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Entries in home form (7)


Solidification please

QPR. At home.

Is there really anything more to say than to find a happy medium between the dominant Reading performance and the cohesive one against Lazio and win in bullish, aggressive fashion? Anything more, aside from:

One holding midfielder, not two.

Score an early goal.

Then get another before half-time. At a push a third.

If not a third before half-time, score it within ten minutes of the second half starting.

Kill the game, kill it dead. If they park the bus, slap 'em with a parking ticket then hot wire the sonofabitch and clamp it on the touchlines. It's our back yard, don't allow them to dictate and force us to react in a way not becoming to our preparation. Control equates to tempo which results with initiative. They need to be adapting to us. Our home, our rules. Their struggle.

Take the sting out of the game if necessary in the latter stages. No need to witness the last 20 minutes consisting of nervous dispositional football. Solidification please.

Belief. On the pitch, in the stands.

Home win.

Positivity in blog comment sections and pubs the world over.


Get on it. COYS.


Massive game. Please don't bottle it.

Considering how the results went over the weekend, plenty of people are suggesting this evenings game at home to Villa is a 'big one'. It's imperative we win, they say. It's the ilk of game that transcends the football played physically and reaches out to the psychological aspect that can sometimes be the difference between winning and losing when you're expected to get the points or if what's going on around you beckons it. Sometimes we can choke a little or find ourselves the victims of a 'shock result'. Football blips don't need a written invitation. They tend to gate-crash if you leave the front door unattended.

Regardless of who is beating who at the moment, I think everyone can agree that the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal are not anywhere near the standard they played at during the dominant Sky Sports Top Four era. They sat (along with Utd) in a league of their own. When looking back to those seasons, you can more or less nod (grudgingly) that they were a class above which makes that bitter pill easier to swallow. You can't compete with seasoned CL clubs. At least you couldn't back then. As much as you would have hoped and wished for.

It's all degraded over the past few seasons for them and the rest (some, one in particular) of the chasing pack have caught up (level pegging?) and to be honest, there is no apparent hierarchy of who is better than who at this moment in time. Blagging rights firmly placed aside. Arguably last season, this season and the next will go quite some way to defining a new potential 'top four' (either that, or 2/3 clubs will take it in turns to share CL with the Manc sides).

Don't mock me or abuse me, but I'm glad Arsenal have remained plucky (be it dependent on a certain forward) and continue to look back up towards the upper tier of the Prem. Even if the reality is they are not a patch on the past, sometimes that belief factor can aid you in the right direction even if you're punching above your weight. Chelsea have the look of a side that needs to be stripped of the legacy left behind by Jose and start afresh (more likely to sack and replace their coach rather than giving him an opportunity to rebuild). Liverpool are hardly spectacular. They resemble some of the hard working Everton sides of recent years that attempted to puncture the Top Four.

If everyone around us is in transition, we're the ones that have continued to progress, retaining our good looks with no need for re-constructive surgery. The pressure is on us. But expectancy should not be feared. It should be the fuel that rockets us into the heavens. Smile please Tottenham, let's see those brilliant white teeth.

All the aforementioned clubs can stake a claim for 3rd spot as their target for this season. Opposition fans can still go about pretending time has stood still and it's the mid-00s, but best left to leave them alone with their delusions. They will work through their stages of denial in time. But that doesn't mean they can't turn it all upside down by reclaiming some of that supposedly dead status quo ante.

Whether you believe we have the best squad or not, it wont matter much on paper if the results on the pitch are failing to match our aspirations. When you look back at 2010, we had to dig deep as underdogs. It's different today. We are contenders. Perhaps we need to still find that authoritative cutting edge to boss games and see games out without drama in our pen area. Just to make the ride that little bit more comfortable and thus ease the pressure. The Tottenham way is always the hard way. But if we are genuine contenders, then it shouldn't be half as difficult as we are capable of making it.

I think most would agree any which way this evening will do as long as we win. I still want us to lay down that marker we continue to grip in our hand. A lucky win or one that requires grit is the same three points as one that is fluid and controlled...but I much prefer the latter.


Love the shirt.


