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 The Run-In (6)


Seven games left, three points 'adrift'

Spurs 3 Stoke 2

That wasn’t too shabby, was it? Finally rediscovering a little bit of that confident Spurs swashbuckle and swagger. Refreshing. Probably go as far as saying that minus the defensive lapses of concentration, it was an assured 'dominant' first half. Sure, we didn’t steam-roll them or stamp down our authority with brutality. We let them back in a couple of times (dominant with flaws). But we did turn up, turn it on and turn them over in good olde (the proper good) Tottenham fashion. Effortless in some ways, as a unit and individually, just easing into a rhythm without those pesky complications that had previously seen us in the midst of a goal drought.

Movement, busy buzzy players and an urgency to attack. I liked it.

Okay, so the lapses were wholly unnecessary (be it two good Stoke goals – but both birthed in errors from possession we lost). But even that was still a good test of our resolve. Didn’t buckle. Probably let them have too much of the ball in the second half, but overall – exactly what was required was achieved.

Goals for. A win. Three points.

Huddlestone and Kaboul back in the side, van der Vaart playing a full ninety minutes (and working hard be it without glamour) and Peter Crouch with some redemption for his red mist in Madrid with two smart goals and a tongue in cheek **** off to the crowd, caught on camera, but alas it’s not quite a Wayne Rooney incident offering out the public.

Not the same thing is it? Although the camera has nothing to do with it, what with Wazza being charged for swearing with no mention of said camera. Perhaps Peter was too far away from the camera and wasn't directing it at the camera. Then again, as mentioned, the camera has nothing to do with the charge against Rooney. Even though Rooney had his face in it. I guess the FA don’t really grasp the concept of consistency and knee-jerk to the parasitic lust of the media and this country and its culture of hate. Even though Rooney is angry and dislikeable. If he got charged for swearing then surely every game would result in...hold up a second.


Okay, so, I won’t get side tracked and go off on a tangent. Back on topic then...

Home support reaction to Crouchie, overwhelmingly heartfelt. I guess blog comment and message board disdain does not translate too good out in the real world. Although Corluka was forced to respond to one fan, calling him an idiot for complaining rather than being supportive of the team. Alan Hutton obviously with too much time on his hands at the minute.

Special mention to another maligned forward (do we have anything else at Spurs?) Roman Pavlyuchenko. Linked up superbly well with the midfield leading the front-line and assisting twice. His disallowed goal should have stood. Looks sharp. Hopefully he can bag one on Wednesday.

Luka was again full of silks and style. Really, no nomination for PFA player of the year? Scandalous. Perhaps it’s because of his tally of two league goals that he’s been overlooked. I don’t know. Don’t actually care too much as long as he continues to drive us in the right direction. Up. By a minimum of one spot. Excellent goal and looks even more comfortable and free to roam with big Tommy by his side. Having Hudd back for the run in might just prove to be imperative to our chances of unlocking one or two of the tougher teams we’ve got to face in our attempt for a second successive CL.

A sumptuous passer of the ball is big Tom. The manner in which he caresses it...Mmmmm. Playing a disguised pass is very much like making love to a beautiful woman. You undress the space ahead of you, proceed to move hips hypnotically and then push forwards with sublime penetration releasing it as quickly as you can blink. Oh yes. Just like making love.

Bale, quiet by the standard we expect him to play at, but then when you’re doubled up on all the time it’s not going to be an over-night transition to work out how best to escape the unwanted attention. Patient, learning curve...don’t care about all the ‘he doesn’t do it in the Prem, does it’ sound-bites. He played well considering (ignoring mistake) and having players chase him means there’s always room for other players to run into open space because of it.

Regarding that mistake (that led to Jones cracking goal), Kaboul partly responsible for the initial pass to Bale. But how great is it to have the big lad back? Power at the back to go alongside cool. BAE and Corluka also played well. Dawson commanding and Gomes hardly at fault for the two conceded.

Credit to Harry? Or did he just wing it again?

Overall – happy days. Good solid performance, dealt with the pockets of pressure. Probably should have got a fourth. Didn't, but held on even with the quintessential 'final 10 minutes' of hearts in mouths.

Unfortunately we are at that stage where we do have to look at others to do us favours. Hopefully Liverpool can do just that against City.

It's fair to say, we've got a monumental task ahead of us if you dare to look at the fixture list.

Seven games left, three points adrift. Mathmatically, it's not exactly end of days just yet. So I suggest you superglue your hat on.





Is this another one of those 'must win' games?

All games are must win. Although our lot appear to have forgotten how to go about winning. For starters, we're not going to pick up three points unless we score.

