Tag Archives: Blackburn

Match Report: Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Spurs

THFC1882 presents guest writer Ralph Dixon’s match report:

Chickens 1 – 2 Cockerels

The previews for this match, the chat on Twitter and the fan forums were all spot on and the match hardly needs a report from me at all. You Spurs fans know it in your hearts already, even if MOTD manage to edit their highlights to give a different impression.

So yes, we did look unsure and un-coordinated in defence without Ledley and Sandro. Yes, when played in central midfield Luka Modric looks more like a £50M playmaker again. Yes, Van der Vaart is an extremely clinical finisher. Yes, there is something amiss with Gareth Bale. And, yes we should have wiped the floor with Blackburn Rovers ….. but we didn’t.

There are now two schools of thought amongst the 4,500 noisy away fans: one says that 3 points is what we required and is what we got, we’re in 5th place with a game in hand, there are no big games ahead for a while and the manner of today’s victory was unimportant. Newcastle won’t last the pace, Arsenal rely on Van Persie too much and Chelsea’s brittleness was proved at QPR today, so 3rd or 4th place in the PL is eminently achievable this season.

The other school, to which I belong, says that if we play like this Spurs won’t deserve, and won’t achieve, that all important Champions League place next May.

Blackburn Rovers FC have a funeral service as a major sponsor, and are by any standards a moderate side with something of a death-wish. Man for man (or by value) they bear no comparison with the world-class talents of Adebayor, Modric, Van der Vaart and Bale etc. Robinson is a competent keeper and as popular with Spurs fans as ever, deserving his serenades of “England’s England’s number one” from the away supporters and applauding us at the start and finish of the 2nd half. Junior Hoilett looked a good prospect, a fast, tricky and skilful forward, and Chris Samba – one of several impressive physical specimens in the Blackburn team – was unbeatable in the air in either penalty box. When he came on Yakubu, another huge presence, troubled our defence. Otherwise, despite some endeavour and occasional efforts at playing a passing game, Blackburn were in a word ” average”. Very average indeed, and when we were on song they couldn’t live with us at all.

Everyone at the ground would agree that Spurs would have won this match – just as at Wigan – by a margin of a least 3 goals if we had played to our potential. And we need those goals to repair our feeble goal difference from the mauling it received at the hands of the 2 Manchester clubs at the start of the season. As at Wigan we started well, playing quick intelligent football with all the movement we should expect from such a talented bunch. Van der Vaart scored neatly (it was at the home end, so I couldn’t see it closely & I’ve yet to see MOTD2) from a Walker cross after only 15 minutes, and that big win for us looked to be on the cards.

But then the tempo dropped (does this sound at all familiar?) we defended deeper and Blackburn started to come back into the game. Even Parker, full of industry and determination as always, made mistakes and seemed less influential. Our wing play was frankly awful, with Lennon only noticeable by his luminous green boots and Bale apparently incapable of running past a defender, any defender. Even the players who started so well, Adebayor, Modric and VDV, somehow drifted out of the game and lost impetus. There was too much shoulder-shrugging from the players, showing that they themselves realised that the quality of their play had dropped. Assou-Ekotto seemed distracted at times, even by his standards, possibly wondering why he didn’t think of staging a fireworks display in his bathroom before that even more eccentric player Mario Ballotelli tried it.

As Blackburn came back into the game it was no great surprise when Mauro Formica, unmarked on the penalty spot, volleyed past Friedel on 28 minutes following some disappointing defensive work when Samba beat two Spurs defenders in the air. Friedel had no chance of saving from that distance, but to leave a player unchallenged in that position was almost criminal. Same old same old with no King Ledley in charge.

The first half continued in a disappointing vein, with neither side looking likely to score again. Half time came as a relief and the general hope was that during the interval Harry Redknapp would re-organise and re-motivate the team.