Spurs drop two points and then gain one

Spurs 1 Chelsea 1

Should have won the game. Arguably could have lost it. The emotion that sits alongside me post-game is one of regret and frustration. Go on, hands up if you're gutted we didn’t collect the three points? Gutted, but hardly surprised at the final result. Yet another perfect illustration of just how small the margin is from pretenders to something a bit more than just pretenders.

Let's review.

Our opponents

For all their possession (especially in the second half) they still lacked any sustained cutting edge up front (sound familiar?). Passion wise, they rediscovered some much needed form, but then it was a derby so you expected them to play a lot better than they have in recent weeks. But even now looking back, if this is Chelsea trying to rediscover full pelt it was hardly punches to the back of our neck. When their missing and returning players return to full fitness they'll probably shift gear. Thought we contained them first half and they had pockets of pressure in the second half. Wasn't easy but I was hardly biting my nails either.

Their stand out player, was (pains me) John Terry. Made some point-saving interceptions.

I'm struggling to remember the last time they beat us at the Lane. Just in case you wanted another example of evidence of how we've dragged ourselves out of that horrific hoodoo that haunted us for so long.

Chelsea are as fragmented as we are.


It's simple really and it’s the same conclusion discussed at the end of most games these days. Forwards. It's not quite right up top, is it? But then it's not just about our lack of clinical pomp in the final third from our front two. It's the movement and decision making that is a few per cent off from resulting in two or three goals rather than the one - which on Sunday would have had the game wrapped up at half-time (although I prefer to theorise on prior games that we would have wrapped up - let's not forget that we were playing the Champions, poor form or not).

That final ball, that early ball, the required movement into space. It's not quite silky and instinctive.

There were a number of occasions when I felt Bale and Lennon could have played in a pass releasing Defoe/Pav. A top class forward would make an obvious and effective difference. Equally so if Modric did not have to spend too much time on chasing/defending he'd possess far more freedom to carve and craft. Then again - two DM's with Modric behind the front two and Bale on the left is hardly balanced on paper and with Hudd and vdV out it's about making the most of what we have. Which isn't half bad considering our recent unbeaten run of games.

Even with the slightly (ever so slight) off-key decision making, we'd probably have survived had we not made one or two errors at the back to allow Chelsea a share of the points.

1st half - could have punished them further. 2nd half - could still have punished them on the break and when we reclaimed some possession in offensive positions, but lucky not to lose in the end, amazingly, with our finger on the self-destruct button.

It was in our hands and we dropped it. Rather than being battered into submission.

The Goals

Brilliant touch and movement from Pav.

Ball in from JD in front of the practically static Chelsea back-line, Pav then touches the ball taking him away from Terry and co, creating time and space to thrash the ball in for the 1-0. Considering some of the Russians 'first touches' littering the game you might wonder if he actually meant the touch that set himself up for the goal. But that's harsh. Probably. It was a class finish. From the very top drawer.

Drogba's goal was altogether a different ilk of beast. Okay, so we all know Gomes is a loopy loon of a tune. Expert shot-stopper, instinctive reflexes when there is hardly time to think. So why exactly did that shot go through him with such ease? Much like I'd even expect Superman to be downed by a bullet made of Kryptonite, with Gomes it felt more like a pie to the face of a clown. And yet perhaps his only mistake was to think he could have saved it by allowing gravity to pull him downwards, rather than standing tall and taking the ball in his face.

Alas, this pie had a brick in it, and the power of the shot was just too damn powerful for his girlie wrists. Did he have time to work his positioning before the shot flew towards him? No matter, he should have done far better than he did.

Sure, Drogba hand-balled it, quite blatantly, and Dawson was a second or two slow to react (because of that second spent looking across for the flag). Defensive errors cost us dearly here. It was a soft goal to concede. But for all their possession, they scored a goal from almost nothing. Not quite gift wrapped. Drogba still had to take his voucher to the shop and select his prize.

The Penalty

Madness. Why goalkeepers go charging out then hold their hands up proclaiming innocence…dear oh dear. But like some demented twist and turn of a screenplay, fate would have him give the penalty away so that he could save it and reclaim some lost dignity, even though this was a mess he created. Because of how it played out, during the time it took for the ball to be placed on the spot and be taken - it felt like we had lost the game. So the save made it feel like we had won a point. Crazy. Poor penalty helped matters. Lovely irony what with Fwank on the pitch.

