Author Archives: Chris Waddams

Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 0 Swansea City

Another Soldado goal, another penalty, another clean sheet and another 3 points. We played well against a good Swansea team and again had the unbelievable Hugo Lloris pulling off a couple of stunning saves to ensure he kept another clean sheet.

Swansea had their moments but when called upon Lloris was ready and willing to stop them from spoiling the curtain raiser at White Hart Lane. The former Spur Routledge and Chico Flores both stung the palms of the French Number 1 but apart from those two chances it was all Tottenham.

We took the lead from the penalty spot after Townsend went down from a challenge from Jonjo Shelvey. The challenge was soft and Townsend went down easily (what player doesn’t these days?) but it was karma after we had a stone wall penalty involving the same two players judged to be outside the box and only resulting in a freekick.

We almost took the lead earlier in the game when Dawson released Walker down the right whose cross was deflected onto the post by Ashley Williams. The combination of Williams and Vorm managed to stop Paulinho from netting from the rebound.

Paulinho will feel rather unlucky not to have opened his Premier League account for us having a handful of chances spurned throughout the game.

Swansea improved once they brought on their record signing Wilfried Bony, but ultimately Spurs held on to record another victory.

Sundays win gives us our third win in all competitions and another clean sheet. It was another good win and performance from a team that is still gelling with 4 new signings and two other players that didn’t feature at all last season in its starting XI. Townsend for me was a breath of fresh air, seeming to have the potential to become the complete Winger. I hope that AVB sticks with him while he is in such good form and I also hope that he continues to improve. I for one am feeling very good about this season and can’t wait to see us firing on all cylinders.

You can follow me on twitter @chriswadds and the blog @thfc1882dotcom. The blog also has a facebook page and an Instargram account, why don’t you check them out at facebook.com/1882thfc and instagram.com/thfc1882dotcom.

Swansea Preview

Sunday 25th August, Kick off 4pm at White Hart Lane

Our third game of the season, second in the league and first at home comes off the back of a very convincing win over Dinamo Tbilisi in the Europa League. The confidence of the players must be high after scoring 6 in two games and not conceding any.

We have never lost at home to Swansea and AVB will be hoping that brilliant record is continued with another convincing win. There will be late fitness test for both Jan Vertonghen and Aaron Lennon, and Lewis Holtby and Emmanuel Adebayor are still sidelined. With them four and the apparent departing players being the only ones missing, we still boast a strong squad capable of going out and playing with the confidence of a team in good form.

The opposition

Our confidence is a good thing but we will have to be careful against a good Swansea side who also recorded a very convincing win on Thursday night. Laudrup likes his team to play sharp attacking football and will look to punish us either when on the front foot or by a counter attack. Swansea will also be looking to make a statement after their heaviest lost at home under Laudrup on the opening day.

The expected line up

I expect AVB will go with a strong team, but won’t rush/risk those coming back from injury or niggles with a huge match next weekend. My team for Swansea is:

formation

Subs: Friedel, Naughton, Capoue, Defoe, Carroll, Sandro, Kane

My prediction

My Prediction is a 2-0 win, with the brilliant Hugo Lloris keeping another clean sheet. My goalscorers are Soldado and Townsend.

You can follow me on twitter @chriswadds and the blog @thfc1882dotcom. The blog also has a facebook page and an Instargram account, why don’t you check them out at facebook.com/1882thfc and instagram.com/thfc1882dotcom.

Crystal Palace 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Roberto Soldado confidently slotted home from the penalty spot to ensure the 3 points came back to White Hart Lane.

In the first half we looked in complete control, but wasn’t able to create a clear cut chance with the Palace defence forcing us to shoot from distance. Dembele struck a shot inches over from 25 yards and Sigurdsson had an effort from a similar distance saved well by Speroni in the Palace goal. Our best chance of the half came right on the stroke of half time, when debutant Chadli headed over from a Lennon cross.

We didn’t have to wait long for our opening goal of the game and season when Lennon’s cross struck Dean Moxey’s hand inside the area. Soldado stepped up and never looked like missing, slotting the ball inside the keepers right hand post sending Speroni the wrong way.

Palace reacted in typical Holloway fashion bringing on 3 subs at the same time, with Williams, Chamakh and the evergreen Phillips coming on.

We should have killed the game off twice with Sigurdsson and Defoe (on as a substitute) both missed when they should have buried their chances.

Those squandered chances almost cost us the three points, but for the brilliance of Hugo Lloris making several world class saves.

All in all I am a happy fan. 3 points away from home, a clean sheet and our record signing getting off the mark. Not bad when you think about it. Not bad at all. The new signings seemed to take to the Premier League like ducks to water, with Capoue being my pick of the bunch. Let me just say I’m looking forward to seeing much more of him in a Spurs shirt.

Rose and Walker impressed for me as well, with Rose looking solid both attacking and defending. But my MOTM has to be Lloris. If it wasn’t for the French number 1 we could have left without the 3 points.

Good start to the season and onto the next game on Thursday!

You can follow me on twitter @chriswadds and the blog @thfc1882dotcom. The blog also has a facebook page and an Instargram accounts, why don’t you check them out at facebook.com/1882thfc and instagram.com/thfc1882dotcom.

The Turfies War: What do you think of Tottenham Turfies?

