Sissoko the Marmite Man.

Sissoko the enigma, the player who’s rarely if ever seen in the celebrity haunts, who seems to get a certain amount of dogs abuse which ever club he’s at. A man who keeps his life off the pitch with his 6 year old son Kai and partner very much out of the public eye. So who is this guy who despite playing for his  country over 50 times, a country that has won the World Cup twice, is looked upon as a bit of a comical character who some say can trap the ball further than he can kick it?
Moussa Sissoko was born on the 16th of August, 1989 in Le Blanc-Mesnil, France. He was born to parents of Malian decent whom little is known about. Sissoko’s mother was a housewife while his father worked as a construction worker at the time of his birth.
Sissoko was born as the eldest of four children, with three younger sisters.
Young Sissoko started his career in football enrolling at a youth club, Esperance Aulnay when he was only six. Esperance Aulnay is a youth club based in nearby Aulnay-sous-Bois, a suburb in northeastern Paris where he stayed for three years.
His youth club career then took a step up when he joined Red Star Paris on a season-long stint. It was at Red Star that Sissoko put up impressive performances that secured him a move to Toulouse in 2003 where he first started to come to the attention of the wider football community. He progressed through all stages of the France junior teams from U16 to U21 between 2005 to 2011 but got his first full cap in 2009.

It was at Toulouse that Sissoko made his Champions League debut in 2007.
In 2009 he began to get interest  from Tottenham Hotspur as well as Manchester City, Inter Milan, Juventus and German giants Bayern Munich, although a move never materialized due to his club’s unwillingness to let him go. Moussa finally left for Newcastle in the 2013 where he stayed until they got relegated in 2016. He apparently formed a close relationship with Benitez during his time with the club but must have realised that while Ashley was in charge he would be very unlikely to win anything hence his reason for coming to Spurs 😏.
He has a love for DC comic characters Spiderman and Superman and is also a lover of French music.
Moussa Sissoko is clearly a marmite (with a hint of Scotch bonnet) character. His many detractors site his often ungainly attempts to control the ball. His inability to hit a cows backside with a banjo in from of goal. His occasional wayward passes. Even his recent improvements over the last few matches are stated as coming from such a low starting point as to be insignificant compared to his team mates.
The other side of the coin shows him as someone who’s head never drops. Who always presents himself to receive a pass (not the case when he first joined). A player who can go on a storming run deep into the opposition half. A player who Poch clearly trusts. A player who the fans are now singing songs about. He will never win over all the fans, his failings, for some, will always outway his contribution to the team and when he leaves us I suspect it will be the same at his next club as it was previously at Newcastle. It’s who he is.
This may be extrapolating a comparison too far but take a player like Berbatov. Capable of two or three moments of outstanding brilliance per game. The rest of the time, he didn’t look like he could be bothered to be on the pitch. There’s laid back and there’s comatose and at times in my opinion he was the latter. Nevertheless all his failings and thoughts what he could have been if he tried like Kane, were normally forgotten just for those few fleeting moments of brilliance. Sissoko doesn’t have those moments of brilliance but he does have the desire and effort to do his very best on the pitch. It’s not his fault he’s paid huge dollops of wonga, he can only do what he can do, nothing more.
A simile can be found in the everyday workplace. Should we deride a co-worker just because they can’t do the job as well as us? I’d suggest not. It’s not their fault they’ve been put in that position and maybe being paid more than their colleague. Blame the management, yes, but not the person, assuming of course they’re are trying their hardest.
Personally for me, while he’s wearing the chicken badge and giving his usual 100% I’m happy to support him in his endeavours, but if I’m honest, whilst occasionally muttering the odd obscenity under my breath about his frustrating inadequacies during a match. He is not an Adebayor or someone who’s happiest when he’s on the celebrity pages he’s a guy that gives his all and that’s all I can ask for.

I like Merrance … and I like RonWol, but which one’s the best? There’s only one way to find out … Two dinosaurs lock horns in a battle to … the Zimmer frame!

Merrance says:

I am thoroughly cheesed off with interlull cant be arsed to watch the USA friendly while hoping our boys dont get crocked,Football saturation with meaningless games.By the time we play blue scum on the 24th we will have missed 7-8 weeks of stop start prem .No flow eh Ronwol,how can there be flow when players are thrown out of wack and teams have to be patched up etc. Teams will be throwing cup games to avoid fixture congestion.What a farce fifa and Uefa have contrived. stitched up the prem like a kipper. waiting for results spread over Friday to monday to see how to play and what tactics to use and players to pick according to the schedules.GAH AND PFFFT

But RonWol reckons:

You want real football where the players deal with tough schedules,difficult conditions and play with their hearts and souls. Its time for us not to whine,to get in there and win the struggle.This is an opportunity to heal our wounds and come back like the club we think we are. Blowing our own horns for centuries does nothing for the reality of life.We have to face the tasks thrown at us. Look at Sexy,he is ready.We all must be ready. The players have time for tattoos and silly haircuts,lets get focused and win one game at a time.
We throw away silly points with one game a week to mediocre teams. We ARE or we are NOT. Tottenham has to decide who it is. Davies playing shitty is not because of the schedule.
The one player we have to has given his all week in week out and is now winning his battle is a player most of the fans have hated….he fights every game both the outside and his own confidence.Now is not the time for moaning.Its the time to refocus and get to the task. No excuses. Just fucking do it.

Seconds out: Round 1!

Bum fun in South London?

So, three wins in seven days following that narrow City-slicking, and off we trot to Palace for a game that’s likely to be another huge test, even though the Eagles are perched in fourteenth and have lost seven and drawn two of their opening eleven games, with both wins coming away from home (v Fulham and Huddersfield, who are, respectively, bottom and third bottom right now).

Their two points from draws have come at Selhurst, though – nil-nil v Newcastle and two-all v Goons (via two penalties – Palace are yet to score from open play in the Prem so far this season, so are no doubt looking forward to Charity Spurs rolling up and gifting a first).

