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Entries in Wigan (10)


Spurs 3 Wigan 1 Transfer Window 0

So we got what we wanted in the end.


I’m talking about the three points rather than the transfer market. More on that later. Firstly Wigan and it’s great to be able to look back at my preview of the game and bask in the fact that Spurs delivered with both professionalism and focus to brush the bottom club aside comfortable. Dominated possession, had a plenty of chances. Okay, so there were moments in the second half where we displayed questionable defending, going through the motions without much intent, but all things considered the result was never in doubt. Even if we switched off a little in the second forty five.

Wigan didn’t park the bus although they attempted to defend deep with emphasis on their back-line, waiting and building a sponge wall of protection to soak up the pressure. The opening goal the perfect illustration of them attempting to do so with every man behind the ball. But alas, Xavi found Messi with an absolute gem of a pass, so perfect it split an atom on its way through. Lio expected, wanted the pass and took it with confidence for the 1-0. A thing of beauty.

Second goal was also tasty. Fortunate how the ball came to be with Luka but his turn and shot was decisive and clinical. The third was majestic. Bale again into his favourite corner giving the keeper no chance. This was routine stuff, never really shifting out of third gear. Although I prefer not to concern myself with results elsewhere, results elsewhere proved to be kind to us. 13 points off 6th spot and 11 points away from 5th. Happy days. How to improve? Perhaps next time shift out of third gear and into first and torment and destroy.

A few highlights. Bale (the beast), could have, should have had a hat-trick. Loved some of his mazy runs. Modric was sexual. Harry getting love from the crowd. Lancaster on for his début. Kaboul enjoying the evening. Some downers include Rafa and Walker going off injured and Benny (very fortunate) not to be red-carded. Norty.

Now the supposedly tricky fixtures begin. Most of the games, IMO, are winnable. That’s if we line up with our strongest side. Which links this post-match musing into the transfer market review and the distortion the January window brings leaving many of us confused and bewildered when perhaps it’s not necessary to feel this way. But then maybe confusion is the only reaction to it.

The problem with Tottenham is that we are very finely tuned. We’re a top side when we field our very best line up. Such is the quality of the first team that if we lose a key player or two the entire shape of the side is affected, sometimes with ill-effect. Meaning we have to readjust our style and some fluidity is lost as a consequence. We don’t quite have like-for-like players when looking to replace. Lesser teams, they can chop and change and appear to be more comfortable in doing so without a massively detrimental knock-on to the way they approach every game. If we lose Bale and Lennon, we have no pace and no width. If Adebayor is out, then our movement up front and the way we attack has to change to work. We don’t have convincing depth in squad. It’s looked that way but only on paper and not when applied practically.

I’ve been an advocator for consolidation. Remember 2006? We didn’t make any major changes in the Jan window and that might have been costly. Okay, so losing points in the final minutes of games cost us, but still...we could have strengthened. Make an outlay, speculate to accumulate. Take a risk but one that shortens the odds substantially meaning the risk equates to ‘guaranteeing’ the target (say top four). Nothing is guaranteed, but if you make powerful changes to personnel then positives should shine through with very few negatives interfering. So, my thinking was that looking at the our team...and taking into account that an injury or two would seriously impede us then the logical thing would be to sign quality long term players rather than spend less on short term solutions. We did neither in this window. Why?

I guess we never learn. Take away the opportunistic signing (a van der Vaart) we are left with the mundane but required exercise of balancing the books. We have unhappy players, players that aren’t even fringe or backup as they are hardly called upon. Now this might be an irritant of lack of squad rotation or the fact that they are simply not required at all. The other factor is, the players in question want to play first team football on a regular basis. Hence the unhappiness. Hence the necessity to move them on (unless your name is dos Santos).

So we have:

Pav – He’s never quite fitted in. Supremely lazy and at times lacking any on-field intelligence, he stuttered too often and could never quite claim a first team place. Not his fault. We should never have signed him in the first place. If it was ever going to work he would have had to be first choice from the start. He wasn’t. At times he displayed technical brilliance. A scorer of great goals. In 2010 (when we finished 4th) he scored important goals for us. But he’s always been distant, always a misfit. Always apologetic. Please don’t disagree and suggest we were not expecting him to move on. It’s taken how many windows for this to finally happen? £11M isn’t too bad either.

Bassong – Another player simply not fancied. A shame because he wasn’t that bad at all when he first arrived here. Confidence and lack of game time can knock you. He’s also too far down the pecking order so it makes sense to shift him on so he can get some game time in.

Pienaar – I did my best to give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s a fairly non-descript type of player. Can deputise in a couple of positions but isn’t truly a direct replacement for anyone we have. It’s now easy for me to question the ethics behind signing him in the first place when again he was not used often enough (injuries aside). If you’re going to play the squad game, then you have to look at resting/protecting players effectively and allowing the likes of Pienaar game time. Harry doesn’t tinker unless injuries force him too. This signing has proven to be a redundant one.