In the second half the exact same pattern repeated itself. We started with more urgency, looked the better side by some way and once again Van der Vaart scored, this time with a precise unstoppable side-footed shot into the corner of the net after 53 minutes. Then little by little the same old failings manifested themselves: lack of energy, imagination and little movement, defending too deep and a complete lack of penetration on each flank. For a team which until earlier this year had the most exciting wingers in Europe it was incomprehensible that our only worthwhile attacking options were through the middle of the pitch, with Adebayor, VDV and sometimes Modric making sporadic efforts. Overall though we weren’t playing well, so much so that one voice amongst the away fans behind me shouted “you’re like cavemen, play some football”. I knew just what he meant.

In passing I must pay tribute to Adebayor, although it’s hard to find words which aren’t either a cliche (what a good first touch for a big man) or a comparison with Crouch (he so rarely falls over). I felt that he worked hard, made good runs and showed just the sort of attitude we need from our “centre forward”. He’s prone to being caught offside, although of course not as often as Defoe, but otherwise he is the business in my view & seems to enjoy playing for us.

Van der Vaart proved once and for all today that a 4-4-1-1 formation with him lurking behind Adebayor is a better option than 4-4-2 with Defoe alongside Ade. I think that debate is now ended. He is, probably along with Rooney & Van Persie, as clinical a finisher as any in the Premier League.

Kaboul played well, as did Walker, and Bassong was better than I feared. Assou-Ekotto was always available as an outlet and – allowing for his lapses as we must – did well enough. The sooner Scott Parker is made captain the better by the way, he’s ideal for the role: a tough, determined and intelligent player and a genuine leader. Modric? Good at times but not consistent enough. How much of his mind is still at Chelsea I wonder? Despite the fans calling for Sandro to come on (was he injured?) to shore up our defence the ineffective Lennon was replaced by Danny Rose, who after a time took up station on the left leaving Bale to play out of position on the right – not popular with the away fans Harry! VDV, whose movements looked uncomfortable to me from the start of the second half, was replaced late in the match by Defoe, and was deservedly cheered off the pitch.

Both sides had chances in the second half, and every set-piece was a worry for the Spurs defence, but there looked little prospect of a third goal for us. The fans were restless, shouting to Harry to “sort it out”, although opinions differed on exactly how he should have done it.

The away fans also contributed in our own way to the anti-Steve Kean protests after the end of the match by chanting “there’s only one Keano”, not that we would want him back from the US, but it’s hard to see this Blackburn side surviving in the Premier League on current form, so their manager’s days look numbered unless the Venkys chicken barons are unusually forgiving.

It was interesting to see that tickets for midweek matches at Ewood Park sell for £20 though, and even those for Chelsea on a Saturday are only £28. Don’t we wish White Hart Lane costs were comparable?

Finally, on a culinary note I yet again missed out on my choice of pies by being slow off the mark. The chicken balti and steak ones were sold out & I avoided the meat and potato ones, having learned from my Wigan experience. Buy your pies early!


Ralph Dixon ( Follow Ralph on Twitter @SpursDiver )

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41 Points & We’re Safe From Relegation

What a difference one result makes and more importantly a change in formation. Don’t we all feel a lot better today? It wasn’t just the three points won at a very tough place to go to and it’s not like we were at our fluent best but the sight of seeing two strikers on the pitch, albeit one of them being Crouch and the other Defoe, who I thought enjoyed one of his worse performances in a Spurs shirt, gave us all renewed enthusiasm for the remainder of the season. Plus as an added bonus it took us beyond the magical 40 points mark so now we can all relax and know we’ll be playing premier league football next season. 😉

I’ve noticed a plethora of spurs blogs being updated today which must mean we’re all a lot more positive today and that’s down to Mr Redknapp. If you’ve read this blog in the past you may have noticed I don’t believe Harry’s infallible when it comes to errors no matter how much success he’s had in the last 18 months. The last few games have been testament to that but last night he got it spot on. We were all crying out for a return to 4-4-2 and he duly delivered. I’ll admit when I saw the team I had mixed feelings. I was delighted with the formation and the inclusion of Corluka for the hapless Hutton but less excited about the prospect of watching Lennon on the left and Crouch up front.

