Tag Archives: Strikers

Tottenham needs you: Adebayor!

I have never held back in claiming that Adebayor is a great striker and now more than ever I think Spurs need him back in the team, even if it is only a plan B bench position.

Quite regularly I write that I believe that Adebayor to be the best striker at the club in playing the lone striker role. He has all the attributes needed to lead the line, bring in teammates and create something from nothing. Even during a very poor year by anyone’s standards last year he showed glimpses of what he can do.

I think he would work better with AVB’s current system. He will naturally drift wide to receive the ball which will either create two on ones with the full back or pull a centre back out of position leaving space for an Eriksen, Holtby, Paulinho or winger to come in. If he has to play as a target man, he can and instead of only looking for a striking partner he has the number 10 and both inverted wingers to look for – far better chances of knock downs finding a lilywhite shirt. He can bully defenders with his strength but also has that little bit of skill to create something from nothing.

During his good year with Spurs he had a great understanding with the attacking midfielders, being Bale, Lennon, VDV and the deeper lying Modric. The key was that they enjoyed playing together. They wanted to do well together. He can do this again with the current crop of exciting attacking midfielders at the club.

I believe some sections of the support never truly forget that he once played for Woolwich Wanderers and another section have jumped on the ‘reputation proceeded him’ front by where he only plays well when playing for a contract. This will rub off on him during games which is probably why he performed (on the odd occasion he did perform) better last year away from home.

I am not suggesting he should replace Soldado with immediate effect, neither am I saying that Soldado or Defoe should be automatic starters. We need them all as they are all different.

The rumours are back again in that Spurs are trying to flog him. It is an easy rumour to start really given his apparent nomadic nature and the wages we suspect he is on. I am not saying there is not an element of truth there, he probably is one of the top earners at the club if not the top and getting that off the wage bill may open up space for a new player or two. Hernandez is not an Ade replacement but a Defoe replacement, selling Ade may well allow for more wages to sign Hernandez but it would not solve the lack of a striker plan B. Selling Defoe for Hernandez would be a better solution in my eyes.

AVB has returned him to first team training, he would not have done this unless Adebayor showed him something in training. Showed him his dedication to the cause was back. The next time he pulls on a lilywhite shirt we need to let him know that this is the best club he has ever played for! Tottenham need him but he also needs us…

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Broken Mug Brings Hoodoo on Spurs

We football fans are a funny bunch. Most of us have our little idiosyncrasies and superstitions when it comes to our favourite teams and what we believe will help them win. Some of us have our lucky pants or can only sit in a certain position while a game’s on TV. There are those who go out of their way to do the same thing for every game even if that means disrupting their normal life. If the team wins it’s because we did everything right, if they lose, it’s because someone else didn’t put their right sock on before their left.

As a kid I used to line all my replica shirts around my bedroom whether I was going to the game or not. At the time I must’ve had about 10 and I had the box room so it wasn’t the easiest of superstitions to execute. I’ve stopped doing that now but have been known to lay a few flags in strategic positions before truly big games, but the one thing I do every match day is drink from my lucky mug. Yesterday morning was no different but when I got home from work and washed the mug up I dropped it and the handle came off. From that moment I knew Blackpool were going to beat us and we’d once again miss our opportunity to put pressure on those around us.

Quite how much bad luck it would give us I didn’t know but three clearances off the line, 26 shots with only 3 on target and losing 3-1 is just about as much as any team can take in 90 minutes. So I apologise now to all Spurs fans around the world. The reason we lost was down to my clumsy fingers and a slippery mug. Or was it?

The one thing I hated above feeling sick in the pit of my stomach at losing was the patronising stance the press have taken towards Blackpool. This is a team that were 2-0 up against United but managed to lose the game. We all know what that feels like, but it showed what they were about. So far this season they’ve had some great results and while a top 4 side should be beating them they’re not in the same league as Derby were when they were in the top flight. Ok, so even their biggest fans would’ve walked away from the game wondering just how they managed to get anything from the game let alone win it but they deserve more credit than they’ve been given.