Corluka – Walker (from what I know at the time of writing) is fine. But if he gets injured – we have no genuine right-back cover as our ‘kids’ are out on loan. Now if it was me, I’d keep Charlie. Even if there was the potential of him playing only twice between now and the end of the season. The player though, he probably would not find that acceptable. Which is why he’s been loaned out.

Have we weakened the squad? Yes, but we’ve not weakened the first team and all the players that have left in this window are neither key or overly called upon to wear the shirt. These are players that had to move on.

The fundamental problem with January is that this is not the month where you traditionally sign super-star players (keep ignoring the opportunistic signings). End of season, the summer...that’s when players/agents/clubs begin to play ball because it’s easier to sell and buy and build your squad for the next season. This is where it gets distorted and contradictory. We don’t know and can only guess what Levy is planning for. Whether it has something to do with Harry and the court case/England job and waiting for the summer to finance big money deals, it’s tricky to work out without being a fly on the wall.

Now you could cite the fact we bid around £20M (or so) for Remy and had it rejected and that its proof that we:

a)     Have the money to spend and the inclination to do so

b)     We are thinking long term regardless of potential managerial upheaval

c)     We are aware of the type of quality we need and we are looking to bring it in

Now c) might require a caveat that outlines we have very specific targets we wish to splash the money on and will not sign lesser targets (for less money, say £6M-£10M) as a stop-gap/panic buys simply for the sake of consolidation. Money is tight, the NDP is on the horizon. It looks like we have it to spend but we’re not going to repeat mistakes of old.

It’s frustrating when you consider we haven’t actually bought a striker out-right for a while. In the summer, Defoe is the only player we’ll have (unless Adebayor is signed permanently). So there’s no doubt we need a massive signing in that department, regardless of Ade remaining here beyond the summer. Could we do with that signing now? Yes, we could have done with him before the window closed. Because we’re 3rd and because mathematically, 1st is still not beyond us (humour me). We also cannot afford to drop out of the top four. I don’t believe we will, and I guess that’s the crux of it. Levy and Harry believe this to be the case also because faith is being placed in the risk that consolidation of our position is not imperative. We were not expected to be in this position at the start of the season and have done so off the back of signing a 40 year old keeper and the much maligned (and now loved) Scott Parker.

We should still be aiming higher for sure. Strengthening our current stature. But there you go. We tried. And cheaper less quality driven alternatives do not appear to be options when looking to splash the cash.

Krasic, according to reports, was more than an option. We wanted him on loan. Juventus agreed to it. The player didn’t, preferring a more permanent role. He would have covered off the flank, another one of those consolidation question marks. Players in the Prem that we considered viable alternatives might have been too pricey to follow through on. How many times have we been burnt in the past? Too many.

So, all I have left is the fact that we must be aiming high. It’s frustrating. It’s a harsh reality. But if clubs won’t let the players leave then you’re going to be hitting that brick wall over and over again. In the summer just past, I was told a story about Gervinho, the Arsenal striker. We were interested. He didn’t fancy us. That turned out rather well. I think the lesson to be learnt is we have to be decisive and certain. Unequivocally. I think the club know the players we want and won’t look elsewhere and we’ll have to go back in for them again. What we have to hope for is that we have enough about us (and luck) to see the season through to be in a position to attract. And when we do attract we attract the very best.

Saha and Ryan Nelsen are nothing more than replacements for back-ups. They are not there to strengthen the first team but rather make sure we have cover if cover is called upon. Saha is on a short term contract. He can hold the ball up, protect it and fit into the style of football we play presumably as an impact sub at best. Nelsen is a curious one. Free-agent, nothing more than an experienced footballer that fits into the role Bassong had on the sidelines. Samba might have been the first choice target but if Blackburn wish to hold onto their player and price him out of a move, well, we of all clubs can’t complain about that stance. Also Caulker will be with us next season. We can’t over spend for the sake of the short term. One thing of note here worth mentioning. All this ridicules the signing of Khumalo.

I know. Its underwhelming because the window distorts expectancy and everyone feels disappointed when a big signing isn’t made. Again, I’m going to refer back to consolidation. We haven’t achieved this. It’s the way it’s played out. The players will need to dig deep and we’ll have to cope with injuries. I felt underwhelmed during the summer and the start of the season, but this run and our form has proven that faith in both manager and chairman has to be respected. Benefit of the doubt. I can’t spend time wasting it on complaining when the team need me to support them. Regrets, they only come into play after the fact if we’ve failed. Something I do not wish to entertain.

Simply put. If we claim Champions League, then this summer there will be no margin for error or indecisiveness. We’ll need top drawer, dare I say, world class signings. Not for consolidation but for stepping up to the next level and to be able to retain the new founded stature.

Until then, the window is shut. No draft, and the temperature is about to rise.

We are Tottenham. We're third, five points off the top of the table. Believe.

Daring is achieving. Love the shirt.