In Defence of Gomes

Yes. He's fruit-loop. He's also an outstanding keeper and let's not forget the amount of times he has saved us playing with a forever changing back four in front of him. Does need a good slap in the face every now and again (gentle slap, don't want him crying) but he showed character. He guessed which way to go with the dive for the pen, going opposite to where Drogba tends to place them. Homework or luck, what does it matter. He redeemed himself for this particular last gasp dramatics.

Who is this Wilson?

Not that Chelsea were formidable in the centre of the park, but let's still stand and applaud Wilson Palacios for a performance which had bite and some much missed intensity returning from a long sabbatical. And in addition, a refreshing lack of misplaced passes. He did his job perfectly, got himself involved, closing down players and laying it off with a simple ball to feet. Not quite the destroyer of his early Spurs form, but one game at a time, right?

The Redknapp Substitution

Defoe is taken off. On comes Peter Crouch. Why?

Well that all depends on a couple of things. If it was about JD, he might have been subbed to preserve some juice as he's only recently returned from his injury. Don't think he picked up a knock. If it wasn't that then it has to be tactical. Knowing Redknapp, I'd hazard a guess he wanted Crouchie to lend a hand (head) at the back to defend set-pieces. But it didn't quite work, at least that's the ranting going on in Harry's direction over this tactical reshuffle.

Defoe and Pav worked well. JD's work-rate was very decent. There was a partner-ship there, be it one that still requires a few more games to click. But if we suddenly need to change it because of the opposition asking questions deep in our half, do we do so to the detriment of our forward play?

Would it have been more apt to sub Pav (no pace, not great in the air) and bring on Crouch to knock the ball down to JD? Crouch did very little, did get his head on the ball a few times but nothing more. Was okay but with Defoe off the pitch, we lacked an outlet of pace. Crouch and Pav is hardly the most dynamic combo. Then again, for all of Defoe's work-rate, he didn't have enough about him to get in behind the Chelsea defence. So perhaps this was a fitness issue after all.

Not sure what the point of bringing Keane was other than hope he could produce something from that long lost forgotten locker. Needs to find the keys first.

Dawson's Return

Great to have him back. Superb, got caught out for the goal, but for him to play in this game as a return to the side game do so with some comfort wearing the captains armband - that makes me smile.

Player Ratings Score-Card

Gomes - 6 - The good, the bad and the ugly.
Hutton - 7 - Far more disciplined than usual defensively and didn’t nullify Lennon. Still think he's positional sense and intelligence is not great.
Dawson - 8 - Early Christmas present. We might finally see our back four settle down now.
Bassong - 7 - Reliable and focused. Made some telling contributions.
BAE - 8- Cracking performance.
Lennon - 8 - Continues his rehabilitation, proving what a little confidence can do. 2/3 games from his best if he continues this form.
Palacios - 8 - Still on the subject of confidence, perhaps it was the responsibility bestowed due to the occasion. Can hardly fault him.
Modric - 8.4 - Really beginning to tick. Shame he can't shoot for toffee.
Bale - 7.2 - Quiet but still had opportunity to create with a few marauding runs down the flank, probably should have released the ball early once or twice, got cluttered and marked out by Chelsea. It's a transitional stage for him this, learning to adapt to the adaption our opponents are having to adopt.
Defoe - 7 - Worked hard, assisted for the goal. Still not 100% but he'll get there.
Pav - 7 - Brilliant finish. When he starts he scores. Was detached from play second half.

Crouch - Header here, knock down there. Not much of an impact but then the subs came late in the day to truly influence proceedings.
Keane - Spent a lot of time in the middle. Not sure I can remember much else.
Sandro - Hardly enough time to make an impact.

The ref - 5 - Made plenty of mistakes, let one or two obvious fouls go without yellows. Neither side will be best pleased. But at least he didn't ruin the game like some.

Forward Conundrum

World class forward up front and we'd be laughing right about now, yeah? The lack of guile at times and the obvious lack of testing their goalkeeper is what births the pressure on our back four the longer the game goes on. Ground-drog day. Perhaps with a vdV in the side and a Huddlestone we'd have created one or two more chances that could have left us in a far more comfortable position. When either or both return, we're back to Harry and his tweaks. It's going to define our season this. A new forward won't work out if our midfield isn't set up to maximise opportunities. I'm talking about decision making with the final ball and movement from all concerned.