A very handsome man wrote in his match preview:

There’s no point in playing Crouch against Samba because he’s unlikely to win the ball in the air but he does have a good record against Blackburn so if he starts then so be it but my preference would be Pav and Defoe.

Some would say that’s a clear error on my part considering how 3-metre-Peter leapt through the air like a Salmon to bury the ball into the bottom corner and leave Samba looking like a bear with a sore head who couldn’t catch his dinner. However, if you look closer you’ll also see how beautifully I covered my tracks by mentioning his record against Blackburn. It’s like reading an ITK statement made by the poet laureate. For the record I thought Crouch was very good last night. It’s only one game but more of that for the final 14 games of the season could help a lot. It wasn’t just his goal either, for the most part of held it up well and linked play, in particular with vdV on the right. These two seem to have some sort of telepathy going on whether it be in the box or outside it.

As a result of my delayed response to writing some sort of reaction to last nights match I expect like me you’ve already read many of the other corners of the internet and seen the player ratings etc so there’s not much point in doing the same here. Before I briefly mention those who had good games last night I just wanted to address a player who I thought played well but I’ve seen many comments to the contrary. Wilson Palacios, as we all know, has been garbage for the majority of his games for the past year. Every now and then he has a good game but follows that up with a performance that see’s him substituted at half time. We definitely need better. However, whether it be Palacios, Crouch, Jenas or vdV, no matter what a players past performances are like they should be judged on their last match and for me, Wilson had a good solid game.

Stats can tell different stories depending on how you want to look at them but Palacios’s from last night only confirm his performance for me. As you’ll see from the image on the right he only misplaced 5 passes which gave him a completion rate of 90%. Decent for any player. I understand the problems people have with the type of pass he makes, often sideways and short, sometimes laboured and slow but he’s a defensive midfielder. His job is to win the ball and do his best to give it to one of the more creative players around him, which is what he did. Couple that with his 3 interceptions, 0 fouls and 3 from 4 tackles won and he had a good game. I’m not saying he was excellent on the night or even close to a man of the match performance but a 7/10 is surely justified? The funny thing is the one pass I remember him making all night is one of those 5 failed attempts and that’s from someone who thought he had a good game. I guess when you spend so long disappointing we only see what we expect to see.

We all probably agree that van der Vaart returned to some sort of form and put in a shift on the right side of midfield, tracking back when needed and generally making a nuisance of himself to the opposition. It’s good to see such a talented player taking one for the team and it’s not as if he was told to stay on the right and not get forward too much. For the first 20 minutes of the second half we were closer to playing a 4-3-3 than a 4-4-2.

Other performances of note were Jenas who put in one of his rare excellent performances that make you hope he’s finally understood what he’s meant to do and will do it every week only to watch him in the next game be completely useless again. We’ve all said it before and I’m sure we’ll say it again but if he could just play like that every game he’d be like a new signing. Or at least up his value so we could sell him.

Gallas is fast becoming our Mr Consistent. I’m happy to admit when I’m wrong and I was about him. I thought he was too injury prone and a sulker but he gives the impression that he just wants to play football. Ekotto and Charlie were good too. It’s nice to see Corluka back in the side, although we shouldn’t expect much going forward as he showed at times last night but as a defender he’s far superior to Hutton which is what we need at the moment. Gomes made a string of superb saves but still gives us and those around him the jitters when the ball’s in the air. A good defence is always confident of it’s keeper and I don’t think ours is, but his saves won us the game as much as Crouch’s goal.

A final word on our two munchkins, Lennon and Defoe. One looks to be gaining confidence and discipline out on the left and the other looks a shadow of himself. While Lennon’s threat might not be quite as great when he’s got to cut inside all the time if he can pick the right pass instead of running into defenders once he does cut in he could be more effective there than on the right. Some work with his left foot wouldn’t go amiss either. Defoe on the other hand is a tricky problem for Redknapp. I presume it was Defoe who Redknapp believed was as good as Suarez which is why he pulled out of signing the Uruguay international. On last night’s display that decision could cost us. Defoe has always been a confidence player and with his injuries, suspensions and then seeing the club trying their best to sign a new striker his confidence is clearly low, but how do you fix it? If you put him on the bench and give someone else a chance it’ll get even worse but if he continues to play like that he doesn’t deserve to start. Personally, with a home game coming up I’d start him again and hope he scores or at least plays well. If not, it could be time for a rest.