What we all really want on deadline transfer day...

While the insanity and arguments continue over the transfer window and the targets we are linked with along with its imminent closure, there is far more pressing matters to be had. Matters that concern three points from a convincing home performance which then kick-starts momentum after two disappointing results. Wigan, at the Lane, under the floodlights, in the freezing cold. Thirteen points clear off 5th spot by this late evening if all goes according to plan. The plan being simply this: turn up, turn it on.

Wigan are woeful, generally, more so on their travels. I have no desire to entertain a 'plucky park of the bus' away performance, frustrating the home side. We expected (hoped) that the Wolves game would be one of much glory and panache and instead got shocked with the single point shared at the final whistle. We then almost won, could have drawn but managed to lose the game at the Eastlands. Irony time: Wigan one of only two teams to have won at WHL in the past two seasons. Ooh.

A draw and a loss - this is the new age crisis at the Lane. We need redemption, we need to be professional and ruthless. This is the type of football match where I would instruct the players to kill off the opposition in the opening 30 minutes and then contain them with comfort and counter to build on the lead admirable into the second half.

Lessons learnt; we still need the players to look back and remember what Wolves achieved against us. We need to appreciate and respect this league is not always black and white and the shades of grey can leave many confused and irritable. We have to work hard and retain focus. In doing so we might then take it by the scruff of the neck and dominate, and thus not allow Wigan to get any sort of anchor in the game. When all said and done...

Tonk 'em, Tottenham.

No offence to the visitors but the forty or so fans who make the journey down won't complain too much if they watch another dvdesque destruction. Well, they would, but at least they can claim to have witnessed it.

Defoe and Lennon are doubtful. No Aaron probably a touch more influentially on how we line-up, but at least with Bale we'll have some width if he's instructed to retain some level of consistency down the flank and not spend too much time through the middle. At home, against such opposition, it's good to stretch them a little. Which I'm sure we'll do (because if we don't then there's something very wrong). Keep it structured, simple. No need for anything too fancy. Plenty of necessity however for tempo and movement. This isn't so much a tricky game in that I believe Wigan can beat us. I am however cautious that any game can have the potential to upset, and in this game we can beat ourselves which might allow the opposition to beat us.

I might wish for it to be over in 30 minutes, but if we have to be patient then the onus will be on us to display some level of intelligence to carve them open and create match-winning opportunities (I prefer not to dwell too much on players dwelling too much in front of goal. The less said about offsides the better).

I know the trend is for the opposing team to defend deep, all men behind the ball and play with physicality. I'm also aware of the question marks being raised that we don't always have the (aforementioned) intelligence to break well-drilled sides down. Our home record would suggest otherwise. We can and have done so in the past. On occasions, we fail but that sometimes has a lot to do with the way the opposing side played (credit is never given as we prefer to blame within and it's worth remembering similar games where we have lucked out and scored a winner when it looked unlikely). Wigan try to play football but it would be naive of them to attempt to do so this evening. Even so, I don't think they're quite as savvy as Wolves if they attempt the opposite. I reckon they'll end up parking the bus but leave the keys in the ignition.

We owe them after the 1-0 of last season, the most ironic of results that followed the 9-1 from the season before. They owed us but it's now our turn for revenge. It's football, we take turns, it's how the Gods like it. Won't have to worry about next season as they'll probably get relegated in this one.

Adebayor needs to score a couple as well. No pressure then Spurs. Christ, I can feel it, this is going to end up being an untidy game that we just about manage to score the winner late on *shudder*...

Three points please. Possibly more important than any signing we make in this window.


Daring is achieving. Love the shirt.



It's not going to happen, is it?

Tuesday will be manic. Deadline transfer day. If you're Harry Redknapp, there's plenty of movement from court room to White Hart Lane and then a potential post-match pizza with the chairman whilst we try to tie up several deals before the 11pm deadline. Following on from three points against Wigan of course, which would probably be the most vital of captures made on the last day of January.

In a world of fantasy, where consolidation rains down from the heavens we'll be negotiating for a centre-back (does Khumalo still exist?), a right-winger who can drift in centrally when applicable to tactical reshuffles (we lack width when first team flankers are missing) and also a new forward to complement Adebayor and Defoe (with Roman leaving the club to make way for the new arrival).

We've got room to squeeze all that in haven't we? Harry might even get home in time to walk the dog.

Signing the Milky Bar Kid doesn't count.

It's the 30th of the month. Carroll (Derby) and Bostock (Wednesday) have gone out on loan. And that's just about it. Hand on heart, the apocalypse is more likely before we see dos Santos and friends leave the Lodge (friends being the likes of Bassong and anyone else you believe to be surplus to requirements).

We've spoken about the necessity to bolster the squad to make sure there's that extra bit of something in there to spark us through the month of February, yet reality also lays the smack down and reminds us that pragmatics are far more forthcoming. Harry and his uncertain future might be effecting our transfer strategy. The chairman might prefer to take a gamble on what we've got, to avoid making any knee-jerk signings. Although quite how signing another forward would constitute a knee-jerk I don't know. What I do know is, there appears to be a complete lack of tangible targets if you wish to listen to the rumours.