Very obvious stuff this.

Our Form

Think it's just four wins out of nine so far this season at the Lane. Which on the face of it is not great. But then when you delve deeper it's one Premier League loss at home during the last year (1-0 to Wigan).

It's also six defeats in all competitions in twenty-six games played. Shame we were so abjectly bad away to West Ham and allowed Wigan to win at the Lane.

Race for 4th, 3rd, go on then why not…race for top spot

Another stat-attack for you - we are three points behind our total from the 2010 season, if you wish to compare.

09/10 - 17 games, 30 points
10/11 - 17 games, 27 points

Not the perfect benchmark I know (different season altogether, can't really compare game to game) but the more telling total is how far off the top we are. Because that's more relevant. Five, at the time of writing.

That's not shabby.

Harry, Levy - take note of the niggling repetitive quirks to our play that need fixing. January - it's imperative. But more so are the games from now until then.

Onwards. As ever, onwards.



We all agree, vdV is better than Cole

Bale out on the left, plays it to Huddlestone, Hudd to Cole, Cole step-over, loses the ball...

One two between BAE and Bale, Bale cuts in, drags ball back, plays it to Cole, Cole skips and dances around with the ball, loses possession...

Cole on the ball, fancy footwork, tricky trick, comes to nothing...

Imagine that.

In another parallel universe what you just read is playing out to a disgruntled White Hart Lane, every other week whilst Rafael van der Vaart is galvanising some other club with his superb work rate and excellent goals to games ratio. It’s a disturbing reality, I know. But shake off the concerns and be content that it’s not you experiencing it. Just another version of you. A depressive mess of a version. The poor bastard. Having to live with the misery of his club signing Joe Cole and not the Dutch maestro with the magical mojo.

Now we might be the ones living in the universe where Arsenal moved from Woolwich to North London (in that other one their bribes fell on deaf ears and they were never handed promotion to the first division post-war, just about survived financial melt-down and are currently third division – West Ham United are considered our main’s a pretty f*cked up dimension for sure) but at least we’re not living in the one where Harry knocked back the chance to sign the Real Madrid ‘reject’.

For all of Joe Cole’s vision and touch there was always something dodgy about him for me. Five years back, the exact type of player we would have moved the earth to sign and fans would have been more than happy with it – but times have changed. We need something more than a luxury. Sure, he’s talented and on his day he can spark life into a team, but like most of the Tottenham teams in my generation, he’s inconsistent. Not the type of player who can play badly but still impact the game. Something Rafa can and has done for us.

Cole is a marquee player and in a side where everything clicks, he can get away with it. World class? Not quite. Doubt he ever had any intention of joining us and I do appreciate we got lucky with the vdV signing in that although the player was one we apparently looked at – he obviously wasn’t first choice.

Harry’s magic hug might have rubbed off positively on Cole in Lilywhite, we’ll never know. Not unless you happened to open up a worm hole and slide into that other universe where he stars for us in midfield along with Anton Ferdinand, rock in central defence and Andy Reid out on the left...because we can’t move him off the left he’s so f*cking fat. Doesn’t matter what universe you visit, there is no slim version.

At the time of writing, Rafa is 50/50 for the game against Liverpool and Cole is probably going to start on the bench. I think van der Vaart is still four weeks away from his best form for us. Couple of more pounds to lose, more work on stamina/fitness to be had. He’s doing everything he’s doing on 70%. Salivating at the prospect of him being fully fit in terms of physicality.

Regardless of my discounting of Cole and the fact that I genuinely believe that a full strength Spurs side with a new midfielder and striker (and go on then, a backup for the left-back position) would not be far off from something special – I still think we have one major bugbear to overcome.


We need it in abundance. Discount Cole, but discounting Liverpool would be dangerous. Shadow of the side from a couple of years back, but regardless of their ordinary workman type style, they still have one or two players of genuine quality. You know who. And we need to remember we’ve come unstuck against sides of lesser quality overall who have out worked us to claim the points.

