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Entries in player ratings (2)


In our defence

End of season review. An attempt at one. I have to be honest with you, I’m struggling a touch at the moment. I’m spending most of my available time online (when not working) musing on Twitter, slagging off the In The Know community simply because I default to this obvious caricature of hate because there is very little else to discuss at the moment.

I could perhaps talk about what’s-his-face and the delightful twitch his face displays when someone on Sky Sports mentions the Chelsea job. Then again, no.

A letter is due to the chairman, but I’ll wait another week or so before I drain blood and dip feather.

As for the ITK community, I’ve already spotted one Spurs fan on a forum make up some s*** about a player only for a supposed well known ITK to then post about it on the forum he frequents, giving the impression he heard about it from a club insider.

Even funnier is the fact that ESPN are obviously connected because they published a news article about Cristian Ceballos (even though they jumped the gun suggesting he had signed) without a single citation in the day(s) before from any of the esteemed ITK’ers. A Barca reject kid on trial at Spurs and none of the countless self-proclaimed messengers had anything to share other than providing updates post-ESPN exclusive.

Yes, yes. I hate it all with a passion and here I am talking about it, unable to turn away. But for the moment, I will.

So this is me skipping onwards with the end of season chit chat.

Before I do I just want to say goodbye and good luck to @drwinston001 who is ‘retiring’ from blogging and handing over his site ( to a couple of other top lads to continue its coverage of all things Spurs. His final article covered off an assessment of our squad, which is well worth a read. If you’re wondering, a baby is on it's way. Good luck Tom, look forward to your guest-blogging over at thfc1882 in the not so distant future.

So, player reviews up first. The defence.

To follow: Prem / The Cups / The Progression of Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham / Summertime High Jinxs.



From shot stopping genius to calamity clown. If Gomes was a centre forward he’d be of the ilk not too dissimilar to the ones we have at the moment. Very good when there is no time to think. Remember Robbie Keane during his better spells at the club? Stick Robbie in a one on one situation and his brain farts and the ball either goes wide or straight at the keeper. Gomes, when he has a similar pocket of time for his grey matter to rub up against each other, can only ever result with a haemorrhage of haplessness.  

He completely losses the ability to control his physicality, body going one direction with mind left behind between the woodwork, whilst we all witness the implosion in slow-mo.

What is Gomes? Is he a good keeper prone to mistakes and lapses of concentration? Or is he an average keeper, one that is always prone to errors, but masks the negatives with moments of unparalleled reflexes and super-saves? It’s a fallacy to suggest all keepers are loopy. By virtue of the fact they are the only ones wearing gloves to handle the ball with hands during the game, their mistakes will always stand-out more. Conceding a goal thanks to an avoidable mistake can change the whole course of a game and the psychology of the teams focus. Much like missing a sitter.

No doubting Gomes has given us moments of stupendous plot. Giving away a penalty in the last minute, then saving it (Chelsea at home) and saving a pen only to give one away and concede seconds later (Blackpool at home). We’ve been treated to a master-class of excellence too (AC Milan away) as well as insanity (Inter away). He was incredible at the back of last season. That wasn’t him over performing. That was him at the top of his concentration. Gomes strikes me as someone who is fragile with self belief and confidence and when one mistake or a moment or uncertainty plays out, like domino's, all layers of his mind collapse.

He makes wonderful saves but when he makes mistakes, they are epic (and at key moments). He can flap too and when mistakes don't lead to goals they lead to Keystone antics across the whole of the backline, infecting his team-mates with a dizzy virus and it's side-effect of momentary panic.

Personally, I don’t want to detach my faith from supporting him. People who prefer him to be replaced by someone with a more steady head might be forgetting that a keeper who retains concentration might not necessarily be capable of match winning performances and when they conceded, it might not be thanks to a lapse of concentration but simply lesser skill.

If there’s a keeper out there that’s capable of brilliance but has the cool composed calmness of a Cech, then the vast majority of us would not complain if he was signed and the Brazilian was sold on.

Sort your head out Gomes.



He’s ex-Chelsea, he’s ex-Arsenal. He’s a trouble-maker. He’s a melter. He’s too old. He’s too slow.

Wish someone has pre-warned me he would be an absolute gem, a steal...a stolen gem. With King and Woodgate hardly involved, having someone of Gallas experience in the side has played a major part in retaining strength and organisation at the back. It took a while for him to regain full match fitness and settle in with his new team mates, but his almost nonchalant ‘doesn’t give a **** other than just performing well’ attitude proved that sometimes there is nothing wrong with wheeling and dealing. I can remember feeling mixed emotions and displeasure when he was made captain. Kudos to Harry. Gallas has been imperative in the absence of King, if not a pound for pound replacement. Interestingly, he's yet to score for us.