If anything happens, it will either be a wonderful surprise to those nervously biting their nails anxious and desperate for something, anything to play out. Or we're in for another moment of golden opportunistic transfer genius. Possibly signing Cuthbert van der Vaart, Rafa's lesser known brother who also plays in the hole behind the lone forward but unlike his famous sibling can't last up to the 70th minute mark and has to be subbed around the 55th minute due to a phobia of the number sixty and his subsequent narcoleptic condition.

In the mean time Sky Sports News are panicking massively as they attempt to work out how best to get a cheeky update interview from Harry on potential transfers as there is zero chance of anyone being anywhere near the Lodge due to the game at the lane. A drivers seat window can hardly be fitted into the Spurs dugout. Of course, what with the game falling on the 31st of Jan we might find ourselves marvelling at a new signing taking to the field at half time, announced over the tannoy or better still via Levy with mic from the directors box presenting the return of Jonathan Blondel.

Best to just concern ourselves with the football. Wigan. Bottom of the table. They have been utterly smashed about in recent weeks. Let's respect the trend. With the disappoints of recent weeks, it's time to saddle up and ride momentum with a nifty gallop and scream. We've got a sunset to get to.






0-1 Wigan (h)
1-1 WBA (a)
1-0 West Ham (a)
1-1 Birmingham (a)
1-1 Newcastle (a)
3-1 Blackpool (a)
3-3 Wolves (a)
0-0 West Ham (h)
0-0 Wigan (a)

9 games, 4 points. Not the best return against clubs we should be punishing. I say should, but you'll be quick to point out in the past we've hardly had the best record against the lower placed teams. But in the present, we've got more than enough quality to compete and beat. Right? Or not quite?

Dropped the ball on this again, haven't we?

Recent form; L, D, D, D

No goals scored in last 3 games (all comps).
No goals conceded in last 3 games (all comps) - possibly the only positive out of this run.

Would be way too easy to cite the Jan transfer window and the need for a world class forward. Would be even easier for some of you to cite me who decided to take pro-positivity by the scruff of the neck and then embrace with much love as I looked to forget about the chairman's mishap early year and instead look forward, literally, to our forwards and place faith in them getting the job done. Like last season.

Asked for too much, didn't I?

Not that it's completely their fault. We've not done ourselves any favours or any justice by virtue of under-performing when its come to application. As a team. The manager, as much as you can praise him for everything (especially in the continental adventure) has possibly made the wrong decision once or twice with league selections.

The issue at hand therefore far more relative to the way the season has shaped up coming into the run-in with us still involved in the Champions League. The fabled one game at a time mentality is AWOL. Everyone far more focused with a dream. Our players, more Tottenham it would seem than the majority of pragmatic supporters.


Is it our players that lack the focus with one eye on the next game? Always on that next game? Is Harry placing all eggs in one basket? Personal agenda at hand? Too soon for England, surely?

Are we perhaps asking for too much? Are we still 2/3 players away from sustaining a top 4 place? Or is that an excuse to mask the fact we need to be a tad more shrewd. The bastard DNA missing from the Tottenham template. Missing or rather yet to be genetically added.

One thing is for certain - this is the season that simply doesn't know when to start giving. Everybody in the top five can reference what's gone wrong with their consistency this term - all can put forward a valid case that they could have performed far better than they have. More points for all, in various potentialities.

So, in that scenario, we might still have found ourselves where we currently stand. But the reality is, what you see is what you get. And what we've got are far too many regretful performances. Across  team and management. Perhaps the learning curve here is too great for the gaffer and the players. It's not angry fisted criticism this. Just a knowing look and shrug that we could have been far more comfortable.

As always, that's not quite how we do things in N17.

We are five points adrift now. It's not impossible to make up. But even I, someone who has banged the drums of drama all season long chanting 'top 4, top 4' at the top of my voice know that this is truly
backs to wall territory for us now. My throat has gone hoarse. I'm long in the face.

But I haven't quite given up yet.

I also believe its because of our progression in the CL that we are suffering the domestic lulls. Obvious analysis. Perhaps that's why I don't want to be too harsh but still the evidence suggests it could have all been avoided. How exactly do we struggle not to get going away to Wigan? What's that? Real Madrid on Tuesday? Understood chief.

I'm thankful we have bigger fish to fry in the run-in because we tend to turn up for the 'derby' games. Let's hope it goes to the wire. It's our only chance now.

We've dropped enough points in the past month or so to banish us to finishing outside a CL place for next season. If that happened, if...they'd have to be a call to arms and next season would be title push time. Don't scoff. Look again at the fixtures at the top of this article. The reason we're not in the top three is because of results like that. The margin, it's a river we can swim across. Hardly the ocean it was five years ago.