All in all a very enjoyable night. Redknapp made the right formation selection and an excellent substitution that effected the game for the good.

Forget the FA Cup and the transfer window. Who cares about the Olympic Stadium, Northumberland Development Project or injuries to key players. All that matters now is beating Bolton on Saturday afternoon. String together a few back to back wins and with those above us playing each other we’ve got what could be our final chance to put pressure on them and maybe still sneak into the top 4. That is unless we go back to a lone striker.

Dear Blackburn: You Want Some? Come Get Some.

Just a short preview today because there’s no need to fanny about with formations and tactics. Keep it simple.

Ok, so we’re missing some very influential players for tonights game, especially Modric who we lost this morning to an appendix operation but I’m feeling positive. We’ve returned to our soft underbelly away from home recently, Blackburn look to be putting a good run together and there’s a feeling of doom and gloom among the Tottenham faithful but I haven’t felt this positive since the last time we played Blackburn.

In that game we went back to a more familiar 4-4-2 and we not only played well but we scored 4 goals. Yes, playing well AND scoring goals in a non champions league game. Hard to believe but it happened. With the injuries we’ve got we must play with two strikers. It has to happen and there’s no excuse win, lose or draw if we don’t.

van der Vaart can slot back into midfield, whether that be replacing Modric and playing his role or out on the left. He’ll obviously drift in but as long as we have someone like Pienaar who’s a lot more disciplined than vdV playing centrally he should be able to cover any spaces left and protect Ekotto. There’s no point in playing Crouch against Samba because he’s unlikely to win the ball in the air but he does have a good record against Blackburn so if he starts then so be it but my preference would be Pav and Defoe.

Defensively we’re a little light too with injuries and suspensions but again we should have enough in the squad to cover those absentees. Get Corluka back into the team whether that be at right back preferably or centre back if Gallas isn’t fit. I’d like to see Charlie given another shot and long stint in the first team behind Lennon because not only does it mean we’re better in defence but Lennon plays better with Charlie than he does with Hutton.

So, it’s simple. Like back in November, play 4-4-2 which the majority of our players are comfortable with, keep possession and play high tempo football. Whether it be Sandro, Palacios or Jenas alongside Pienaar/vdV make sure they just sit in front of the defence and allow the 5 players in front of them to play. Back to basics as it were. It’s what Redknapp’s good at after all. Pick the best players available, play them in their favourite positions where possible and tell them to go out there and enjoy it.

Blackburn’s a very tough place to go but if we get the personnel and formation right we can keep hanging onto the coattails of Chelsea in fourth. If, like we’ve done in recent games, we try to be cute with the formation we’ll cement the last few weeks as the worse in Redknapps tenure with a negative result against a fast improving team.

Lets go back into the future and put on a performance we all know we can.

Prediction: 4-4-2 and we win; anything else and we don’t. It’s that simple.

Positivity and 4-4-2 Works

I had a very strange moment on Friday while writing the match preview for our game against Blackburn. Instead of my usual pessimism and doom and gloom outlook I felt positive. Instead of concentrating on team selection and formation as I normally do I forgot about all that and concentrated on the current Spurs team and where we’ve come in the last few seasons and where we’re going. It worked. Think positive, play positive and this team will win more than it loses.

Having been ridiculed from large sections of people who read my piece about the possibility of moving van der Vaart away from his favoured position and playing 2 strikers for the sake of the team, even I was surprised to see Redknapp do exactly that on Saturday, and for someone who insists tactics are only 10% of the game, he did a good job of getting things right at the weekend. The extra movement in the final third allowed players more room to create and punish.