On Wednesday I was at the launch of Spurs’ new website “Tottenham Turfies”. An interactive website for children in which they can play games, learn more about the club and win different things to do with the club. Since the site was launched I have seen some people praising the new site, and a lot of people panning it. One such person who believes it is a waste of time is Chris Miller, a Spurs blogger who runs the WindyCOYS.com website.

 

Chris had this to say about Turfies:

 

“Does football need Turfies? Of course not. Do children need Turfies? Of course not. Do children need Turfies to make them like football? Of course not. So why have we spent money developing this ‘ground-breaking new entertainment platform’?

The answer is that if you get a child, otherwise not interested in football, in some way interested in the club, they are more likely to develop loyalty. Which could develop into becoming a supporter. Which could develop into becoming a customer.

This is the cynical side to football that I don’t enjoy – the marketing; the prioritisation of activities that make money, the focus on the ‘business’ that comes with being a top level club.

Tottenham do more than many clubs for the community – working with schools, offering coaching, encouraging kids to take up football, etc. And yet they are spending all this money on a product that will encourage children to be glued to their computers/mobile phones/tablets – an addictive game, akin to the likes of Moshi Monsters, or of Lucky Train or Candy Crush Saga seen on Facebook, which will eventually, Spurs hope, lead to the child growing to love Tottenham – which is where pester power takes over (just in time for Christmas!).

This also seems to tie in to the clear policy of attempting to break the US market, as young fans from afar can build a relationship with our club without needing to attend matches. Computer games will travel faster than soccer schools, I’d guess.

Of course our club has to consider all forms of revenue, and be on the lookout for new streams. For me, though, this is not what a football club – and that’s what we are first and foremost – should be venturing into.

The club claims that the games included within the package will ‘help to improve hand-eye coordination, problem-solving and creativity’ but this sounds like the sort of rhetoric a computer game company would use to justify an addictive game.

My personal opinion is that it would be far more ethically sound to spend money on encouraging children to go out and kick a ball in order to develop a love for the game. My message to the club is: let the likes of Zynga focus on the addictive games – that’s their business – and instead let’s use this type of money to promote something that invites children to take up *playing* sport rather than consuming sport.”

 

I find it hard to disagree with anything that Chris said about Turfies, but I also don’t think that the Tottenham Turfies are the devil in disguise. They have their plus side and I have written a quick rant myself trying to show the pros of the site:

 

“The Tottenham Turfies website is a brilliant way of getting a younger techno generation involved with football, and more importantly from the clubs point of view: more involved with Tottenham Hotspur. Surely we all want Tottenham Hotspur to be as popular as possible? And if these Turfies get a younger generation loving our brilliant Spurs then is it really such a bad thing?

In a world where children often know how to work their parents smart phones before they are even at school, the Tottenham Turfies scheme allows children to “do the computer thing” which they so want to do, but it also encourages them to get out and be active. The site works on a reward basis; when a child does well in one of the games they get trophies and coins, which they can use to decorate and dress up their Turfie. A way for the children to get big rewards is to attend different Tottenham Hotspur activities such as the Summer Soccer Schools. When they attend these activities they are given a unique code which will reward them with more coins and trophies once they enter the code on the site. As much as Spurs will be benefitting from the children taking part in their activities (they obviously won’t be free), they are giving kids who perhaps wouldn’t have got involved with physical activities the motivation and reason to get up and be healthier. I think this is the sites best asset, in a world where it’s cheaper to go and get a BigMac then it is to get a Salad, I think any form of encouragement that a big company gives youngsters to be active is good.

I have no doubt that although the site is free that by Christmas kids will be able to go into the Spurs shop and buy their own Turfie that they can snuggle up with when they go to bed, but this is the business side of the Club and the business brain of one Daniel Levy working. We all know Mr Levy seldom does anything for free or on the cheap (unless it’s buying a new player). As an uncle to two young nephews I think that a soft cuddly Turfie with a Spurs Logo would be a brilliant present for me to buy them, as long as it doesn’t break the bank *cough-new-kits-are-WAY-too-expensive-Mr-Levy-cough*

The games are pretty enjoyable as well. I know that I have played many different Apps on my phone that are very similar to the games that are available on the Tottenham Turfies website, and I know that kids play those games as well. The majority of those Apps I’ve had to pay for. The Tottenham Turfies website is FREE. If you haven’t gone on the site, go and have a play. I know they are aimed at 7-10 year olds but the big kid in me really enjoyed them.

Obviously Tottenham Hotspur the business wouldn’t have got involved with a project such as the Turfies unless they knew they could make some money out of it, but I think it is a good way to keep kids coming back to Spurs when they are at an age where they could easily become bored with the game if they see one too many 0-0 draws. If the Club make a few quid out of us Uncles/Aunts/Parents/Elder Siblings then so be it, it gets kids outside doing activities and the games on the site are quite fun too.

I reckon Tottenham Hotspur will end up being the trend setters with this kind of interactive website for young fans. I can see a lot of other clubs around the country and globe launching their own interactive site in the near future. I can also see this kind of site being launched on other Sports clubs sites. Eventually everyone will have this kind of system for their young fans but as it stands Tottenham Turfies is unique. No other club has this. This can only mean more young fans pledging their loyalty to Spurs, which is not a bad thing at all.”

 

So what do you think? Are the Tottenham Turfies a good idea? Or is it something that Tottenham Hotspur should have stayed away from? Leave a comment telling us what you think.