I don't like the table and the way it looks at the moment. I hope the players are irked by it too. I'd rather be in the CL and challenge for the title rather than not in it. Mainly because of the issue of player retainment, in this oh so impatient modern game. But as we're in the CL currently and some might argue we could have had that title shot this season too - it illustrates that it's all in the head. Belief, courage. Take a look at Manchester United. Not playing well. And on their way to their 19th. We'll find out next season if a world class forward is truly the difference of whether there's still more to be done.

As of this second, there is a lot that needs doing, and it's best focused on as this season isn't dead in the water just yet.

If we want to play with the big boys, then let's start behaving like one.

Every game should matter. Momentum. AWOL too?

There's a lot to be said for Alex Ferguson and the manner in which he instilled the never say die attitude into his teams philosophy. I don't expect us to quickly flip over 15 or so years of calamity into a catalyst for success over night. We're on the right track. We just cant afford to step off the gas because we can't control how improved other clubs around us will be next season, the season after next and so on.

Here's hoping momentum will be re-birthed on Tuesday night and we can import some of tenacity back to England and the mundane task of the Premier League.

As ever, onwards we march.



Thanks to Jack via email for the telling screengrabs of Harry.


Der Vaart


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.




Spurs 0 Wigan 1, dvd unavailable at club shop

Spurs 0 Wigan 1

Now that's what I call falling back down to earth with a bump.

Wigan didn't park the bus in front of the goal. They all screamed shotgun and drove it around White Hart Lane. Didn't even bother with seat-belts. Credit to them for their hard work off the ball, closing us down, not allowing us time to stick a foot on the ball and take control of the tempo gauge. They did park up second half. And not because they run of gas. However, shame on us for not having the tenacity to push them off the ball, stick that foot on it, and smash 'em out of N17.

It was made even more so comfortable by our lack of composure. Sloppy, uneasy early play meant confidence to Wigan and not a lot in the way of penetrative football from us. Couple of decent Defoe efforts, but lacklustre in comparison to what we can do. What we know we can do. Champions League hangover? Hate that phrase already. Not something I want to be hearing again this season.

Turned up the pace in the second half, but it was still all a bit stuck at the 60% mark. No swagger. No clean crisp classic Tottenham movement. Shades of last seasons dark moments at the Lane. Basically, on days like this, you tend to get the following head-shaking components:

We start slow
We survive a couple of scares
We fail to take hold of the game
We retain possession
We create some chances, but don't finish them
The game progresses
And continues to progress
But we never truly dictate
And we never actually visibly shift gear

What you have here is break-down of the quintessential Spurs home game non-entity, which results in a long walk home up the high road and Match of the Day removed from your recording schedule.

BAE giving his doubters some evidence of his sometimes dodgy concentration. Off he went at half-time, Niko on, with Pav on for Crouch (Gio on late on for Azza). Possession mostly with us, Wigan just defending, remaining disciplined.

For us, frustration personified. Ominous. You could see what was coming. Because we've seen it before.

How we joked pre-match we'd win comfortable. I guess if we're going to earn distinction on the lessons learnt (lost) from last season by losing again to remind us of our frailties, we may as well get them out of the way early doors because any more misfiring like today and we'll regret it towards the back end of the season when we tally up the points. One mistake at home, that's your lot Spurs. No room for more, k?

We lacked any sort of individual magic, talismanic inspiration or moment of brilliance to get us out of the sleepy performance. You know the sort of thing, when you play below average, but someone out there does something completely out of the blue and out of synch with the rest of the game, to win the points.

How long is Modric out for?

BAE going off and having Bale move back into LB position meant we lost that power going forward, but then he wasn't overly impressing today anyway. No one was.

It's funny how nowadays, when we drop points, its usually because the side don't quite get it together, rather than being abjectly rubbish or outplayed off the park. Ordinary is enough for a hard-working side to get the better of us. Yes I know - it doesn't happen often but that doesn't mean we can't be displeased when we see it play out again. It's easy for the opposition because all they need to do is the same thing all afternoon because we're not going to try anything different to shock/surprise them. Granted we came close, but it was all apologetic©. And this allows them to the opportunity to perhaps steal all points.

Then we enter the final ten minutes of the game. That's when we completely switch off, fall apart. It's getting a bit silly this. I still struggle to see a leader on the pitch. Pre-match huddles are over-rated. Can we not just pretend we're playing Chelsea every week?
78 minutes (Alcaraz). And again on 79 minutes (Gomez). Two massive misses from Wigan. Phews everywhere. Lucky escape you thought to yourself. So we let them have another go. 80 minutes (Rodallega), 0-1 Wigan.

Contrary to popular belief, it still exists.

Couple of chances to equalize (Niko, excellent save, Daws, another superb save), but what does it matter? Banana skin well and truly slipped on.

