contain us. Got to be organised when defending from high balls. We've also got to be wise to them breaking up our play so we might need to be patient in some of our build up play.

Strength. Width. Tempo.

Life does go on and we should embrace the positives and do them justice.