When I heard Palace were gimping the Gooners one-nil I immediately rushed off to the telly to sit and gloat through the second half, then switched off in disgust eight minutes later with the Gooners two-one up: Similarly clueless, I’ve not even seen the highlights from their 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge last weekend, so have no idea if they deserved to pull level through Townsend in the 53rd minute before going on to England-Hodgson it up.

The only game of theirs I’ve seen more than a few minutes of this season was their home loss to the Dippers in the second round of fixtures: Whether it’s Crystanbul or memories of the 1990 FA Cup Semi-Final, I have happy associations with Palace V Dips games so it’s one I always try to watch if it’s on TV. Despite the nil-twoing, I thought they gave a good account of themselves: Once Palace were reduced to ten men around the 75th minute, Liverpool always looked as if they had a breakaway second goal in them, but Palace also looked just as capable of levelling the game too.

All of which suggests we’re not going to have it easy today, and Palace away, to my mind, is one of those fixtures where spineless Spurs often fail to make their quality count and, more often than not, come away with a draw or defeat because they’ve failed to work as hard as the opposition and earn the right to play their own game.

When I checked my facts, though, I found this isn’t the case: Last season, we won a very tight game one-nil courtesy of a Harry Kane header (from a corner! We scored from a corner!) in the 88th minute. The week before that, we’d beaten Arsenal one-nil at Wembley, so this was definitely one of those games I’d have looked at and thought, yep, we’re going to drop points at Palace, that’s what Spurs do after a really good win. Then, the previous season, when we were the last team applying pressure to Chelsea, a Christian Eriksen 30-yarder saw us chalk up another one-niller and keep the gap down to four in yet another game I’d have expected us to lose.

I might be a dumb-dumb, but I’m a pessimistic dumb-dumb most of the time.

As for the season before that, we travelled to Selhurst in what, to me, seemed a sticky patch of form. We’d narrowly lost to Leicester at home two games before (Kane smashed the bar in the second-half; Huth found the back of the net with a towering header from an 83rd minute corner), and then played out a dreadful first-half against Fat Sam’s Sunderland, going behind to a van Aanholt goal in the 40th minute, before promptly waking up with an Eriksen leveller two minutes later and three unanswered second-half goals. It was one of those games, on that dark pit of despair and angst flat-oeufers first ascended from, where the team were treated to dog’s abuse for the first half and like the dog’s bollocks in the second, though I thought the level of performance was pretty poor all the way through, and what was really required was patience and quiet appreciation of a young team under a young manager finding its legs after a gut-punch of a defeat against Leicester.

And then off we trotted to Palace, January 23rd 2016, where a Verts own-goal brought an end to an eight hour goal drought for Palace, their last goal having come against Stoke in the middle of December (Charity Spurs, once again – there is no way on flat oeuf we’re keeping a clean sheet this weekend – my money is on a Davies or Sanchez own goal within the first seven minutes). Kane pulled us level just after the hour, but, for Verts, to add injury to insult, Connor Wickham took exception to his shirt-pulling exploits and smashed him in the face with an elbow. Off he went, on came Wimmer, Palace hit the bar twice in quick succession, and up stepped Alli with that beautifully improvised flick and smash into the bottom corner of Hennessy’s goal from the edge of the area in the 84th minute, all topped off by a great goal from Chadli in the 95th. All in all, one of the best games I’ve ever seen Spurs involved in, and the first one post-Christmas I can remember taking a breath at the end of and thinking ‘we might actually have a chance of winning the league’, a belief which grew as we won our next four (including that two-one win at the Etihad where Eriksen scored late on) until those pesky pikeys peed on our chips and we let a two-one lead against ten-man Gooners slip in the following game, all while the rest of the league began to roll over for fairy-tale Leicester and up their game against us.

So, all in all, we have to go back to Poch’s first season in charge to find our last league surrender at Selhurst. This, though, finally fits the narrative I had in my mind when I first started typing: On new-year’s day, we stuffed Chelsea five-three at The Lane, one of the first performances under Poch which suggested he might really have something about him. In our next Prem fixture, on the tenth of January, we lost an entertaining game at Selhurst two-one, allowing them to end a run of eight league games without a win, allowing all-round smug-git Alan Pardew to celebrate his first game as Palace manager by waving that ever smug fist of his around in the air, and all despite Kane giving us the lead with his 18th goal in a break-through season he would sadly never replicate, fading away like Gary Docherty and a host of others before him: If only he hadn’t been a one-season wonder, where might Tottenham be now?

Hmm. Probably back above the Gooners (who find themselves in that usually Spursy position of having made their best start in ages and yet still somehow looking up at their underperforming north London neighbours), fourth in the league, and still in with a (faint) shout of progressing from a difficult CL group despite a lack of investment and not having had a home-ground for a season and a half: That’s probably about right where we’d be.

We’d also be three points better off than we were this time last season after the equivalent number of games and one point better off than in games against the same opposition: This time last season, we’d just narrowly squeaked Palace one-nil at ‘home’ and were about to let ourselves down miserably at The Emirates in a two-nil no-show. This was the first of a four-match winless streak in the league I trace directly back to our heroics against Real Madrid just before we played Palace – I’ve always thought the major weakness so far with Poch’s Tottenham is a tendency to follow a peak performance with a trough of sub-standard ones. So far this season, there have been no peak performances, so no subsequent trough of sub-standard results. If we can pick up all three points against Palace tonight, it’s Chelsea at ‘home’ and Arsenal away, with Inter Milan in-between, and we’ll finally be able to judge whether this team has been ‘getting away with it’ or really does deserve to be in the mix for another great league campaign and in with a better than faint chance of progressing in the CL.

Being a pessimistic dumb-dumb, I’m expecting us to blow it tonight and then coast to victories in the next three. I’m also hoping for Poch’s Tottenham to prove me wrong for the fourth season on the trot, though, with a clean sheet and the sort of nice tidy three-nil away win last week’s visit to Molineux fleetingly threatened to be.

Predicting Spurs Victory?