Still, you know if Mark Lawernson isn’t backing his club this week, it’s not quite right at Anfield. I’ll be massively disappointed if we lose. vdV or no vdV I would like a DVD type performance, except with no actual release in the club shop on Monday week, because that would be unbecoming.

City are doing their best to encourage ourselves and Boltonlona. Time to place down that marker. If there has ever been a time to swagger and swashbuckle, this is it.

Hodgson might well set his team out to frustrate us. We have to show belief. I know, it's tiresome the amount of times we refer back to this belief thing, but if the players actually took time out - just for a moment - to grasp the fact they're actually pretty damn good we might see sustained confidence which will breed sustained consistency which would turn into mighty momentum.

Dawson not far off from returning. Lennon rediscovering lost form. Defoe back. Timing is perfect if we can make it count with points leading into the new year.

vdV is also, obviously, important to us. Winning without him in the side equally so.

Show some spirit and intent Tottenham.

Go for the jugular.

COYS, please.




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.





You wanna make an omelette, you gotta break some eggs

Tottenham at the moment. It's a bit like that scene in Fight Club where the nameless narrator (Edward Norton) is fighting Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) in the parking lot towards the end of the film. You sort of know what's going on but can't quite get your head around it because you're too busy trying to piece together everything that came before it so that you can aid yourself in understanding what in the heck is unfolding.

Dissociated personalities in the one single body, conflicted. Norton has it figured and then works out how to get rid, by shooting himself in the mouth. Very decent shot in fact to put a bullet through your face without killing yourself. But if that's what it takes to stop mentally projecting an annoying alter ego, then it's the chance you just have to take. Otherwise, you'll be lost and consumed by all the madness.

So how exactly is any of this like our beloved N17 club?

Well for a start, the split personality. We know we can play teams off the park (44 minutes at Werder Bremen, first half v City at the Lane). We know just not from the teasers we've had this season but from the whole of the epic 2010 battle for 4th. And yet, this term, we appear to just turn up, mostly for the first half of every game and then lose our grip on balance and structure as we heads towards the 90th minute mark. Like an insomnia sufferer struggling to get through the day, we end up in auto-pilot. Everything seems so far away.

It's a bit of this and a bit of that, with a bit of this being super Spurs and a bit of that being sleepy Spurs. That's the template, although it isn't always played out to textbook standard. This can also include dominating homes games against supposed weaker opposition and still end up losing 1-0.

I'm a great advocator of Brand Spanking New Tottingham™. It's very easy for us to knee-jerk and cite 'same old Tottenham, here we go again, we never change'. Well, soz, but yes we do/have changed. This is a new Spurs, be it one with new issues that require ironing out.

Crisis talk, or the flirtation of said talk, tends to be over matters concerning games much like the 1-0 Wigan loss this season and last seasons home loss to Wolves and one or two other disappointing WHL fixtures. We don't get smashed up that often any more. We don't buckle or choke per se. We simply, beat ourselves up. We turn the art of scoring into something infuriating. It's much like a eunuch running around a brothel naked. It's just never going to happen mate. Actually, no, scrap that disturbing yet comical image. We do have the functioning tools available to us unlike the sorry eunuch. We just sometimes lack that extra kick of special. So it's more like Pele running around a sauna, just without having taken the Viagra. Intent is there. But alas, no penetration.

You can argue and discuss the mechanics of the game, in terms of theorising that fabled what if scenario(s). What if Defoe was playing? What if we had that extra Croatian craft of Modric dinking and trickstering, making beautiful football love with his Dutch partner in a harem of wonder in the centre of the Spurs midfield? Well obviously, we probably would have won comfortably. But then again, looking to the not so distant past, we've had key players start and still ended up with nothing to show for it.

Split-personality? No question.

To be fair, on Saturday, I didn't think we did that badly. In relative terms, how did all this pan out? How did we finally work through it? Like the nameless narrator in Fight Club, we got it figured in the end. It wasn't as graphic or dramatic as putting a gun to ones mouth. The answer was always there. We just had to pull the door open towards us, rather than attempt to kick it inwards.

We played brightly in the first half, Bale was his usual marauding self, creating chance after chance for the forwards. Lost count of the crosses he put in. Crouch, Keane could have scored. Wolves did, just before half time and against the run of play. The irony of switching off for a second, resulting in an opposition goal when we had spent the entirety of the first half asking the could see where this game was going if it continued to follow the re-hashed script.