As for Spurs, it was just another game to add to a lengthening list that shows how badly we need a striker who enjoys scoring. As soon as we beat City last season there were some of us screaming out for a striker to lead the team. It seems so odd to think we’ve had the likes of Lineker, Sheringham, Klinsmann, Keane and Berbatov over the years who have scored goals for fun in pretty poor sides and after waiting 25 years for a team that looks like it could challenge for honours we’ve got a bunch of strikers being outscored by Brett Ormerod.

However, while the blame for losing the game can be put firmly at the feet of the strikers for missing golden chance after golden chance, we were also shocking in defence. As the image on the right shows we created plenty of chances, having 26 shots at the Blackpool goal compared to their 10. Unfortunately of those 10, they managed to get 4 on target and 3 of them went in. Compare that to our 3 on target with the solitary deflected shot in the last minute of the game going in and it’s clear to see the result was a combination of them finishing their chances as much as it was us missing ours. Our defence looked lackadaisical at best and drunk at worst. The lack of a proper right back due to injury and Alan Hutton apparently not being available for selection is a disgrace. If the rumours are true, and I can only presume they are because the club haven’t said he’s injured then the Scotsman has let the club down for the final time, but at what point is his exclusion from the team cutting your nose off to spite your face?

There are plenty of arguments on which striker should be playing with the Pav lovers arguing JD has been given enough chances and the Defoe lovers saying he just needs a fluky goal to get him going again. The bottom line is when people are screaming for Peter Crouch to start against Blackpool you know there’s a problem. No disrespect to Crouch meant but you know what I mean. Both Defoe and Pav had 5 shots each last night, with Pav getting 3 on target and JD a big fat zero. Defoe’s all round game was shocking too. He had a 100% pass completion rate but making only 17 passes in 90 minutes (1 pass every 5 minutes) shows he was rarely available to receive the ball which could back up fans opinions on his laziness. For the record Pav attempted 44 passes and was successful with 36. I’m never one to sit on the fence and I won’t now. As far as the team goes I think and always have done that Crouch is the best with regards to link up play but obviously his goal scoring just isn’t good enough. Defoe has the potential to score 20+ goals a season in the league but doesn’t have the composure to become a great and the best thing about Pav is his song. Other than that he’s just not good enough. All in all, it brings us full circle back to asking why we didn’t buy that striker in either of the last two windows? Wages too high? Remove King, Woodgate and Keane from the wage bill and you free up £200k per week. Instead we concentrated on trying to sign playings like Bellamy and Parker.

Anyway, we’re still sitting in 4th and while we didn’t take advantage of the chance we had we’re far from out of it because of one result. The next few games are massive for us and Chelsea. If results go our way we could still find ourselves 6 points in front of them by the time we play City. Losing has put added pressure on the remaining games but it’s not the end of the world. To finish off I thought I’d post some of my favourite updates from the spurs crowd on twitter from last nights game. It wouldn’t be Spurs if we didn’t have a chance to moan and groan now would it?

  • OK Spurs, confiscated belts & shoelaces will be retainable before the Wolves game. Keep the faith – COYS
  • Oh well easing into 3rd wouldn’t be the tottenham way.
  • Dare I say we missed Crouch :)
  • Omerod looks like a zombie peter crouch. And Vaughn looks like sloth.
  • Rushes over to sky+ to stop recording footy first.
  • WALOB!!!
  • Great night for Chelsea, dreadful night for humanity.
  • All big teams obviously lose now & again, but none humiliate themselves with our regularity.
  • Pav deserved that goal! Defoe is sooooo lazy! Disappointing – just not our night!
  • That’s typical. Pav…Granted not great tonight but was at least putting effort in first half. He’s just a bit shit…a lot of the time.
  • What a grotesque hideous ordeal of a football match. F*cking nightmare. I feel ill. Made worse by the awful Pav getting on scoresheet.
  • Spurs: the ultimate footballing prick teasers.
  • 4-3, we’re gonna win 4-3, we’re gonna.. *full time whistle goes*
  • cue knee jerk over the top season is over 4th place gone over reactions from fickle tweeters.
  • I’m so pissed off I could kick a water bottle!!!
  • Back to being a frustrated spurs fan!!
  • Can still hear the Spurs fans singing. Absolutely fantastic.