 

My thanks go out to Chris Miller, who didn’t have to contribute to my blog. Please if you don’t follow him on Twitter already (what’s wrong with you?) then give him a follow @WindyCOYS. He has all the info on the Youth and development squads. He also contributes to the Spurs podcast “The Fighting Cock” so download it and gives it a listen.

As always you can follow me on twitter @chriswadds and the blog @thfc1882dotcom. The blog also has a facebook page, why don’t you like it at www.facebook.com/1882thfc

When Chris met Ledley: Turfies, Training and a Tottenham comback?

me&king

One legend and one star struck Spurs fan

Yesterday (07/08/13) I met Ledley King at the Launch of Tottenham Hotspurs new interactive website for kids (and big kids) www.tottenhamturfies.com. I reported for Tech Digest for their website, so if you want to read my views on the site follow the link: http://www.techdigest.tv/2013/08/tottenham_turfi.html

Unfortunately I wasn’t privy to a one to one interview but I was fortunate enough to take part in a round table interview so I can’t take credit for all the questions, and some of them will be about Tottenham Turfies.

ledleyking2

Ledley getting his point across

 

Ledley, have you played the game? And what do you honestly think?

Ledley King: Yeah I’ve played the game, at first I wasn’t sure of how it was going to work but after having a go I realised it was great fun and I really enjoyed it. It’s not only an online game; you get to engage with the club, so it’s good.

Was it easy to get to grips with?

Ledley King: I think kids will find it easier than adults, I think they are so advance on computers these days they know their way around computers very easily.

It’s a children’s interactive website, but having a go of it myself it’s quite addictive and enjoyable. Do you reckon Adults will play it more than kids?

LK: Yeah I think it could happen. I think there will be competition between some Parents and their kids, which will be fun. I think adults will find themselves playing it as well. It’s a fun game for all.

 

 

You started with the club 18 years ago, and today is an example of Tottenham growing as a brand. Just how much has the club changed since you joined?

LK: Yeah it’s changed a lot. When I was a kid there wasn’t anything like this available for me, and I was concentrating of football. I was a young kid who wanted to make it. It was a little bit different for me; I joined the club when I was 14. What I think they are trying to do is aim this at younger kids. But when I was 8 or 9 it would have been great to have had this kind of opportunity to interact with the club, getting the chance to have a stadium tour or go to the training ground. I think it’s a great thing.

Tottenham came so close to the top 4 last season. Now with the three new signings, can they make the Champions League this year?

LK: Yeah I definitely believe we can. We got to see Paulinho in the Confederations Cup for Brazil, and he looks a great player. I keep saying I think Chadli will surprise a few people with his ability. People who don’t know him will find out about him this season and realise what a good player he is. Obviously Soldado is a proven goalscorer. I think the signings are looking great and hopefully we can keep everyone together and we’ll have a great chance.

You grew up as a Spurs fan, how did you manage to interact with the club when you were growing up? Would a site like tottenhamtufies.com have made a difference?

LK: Yeah it would have been great. Obviously things were a little bit different when I was younger I pretty much relied on my best friend and we travelled to training together. My mum didn’t have the opportunity to take me all the time so I would travel with my friend. But like I said things have come a long way now. It was a lot harder for kids to interact with the club when I was younger, but now the club have made it a lot easier for kids to interact with them. I do a lot of work in the community with the club, and players in the team come out into the community and engage with the fans, it’s something that didn’t happen as much when I was younger. Things are changing; the players and the club are trying to give as much back as they can.

How important is it that Spurs expand to a new stadium? How will it change the club?

LK: I think the fans deserve it; we have a huge fan base. We’ve recently moved to the new training facilities and I think the next step will be the stadium. We have the players to play in big stadiums; we’ve signed players of the top quality even though we are not in the Champions League and I think it shows that they believe that we will be a Champions League team and that we want to push forward. The new stadium will be the next step towards it.

During your playing career you were a leader at the club, club captain for a good while and the last captain to win any silverware. Have you ever thought about going into coaching or are you happy with the club ambassador role?

LK: Yeah I’m thinking about it, I’ve started to do my badges. One thing is it’s a lot different to playing, so it’s not for everyone. There have been loads of great players who have either not got into coaching or not been as good as coaches as people thought they would be, so it’s not for everyone. I think everyone needs to have a taste of it to see if it’s for them and for me it is very early days but I hope I have something to offer. I’ll be working with the kids at the club and using the training facilities and try and learn as much as I can from the coaches that are already there and see where that takes me.

Any chance you’ll be AVBs eventual replacement?

LK: {Laughs} Err I don’t know about that one

What was your first sporting memory and who were your idols when you were a kid?

LK: Paul Gascoigne was someone who stood out to me. I remember Italia ’90 and obviously through his Tottenham connections. He was someone who played with passion but with a smile as well; he was a great character. Its players like that that attracts you to the game as a kid.

How hard was it to train by yourself for all those years? Obviously it was due to your well documented knee problems and you didn’t train with the rest of the team. What did that do to your mind-set?

LK: It was tough. I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed training on my own, I didn’t. But it was something I had to do to try and get through to the game. I knew that I had to go through the procedure to make sure I could get out there on a Saturday or Sunday. 5 years is a long time to do it and in the end it takes its toll and it was tough. But the love of being out there and getting to the game kept me going.

ledleyking1

Can you play against Palace? We’ve got a bit of a Centre Back problem

 

LK: {Laughs}

 

Is it a possibility?