Times have changed. After the defeats to Inter, then Barça, followed by the lame draw against PSV, the talk was of hoping we would come last in the Group and drop out of European competition altogether for the rest of the year. Solely on the basis of not christening NWHL with a Ropey League match, I saw the logic.

But since then, we’ve started playing a bit. We’ve exhibited some expansionism, demonstrated derrring-do, showcased some swashbuckling. We’ve become more Spurs and less spursy.

I never do predictions. They ruin the game for me. I’ve got enough nerves without thinking I’ve jinxed it. So Peter Predictor, what do you think? Are we going to show up or fizzle out?

What I do want is for us to go for it. I want us to try our hardest to qualify from the Group. All that ‘ditch it for this year’ nonsense is for losers. I was one of them off the back of our last 3 CL results, but now I’m a WINNER! Yeah!

Still hungry?

“Your ground’s too big for you”, the Spurs contingent sang the last time we visited Molineux for a league fixture, revelling in the fact the new Stan Cullis stand had opened that evening, but the stadium looked far from full.

That last visit – 10th September 2011 – was back in the dark days of Arry, long before Poch put a spine into Spurs. And, to be (begrudgingly) fair to Gary Neville, we started that afternoon bottom of the league, having been three-nilled by United and one-fived by City in our opening two games.

In the build-up to this fixture, our Arry stuck his head out of a car-window and told a BBC reporter he took full responsibility: “I could tell there were too many players around that wanted to leave. It wasn’t creating the right atmosphere going into the new season…”

This, of course, was back in the halcyon days when the transfer window stayed open until the end of August, giving Levy enough time to finish his holidays and give some thought to what the squad needed in order to focus on titles: In and around those two Manchester maulings, and in shocking contrast to the summer just gone, he sprang into action and borrowed Adebayor from City and actually bought Scott Parker from Spam for £5.5m, adding to the fortune he’d already splashed out early-doors (Friedel; free – Ceballos; free – Coulibaly; undisclosed).

Oh, on the same day he borrowed Adebayor, he borrowed Falque as well.

He did manage to cling onto Modric, though, and as for those bad-eggs bringing down the mood in Arry’s dressing-room, he loaned Jenas to Villa, somehow sold Hutton to Villa, and banked a respectable £18m by dropping Palacios and Crouch off in a Potteries car-park and returning with a flash-drive full of Bitcoins (or were he and Joe still accepting old-money duffel-bags back then?).

Those of us with a flat-earth mentality no doubt ended that particular transfer-window as happy as pigs in Arsenal kits. Not only had we made yet another profit to chip away at the upcoming stadium debt, we’d finally signed Scotty Parker as well. And if anyone could get a tune out of Adebayor, it was Arry…

And, to be fair to Arry, we beat Wolves two-nil that night, whumped the Dippers four-nil at home the following Sunday (with an absolute pearler from Modric opening the scoring), and wouldn’t lose in the league again until Stoke beat us two-one on the 11th December. We spent the vast majority of the season in third and Arry celebrated his tax-dodging acquittal and Capello’s shock-resignation from the job he really wanted by managing the team to a five-nil throbbing of Newcastle on the 11th February.

In the next-fixture, at the Emirates, the TV cameras panned in on a group of Spurs fans pre-match who’d arranged themselves so the letters on their t-shirts read MIND THE GAP on the front and something like HARRY DON’T GO on the back. We raced into an early two-nil lead and…

… to be (begrudgingly) fair to Gary Neville…

… lost five-two.

We then only picked up two points from twelve before beating Swansea on April Fools day, ended the season in fourth, and, of course, got bumped out of the following season’s CL by 6th placed Chelsea.

Arry, no doubt, will point to the unsettled squad and the six-point head-start Levy gave all our competitors by balding up our opening two fixtures.

Levy, no doubt, will point to a nil-nil draw with Villa (who finished fifth from bottom) in our penultimate game and a one-nil defeat to QPR (who finished fourth from bottom) three weeks earlier, because a win in either of those games would have seen us bump Arsenal into fourth.

And, most likely, saved Redknapp his job.

It doesn’t really matter which of them points out what, though. Between them, they screwed it right up, and yet another potentially golden era for Tottenham came to yet another shuddering stop.

That potentially golden era might also have been saved had we not suffered a one-one home draw with Wolves on the 14th January. In typical charity-Spurs fashion, Wolves wouldn’t pick up another point until Mick McCarthy was sacked following a five-one home schooling by West Brom in the middle of Feb. They ended that season bottom, suffered another relegation the following season, then, after securing immediate promotion, spent three seasons bobbing around the nether-regions of the Championship before topping the pile in Santo’s first season as manager last time around.

Now they’re sitting pretty in tenth, having won four, drawn three and lost three, which is a fairly respectable return ten games into a first season back in the PL, irrespective of how well financed they might be and how many players they might have brought in via supposedly spurious links – according to Leeds and Aston Villa and a few other Championship clubs, anyway – to super-agent Jorge Mendes.

Two of those defeats, though, have come in their last two games – two-nil at home to Watford and one-nil away to Brighton – which maybe makes this trip a little less daunting than it might have seemed just a couple of weeks earlier.

As for us, we’re still better off points-wise than this time last season, whether comparing the number of games played or results against the same opposition. Following Wednesday’s Wet Spamming, we’re also one round further ahead in the Carabo Cup than we managed last year.

Which means, if it wasn’t for the last ten minutes or so of two CL games, who knows what sort of dumb-dumb over-hyped guff I’d be typing right now, especially as I’ve been vaguely enjoying some of our football as the season’s worn on, with only the defeats against Watford and Dippers leaving me totally meh.

Maybe Saturday’s news of Glenn’s heart-attack and the Leicester City helicopter disaster also put the importance of winning on Monday into a slightly different perspective, because I enjoyed watching that game even though there were spells when it felt like City were about to give us a spanking. They didn’t, though, and the fact we created a couple of really good openings and finished the game looking the team most likely to score left me feeling more upbeat than I usually would after a defeat, especially given last season’s thwumpings from City.