Spurs, Redknapp and The Transfer Window

I was planning on leaving this until after the transfer window had shut but to be honest I’m sick and tired of reading, writing and talking about what stadium we might be playing in come 2016 or whatever date it ends up being. I’m sure I’m not the only one. It’s important of course but the longer it goes on and the more talk there is the closer I feel like I support a company and not a football club. Football’s business, we all know that, as fans we know that better than anyone but I don’t need reminding of it everyday.

So onto the transfer window and what we can expect in the final days before it slams shut. The first thing I wanted to look at was what we’ve done in the previous 4 windows since Harry took charge. I’m not including this window because like I said there’s still time to make it a successful one. Much is said about the January transfer window being a tough one to do business in but when you look at the first window Redknapp had we didn’t shy away from getting the chequebook out. Some of these figures might not be completely accurate but they’re close enough for my purposes.

Winter Transfer Window 2009

  • Jermain Defoe – £16m
  • Wilson Palacios – £12m
  • Carlo Cudicini – Free
  • Pascal Chimbonda – £3m
  • Robbie Keane – £15m

That = £46m.

We bought in or bought back depending on how you look at it two strikers with a proven premier league pedigree. One wanted to come and the other waddled back with his tail firmly between his legs. At the time we had Darren Bent, newly signed Roman Pavlyuchenko and on loan Frazier Campbell so strikers were probably needed, although whether Keane was justified I’ll leave up to you.

The one signing Redknapp made which was one we’d been crying out for was Palacios. The defensive minded, holding midfielder who was excellent when he first joined. Things have done downhill since and for the limited time he’s been at the club you could argue the £12m fee was a hefty one for someone who’s been out of form longer than he’s been in it. Cudicini was bought in on a free as cover and apart from breaking his body in that motorbike accident he’s tried his best to push Gomes. The less said about Chimbonda the better as we’ll see later.

The only player sold was Hossam Ghaly for an undisclosed fee.

Summer Transfer Window 2009

  • Kyle Walker – £4m
  • Kyle Naughton – £4m
  • Peter Crouch – £9.5m
  • Sebastian Bassong – £8m
  • Niko Kranjcar – £2.5m
  • Jimmy Walker – Free

Total = £28m.

Another tidy sum. Similar to his first window he bought in some first team players and some squad players. I guess you could say the Kyle’s are prospects and not squad players and at £4m each they’re looking like good signings. Naughton was given a few chances but never truly in his favoured position and Walker has shown a huge improvement and what we can expect from him in the future. If neither get given the chance or don’t make it I’m sure we’ll get our money back at the very least.

Peter Crouch was bought to add to our strike force after the departures of Darren Bent (our top goal scorer from the previous campaign) and the on loan Campbell which left us with Keane, Defoe, Pav and Crouch. Sound familiar?

Bassong came in to bolster the defence and formed an excellent partnership with Dawson but has since slipped down the pecking order through no real fault of his own. An expensive bench warmer some would say. Niko was last season’s buy of the season at only £2.5m, much like Pienaar seems to be this window’s bargain. Much like Bassong he had a good season last year but has spent most of his time on the bench this time around.

Jimmy Walker came in to give even more cover between the sticks even though everyone could see he was never going to play a game, but on a free and on probably low wages it’s no biggy.

Main departures in this window were Didier Zokora, Darren Bent, Chris Gunter, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Chimbonda less than 8 months after joining us and not really playing. Wonder if the Inland Revenue are looking into that one? It’s hard to tell the overall value of these sales as many of them are “undisclosed” but it would be fair to say approximately £25m was raised from those sales. Or put another way, not too far off the amount we spent.

Winter Transfer Window 2010

  • Younes Kaboul – £5m
  • Eidur Gudjohnsen – end of season loan

Total = £5m

The spending stopped in the last January transfer window but when you look at what the team were doing and what they needed that’s no surprise. Why try to fix what’s not broken? Kaboul joined Defoe, Keane and Crouch as players who had left Spurs only to return and he returned as a much better player. Many, including myself wondered what the thinking behind his signing was because when he left he was a liability but since returning he’s in many people’s preferred starting line ups alongside Dawson. He covered Corluka’s absence at right back brilliantly at the tail end of last season and was the catalyst behind “that” goal against City to clinch the champions league spot.