 

LK: Yeah it’s a possibility {Laughs}

 

 

 

So there you have it. My first interview. And it was with Ledley King! He did hint at coming out of retirement at the end there, but I think we all know he was only messing about… right?

I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed doing it. It was amazing to meet such a club legend!

You can follow me on twitter @chriswadds and the blog @thfc1882dotcom. We also have a facebook page, why don’t you like it at www.facebook.com/1882thfc

COYS!

Who would be in your starting XI for our opening game?

 

So we’ve signed Paulinho (YAY!) but we’ve missed out on David Villa (Boo?), but who would you sign as well and what would your starting line-up be for our first game?

 

My feeling is we need some cover in most parts of the team. Even though Friedel is good cover the guy is getting on a bit and we need some cover in goal (NO not Gomes!). I’ve heard that Jordan Archer is coming along well but I would like to see us bring another keeper in, as I wouldn’t want to throw Archer in the deep end. I think he should get some Cup football this season just to start to bleed him into life as a first team player. I don’t actually know who I would bring in as cover, but a keeper is needed sooner rather than later.

 

I still think BAE will be on his way this summer. I don’t want him to go for the pure fact that I don’t think we can bring in a better LB. The only Left Back I would like us to sign is Luke Shaw from Southampton. With him Danny Rose and Fryers fighting each other for our Left Back position, we could find ourselves set for the next 10 years. I doubt we will sign him but Luke Shaw would be my dream Left Back signing.

 

In midfield I think we are well equipped for next season. Midfield is the only place I would say we need to trim back. With AVB seeming to lean toward playing a 4-3-3 our starting 3 would almost definitely be Sandro, Paulinho and Dembele. This will leave us with Sigurdsson, Holtby, Parker, Huddlestone, Livermore and Carroll as back up. It looks like Parker could be on his way to reunite with Harry at QPR so that’s one down. I can see Huddlestone leaving and Carroll going out on Loan to a Premier League team for the season. This will leave us with Livermore, Sigurdsson and Holtby in reserve. Out of those three the only one who I can see being happy to bide his time on the bench is Livermore. But thankfully both Sigurdsson and Holtby can play in a further forward role and as we saw last season AVB likes to rotate his team, so I could see them getting quite a bit of playing time, whether it is in the midfield three or on the wings.

 

In our forward three positions, our starting line-up at the moment would be Bale – Adebayor – Lennon. I can see Defoe and/or Adebayor leaving this summer, but only if we have adequate replacements in to cover them. With Benteke handing in a transfer request he has to be our main focus after we missed out on Villa. The jury is still out for me with Benteke, I’m worried that he may have been a one season wonder. So I hope that IF we sign him we also sign another striker for competition. The other person I would like to see us bring in is Ibrahim Afellay. Afellay will be looking for first team football that he won’t be getting at the Nou Camp, and I can see him being available within a Levy budget. We have been linked with FC Twente winger Nacer Chadli. I don’t know much about him but if what I have read is true (goal scoring winger) and if he is as good as he looks on his YouTube videos (I’m always sceptical of YouTube, it could make Titus Bramble look world-class…) then I would welcome him to the club! If we sign Benteke and one of Afellay or Chadi it would/could leave Clint Dempsey, Defoe/Adebayor (who are both rumoured to be on their way), Lennon and Townsend on the side-lines not in a starting line-up. If one of Defoe or Adebayor did leave I wouldn’t expect anyone else to go from our forwards (unless another Premiership loan deal was offered for Townsend)

 

My Starting Line-up for the Crystal Palace game with the transfers I mentioned would be:

lineup1

How I think we will line up:

 

lineup2

I think we will start with Lennon even if we sign Chadli as we saw last season that AVB doesn’t always stick his new signings in straight away. I think Danny Rose will get the nod over BAE just because BAE doesn’t seem to be an AVB player. There was points last season that he should have played but we saw Naughton or Vertonghen fill in there instead. I also think we will start Kaboul over Dawson purely to give him a run out in the league. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Dawson was there instead of Kaboul.

Please leave a comment saying who you think would start/wouldn’t start from my two formations and who you would like to see us sign (please be realistic).

You can follow me on twitter @chriswadds, and the blog @thfc1882dotcom. You can also “like” our facebook page www.facebook.com/1882thfc

COYS

New kits?

ua

So the “New Armour” is revealed on Monday, and like most of you I am looking forward to it as I believe this will be when our new signing(s) will be revealed to the public: Wearing our nice shiny new kit!