Wednesday’s performance against Spam only added to my uneasy sense of optimism: I feel that was one of Poch’s best ‘second-eleven’ selections and Spammers away has to be his biggest domestic cup scalp so far – unless I’ve missed any, the only other current PL teams we’ve seen off in the FA or League cups under Poch have been Watford, Fulham, Newcastle, Leicester and Burnley (hopefully, though, we’ll be adding Gooners away to this list very soon). As Taff pointed out in his bloeug, Foyth could well be the next big thing, and as Chauvelin and The Great Ronwoldo were discussing this morning, our goals against column in the PL so far this season actually compares well to all but City and Dippers, and even compared to those two we’ve only conceded five and four more.

Fuelling my giddiness ever such a little bit more, I feel the hint of a goal-threat might finally be returning to our game, with two very good chances created against a City defence with a reputation for being one of the tightest around and Son taking his chances really well on Wednesday. Even Llorente scored, suggesting that, all in all, despite the defeat to City, despite being fifth, despite being five points off the top, despite the horror of being behind Arsenal, despite languishing in third in our CL group, despite Poch being off to Real, despite Alli only signing a contract extension so Levy can sell him for more money to Real once Poch’s got his feet under the table in Spain, despite the spiralling debt, the falling attendances, the fact we’re indefinitely homeless and our temporary home has a pitch in a worse state than Superspoz’s new allotment, it might just be possible to postpone the official end of THFC until we get turned over by Wolves.

Win, though, and we’ll either be back above Arsenal or within touching distance of Dippers again, and the earth will feel reassuringly flat until we screw up against PSV in Tuesday night’s must-win NFL Stadium game or our next PL outing, which happens to be Palace away.

Juan Beckenbauer

Last night we were (mostly) privileged to watch the emergence of what could well be an outstanding footballer. Pretty much everything Juan Foyth did last night oozed class. From his sense of positional awareness, through the timing of his tackles up to the ease with which he brought the ball out of defence, he made everything look easy — surely the mark of an exceptional talent. I know it was only West Ham, but I saw enough last night to make me think that comparisons with the great Franz Beckenbauer won’t be too far wide of the mark. Apart from one misplaced pass and a tug that should have resulted in a booking, he put in a faultless display and one which, no doubt, will have most of us looking forward to the day when he’s a first-team regular.

Here’s a video of all his touches. It’s well worth a look (or two).

 

 

Tonights hit squad

So here we are again (except Bruxie, he’s over there).

It’s Wednesday! It’s five to five. It’s Crackerjack!! Ok, I know, it’s not Friday, and it isnt’  five to five, but hey, lettuce hope we have a Crackerjack evening. Tonights venue is again the state aid stadium, this time for another round of the caramel coupe.

These are our brave lads who will decimate tonight’s unwashed adversaries.

COYS!!!

The 30 minute man

Dele Alli: A star-shaped peg in an unusually shaped hole

NB Full Article by Football whispers, with graphs here:

https://www.footballwhispers.com/blog/dele-alli-star-peg-square-hole?utm_medium=affiliates&utm_source=spurs-clark

After an impressive first season at White Hart Lane, the midfielder improved in 2015/16. He scored 18 goals and registered seven assists to cement himself as one of the world’s brightest young players.

But in 2017/18 he failed to hit the same heights and dropped back to the level of his debut season at Spurs. So what happened?

For a start, it’s worth mentioning that scoring nine and assisting ten goals – as he did last term and did the reverse in 2015/16 – is an impressive feat. Very few players manage it per season and there are four Premier League campaigns where nobody managed it at all.

So for Alli to get close not once, not twice, but three times in a row, at such a young age, shows what kind of a talent he is. But let’s investigate that drop-off…

The drop-off and a change in role

So why did Alli’s goal output halve from 2016/17 to 2017/18? Basically, he stopped hitting the target as much.

His rate of shots which tested the opposition goalkeeper dropped from 47 per cent to 25 per cent between the two seasons.

The number of chances he was getting per game stayed roughly the same – as well as the quality of them – it’s just that he lost that special ability to find the back of the net.

In terms of his all-round game, Alli played similarly in the two years, as seen by his Football Whispers player persona radar, which looks at how a team or person’s plays stylistically.

But the current campaign, one which has been disrupted by a persistent hamstring injury, is going slightly differently.

Alli hasn’t claimed an assist this term and the numbers suggest that, when he returns to the side, that is unlikely to change anytime soon.

The amount of shots he’s setting up has dropped from 1.6 per 90 minutes last season to 0.5 per 90. Instead, the 22-year-old seems to have taken on extra responsibility in attack and in defence, leaving out the creativity in the middle.

Alli’s defensive activity has absolutely leaped this season, more than double what it has been in the past two campaigns with 4.96 tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes.

His touches inside the opposition box have also jumped, from just under five per 90 minutes in those previous years but nearly seven per 90 this campaign. He’s even receiving more passes inside the box than Harry Kane.

It’s a curious role and not one many players are probably tasked with which, in turn is perhaps why the public enthusiasm around him has died. How are we supposed to measure success in this role that we’ve not really seen before?

The fact that he’s making fewer shot assists and not taking any more shots than last season, despite getting more touches in the opponents’ box, doesn’t seem like a sign of success.

He’s still an important part of Mauricio Pochettino’s side moving the ball up the pitch, but Alli is one of the players where end product is supposed to come from.

With Kane struggling earlier in the season, Spurs fans could reasonably have hoped that the 22-year-old would step up and fill some of that void.

But whether Alli gets back to the eye-catching heights of the past few years, 2016/17 in particular, will depend on whether Pochettino continues to play him in this role.

Such a heavy defensive responsibility, be it relentless pressing or more conventional defensive work, won’t make attacking end product any easier to come by.

But defending is a thankless task, for the most part, and perhaps we should all recognise the task that the midfielder has had to perform this season.