So, at this point, there was plenty of ground-hog day head shaking. We didn't turn our possession into goals. Simple math, stuck on a basic equation, left scratching our heads. Second half, had Wolves more involved, be it sitting back and defending resolutely. With us looking ominous attempting to make/create the breakthrough. It wasn't as such laboured, but it lacked clinicality. The effort, was there. The positivity was there. If lacking genuine swagger. It wasn't in any way depressive football. Just time, tick tocking away, gave it an air of desperation. You had that Déjà vu feeling about it. You just felt, at least I did, that it would not come. The template was mocking us.

Hutton (on for the injured Kaboul) was showing plenty of remember me? intent and purpose. vdV, always trying to work something for the forwards. Bale beasting it as per standard. But still, nothing. And then, Wolves gave away a penalty. Not luck that. It's what you get for forcing the issue. Hutton fouled in the box after a superb run from defence. van der Vaart, 1-1, cool as you like. Great pen. Home goal. Rejoice.


You do not talk about points dropped...


This was our moment of clarity. Staring us back in the face. We're holding the gun. Use it.

Sure there was some Wolves pressure, which initially masked the hope that the equalising goal would inspire further pressure of a Lilywhite nature. But with Lennon (on as a sub), darting and crossing, ball was cleared to Hudd who struck it back into the box, hit Henry, fell to Pav, who decisively scored. 2-1. Once again, the Russian, in the right place at the right time.

Gun to mouth. We take control.

Hutton, forcing the issue once more, running into the box chasing down the ball, which hits him and loops over Hahnemann. 3-1.

Gun fired. Smoke puffing out of the mouth of our split personality, as it collapses to the floor in a dead heap.

We're left standing, tired and emotional, but content, happy, and alive. Whilst the explosives detonated and the buildings collapsed...(that's plucky bogey team Wolves finally beaten...I think the analogy is over-stretched at this point, although tbh, it was over-stretched from the start).

We took responsibility for our own creation. We exorcised our demon. Our eyes were opened.

It wasn't overly convincing, but again, it took some guts to keep on plugging away when it genuinely looked like one of those afternoons. Against Wigan, we run out of steam, incapable of changing the game in our favour, and suffering one of those templated sucker-punches. This time round, there was enough about us (on the pitch and off it) to eventually make the difference. It's not something you can quantify. Had Hutton not made that run, and we had not won the penalty, we could have failed to force another way into the game. And we'd all be near suicidal at this point, debating how Harry is losing his grip.

Honestly? We've still yet to get going as a complete fluid unit. 60%, lower regions of 70%, performance wise. It's still all about digging deep to persevere and battle through. Whether the team of two halves Tottenham is still with us, we'll have to wait and see.

There wasn't enough bite and the ruthlessness. But enough of something in the end. Even though we were low key, heads never dropped. We created plenty of chances. 18. So it's that clinical touch that remains MIA. I still standby my statement that the Prem this season will play out much like last season. And that's a good thing. But if we want that next level, then these types of games, can't be games where we drop points. We are three down already (Wigan). Six if you want to push it and claim the WBA game too.


Player mentions:

King, Gallas, fine. BAE, about average. Jenas played well again. Sshh. Bale is a freak. Kaboul was solid (until subbed). Hutton deserved his goal and had a stupendous effect on the game. His pulsating run into the box, the game-changer.

Hudd was quiet, lacked any type of influence on the game. Crouch, not effective. Keane, tried bless him, but he lacks that assured edge. Did have 3/4 decent chances, so at least he's attacking the right areas in the box. Wasn't terrible, but just seems to try to hard and it doesn't work out.

Pav, can't fault his finish. He might do little else, but he takes his chances (the white Darren Bent?). He's popping up with the goods when it matters most, so no complaints from me. As long as he doesn't open a Twitter account. Lennon did well with his cameo. van der Vaart, as stated, is quality with the absence of Modric, it clearly shows the depth we have. Talking of which. Special extra mention to Redknapp and the three subs he made. They all worked. They all had positive effects on the game.

Conclusion. When it's said and done. It's Wolves. At home. 

Get on it Spurs. We've got to be far more accomplished than this.



It's time for redemption

Some thoughts, stats etc...