Again, like most of you, I have seen a lot of different pictures of our kit for next season. Some of them nice, some of them terrible. So I’ve decided to give my blow-by-blow of the more frequent appearing “new” kits I have seen:

 kitsClick on the picture above to get a clearer look

  1. I’ve put these three as my number 1 as I think they are the most likely to be our new kit. My reasoning? The fact that they don’t have a sponsor scribbled over them. It’s quite common knowledge that we are most likely going to have a new sponsor this season as Aurasma/Autonomy wanted us to have Champions League football if they were to carry on sponsoring us. I think they look smart and the home kit is pretty unique with its lace design down the middle. It’s very 1880s football kit. The away and third kits are pretty standard, with the yellow top quite plain and the navy with a light purple stripe down one side. Plain but smart-looking. I am still sceptical as by this point last year we had all seen the new kit in leaked photos of the launch posters.
  2. This is the oldest “leaked” photo I have seen, as I saw this last season as well. But I also remember the boys at Under Armour saying that they had already designed our 13/14 kits at the same time that they had done the 12/13 kit. It’s a bit “out there” with the sash style stripe going diagonally across the kit, but as it’s only a leak of the top of the shirt, I can’t really pass comment of its overall effect without seeing it as a full kit.
  3. I like this kit, I really do. The problem is I know it’s “Fan Art” from a forum I went looking through for new kits a few months back. I think it’s a smart design, a very “Spurs” kit. In that I mean that it’s basically a plain white top. Like the old traditional Spurs kits. Any detail it has is very subtle and basic. But like I said it’s “fan art”, and unless it was Spurs leaking it as that to get a reaction, I doubt we will see this kit next Monday.
  4. Again I really like this kit. And again the problem is it’s “fan art”. I got this from the same post on the same forum as the previous kit. I like the design down the side. It’s unique in the sense that we haven’t had a kit like this before. And I’m a sucker for a yellow away kit as I loved the yellow away kit we had in the early 90s (I always picture Jürgen Klinsmann doing his famous diving celebration when I think of that kit). As with the last kit, unless Tottenham have leaked the kits on the forums to get a reaction I doubt we will see this as our kit on Monday.
  5. Now I put these in there just as an example of how “out there” some on the fan art is. If you had shown me a picture of the home kit, I may have believed there was a chance that this would be our kit, but that Blue kit? Never going to happen. If it does, I won’t be going anywhere near that kit.
  6. These three I would take, I’m not a fan of the Blue fade kit as it reminds me of an Arsenal away kit from a few seasons back. The yellow kit is a copy of kit 4 on my list, just with a different sponsor. The home kit looks smart as well with some minimal extra designs on the kit. Very traditional looking Spurs home kit. But again, as I know the Yellow kit is “fan art” I doubt these will be the kits on Monday, unless, again it’s a leak to get a reaction.

 

So they are the “leaked” kits I have seen the most of, and I’m sceptical on all of them. Still it’s only a few more days to wait until we see whether any of them were in fact the real deal.

If anyone has any others that they feel I have missed out or that they reckon will be the new kit for this coming season, please leave a link in the comments so I can check them out!!

 

You can follow me on twitter @chriswadds and the Blog @thfc1882dotcom. And “like” us on facebook at www.facebook.com/1882thfc

Failure will have in it an echo of glory

BillNic

 

 

So here we have it, the end of the season. We set our own personal best but at the end of the day our best fell agonisingly short. We took it to the wire and to finish on 72 points and to miss out on Champions League football goes to show how strong and competitive the Premier League has been this season. 72 points would have got us 3rd in 2012 and 2nd in 2011, which just goes to show how unlucky we have been this season.

As I said we took it to the wire, we beat Sunderland with another worldy from a certain Gareth Bale. But it should have been so much more comfortable with 2 stone wall penalties not being given (with Bale being yellow carded for diving on one of them) and another that we have seen be given countless times to other teams in the past. We held up our end of the bargain and although it wasn’t the 4-0 thumping Alan Pardrew said he didn’t care if they lost by, the 1-0 loss to Arsenal by his Newcastle team didn’t do us any favours.

If we look back to the beginning of the season, this was supposed to be a season of change for our boys. We had a manager that many didn’t want (I even remarked that we could end up with Steffen Freund in charge by the end of the season), we had sold two of our best players in Modric and Van Der Vaart, and Ledley King had hung up his boots having lost the battle against his chronic knee injury. Many of the pundits had us falling away from the elite teams in the league (Mark Lawrenson had us finishing 7th, only one place above QPR… Just shows what he knows), but apart from our apparent “dip” in form around February/March we kept pace with those elite teams and even caused a few upsets along the way.

We can look back on this season with some fond memories. Yeah it didn’t start well, but we won at Old Trafford for the first time in 23 years. We had an amazing 10 minute spell against Manchester City to win 3-1 when it look like we were going to go down to another disappointing defeat. And who will ever forget all those top drawer goals from Gareth Bale? My goal of the Season is the rocket he set off that got us the three points against West Ham (it was made even sweeter that it won me just under £200 from a £15 bet!).

Hopefully Daniel Levy will get the check book out nice and early this summer and help AVB improve on what has turned out to be a very good squad to give us that extra something to get us back into the Champions League where many feel we have deserved to be for the past two seasons.

 

As it is the day after the end of the season I thought I would do a player by player report, marking them with grades and given a little insight as to why I have marked them so:

 

Goalkeepers

 

Hugo Lloris: #hugoboss gets a solid A from me. When we signed the current French number 1 keeper it was seen as a bit of a coupe. Many believed that Hugo was too good a player to not go to a Champions League team, but his signing showed our intent for the season. The reported £8m we spent on him is already starting to look like a bargain as he alone has saved us many points that I think Friedel would have spurned.

Brad Friedel: “Big-Bad Brad” gets a B- from me. He has been solid when called upon but at 42 I think he has lost a step, and with AVB wanting to play a high defensive line it was always going to show bad on Friedel’s weaknesses.