There’s still a lot of time in the campaign and his career for Alli to get back to his best. He’s shown that he can do it before and, if given the opportunity, he’ll be able to do it again.

Dan’s Grande Oeufre

Well, that PSV result was so Spursy even the offside decision for Sanchez’s goal seemed par for the course.

Though, of course, had the same logic been applied to PSV’s equaliser, it would have been chalked off as well and we’d have still won that game…which we would have deserved, because we dominated possession, created some great chances, reacted to giving away a stupid goal against the run of play by scoring ‘twice’ in ten minutes, still went on to take the lead, hit the woodwork twice, and generally looked more inventive in the attacking third than we have in what feels like far too long.

But we are where we are, which is probably out of the CL – though I still think there are some twists and turns to come before that’s a given – with the doom-mongers excitedly predicting footballing Armageddon against City on Monday, which is how their visit to us last April is often portrayed.

Kicking off at the ridiculous time of quarter to eight on a Saturday evening (as does the Wolves game next weekend – ffs), it was another game where Hugo sadly failed to cover himself in glory.  For Jesus’s 21st minute opener, he backpedalled when he probably should have closed down the angle.  Then, three minutes later, he rushed out as he did against Barca and PSV, upending Stirling and giving away the penalty which pretty much killed off the game.  Although Eriksen pulled one back with a deflected goal just before half-time, and although we did create some vague half-chances early on in the second half, it was one of those games where we never seemed ‘at it’, and Stirling missed an absolute sitter before finally putting the result beyond doubt in the 72nd minute.

City went on to be crowned champions the next day when the mighty Manchester United and that serial winner Mourinho lost at home to West Brom. For us, it was our first league defeat since City had traumatised us 4-1 in December and brought a six-match winning streak – including victories over Arsenal at ‘home’ and Chelsea away – to an end.  That December defeat was also the first time we’d lost to City since May 2015.  In the three consecutive victories over the Cityzens which followed, we probably played some of the best football we’ve seen under Poch; a four-one drubbing, a glorious two-one smash and grab at the Etihad, and one of the most one-sided two-nil batterings you’re ever likely to see in what was, I think, Pep’s first ever league defeat as City boss.

I feel a lot of the issues which undid City that day are similar to the issues spursying us up at the moment – Pep was insistent City play out from the back when Claudio Bravo in goal and full-backs Kolarov and Zabaleta just weren’t good enough to carry it off.  We constantly hounded those three into errors and the majority of the game seemed to be played out between the edge of their area and the half-way line because they just couldn’t get through our press.

We pretty much did to them that day what we recently allowed Liverpool to do to us.

Pep’s answer to this was to spend roughly £140 million on a new goalkeeper and two new full-backs.  Also, though, I feel he’s tweaked his tactics against us – our away game to them last season saw Ederson constantly bypass our high-press by launching the ball straight to an attacker in the way Pickford twice did to Kane ahead of breakaway goals in the recent England win over Spain, and City’s first goal at Wembley last time out came directly from a simple upfield punt from Kompany.  When we have players with Moura’s pace and Kane’s ability to dominate world-class defenders when the ball’s there to be won, it seems baffling to me that we constantly restrict ourselves to slow-build ups from the back in an attempt to draw teams out and then play through them.  It’s beautiful when it works – as it did for one of our goals against PSV, when Hugo touched the ball something like three times in the build-up and we had something like forty consecutive passes before scoring – but, at the moment, trying to play this way is constantly inviting the sort of errors made by Toby for their goal and Eriksen for Hugo’s sending off.  The same sort of malarkey also led directly to us conceding that final goal against Barca.

I’m not advocating a massive change in approach, or binning Hugo – who was instrumental in our win against Spammers – just a bit of flexibility and practicality and some evidence that Poch and the team value winning over winning a certain way.

As for where we are at the moment, we’re one point better off than we were after the same number of games last season, and three points better off in terms of results against the same opponents. This time last year, we’d just done the Dippers 4-1 at Wembley in another of the stand-out performances under Poch, but were about to head up to Old Trafford for yet another surrender to a sub-par United – Toby Alderweireld allowing Lukaku to get his head to a long-ball first and Martial running on to the flick-on to score the game’s only goal in the 81st minute.

As so often with Tottenham, one step forward, one step back, and no bugger appealing for offside.

Given the way we’ve been architects of our own destruction so far in Europe this season, and given the gulf in class between us and City last season, it’s hard to look forward to Monday night’s game with any positive expectations, but with Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal all facing teams they would expect to beat (the arrogant tossers), losing this one could see us start to lose touch with a breakaway top four.  [Ed: Arsenal only drew, lol]

I’m still a confirmed dumb-dumb, though, and refuse to let Wednesday’s late equaliser completely cloud the fact that we went away to a team undefeated in their own league so far this season (five points ahead of Ajax, who are presently top of their own CL Group) and, other than a couple of self-inflicted screw-ups, pretty much outplayed them.

We also went to Wet Spam last weekend and came away with all three points, something United and Chelsea have failed to do this season.

Minus several key players, we also went toe-to-toe with Barca at Wembley and were in no way played off the park.

Are City better than Barca? They’re possibly close to their level, but better? I think not.  So, if I was a betting man, I’d be putting money us winning 3-1 on Monday, beating West Ham on Wednesday, then throwing all that good work away by losing to Wolves next Saturday night.

(Gif: Courtesy of Flat Oeuf, just having a little joke at my own expense)

Legend

Image result for glenn hoddle image

Worrying news today about Glenn Hoddle being taken seriously ill whilst filming in the BT Sport studio.

I’ve no doubt that for some of you, Glenn is the reason you are Spurs fans. A legend of White Hart Lane, he epitomised the way Tottenham play, the way football should be played, and gave us 12 years of incredible memories as a player.

I’m sure I speak for everyone, not just Spurs fans, but football fans all around the world, in sending Glenn our very best wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery.

 

Grindr

We have become the team that grinds out results…until we don’t.

Our PL “Best Ever Start” masks a slightly different picture, when we start looking across all competitions this season.