White Hart Lane

6 league wins on the trot, 8 in all competitions. Only 12 goals conceded at home all season (Prem). The Stoke, Hull and Wolves games particularly frustrating. Those aside, only Manchester United this season have visited and left with more than a goal to their name. You have go back 36 times since we lost by more than one. Staggering feat. Not quite the finished fortress, but only a few more bricks required and a coat of paint. We've made it difficult at times by not taking guilt-edged chances, so I would expect us to push onwards next season and consolidate home possession by doing what we did to the likes of Wigan and Burnley more often. Could have had a decent DVD out of the Chelsea game had we shown definitive cutting edge.

But there is no major complaint. We have restored pride, the team are confident and impose themselves with style. Our home form is superb.

Bolton game

It's a tricky one this. Did we make things difficult for ourselves by not taking our chances? Perhaps. But I thought Bolton (credit to them) turned up with those party pooper hats on doing their utmost to ruin our day. Which makes the win and three points even better. Sure, we were not quite at our best and yes, it took a wonder-goal from Huddlestone, but that's how things work out sometimes. You dig deep, survive, and lap up those moments of genius. We had to win, no matter the performance. And we did, and that's all that matters. Credit to Gomes, King and Dawson for their defending. Warriors. Although at times it was full-on heart-in-mouth desperation. Gomes groin problem, surely a consequence of sleeping with the vast majority of the Park Lane WAGS. Talking of defending, I haven't forgotten...


Some say, he stood 8 foot tall, as wide as a truck with eyes made of fire with the strength of a hundred men. He was here, there and everywhere. A force of nature so strong that no mere mortal dared to approach. Seriously, wtf? Where did this performance came from? Nice one. Good work fella.

Other stuff from the Bolton game

Defoe and offsides. I honestly think this is a lost cause now. He just doesn't grasp the concept of standing level.

Lennon. Lovely. Nice to have him back. Please please please torment City on Wednesday.

Goal-scoring. Lack of. We seem to have a squad of players who can all score but strikers who make the art of scoring look as difficult as standing on your own feet for more than 10 seconds at a time if your name is Drogba. They (Pav, JD and Crouch...and EG too) have to get it together. One chance - one goal. Let's leave the Andy Coles behind for the final two games.

Bale. Still a beast when played on the left-wing. Let him be.


Hands up if you think he'll be playing on Wed too? Has it happened before this season? King playing in a Saturday game and then a mid-week game? I'm sure it has, at least I'm not alone in thinking this, although I (we) might be wrong. Any stattos out there willing to confirm or debunk?* On the subject of Wednesday and selection - it's a massive one for Harry. Does he stick or twist?

I say stick.

*Last season he played against Udinese on the Thursday and then Bolton on the Sunday which was Redknapp's first game. Still uncertain if he achieved a similar feat in the Prem.

Match of the Day

Lineker winding up Hansen. Excellent.


Cup final. £30M+ Champions League play-off. Epic game, one which we find ourselves in because we deserve to be in it. We have survived the initial hype early season, we survived the spankings dished out by three of the top four, we survived the hiccups and disappointments, and each time we hit a brick wall, we took a step back then leaped over it. We are sitting in 4th place because we are currently the 4th best team in the country. Two more games, the one at Eastlands in particular, will define our season and conslidate the hard work and graft.

Sure, yes, few expected deep down, to find ourselves in this position because we sort of half-believed that cracking the Top 4 was impossible. But Liverpool have imploded and we along with others have closed the gap. So to be in this position now - hand on heart - I don't want to be standing in front of you all on Thursday morning saying, 'Jolly good show, there's always next season'. And yes, next season we'll be challenging for the Top 4 again, I have no doubt in that. But to be this close, it will be too hard a pill to swallow to miss out.

The challenge (next season) can be improved tenfold further by claiming 4th this season and entering the big boys playground for the first time. City will no doubt want this as much as us. They know CL next season will short cut their efforts in challenging for the title, bringing that realisation sooner to them. Which is another reason why we have to cut short their dream and see ours out.

Let's no forget. The pressure we are under is equally felt by Manchester City.

It's time for redemption. 2006. Bury it once and for all.


The Amazing Life of Morris Keston - Win the book, click here.