 

Defenders

 

Jan Vertonghen: “Super Jan” gets my second solid A. He defensive attributes remind me of a certain Ledley Kings; he reads the game very well, puts in solid tackles and is quick off the mark to make up for any mistake – his own or others. But add to that his ability to slot into the Left Back position with ease, his nice touch and passing ability and then his ability to find the back on the net, we have one of the most promising defenders in Europe playing for us

Michael Dawson: Daws gets an A- for his efforts this season, on and off the pitch. He was out of favour big time at the beginning of the season, with AVB trying to pack him off to QPR. But Daws dug his heels in and stood firm saying that he wanted to fight for his place at Spurs, and fight he did. He worked his way ahead of Gallas and Caulker to become our preferred partner for Vertonghen in the heart of our defence and he wore the shirt and the captains’ armband with pride. I’ve heard many refer to him as “Mr Tottenham” and it would take a brave man to argue otherwise after his massive show of loyalty at the beginning of the season, he seems to have filled the void of the leader on the pitch very well.

Steven Caulker: Young, strong, fast and seems to be in possession of a footballing brain, this has been the true breakthrough year for Caulker. Having showed such promise at the beginning of the season, we didn’t see as much of him towards the end as I would have liked, but in AVB we trust, and I believe that we have one of the most promising Centre Backs in the country. A future Spurs Captain maybe? I’m giving Caulker a solid B for his first full season in the first team

BAE: “Don’tcha wish your left back was B-A-E?” There probably won’t be as many teams as there was last year wishing that, as although Benny has still been solid, I don’t think he has been at the dizzy highs that he has reached in recent seasons. Because of this I am giving him a B-. Benny seems to have fallen out of favour with AVB and if it wasn’t for our lack of any cover at Left Back I don’t think we would have seen as much of him this season as we have.

Kyle Walker: Another who hasn’t hit the dizzying highs of last season, Walker has had a hit and miss season for us and I am going to give him my first C, albeit a C+. It has been a hit and miss season for our young England International but he is still young, with bags of talent and I believe this season will just be a blip and he will be back to his magical best next time around.

Kyle Naughton: Often played out of position at Left Back this season, I don’t think he was ever going to have an amazing season. He made a lot of mistakes and never looked comfortable, but at least we got to see some of him and he wasn’t just left as a back-up for Walker. Our other Kyle gets a C- from me

William Gallas: He still has the brain of a top flight Centre Back, but he doesn’t have the legs of one anymore. Gallas was brilliant at the beginning of the season for Caulker, being that more experienced player to help guide him through his nervy first few games for us. But for his own performances Gallas has been on a downward spiral since his heroics against AC Milan in the Champions League at the Lane. Granted he often played in front of Friedel who wasn’t quick enough himself to cover for Gallas’ loss of the proverbial yard, but I don’t think there would have been much more that playing in front of Lloris would have done for him this season. Good footballing brain, but no longer has it for the top flight, I’m giving Gallas a C-.

 

Midfielders

 

Gareth Bale: This man has to take the plaudits: PFA Player and Young Player of the year, and the Football Writers player of the year. I can’t think of a time when we have had a player of such skill and ability turn up and play pretty much week in week out at the top level. Gascoigne maybe? Hoddle? Even if it was either of them, that was a lifetime ago and I’m glad we have our Welsh Wizard playing for us. Bale’s season deserves nothing less than an A+.

Aaron Lennon: “Always the bridesmaid, never the Bride” is a saying I think can sum up Aaron Lennon for us. 9 times out of 10 Lennon comes up with the goods for us, but doesn’t seem to get the praise he deserves, as he gets overshadowed by our star player (Bale, VdV, Modric, Berbatov etc). He has had a solid season without setting it alight, so I’m doing to give him an A-.

Sandro: we only got half a season out of “The Beast” but what a half a season it was! He bossed the midfield and mopped up anything that came his way. He was amazing up until he did his knee in. It’s a shame that he got injured, as I think we would have easily got 3rd if he hadn’t. I’m going to give Sandro’s half season an A-.

Moussa Dembele: Another very good debut season from another of our summer signings, and up until Sandro got injured, they looked to be onto one of *those* central midfield pairings that other teams wished they had. His season stuttered through parts as he wasn’t able to get the same partnership going with Parker but he was still good when called on and I am going to give him a nice B+.

Clint Dempsey: “Deuce” has had a solid season for us, coming up with some vital goals (we will always have Old Trafford) and his work rate is second to none. He might not light up the pitch when he’s playing but I’d rather him in my team than Gio Dos Santos. I’m giving Dempsey a B+.

Gylfi Sigurdsson: He had an opposite season to Dembele; it started slowly and ended on a high. Never a starting regular but always on hand when called upon. Gylfi get a solid B from me.

Tom Carroll: The rising star. I’m going to give him a B-. Tom Carroll can be the future of Spurs if we nurture him in the correct way. In the glimpses we saw of him he looks like a good player, but still one for the future. I hope he gets a full season on loan to another Prem team next season so he can continue to grow into the player he can be.

Scott Parker: The injury he got towards the end of last season seems to have resulted in Scotty losing a step. He is still quite reliable when called upon but is nowhere near the player he was last season. Maybe it’s something to do with being thrown into the deep end after Sandros injury, or maybe it’s the beginning of the eventual slip that all players suffer from in the twilight of their career. Still a good pro to have about, I’m giving Parker a solid C.