The only example you need to see how it worked was the performance of Bale. He hasn’t been out of form really, but he hasn’t had any space to operate in. Blackburn tried to do what a lot of other teams have done and double up on him but the difference was their inability to get close to him before he started running and once he gets going there’s usually only 2 options. Foul him or let him produce something. Both happened but thankfully for us there was more production than free kicks.

The movement in particular of Pavlyuchenko, a player I’ve lambasted often for his lack of interest and work-rate was brilliant. He constantly ran the channels, often occupying Blackburn’s right back meaning more space for Bale because he couldn’t get close enough, quickly enough. Crouch did the same although without the same lateral movement preferring instead of stand centrally with the centre halfs, but by having two out and out strikers, even against a 5 man defence, it meant we could give our midfielders and especially Bale more room to do what they do best and that’s run at the opposition.

When we say 4-4-2 we think of a strict formation that’s out dated and easily beaten and if it’s played with no free flowing, expressive football it can be, but for the majority of the game we were playing closer to a 4-3-1-2 with either vdV or Bale playing in the old fashioned inside forward position with Modric and Jenas instructed to close down the space they left. What this meant was instead of having 1 striker and vdV in the box we were getting 2 strikers, Bale and vdV in the box. On a few occasions even JJ popped up causing problems for the Blackburn defence which eventually led to our penalty in the first half.

How to score goals 101 – get more than 2 players in the box against 5 defenders where possible. It’s taken a while, but it’s been tried and we now know it’s workable. It can leave us open at times and it’s not something I’d like to see us use against the better teams or even away from home on a regular basis but 4 goals speaks for itself. Our player of the season so far, vdV, was a lot quieter and I guess that’s why most people didn’t like the idea of taking him away from his forward role to put him back into midfield, but he wasn’t restricted to the right and his involvement in and around the penalty area showed he was hardly told to stick to his position. 4 goals for the team and 0 for vdV tells it’s own story but if that’s what’s got to happen then so be it. He’ll still weigh in with plenty of goals especially if he’s allowed to continue to push forward and drift into a central position. I guess instead of a goal every home game we’ll have to settle for 2 assists. 😉

Gareth Bale reminds me of 2 players, one past and one present. Both great. Cliff Jones and Ronaldo. Jones is the obvious comparison, being Welsh, ex-Spurs and a left sided inside forward. Ronaldo is a little less obvious but if allowed to get forward more there’s no reason why he couldn’t do what El Winker did for United. Maybe not quite on the same scale but he’s a natural finisher and the more often he gets into those positions the better for Spurs. I saw a Martin Jol interview over the weekend and he, just as Redknapp has done in the past, mentioned how he felt Bale’s natural position in the future will probably be at left back but as far as I’m concerned he’s best while attacking so why not give him a chance to get further forward more often? His right foot isn’t quite good enough for a prolonged spell on the right and his quick delivery from the left would be hugely missed but imagine him cutting inside from the right onto his left foot and lashing in goals. Could be worth the odd spell in games when the opposition do manage to close him down quickly?

It should be mentioned that we missed quite a few chances, in particular Pav with his one-on-one and the penalty but it just shows how good his all round game was yesterday when you consider he was one of our better players. Other performances that should be mentioned, apart from man of the match Bale obviously, were Crouch, vdV, Modric and Jenas. Crouch finally got his goal and pounced on it quickly very much like Defoe might’ve done. His work in both attack and defensively against Samba was superb and shouldn’t be understated. vdV is good every time I see him and even when he’s having a quiet game. He might have to get used to not being centre of attention from time to time if it suits the team better as a unit but his creativity and movement is so good to watch as it was on Saturday. Then there’s Modric and JJ. Both played superbly and in unselfish roles that won’t grab the headlines but without them the others wouldn’t have been able to produce what they did. JJ in particular should get a mention here. Much maligned for his constant up and down form and rightly so but if judging a player on his last performance, then we’d have another £15m+ player in our team. Unfortunately there’s a good chance he’ll be a Bosman free in the next game he plays. Maybe he’s just warming up for his normal storming performance and goal in the NLD next week?