Out of our 7 victories in the PL this year, I would say that only those against Manchester United (our finest result) plus Fulham and Huddersfield (2 goal margins) have been comfortable victories, and the last two are debatable as “comfortable”.

Otherwise, we have squeezed past the other 5 by a solitary goal and, for all of the possession, could have conceded and left with 1 point instead of 3.

When you add in the Cups, it looks worse. Inter turned us over from a winning position. Barça beat us fairly soundly if you tally up all of the ‘what ifs’. It took us penalties to get past Watford. Last night we salvaged a draw from what looked like a routine victory.

My point here is that we have been scraping by…but that relying on other teams rolling over or ‘that bit of luck’ is not going to carry us very far in the Premier League, the FA Cup or even the Milk Cup (pick your favourite for us to “focus on”), let alone the Champions League.

We all know the possible reasons why we haven’t hit our straps as yet – and they are absolutely valid. Fatigue, injuries, international duty etc etc. Not easy to balance and continue to keep staying in touch.

However. However. Last night’s performance and result points to a pattern of our own making in which we go ahead, look like we’re going to really press home the advantage with a second or third goal…and then, in the name of controlling the game or whatever, we allow the intensity to drop at what looks like a pivotal moment and we concede. We invite the opposition back into the game.

I’m all for high possession stats but they have to equal a threat. If the other team sense that they’re safe to have a go, then have a go they will. This is a subliminal message we send out time and again.

We did invite pressure last season too, but it was more about not converting chances. This time round we’re not creating the chances in anything like as much quantity or quality.

Again, back to the reasons why. We’re going to have to hope that Dele and Jan bring a lot back to this team because, as things stand, we don’t have much room for manoeuvre in the ‘luck’ stakes. A few percentage points drop in performance will translate to wins becoming draws and draws becoming losses.

That’s what I see with what I’m watching so far this season.

PSV Eindhoven up next

By r’Andy

Our next in line to undertake mortal combat with are The Philips Sport Vereniging, otherwise known as PSV Eindhoven. The club was formed in 1956 and therefore just a Johnny come lately compared to our esteemed club. Their nicknames are Boeren (Peasants/Farmers), Lampen (Lightbulbs) and Rood-witten (Red and whites). So the red and white light bulbs are hopefully going to get smashed on Wednesday.

PSV currently has one of their best goal differences after 9 Eredivisie duels this season, 36 for and only 3 against. This hasn’t been bettered since the season 1999-2000 when they had a slightly better goal average, with +34 (42-8) after 9 games. They currently looked down on everyone in Eredivisie, including Ajax by 5 points and Feyernord by 7. Clearly this is a good season for them and they will be tough nuts to crack. But crack them we must if we are to have any chance of progressing to the knock out stages in the Champions League.

Just a few more useless facts, they have won the Eredivisie 24 times, the KNVB Cup nine times and the Johan Cruyff Shield ten times. Currently, PSV is 28th on the UEFA club coefficients ranking. Throughout the years, PSV established itself as a stepping stone for future world class players like: Ruud Gullit, Ronald Koeman, Romario, Ronaldo, Cocu, Jaap Stam, Van (the man) Nistelroy, Arjen Robben and who could forget perhaps the greatest of all, Hirving Lozano.

A nice, easy 3-0 win is called for and anything less will require industrial strength water pumps to be installed in the bedrooms.

COYS!!!

Dan’s Spam Attack

 

And so to Stratford, where – other than poor sight-lines and unhappy ‘locals’ – who knows what awaits us?  The team that recently beat Everton and Man United either side of a very creditable draw at home to Chelsea, or the team who (from Match of The Day highlights, anyway) looked defensively all-at-sea while losing one-nil at Brighton last time out and also lost their opening four games of the season?

 

It’s tempting to trot out the ‘fierce local rivals / it’s their cup final / they’ve invested heavily in a squad while Levy’s been building a shopping mall line and doom-monger a potential battering for us on Saturday, but that wasn’t the case last season when we paid our second ever visit to the London Stadium: Harry Kane goals in the 34th and 38th minutes plus an Eriksen strike on the hour gave us a lead that West Ham couldn’t claw back despite Aurier seeing red in the 70th with the score at 1-3:   Although Kouyate pulled another one back in the 87th, and despite there being 7 minutes added on, the only further threats the Spammers mustered were long range efforts from Reid and Noble, both of which flew high and wide.

 

As Chauvelin pointed out when I referenced this victory as ‘strolling into Stratford’ on a previous bloeug, though, shipping two goals made this too close to comfort and maybe hinted at troubles to come:  It was only a few weeks later that we threw away a two-goal lead to the Spam in the 4th round of the league cup, and, of course, we’ve gone on to lose at least four matches from winning positions since, which is something I can’t really remember us doing on such a regular basis under Pochettino up until that point.  

Putting aside the fact we conceded two goals and saw Serge sent off, last season’s visit to Spam was definitely happier than our previous two, both of which we lost by single goaland neither of which we turned up in.   16/17, which saw our away-contingent’s first ever need to take binoculars to a premier league match, brought an end to a nine match winning streak and the slim hope of overhauling Chelsea with three games left to play.   15/16, our last ever visit to Brady, Gold and Sullivan’s state-backed retirement fund, brought an end to a six match winning streak and, had we won, we’d have gone top of the table with ten games left to play, level on points with Leicester (who had drawn that night) and seven goals superior.   As we then dropped two points at home to Arsenal in the following game, this turned out to be the last genuine chance we had to go top that season, a gut-wrenching result which hurts me to look back on even more than lasagne-gate does, even though nothing was actually decided that day.

 

To counter-balance those three soul-sapping defeats away to the Spammers, I’ll just quickly mention Harry Kane slipping Eric Dier through to score that last-minute winner in Poch’s first ever competitive game in charge of us, Gareth Bale’s 89thminute screamer in 2013, and the sheer joy of Paul Stalteri popping up out of nowhere to tap Robert Green’s fumble into the back of the net to make it 4-3 to us having been 3-2 down with 89 minutes on the clock:  If this fan-cam clip wasn’t quite so long, I could use it as a sound-track to make love to – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUyfb_5r_7o.    