Tom Huddlestone: Thudd only really played the last few months for us, and was still quite erratic during them. We saw the best of him when he came on as a sub against City where he bossed the game and pretty much won it for us without scoring. But that was it for me, he did do badly, but he didn’t boss games like that as we know he can. I’m giving Thudd a solid C for his efforts this season.

Lewis Holtby: Can’t say much about Holtby, he didn’t get much playing time and when he did he was a bit meh. Always looked hungry for the ball and chases everything until it’s a lost cause, I think we didn’t get a chance to see the real Holtby that we heard about before he arrived. I hope we do next year as I think he will be our replacement for Van Der Vaart. Lewis gets a solid C from

 

Strikers:

 

Jermain Defoe: JD gets a B- from me. He scored 14 for us in all competitions and you have to remember that he was injured for a few months as well. I was tempted to give him a higher rating but he lets himself down with his greediness on the ball (some will say that’s a necessary evil for his game) and it seemed to take him 5-6 chances to get the ball in the back on the net. Still reliable and I hope we don’t sell him (yet).

Emmanuel Adebayor: Ade gets my lowest rating out of our first team players. I’m giving him a D+. We saw at the end of the season that he still possesses the ability to unlock defences and that when on form he is a quality striker but where was it for the majority of the season? He claims that the fact that he hasn’t had a proper pre-season for a few years and a niggling injury are to blame for his loss of form. Only time will tell if he was telling the truth.

 

The Manager:

 

AVB: What a season he has had. The media held a witch hunt for his head pretty much up to Christmas, and I think it was Adrian Durham who tweeted that ‘Arry would take QPR to a higher finish in the league than AVBs Tottenham. He proved the doubters wrong and has made a case for him to be a quality manager for years to come. It’s onwards and upwards for me and I can’t wait to see what he can get out of the team next season. AVB gets a solid A from me for his brilliance this season. I would have given him an A just for the way he celebrates every goal!

 

So the seasons done. We missed out again by the skin of our teeth. But I have faith in AVB and I believe that he is the man to lead us forward. He is young and has some brilliant ideas so let’s hope Levy and the board get behind him and help him build a team that we will be talking about in years to come, just like we do with the great Bill Nicholson and his ‘61 winning double team.

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Until August: Come. On. You. Spurs!!!

Chelsea 2 – 2 Spurs: and are we worse than last year?

Not the greatest result, but it’s better than a loss and it’s better than what I could have imagined happening under ‘Arry.

I’ve heard people say on the forums that we should have brought Defoe on once we equalised, and that we should have gone for the kill. I’m of the opinion that bringing Defoe on would have only led to one result: a big fat loss for us.

Granted, Defoe has scored consistently for us this season, but the man takes 5-7 chances to get that one in the back of the net. That’s something he would not have been afforded last night.

And who would we have taken off?

Adebayor? Who was in the middle of his best game of the season? Having scored one and set up the other? No.

Parker or Huddlestone? And get over run in midfield leading to a collapse and probably a loss? No.

I think AVB got his subs spot on and although we didn’t light the game up, we showed a lot of grit and determination to make sure that we came out of the game with at least a point.

I unfortunately didn’t watch the game as I was at work but my brother told me that both Souness and Hoddle said that we are worse than we were last year. I’ll leave the rest of this to my brother, who wrote this during his lunch break because his kindle’s battery died and he forgot his charger…

 

Souness/Hoddle: Spurs worse than last year

Are we? If Spurs get 6 points from the last two games then it would be three points better off from last year – suggesting that perhaps Spurs have improved. But this got me thinking, have we improved, are we treading water in reality or, as suggested last night, taken a step backwards. Well let us have a look…

Goalkeepers

In – Lloris

Out – Cudicini

Clearly this is an improvement; Hugo is a world class keeper. Friedel was a good signing but really cannot play the sweeper keeper that AVB wants.

Verdict: Improved

Defence

In – Vertonghen

Out – Corluka, Nelson, Bassong, King (Retired)

King was irreplaceable even with only one knee. It would have been awesome to have seen him and Jan together but we may not have signed him if King had played on. Caulker could also be considered an ‘In’ as he came on the scene back from Swansea and I wish he would get more playing time while Kaboul is injured but he appears to be out of AVB’s plans for the time being. Dawson, while being a great servant of the club and consistently giving 110%, really does not fit with the managers defensive plans – If Kaboul had been fit then he would have been playing alongside Jan all season. I suppose the most telling point is that we have already conceded 5 more goals than last season with two games still to play. In terms of players actually sold, I think Corluka is probably the only one we may have missed. He would have been used when we needed a more solid back line perhaps…

Verdict: Treading water

Midfield

In – Sigurdsson, Dembele, Holtby

Out – Kranjcar, Pienaar, Modric, Van der Vaart, Jenas

Simply put, Bale moving to be basically a striker has made our midfield a lot weaker than the transfers may tell. Also I cannot help thinking that Pienaar would have been much better playing on the left (vacated by Bale) with AVB’s tactics rather than Harry’s. However, even if Bale had stayed left wing I still believe our midfield is weaker than last season. Holtby may yet prove to be as skilful as VdV, he tries a lot but doesn’t seem to get much done – to me it feels like he is running in thick mud, a little like VdV did. I don’t mean to be harsh, he will be a great player but when he has had the chance he hasn’t shown me that he is class – hopefully this is him just settling. Dembele is a very good player, exceptional at times but he is not Modric. Dembele is better at breaking up play but I would suggest Modric was better at this than given credit for. Sigurdsson is a skilful and goal scoring midfielder but seems to be a little out of his depth at Spurs, he lacks a little pace which doesn’t help – better than Kranjcar though. He is getting better and I was surprised to see him dropped recently to the bench. I like him a lot but can’t help feeling he is a player suited to a team finishing 6th – 10th.