All round it was just a much better performance. Yes we conceded 2 goals but I’m sure Bolton didn’t feel when they did that last week it ruined their day and performance and neither should we. We were by far the better team against a side who until Saturday had a better away record than we do. We destroyed a 5 man defence in quick time and with fluid, sexy football. Forget the defending for now. That’s something that needs to be worked on obviously and the partnership between Gallas and Kaboul just isn’t good enough for some reason but when players come back that’ll improve.

We’re not a defensive team. Never have been. Since 1882, Tottenham Hotspur and attractive, attacking football have gone hand in hand. It’s all very well playing like that for the past 7-8 years when the rest of your history has been about defence, offsides and boring football, we’ve been doing it forever. Yes, we may not win all the time and yes, we may not have as many trophies as other teams who like to employ French managers but we’ve got style, passion and have always entertained, even when George Graham was in charge (just about). We did that on Saturday. An excellent performance, an excellent show of how 4-4-2 can still work in English football and we’re back on track. 3 points behind 4th. Only one thing to think about now. Only one thing to work towards. Only one thing on our minds. Only one thing to dream about. Destroying that lot on their own patch.

We are Tottenham, Super Tottenham and we’re coming for 3 points. It’s time we beat one of the “big 4” away from home and what better time to do it. Who wants to become a hero? Stand-up and be counted, it’s time the mighty cockerel crowed like it’s never crowed before.


Positivity Is Our Friend – Blackburn Preview

I’ve learnt a couple of things since my last update. One, a title can be sensationalist and attract a lot of views, and two, many people read the title and make up their minds based on that and not what the rest of the article says. I’ve also noted what a massive divide there is between fans when it comes to what formation we should play. The sensationalist title was never my agenda, it was just the first thing that came to my mind. Maybe there’s a job for me at The Sun or News of the World?

So here’s what I’m going to do. Something not done very often in the blogosphere with regards to Spurs, I’m going to be positive. Very positive in fact. I’m not going to mention formations, tactics, line ups or how Blackburn will make it very hard for us because while they may not be pretty on the eye they do a good job and are hard to break down, which is something we’re struggling with at the moment. Oh no, today I’m going to be how I want Spurs to be tomorrow, POSITIVE. According to Sky Sports News Bentley and Huddlestone are now out of the squad so who knows what’s going to happen but who cares. We’re good enough to win with whoever plays. See, positive. 😉

On the 25th October 2008 Tottenham Hotspur were sitting bottom of the table with 2 points from our opening 8 games. We’d lost 7 of our opening 12 games in all competitions, drawn 3 and won only 2, against a poor Wisla Kraków team in the UEFA Cup and Newcastle in the Carling Cup, both by a 2-1 scoreline. During that day Daniel Levy decided he had had enough and sacked Juande Ramos and appoint Harry Redknapp 24 hours later.

Redknapp had one objective. Save us from relegation. Not only did he manage that but he managed to steer us to 8th place and only 2 points behind European qualification. Not a bad start some would say. Last season as we all know in his first full season in charge the team managed to claim it’s best finish in premier league history and get into the Champions League. There was also an FA Cup semi final at Wembley which unfortunately ended in disappointment but that was one of the few times we as Spurs fans felt like that in 2009/10. He’s amassed a playing squad many teams look at with envy, Internationals all over the place, some world class and for the majority of the time we play entertaining football. He’s done it the Spurs way.

At White Hart Lane he’s kept the season ticket holders happy with 26 wins in his first 40 home games and only 5 defeats. Only 5 is quite remarkable when you consider before his arrival we’d already lost 3 out of our 5 home fixtures that season. We’ve scored 66 goals in those 40 games and only conceded 22. Again, not bad for a team with a traditional leaky defence and opposition teams sitting behind the ball for large periods of the game.

In just over 2 years Spurs have been transformed from a struggling team, not looking forward to a relegation battle to a champions league team playing and beating some of the best Europe has to offer. Yes there have been ups and downs so far this season but 2 years is a small amount of time to achieve what’s been done at the club. We’re in the process of getting final permissions for a new ground in N17 and while we’ve applied for the Olympic Stadium that’s just a bargaining tool to get the green light for the regeneration of White Hart Lane. The club is being run well and is financially stable, something we don’t have to worry about unlike other fans.