 

There.  I feel a little bit better now.  And all I’ll need to keep that happy glow through to the end of the weekend is for us to finish Saturday three points better off than we started, because, as much as I’d love for us to take them to cleaners (and as much as I believe we’re capable of doing so (though our injury / unavailable list is potentially worrying)) I’ll gladly take three scrappy points.   With City up next in the Prem and the four league games following that looking tricky (Wolves and Palace away, Chelsea at ‘home’ and Arsenal away  not to mention decisive CL and Carabo Cup games dotted in and around them) dropping points this weekend and the effect that might have on morale ahead of the first PSV double-header could instigate the first truly disastrous run of league and cup results weve had to endure under Poch.

 

Though, of course, certain doom-mongers would say we’re already in the midst of a truly disastrous run of league and cup results as we’ve lost to every half-decent team we’ve faced so far this season and our performances have been utter dreck for as long as any self-respecting doom-monger would care to remember.

 

Personally – and obviously marking me out as a complete and utter dumb-dumb – I still think the United away result counts for something, especially given our previous record under Poch of simply turning up at Old Trafford with three points held out on a cheese-board.  Other victories, such as Fulham at Wembley and Brighton and Huddersfield away, I’ve enjoyed watching  though none have been vintageTottenham, they’ve been pretty open games rather than bore-fests where the other team has relentlessly sat back and watched us do little more than witlessly pass the ball sideways across our back-line.  Defeat-wise, we at least gave ourselves the ghost of a chance against Barca despite having several key-players missing.  In the other three games we’ve lost, whether we deserved anything or not, we should have had a chance to draw level from the spot against the Dippers and, as already mentioned, somehow managed to get ourselves intowinning positions against Watford and Inter despite being well below par.  

 

As for our most recent performance, against Cardiff, yes, it left a lot to be desired, but I think we played better against Cardiff than we did in last season’s 1-0 home win against Bournemouth in the equivalent round of matches, where an Eriksen goal in the 47th minute separated us from a Cherries side second bottom in the table, only two points better off than Colin’s Cardiff were this time around:  On top of that, as painful as the Cardiff game was to sit through in real-time, the Match of The Day highlights showed it could have easily ended 5-2 had both teams taken their chances, proving we did at least create some chances (we were the ones who could have scored five, btw)...  

 

And, as a final small straw of comfort for anyone else as desperate as I am for Spurs to wake themselves up and start proving the negatives wrong, we just happened to follow last season’s close-run thing against Bournemouth by dismantling the Dippers 4-1…  

Should we repeat that sort of performance and score-line thisSaturday, though, let’s not any of us dumb-dumbs go getting over-excited:  It’s only Wet Spam away, after all, so we still won’t have beaten anyone good.      

Wembley sell-off off

So Mr. Khan has decided that it’s not such a peachy idea to buy the ‘national treasure’ after all. Seems he was quite surprised by the strength of the backlash amongst, you know, the public. Ex-players have piled in giving the thumbs up to his elegant withdrawal.

One person who must be quite grateful is Daniel Levy. Wasn’t it the Jacksonville Jaguars who were originally mooted to be the franchise to set up residency at NWHL? Things looked quite rosy for ENIC’s investment into making a ground that could accommodate over 400 people in one changing room, or whatever was necessary.

The owner of the Jaguars (And Fulham FC) then switched his focus to Wembley, a move which has now broken down. This leaves Our Dan with the only built-for-purpose stadium ready to host the NFL and with his main rival for a London-based team floundering a little for a venue.

Stroke of luck or just as planned?

Over to you…

Harry Kane: Is he really all that? SSG’s tribute.

Harry Kane. All he does is score shitloads of goals (left foot, right foot, head, and is the best penalty taker in the world), and assist, and hold the ball up, and win headers, and make flick-ons, and run the channels, and bring his teammate into play, and play defense splitting balls, and drop deep if needed, and defend and be the emergency keeper. Average player. One season wonder for the 4th season running.

Quiz Time!

Image result for quizzed

 

Interborefestlull. The empty stadium, the performance and the scoreline sum it all up pretty perfectly, nuff said.

Still, what an opportunity to forget the stadium debacle, the injury list and the below par performances and test your Tottenham knowledge with a fun-filled Spurs quiz!

Now you guys need to work with me a bit here, as much as I’ve tried to give the questions a reasonable level of difficulty, it’s blatantly obvs that we can all be Mastermind genius’s with the help of our pal, Google. So cheat if you want to, but you’re only cheating yourself. And your fellow Oeufers. And me. And god.

And no shouting from the back of the classroom (yes, McG, I’m talking to you), I’m more than happy for you all to discuss and debate the questions, but I’ll only be selecting the winner from a post that includes the correct answers to ALL questions.

And what does the extremely bloody clever winner of this quiz receive? There is a prize, and you’ll all be pleased to know that it’s football related. Yes, I am pleased to confirm that the prize for the lucky winner is the F.A, or more accurately, the sweet F.A.

Now put your phones away, spit out that gum, stop chatting, sharpen your pencils and get ready…..