This is the 4th time (recently) so we are not quite grasping the resolution to this problem. Perhaps it was written in the stars, redemption for Wigan for last seasons humiliation and their nightmare start this term. And for one appearance only, the Tottenham Hotspur Charity (we give to the needy) decided to donate all three points. Bless us.

We had Kaboul at the death, easier to score. So he misses. But no scapegoats, the whole team and Harry need to get to grips once and for all why we stuttered and slumped. And Harry in particular needs to work hard on this. Tactics, they don't win you games, players do. So he says. Well, our players still have a chink in their armour that I'd rather not be seeing. And there's an argument that when the opposition do frustrate you, if you do happen to say, change the formation (and thus tactics) they might not be able to cope, what with the onus on the opposition to stop a renewed and different charge forward.

Losing at home to a side that we should never be dropping points too. We all didn't expect this because it was way too obvious for it to happen. And yet here we are about to knee-jerk (let's not).

Two home games, one point. Let's try not to do this after every CL game please. Because I reckon that's going to be the excuse for this shower of nothingness. It poured the other night against the Young Boys. It dripped today.

Wasted afternoon. Wasted for everyone other than the 60 away supporters who travelled down probably believing they would witness another spanking for their miserable side. Not so miserable today. Ridiculous is football. Champions League? You're 'aving a...I can't even be bothered.

This is not meant to be the way we roll.


We have the players so lets see more of an in-game evolution of 442, to 433. It's going to be a necessary ploy for us in Europe. If a side is parking the bus, or hassling us, or whatever, there has to be a positive change. Harry has got it right before with substitutions, so I can't help thinking that we are still, somewhat, slightly fragile. We appeared to be - as eleven players - one predator that couldn't quite muster up the effort to chase and kill its prey.

I wont knee-jerk because this type of performance will only happen 2 or 3 times a season - but that's potentially nine points lost. So, greedy as I am, I want to see it eradicated from our match-day make-up. Completely.


No point singling out and criticising anyone in particular tbh. It was a collective fudge up. Everyone was low-key, lacked urgency, no game-changer. Under-par all over the pitch.

Creative spark

We have plenty of players to supply one, so let's not be knee-jerking about Hudd or Bale or anyone else. As above, collectively, nobody was on-form today. Simple as that. Shame of course, that nobody was able to lift the team for that moment of inspiration. Because, its what the big teams do, even when they play crap. Not so big today Tottenham.


They got their own tactics spot on. Considering they took all three points in similar fashion to how we lost them last season in the same ilk of depressive defeats. Talking of which...

Wolves, Hull and Stoke and now Wigan

No more. Breaking down these types of teams appears to be our main gripe. Taking all the good things into account, the fact we can beat Arsenal, Chelsea then City with the pressure on (end of last season), but fail when we're favourites to win at home against a side inferior to us proves there's still an issue.

Redknapp post-match

He called it a rare day. And I agree. It's good we can name and shame disappointing games because they don't came around often any more. Let's not forget that. But like I've said already, it's not excusing it because if we want to push on, we can't afford to be baffled too often, especially on our own patch.


Enjoy the bank holiday. Hopefully we'll see some game-changing new signings arrive to help with restoring a smile or two on our frowning faces.

COYS, hugs and stuff.



Running the gauntlet

Unbeaten in 17 league and cup games at White Hot Lane. No Gomes or Moddle, hopefully the same team that played midweek with perhaps a Gallas debut for one of the changes (along with obviously CC in-between the sticks). JD - is he isn't he is he...having an op? I'd say get it done and dusted, three week lay-off - then he's got the rest of the (long) season to get on with finding the back of the net. Rather than risk any aggravation with his apparently not so important to have an op now injury. He's in the squad so I guess no decision has been made yet.

Honestly, even if Wigan parked the bus, we have enough about us to bulldoze through it. I'm not suggesting a repeat 9-1 performance. Having been spanked twice already this season I think Wigan will have just a little bit more about them, but then, it's all about the confidence, isn't it? If we come out all Spurs v Man City, then I expect a DVD sequel to be manufactured seconds after the final whistle and available in the Spurs Shop first thing Tuesday morning. If Wigan go with the physicality and try to stop start the game, we might require patience, and that might suit them more than it suits us if last seasons home defeat lessons are not fresh in our minds as unavoidable conclusions.

We'd have to be frustrated by them massively and like I said, I can't see it happening. Plucky fight from the visitors, 4-0 to us. Suicide watch if we somehow manage to lose.

Wigan park the bus...

I like this from the OS:

Roberto Martinez's men have kicked-off the campaign with 4-0 and 6-0 home losses against Blackpool and Chelsea respectively and return to the site of a 9-1 hammering last season.

But Gareth felt stepping back out at the Lane might just inspire the Latics. "They will be looking for revenge but we'll be ready for that and be prepared for it," he said.

"We know we can't underestimate Wigan. They've had a difficult start and had the result here last season but we'll be fully focused on doing our jobs and hopefully getting the win."

This inspires confidence. Unleash the beast. With an additional Hudd master-class. And I'll smile a mile wide into the bank holiday weekend.