Step up, step up. Everyone knows Daws excels when he has Ledley King by his side. He’s been equally impressive with Gallas playing next to him but Daws is best positioned to the right of King. Regardless, he gets on with it and defends with royal passion. Just that, what with his age and with Ledley missing for large chunks of the’s time this prince became a King.

Mixed season, inconsistent at times and brilliant on occasions. You love Daws because of his relentless desire to do well. He might not be the quickness and he might lack the assured presence a Gallas or King possesses  but you can’t question his work rate (and his distribution ain’t too shabby).

If he can replicate the form he is capable of when he plays alongside King, then he’ll have grown into the player that we all wish him to be. At the minute, we’re just wishing. Dawson needs to believe in himself, just a notch more and take each game by the scruff of the neck. Which he does already, just not in every game.



Not one of his better seasons. All over the shop early on, replaced by Alan Hutton whilst we all wondered what had happened to the always reliable Croat. His positioning, key to make up for his lack of pace, had deserted him completely. I like him. I like the way he works the flanks with Lennon. I think, on form he offers more than our other options. He’s intelligent on the ball and can play football rather than perhaps just knock the ball ahead of him and run onto it. Hopefully it was a blip. I doubt Hutton will be with us next season. Kyle Walker will. So you can’t help but feel content that competition at right-back will be tight.



Everyone huddles, except for BAE. I mean, he’s there. You can see him, but his back is straight and his head is facing upwards and looking away whilst all the other soft-hearted lads are bending down to listen to the rallying speech. Simply put, Ekotto is too cool for skool. A modern day footballing anomaly. He doesn’t follow the game as a spectactor. Although it’s slightly stretching the persona of coolness to perhaps suggests he doesn’t care. He’s a model professional without the superstar add-ons.

His consistent, he’s drilled. He plays for the team and he does exactly what he’s expected to do at the back. More kudos to Harry for solving this conundrum as there was a time before his arrival when we were not quite sure he was the answer to our left-back headache.

Excellent player, excellent season...lets Bale rampage whilst he sits back and defends and never appears to lose focus. Hopefully Danny Rose will continue his impressive cameos into next season and give Ekotto a rest now and again (won't be too presumptuous and say 'competition' just yet).



Okay, so he’s offensive and he runs forward with intent and can impact the game but he can’t perform at the back as an individual or as part of a unit. He doesn’t fathom the concept of positioning and he has no astuteness in the art of defending. Had a period this season where some of us thought we’re be proven wrong, mainly down to the fact Charlie was so awful. Alas, we were not proved wrong in the end.



When Comolli signed him he stated he was ‘one for the future’. In true Tottenham fashion we threw him into the first team and ruined him. Well, we thought we had. Quite surreal that he was sold and then signed back. He’s grown and matured, he’s still raw in places but I can’t help but believe he has a strong future at our club. Development of his defensive abilities on the back foot need to match his awareness going forward with the ball. He possesses the right attributes to be a beast and hero status for the third goal to complete our famous win over at the swamp.



Who? Oh yeah. The forgotten man. Thought he was more than decent for us last season and yet this season he’s hardly figured. If Harry doesn’t fancy you, then you don’t get a look in. Shame because he is more than capable.



The discussion about whether it’s worth retaining him if he’s only going to appear in a handful (if not less) games per season will continue throughout the summer. He’s one in a million with the one knee, and yet he can do more than most are capable with two. Galvanises Dawson and improves our defence every time he plays. Statistically, we lose less games and concede fewer goals when he plays. If he had two knees, we’d still be where we are King would probably be playing for Barca or Madrid.

Might as well mention Woodgate. Depending on what you read he's either going to be let go or given a pay-as-play contract.

We certainly need to decide on our back-line in preparation for 2012. Fullback positions are fine, it's the centre pairing and the backup(s) that need attention. Preferably not the type that involves ice packs and cotton wool.


Overall, we've done well in defence. Just not scored enough goals down the other end to relieve them from pressure which has resulted in loss of shape and conceded goals. Confidence with the keeper/defender relationship another required fix. It's not just four at the back, it's five.

Across the season, as a unit (ignoring moments of madness in the CL and in the cups) I can't complain more than I have above, which isn't a lot.


Midfielders and attackers to follow...




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.