This match preview wont be winning any awards, I'm completely snowed under today and for all the analytical, tactical and selectional discussions that can be had - well, they've all been had already. Countless times throughout the course of the season in fact, as we await for our team to swagger and find it's elusive groove. Handful of games left now. Leaving it a tad late. Again.

We've kept in touch. Everyone's kept in touch at the top, writing polite letters of apology to each other with nobody wanting to use the pen for a Dear John and cut them off completley and run away leaving them dejected and alone. But we're at that point now where all relationships are strained and rather than pretend it's all just dandy, rather than perhaps behind closed doors wipe tears away and shake heads - this is the point where we either stand up or just shut up. Once and for all.

So Spurs, Harry and the players. Get a grip of yourselves and breath life back into this comatose motionless body. I want to see some booty shaking.

We want our Tottenham back. For 90 minutes. So don't be shy. Show us what you're made of. Otherwise, night night. And go back to dreaming.




And...we're back

Is it safe to come out? International break is over, right?

Thank God.

Other than Bale and Lennon being pulled out of their squads due to 'injury' it's been a decent week having not lost anyone on a more permanent basis with the additional bonus and return of Tom Huddlestone to training. Woodgate is apparently injured again. Conspiracy theorists might tell you otherwise. Although that may simply be desperate optimism rather than kidology. Harry capable of the latter? van der Vaart did say our gaffer is like Jose. Probably meant they're both suave and sharp dressers.

But before the glamour of Madrid we play the role of visitors to bottom club Wigan. The fixture has less sex about it than an orgy hosted by eunuchs. Can we tag this with the must-win label? Goes without say, doesn't it? Back to basics here. Keep it simple, keep it traditional. 442 please. Nobody expected them to win in the game at the Lane, what with memories of the 9-1 still buzzing around our heads. Upsets still do happen and they tend to get dished out to us when we're feeling all apologetic in performance. They're bottom, but they're still fairly organised and plucky and they're fighting for their lives whilst once more (as ever) we have one eye on another game that might well distract.

Even with players rested, if we line-up up with a decent spine and attack and we don't wear t-shirts underneath the Lilywhite, we'll be just dandy. We could have decimated Blackpool a few weeks back and ended up losing 3-1. Wigan won't pose the type of threat we encountered on that particular evening. But anything resembling complacency or lack of focus from our lot will be disheartening and dangerously encouraging for them.

Momentum Spurs. It's easier to win the next game if you've won the one before and the one before that and the one before...etcetc.

Cohesive, clinical, cutting edge. Stand tall please. Show some heart.

It's every game is a cup final time. Hold onto your flat caps.




Challenge Spurs, ended

That went well. The fixtures were meant to act as a buffer in the way of accumulation of points before the actual run-in and the massive London Derby games and City at Eastlands. Two wins from five games, eight points gained, seven points wasted. But in the midst of it all, a Champions League quarter-final place and the return of Gareth Bale along with one or two others crawling their way to full match fitness.

Talking of which, nice touch with the contract revision + one year extension. That should add an extra £15M to any potential transfer this summer.

Just saying.

It's now end-game territory and if we couldn't afford to drop points at home on Saturday, then we most definitely cannot afford to drop points in our remaining home games. Backs to wall, it's time for some of that Tottenhamesque nail biting intensity and tenacity that saw us through the mire at the back end of last season ending with a celebration on the pitch at Eastlands that irked Barry Glendenning (which is always a good thing).

Wigan, away
Stoke, home
Arsenal, home
West Brom, home
Chelsea, away
Blackpool, home
Liverpool, away
Birmingham, home

+ City, away (once it's rearranged)

Five home games. Some tricky away from the Lane. It's almost like it's 2010 all over again. The three successive N17 games imperative to our march. The triple threat of Chelsea, Liverpool and City the key ones on our travels.

I should be nervous. I'm not. I'm more than up for this and will look towards our players to equal and better my belief that we can do this again. Shame about the mishaps and hiccups. But if you want to waste time with what ifs, don't forget to include all the what ifs the other clubs around us would want to bring to the theoretical Premier table that would have five teams sitting and sharing the top slot.

One of these days we're going to get it spot on and our complaints will centre on why our full backs don't score enough goals and BAE's afro whilst we sit comfortable in a CL position season in season out. Zany.



Spurs v West Ham match report here.



Let the games commence...

You'll have probably noticed Rafa Benitez has thrown it out there that Spurs will shag it up thanks to our difficult fixture list. Spurs will lose points is the headline on the official Liverpool site (from yesterday). And Rafa tells the reds:

“It depends on us and if we can keep winning our games. Tottenham have difficult games so I think we’ll be closer, and we’ll see. Every week will be different.

“After the Europa League we have Birmingham and that will be very tough. But if we can win our games, I think they (Spurs) will lose some points and I think we can be there.