Verdict: Weaker

Strikers

In – Dempsey

Out – Dos Santos, Saha

Lets face it, if Ade had played this year as he did last we would probably be second (or at least top 4 finish in our own hands). Defoe has made up for some of Ade’s shortfall but he frustrates, even more so since coming back from injury. Dos Santos never seemed to get it right at Spurs, always struck me as a little over confident while not being up for the battle. Clearly that is why Barca let us have him. Saha was a weird buy in the first place so no wonder he left. Dempsey suffers from not being the main man, he was a Fulham and therefore had licence to go missing every so often. Don’t get me wrong, he has not played terribly for Spurs just that he is not a Champions league player and that is the type of player we should have brought in. He has also been playing wide to accommodate Bale in the centre which has not helped his cause.

Verdict: Treading water (just)

So overall I think we are no better or worse than last year, improvements have been made but some areas have taken a step back. I think what Hoddle and Souness were really getting at is that Spurs are no longer the gung ho team they were under Harry, and to the pundit/neutral that would be considered as going backwards as it is not so entertaining to watch. We will wait until the end of the season before discussing how to improve the team, we may still finish third…”

 

So there you have it, even just one more win will put us level with our total from last year, so if we are to get Champions League football we are going to have to be better than we were last year. Even if we finish in 5th there is a chance that we can finish with a better point tally this year. So its all swings and roundabouts when you look at it like that. Are we any worse than we were last year? I don’t think so. Are we any better? I don’t think we are there as well. The only difference between this year and last for us is that Chelsea have been better in the league, as if it wasn’t for their return to form and the top four the top of the league would have a familiar look to it from last year as we go into the final two games of the season.

So with all to play for we have to get 6 points out of 6 and hope that one or both Chelsea and Arsenal drop points, which isn’t that unrealistic seeing as Arsenal haven’t been very consistent this season and Chelsea have a Europa League final sandwiched in between their remaining fixtures.

So let’s get behind the team and roar them to a better points tally than last year! COYS!

Follow me on twitter @chriswadds (my brothers handle is @waddiealex) and the blog @thfc1882dotcom. There is also a facebook page, why don’t you “like” it if you so wish at www.facebook.com/1882thfc

The. Game. Of. The. Season.

So here we are. Chelsea vs Spurs. The game everyone has known will have a massive say on our season since it was postponed. If Chelsea win, they all but guarantee themselves a top 4 finish. If we win, we still have a chance of a top 4 finish. If we don’t win, why hello 5th place (don’t mention it, maybe even 6th…).

We go into this game on a 7 match unbeaten run, albeit with a few too many 2-2 draws thrown in there for my liking. There will be fitness doubts over the duo of Lennon and Dembele but if they are in contention do not be surprised if they both feature, even if it is from the bench. If neither starts I would expect Holtby and Scott Parker to take their places.

We haven’t won at Stamford Bridge since 1990 when Lineker and Howells scored in a 2-1 win. Spurs have been fond of these long records where Chelsea are concerned, but we’ve already knocked one 23-year-old record to touch this season when we beat Manchester United 3-2 at Old Trafford. I for one would take a repeat performance against Chelsea. It might not be good for my health, but it would be good for our hopes of a top 4 finish.

The team shouldn’t need much inspiration after Szczesny’s comments to the press. All AVB needs to do is print 18 copies of his quote and put it on top of all the squads kits for them to read. The only words he should have to say are: “Prove him wrong”.

Our back five will hopefully be untouched from the one that helped us record our first clean sheet in the league since our 0-0 draw with QPR back in January. The only change I could see happening is Vertonghen being pushed to Left Back with Steven Caulker slotting into the Centre Back position. This is one I hope does not happen as we need our strongest line up possible.

I am taking my midfield 5 as if Lennon and Dembele miss out on starting places. I would have Scott Parker and Huddlestone in the deeper central positions with Bale, Dempsey and Holtby as the forward three, with all able to switch between those positions.

Upfront I would go for Adebayor for this one. It’s a hard choice, and I was very tempted to stick Defoe in there as he does like to perform against the bigger teams. But as Chelsea’s Centre back pairing (whoever it will be) will be big and strong, we will need the presence of Adebayor to hold up the ball, and as a target man if needed.

My starting line-up is:

vsChelsea

I predict an energized performance with a lot of end-to-end attacking football, with us nicking a vital win via a 3-2 score line, with none other than Gareth Bale to get the all-important winning goal.

We need this win and we need to break this 23 year jinx that we have at The Bridge. We’ve had some important wins against Chelsea in recent memory: The League Cup final win and the 2-1 win at The Lane the last time we got Champions League football. Let’s hope we get another to add to that list and keep our surge to the top 4 going! COYS!

Follow me on twitter @chriswadds and the blog @thfc1882dotcom. The blog also has a facebook page. Why don’t you “like” it at www.facebook.com/1882thfc