Let’s look at the core players that entertain and frustrate us every week shall we? Whether you’re disappointed with how we’ve played recently or some of the results, take a look at what we get to watch for our money and consider yourselves lucky we no longer have to put up with the Jason Dozzell’s of this world or see a player like Rohan Ricketts as the future of our club.

Gomes – Entertaining to the last minute. Sure, he has the odd mental moment but isn’t that true of all the great keepers? He loves the fans, playing up to the Park Lane whenever possible. Celebrating goals like he’s scored them himself. God only knows what he’d do if he managed a Paul Robinson type goal tomorrow. Better than Ian Walker

Dawson – Injured at the moment but it won’t be long before he returns. Had a monumentally good season last time around and the “Dawson for England” chants were thoroughly warranted. He’s grown with the club since joining from Forest 5 years ago and is our captain awesome when out there. Better than Dean Richards

Lennon – on his dayhe’s unstoppable. Returning to form of late but still not quite at it, however once he gets there, and he will, look out the rest of the premiership because he’ll destroy you and give us something we’ve been missing on the right. Remember the Blackburn game from 2008/09 when Lennon was at his mesmerising best? Better than Ruel Fox

Huddlestone – shown a fighting side to him in recent months which is something he needed to get into his game. Maybe not quite as elbowy and stampy as he’s managed to do so far but he’s getting there. With his passing ability from deep and one of the best technical Englishman in the league  and he’s still developing and learning. Better than Steffen Freund

Modric – A personal favourite of mine. I can watch the little magician all game quite happily. Another who’s showing signs of returning to the form of this time last year. He’s brought strength into his game and is more than willing to put his foot in from time to time. Can turn on a sixpence and run a game if allowed with his eyes closed. Better than Stéphane Dalmat

Bale – There’s not much I need to say about the 21 year old. If he can find a way to bring his European form into the league we won’t have to worry about not being able to break teams down. His pace and delivery into the box is second to none and I bet Defoe is already working on his near post runs. Better than Simon Davies

van der Vaart – worth the admission fee alone. Redknapp has come out saying he needs to work on his fitness so he can make an impact for 90 minutes and I think that’s a fair comment. If the result is him getting better than he is already bring it on. £8m? Bargain of the century so far is clearly Rafa. Plus his Mrs is super hot. Better than Helder Postiga

Defoe – Only a few weeks away from fitness so the club say. Will he be able to work with vdV? There’s no reason why not. We’ve missed him since his injury. Found his form last season and was sensational for the most part. One of the leagues premier goal scorers. He’ll be on the end of the chances we create more often than not. Could be on the bench tomorrow. Better than Chris Armstrong

So there you have it. 8 of the Premier Leagues best players in their positions. That’s not including the improving Hutton on the right or Corluka when he returns. The young Bassong, Ledley King or Ekotto who is the 3rd or 4th best left back in the league even with the slight lapses in concentration, and I didn’t mention any of the other 3 strikers we have at the club. Ok, so maybe that last one’s with good reason but Crouch will do a job tomorrow and will be needed both in attack of defence with the likes of Samba about 😉

Do we really have anything to moan about and be displeased with? In all honesty every football fan of every club can and often will find something. It’s just the way we’re all wired. I’m a natural pessimist so when the team let me down it doesn’t hurt quite as much, my glass is always half empty, but when I take a step back and look at what we get to watch every week and I realise how far we’ve come in such a short space of time, there’s really very little to be negative about.

If we play positively tomorrow, show the undoubted talent there is throughout the squad and put on a show we will win the game. No disrespect to Blackburn who as I said earlier do a good job with how Big Sam sets them up and are on a decent little run at the moment but this Spurs side IS better than them. It’s not like the late 90’s when we thought we were better but in actuality we weren’t, this time we are. On paper, on grass or on the latest football manager simulation game, this Spurs side is good and has the potential to be great.

The future’s bright, the future’s lilywhite.


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