Random time: Our next few games (excluding the Carling Cup) seems to be all about the 'W's.

Wigan. WBA. Werder Bremen. Wolves. West Ham. Five w's, five wins, yeah? Here's hoping.

Elsewhere, journalists take Avram Grants words, add a twist, and suggest Parker could well leave West Ham, so obviously this means he's joining us. Hopefully not. Fabiano is apparently too expensive. And that's just about it. And Ashley Young is again linked.

I'm still certain of two new arrivals to add to the Sandro signing. It's going to go down to the wire again. Because it's how we roll.


Wigan 0 Spurs 3: From Russia with a smile

It was no majestic execution of total football so don't expect a club dvd release of our 3-0 away day win in the marsh lands of Wigan. However, don't be dismissing the performance completley out of hand. Take some pride from the professional taking of three points, even if it took a couple of cameos to conslidate the victory.

That Harry sure knows how to make subsititions, hey?

Okay, so for long periods of the match there wasn't too much going on and even the goal scored by Defoe to stick us 1-0 up was blatantly offside, even if the build up play (Niko and Bale involved) was deserving of a more pure finish. Many thanks to the assistant referee and his reluctance to lift his flag for that piece of good fortune. If he had eyes we'd be all busy slating JD for getting a light year ahead of the last defender before the ball was crossed.

What we got out of this incident was the lead in a game we were comfortable in, which was great because we weren't exactly having many shots on goal. I'm not about to drum up the olde 'cutting edge and lack of' discussion because the pitch was a travesty. It's hard enough for us to create chances on a decent one so no shocker we muddled through this. We mixed it up a little, tried to pass it around and had Crouch as the option if we required a long punt forwards with accompanying knock-down 3 feet away from the feet of Defoe.

Game for me changed when Modric came on.

At the start of the afternoon I found myself nodding in agreement that the lickle Croatian was on the bench. Wasn't just about the state of the pitch either. He's been a little off-key so allowing him to come on and make an impact if need be suited me just fine. Because you could see early on it was going to be one of those games we'd have to bide our time with.

Ref was inconsistent, Defoe lucky (not just with the goal but with one or two tackles and a card - thankfully just yellow). It was fragmented and untidy. King leaving the pitch just after 50 minutes was no shocker. Surprised he was risked in this game considering (no offence) that Wigan are not exactly going to pose the type of threat Everton will this weekend. We could have easily gone missing, but thanks to Wigan's reluctance to play long balls it was a game where both sides tried - as much as possible - to play football. And as for the physicality, Wilson handled it along with the rest of our players. There was no pushing powder-puff Tottenham off the ball in this game (Wigan simply not strong enough to do so).

We had the best of it in the first half, went a bit quiet and then in came Modric (for Niko) and we looked good for a second goal. Because we all know we can't rest unless we get a second.

Crouch should have scored. He didn't. Failed to lift it over the keeper. Modric unlucky with his shot coming off the post and into Kirkland's hands. When Pav entered the field of play I had a gut feeling he would get onto the score-sheet.

Scoring twice was a bit lovely considering how he's not even meant to be in a Spurs shirt. Took his first goal with ease (Modric at the heart of it, threading the ball through to him after a determined run) and then his second (from a free-kick) coming after a save from his initial header, casually slotted in through a tight gap, again with ease and a smile.

It was almost like Roman was mucking about in the playground with his mates during lunch break. Compare his efforts to the over zealous efforts witnessed in recent games. Pav was cool and calm, a refreshing alternative that we've almost forgotten about devoid of any misplaced urgency or lack of confidence. I like this Pav, much more than the one that moans in the papers, but then you can understand why he moans when he's never played. Harry, bless him, scratching the back of his neck and shifting uncomfortably couldn't quite muster up a heartily pat on the back for the Russian. You'd have noticed his comment post-match was underlined with the suggestion that Pav is a good player when he can be bothered. Yes, Harry gave him a chance because he trained well (for once). Unlike all those other times when he didn't.

"He's fantastic, trffic, quality player, top class, blah blah"

Yes, yes, if you believed any of that he'd have played a ton more games than he has. If Pav is not training well then it's probably because he's a tad disillusioned. Stick him up front against Bolton and let's see if he can do the business again. Leave the favouritism alone for once. Suck it up and just give us what we want.

Yeah, I know, I've written off Pav plenty of times in the past. Let's face it, his first season was a mess and he'd not had a chance since. Most Spurs fans would agree, so call me a soppy romantic but my heart melted for the lad when he celebrated and more so when seeing the united front all his team-mates put up for him during and after the game. He's well liked. Which is a great achievement for someone who can't speak English.

So in the end we didn't suffer the usual indignity of a last minute equaliser thanks to the magic of Modic who glided around the mud pitch like a skater on ice and Roman's clinical finishing.