  1. Brexit, eh? Please feel free to applaud, hiss and boo, or just shrug your shoulders. Whatever your position, it’s quite clear that over our history, Tottenham have benefited from players who originated from countries within the European Union. But what official and current membership countries within the EU have never had one of their nationals play for the mighty Spurs?
  2. We’ve had some bloody great goalscorers in our history. Names roll easily off the tongue, Greaves, Chivers, Smith, and more recently the likes of Defoe, Sheringham and Kane. But of all the players that have scored more than 100 goals for the Lillywhites, which player took the highest amount of appearances to get to their centennial milestone?
  3. In my formative Tottenham supporting years, my matchday itinerary included a pre-match and post-match visit to what for me was a very special place, a members only club on the Paxton Road. We weren’t members, but me and Dad would enter through the kitchens at the back. For a Spurs-mad youngster, this was a place of dreams where I met most of the Tottenham players of the time, as well as historical legends, and my dad knew everyone, which made me feel a part of it all. The jumbo sausage, chips and beans were also memorable. What was the name of this club? Warning…you will be spellchecked.
  4. Toby, Toby Toby, Toby Toby, Toby Alderweireld! Jan Jan, Jan Jan Jan Jan, Jan Jan Jan Jan, Jan Jan Jan Vertonghen! We are currently blessed with some of Belgium’s greatest players in Tobes, Jan and Mousa, but we’ve had three other Belgians grace our hallowed turf. Name ’em.
  5. In recent history, we’ve had more managers than I can count on all 11 fingers. In fact, in the 120 years since Tottenham football managers became a thang, there were only 13 managers in the first 60 years, but then 25 in the last 60 years. Which manager has had the longest total tenancy?

 

Good luck on your Spursquest.

They seek him here, they see…oh, there he is.

Chauvelin’s long-awaited debut:

LEST WE FORGET…

I have taken it upon myself to remind everyone that this is October 2018, and we are fast approaching a very important anniversary.

Yes, ’twas on 26 October 2008 that Mr Harold Redknapp was appointed Tottenham manager. I write now as although that date of the month is still some days away, we have just played our eighth league match. Scarred upon our collective memories ten years ago Juande Ramos had received the right royal order of the boot after his eighth game, because Spurs had collected just 2 miserable points out of a possible 24, our worst ever start to a season. We had lost to Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Villa, Portsmouth, Hull and Stoke (you may notice that all of these clubs have hit the skids since, some in a big way, the Curse of the Cockerel strikes!) and drew with Chelsea and Norwich. The final league match for Ramos against Stoke was a real nightmare; Bale and Dawson both saw red, Stoke had received 2 penalties, and a sickening collision between Gomes and Corluka led to Vedran being stretchered off on oxygen. Spurs were rooted at the foot of the table and the joke doing the rounds was ‘what’s the difference between Spurs and a triangle? A triangle has three points.’ Ho blooming ho.

However, out of the gloom came a most unlikely saviour. Daniel Levy turned to that right diamond geezer ‘Arry Redknapp, the darling of the tabloids, to rescue the lilywhites in their hour of need. Even though ‘Arry only spoke to the players briefly (Clive Allen and Alex Ingelthorpe were in charge for one match) and watched on from the stands, Spurs immediately broke their duck with a 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers. Welcome relief from the incessant sarcasm and more importantly, a possible new start? The sudden dismissal of Martin Jol the year before and the arrival of Ramos had a mixed reception because Jol was a popular figure who had been denied achieving a top four finish only by the ‘lasagnegate’ incident. The news of his sacking breaking during a match was seen as very disrespectful. Despite winning the League Cup our form was patchy at best during Juande’s reign, and Redknapp’s appointment meant that the continental experiment with having a coach overseen by a director of football was over – for the time being at least. Redknapp insisted on being a proper manager, the Boss. Comolli was shown the door as well. Uncertainty was over, there was an old style gaffer back in sole charge. The immediate effect of the new man was dramatic and surprising. After the Bolton win we faced the old enemy at their new palace of varieties, Arsenal. Back then they were still a potent force, a challenger for titles. You couldn’t make the timing up and as if to prove this was being scripted by Hollywood, Spurs came away with an amazing 4-4 draw after two late, late goals. ‘arry had arrived in style, and if anyone was in any doubt that this man could change our fortunes, we then beat eventual runners-up Liverpool at home, and City away. We climbed the table to finish a respectable eighth. Spurs were genuinely on the up, and we’ve been getting better ever since, in my humble opinion. Ten years ago, eh? Seems more like a hundred.

FIN.

Thank Yahweh for the interlull

Good Morning Gentlemen and Scholars of the game of foeutball.

I didn’t watch the game live and I haven’t been moved to source a re-run, so I’m able to sit here with the beautifully simplistic view of 3 points gained, no matter how we went about it, being as good as it gets in our current state of squad depletion.

A largeish concern for me is Verts being potentially out until late November and us having a fair few chunky games between now and then. It’s not that we can’t cope in any one game but that, cumulatively, tired legs will lead to mistakes at key moments. I’d like to see Foyth getting some more run outs now…hopefully his Argentina call-up will give him some confidence.

Otherwise, in defence Poch is going to have to be clever with his resources. For instance, I remember he’s used Davies on the left of a Back 3 before, and Dier can always drop into the right of a Back 3 too. This would allow the use of KWP as a wing-back too.

Clearly, its a balance between playing a consistent team and formation to get results, whilst tinkering and rotating to fend off further fatigue and injuries.

How difficult can it be?

Cogent Analcyst

What a disjointed game again… I dont get it…terrible passing again out of defence..its like nobody knows what to do with the ball….Sanchez that way again the biggest culprit. I mean how many passes does it take to get out of the first third???????
The Good,The Bad and the Ugly.
The Good certainly was Winks,he looked more mature than most and unlike most didnt look anxiety ridden. His passes were crisp and quick even if they werent earth shattering. I thought he was our best player.
Moura too had a go and showed brilliance in face of not having too many other players with the same kind of energy. He tried to beat one too many at times but what the hell most of the others were asleep.
Son was terrible. When he is bad he is bad.
Dier was ok in this one even without the goal. I also liked Roses energy,he has a go and is generally getting better even though . For me he owns the position now. Trippier wasnt so bad,but not so good either. His heady England days are gone for now.
Not having Eriksen or Dele hurt but i do think that Winks was
better than Dembele would have been as his game has gone down recently.
All in all we got 3 points but were much less than convincing. We looke closer to a mid table side even if Poch lauds our position.
I think he has to look at parts of his system as the problem. Its hard to see but our passing out of defence being mediocre the same week in week out has not been addressed by the genius,shows a sample of something he cant get right (or fails to see it at all)
70% possession gives us a false reading of our superiority if thats what you want to call it