“I hope it can still be a successful season. You can always have bad seasons, but the main thing is the reaction of the players. We will try and fight until the end, and then we’ll see.

“Hopefully we can get in the top four and progress in the Europa League.”

Don't know about you, but I find this sort of thing inspiring, and so should the players. Yes, Liverpool are fairly boring and have had an unspectacular season but they are seasoned CL qualifiers so to be engaged by them in this manner should be used positively by our lot. Guaranteed at one point, 4th for Liverpool, wasn't it Rafa? 31 games in and we are the ones who have remained anchored to fourth, and when we've slipped down a place or two we've dug deep and climbed back up. With thanks to others around us (guess who?) who have remained inconsistent through-out. Nothing wrong with our form. If you take a look at the season thus far there is more likelihood of Liverpool dropping points than there is us.

I don't think for a second Spurs have had the type of mentality at any point in the season where we've gone into a game expecting to win without effort. And we continue to take nothing for granted - players and fans alike. We've fought hard every time and when the odds are stacked in our favour, we've been professional about it. The only weakness has come in the shape of complacency which cost us at Everton and Birmingham. The defeats at home against Stoke and Wolves boil down to frustration and lack of composure breaking down said teams who parked the bus. It's been a learning curve, a steady progression.

Sure I'm bias and believe it would be a travesty if after all our hard grafting, Liverpool squirm their way into the Champions League. And Rafa is obviously saying what he's saying so it plays in the minds of our players. We're in the winning position, its ours to lose.

But it's not Rafa we should be concerned about. It's the enemy within. Which he's obviously hoping to summon with his choice of words. The inferiority complex that sometimes sees us choke against the really big teams. A self-fulfilling prophecy that seems to force the issue against us, placing us firmly back in our box. In the past the players almost subconsciously surrendered as though the expectancy to lose the game weighed heavily on their shoulders. Happened earlier in the season against Chelsea, Utd and Arsenal.

Times have changed. But we still need to prove it.

So, thank you Rafa for the pep talk and letting us know you care. Far more understated and subtle as far as mind games go, but we all know his track record when he opens his gob.


Attack attack attack

Another weekend is upon us and the sudden realisation that this season is almost over saddens me. A little. Obviously there's the World Cup to help us all through the summer months. No doubt there will be plenty of emotion, heartache and headaches as we work our way through yet more quarter-final penalty torment before the pain is compounded further with the drivel that will no doubt surround us then drown us, concerning potential transfers to Spurs, in and out. And may God have mercy on message boards everywhere if Harry goes to jail/gets sacked.

But the fat lady has yet to arrive on location, let alone be introduced on stage.

There's still the matter of 10 league games to battle through and a potential semi-final date at Wembley if we professionally dismantle the challenge of Fulham in the replay.

Very unlike Spurs to be in on two fronts this close to the end. Actually, that's unfair. We've reached two cup finals in recent years, won one of them and it was only five years ago that David Dein broke into the Marriott hotel and injected our players with the Norovirus. Only jesting there David (and solicitors), only jesting.

So here we go again, this time, the only runs I want to know about are the ones made by our galloping players, swaggering with intent and purpose, chasing every point like our lives depend on it. Blackburn at home. It's vital. It's three points that can not be defaulted. And I don't think we'll be let down.

The FA cup game is a couple of weeks away, so there is no immediate distraction. As for our injured players, whispers of Huddlestone and Bentley to return and Lennon is not quite ready but looking good as he regains his fitness. Regardless of our lack of depth in and around the CM area, we can still muddle through, with Moddle in the middle and Niko out on the right with Bale slotting into left-mid (and BAE back in the left-back position).

If Bentley and Hudd do return, we can resort back to the standard line-up - with the only selection headache for Harry being the one on the left. Bale or BAE? The former please. Bale is undroppable at the moment and as consistent and reliable as BAE has been - he doesn't quite offer the beast power of Bale.

Liverpool obviously are the favourites for 4th, what with Rafa guaranteeing it - we still need to stay ahead of Villa and City and Everton shouldn't be ignored. We play City in what will be an epic (for the two of us) and then there's the small matter of the re-arranged NLD which might have earth-shattering consequences for the both of us.

10 games left. Still in the cup. Still in for 4th. A shed-load to look forward to. Starting with a lunchtime kick-off with Rovers visiting the Lane. Win and we stay fourth. COYS.

City go to Sunderland, Everton have a tricky game at St Andrews and Liverpool play Pompey on Monday with Villa away to Wigan on Tuesday. We face Chimbonda and Big Sam's silky Blackburn unit who sexualise play to euphoric panty-wetting standards each time they step onto the field of play.

I'll say it again, COYS.

More later.