We dug deep, got lucky with an offside, still pretty much dominated the game and did our goal difference a world of good along with pushing ourselves up from 7th into 4th. Again.

Happy days.


That was the week that was

So, according to Harry we need a goal-scoring midfielder like Lampard. No shit. That's why we tried our utmost to sign one in the last transfer window and ended up with Kaboul.


Pav is once more mouthing off. Although it's tiresome, it's equally so to hear Redknapp bang on about the player as though he was an integral part of the squad and yet hardly ever gets a chance, forever warming the bench. Okay, so it's doubtful he's even half the player we wished he would be based on what we've seen, but considering we've seen very little its impossible to truly gauge if he could possibly fit into the side. Perhaps he should turn up to training on a pogo-stick. If he did he'll be a shoe-in to partner JD.

Lawro is predicating us to lose away on Sunday. Looking at the state of their pitch I wouldn't be surprised, considering we struggle to score on grass that's green Christ only knows how we plan to play on the savaged mud marshes of Wigan. We tonked them 9-1 and since that day we've managed to lose our mojo which has seen us hiccup our way to where we are now. Still within touching distance. So perhaps rather than attempting to turn it on like Brazil 1970, we should simply be forced to dig deep and win. Otherwise we sink in the mud taking any hope of 4th down with us. Maybe Harry can mix it up a little with some long balls.

/tumbleweed coming through again

Still on the subject of Lawro and his opinions, he's apparently been telling everyone that Theo Walcott has to go to the World Cup. What the same player who's always injured and hardly does anything other than working on looking and acting like a glossed over arrogant twat so people can lay claim that he's possibly the next Henry? That Theo? Yeah, okay Lawro. Let's take someone to the World Cup based on potential. Jenas, if you're reading this, pack your suitcase.  If he (Theo) played for anyone other than Arsenal, he'd be out on loan to a Championship club right about now. Pace with no direction, and no end product. But he looks good with facial hair, so it's not all bad.

Carlton Cole to Spurs. Yep. When you thought it was safe to browse through the seedy underbelly of the internet (Spurs message boards) the ITK's are saying this is done and dusted for August. Rivaldo  also scheduled to finally complete his medical and sign for Spurs this summer.

Talking of West Ham, can I just say congratulations to Terry Dixon who has been called up to the Eire U21 squad. Two years out with a serious injury at a critical stage of his development, Spurs were amazingly patient, working to get him back to fitness - but then advised by specialists that he would have to retire. If any Irons are reading this, please get in touch. Would like to know how well he's doing in reserve team football. Considering Dixon was told he would never play professional football after his continued injury problems, I'm chuffed for the lad who seems to have unlimited determination and fight in him. Of course, he probably won't be half the player he was on course to becoming, but the kid is earning a living from kicking a ball, so that deserves a massive round of applause.

Seriously though. Carlton Cole?

Devastated to hear this week that Darren Bent has quit Twitter to concentrate on aiding Sunderland out of their slump. No, seriously, heart-broken. He's scored 16 goals this season so not sure how logging onto the internet and typing one sentence messages can quite possibly distract him from what happens out on the training pitch and during games. Obviously it doesn't because he's been scoring plenty. Perhaps the gap left in the world wide web can be filled by Peter Crouch. Would love to read his tweets about waking up next to Abbey Clancy.  Every morning. Does she wear panties in bed? PJs? Or perhaps just Chanel No5? I think these are important and vital questions. Questions that require answers (with accompanying photos for definitive clarity).

Final word saved for the enemy. Excellent back-pass, expertly touched with toe. Instinctive pick-up by the keeper. Superb release of the ball to the opposition and additional groan towards the linesman. Quick free-kick taken. Inspired blocking of the defender by the ref. Clever goal scored. Perfectly legal. Magical spasm on the touchline. David Lynch scripted excuse from the manager. Made me laugh out loud. With all the depression relating to our current dip in form, it's nice of them to provide everyone with a bit of comedy. Good work fellas. Keep it up.


Back to business

Morning. Another small club that has a habit of sometimes punching above their weight (as we found out when they famously beat us 1-0 at WHL). I'ts Hull at home.

There is no need for deep analytical discourse on who should play and how best we break them down. It's Hull. And we need to do one thing. Remember what Stoke and Wolves achieved in our back garden? Complete avoidance of anything similar is the order of the day.

Hopefully those complacent, rusty and somewhat wasteful in front of goal efforts are a thing of the past now that the second half of the season is upon us. The players have to be professional and prove they want it and show belief. I guess that's what makes the best in the country the best. The teams that constantly believe and play to the required standard.

Three massive points IMO today. Mainly because losing these types of games at this juncture in the season WILL be costly. Liverpool away is a similar game re: under-performing when considered to be favourites - with 3 of their best players (their only decent ones you might argue) out injured. But more on that early next week.

All eyes on Harry I'm sure, with how he handles the occasion with that slight distraction of a certain court case on the horizon.

For now, it's all about the footie. No mistakes or over-sights permitted.