Gudjohnsen was another one of Harry’s wheeler dealer moves. He only started 4 games and scored 2 goals but his impact, in particular in the game away to Stoke gained us points that ended up being very important.

This window only saw loans which included Robbie Keane moving to Celtic for the rest of the season, again only a year after we spent £15m on him and agreed to a £65k per week contract.

Summer Transfer Window 2010

  • Sandro – £6m
  • William Gallas – Free
  • Stipe Pletikosa – end of season loan
  • Rafael van der Vaart – £8m

Total = £14m

Much like the current window last summer was a bit of a let down. At least it was until 6.03pm on the final day when the van der Vaart signing was finalised. Before that we had the confirmation that we’d signed Sandro from Internacional after being linked with him for what seemed like before he was born. Like Walker and Naughton he’s one for the future or at least we hope so. Gallas was bought in because of the injuries sustained to King and Woodgate and ultimately Dawson on international duty. As a free transfer goes this split opinions. Personally I was of the opinion that he wasn’t good enough and while I was wrong I would still prefer to see Bassong given a chance to rekindle his partnership with Dawson and that’s got nothing to do with who Gallas used to play for but more to do with Gallas not being the future of the club.

Pletikosa was yet another keeper Redknapp bought in to act as cover. He was needed because Jimmy Walker was melted down and used as glue. No major ins or outs apart from Adel Taarabt for £1m to QPR where he’s currently destroying defences in the Championship, and once again plenty of loans.

In total Mr Redknapp has been given approximately £70m NETT to spend on transfer fees. Not too shabby in 4 windows but it should be highlighted that there’s only been £20m in the last three. That’s no great surprise as I’ve said before given how successful the team has been in that time. However, it’s still £70m in 2 years so what have we got for that expenditure?

Current First XI (when everyone’s fit – not including King or Woodgate who are never fit)

  1. Jermain Defoe – £16m
  2. William Gallas – Free
  3. Rafael van der Vaart – £8m

That’s it. £24m of the £70m spent is currently playing in our first team. Crouch could be put in there too but for the purposes of this I’m trying to go with what Redknapp would choose against the majority of teams when all the players are fit.

The remaining players, or £58m worth of playing staff spend the majority of their time on the bench or making substitute appearances.

  1. Wilson Palacios – £12m
  2. Robbie Keane – £15m
  3. Peter Crouch – £9.5m
  4. Sebastian Bassong – £8m
  5. Niko Kranjcar – £2.5m
  6. Younes Kaboul – £5m
  7. Sandro – £6m

That’s not to say it’s not important to have strength in depth because it is. The likes of Palacios, Crouch, Bassong and Kaboul have all played major parts so far this season. Sandro might do in the future and you’re always going to get players lose form like Keane and Kranjcar. As has been said many times before we’ve got one of the strongest squads in the league and it’s not hard to see why when our bench costs more than a lot of teams first XI.

Within a maximum of 2 years and in some cases 1 year, players like Palacios, Keane, Crouch, Bassong and Kranjcar have gone from major signings totalling £47m, to players who are now considered not good enough and are either being touted about to other clubs or replacements are being lined up to come in.

We would all agree as a team we have improved immensely. 2 points from 8 games into Europa league contenders to champions league qualifiers and until recently title challengers. All within just over 2 years. That’s some improvement and it’s been largely down to Redknapp.

What I’m trying to say is apart from the odd signing that may have helped at the time to get the odd point here and there have we actually been successful in the transfer market since Redknapp’s arrival? The majority of the team were already in place and it just needed a bit of maturity and coaching which Redknapp has given to take it to the next step.

Make no mistake, this is not an anti Redknapp article in the slightest. Perhaps the money just hasn’t been available in the last few windows having only spent £22m in the last 3. That’s hardly Harry Redknapp’s style is it? Or the players just aren’t available? Look at what we’ve been linked with during this window. I sometimes find myself stuck between two trains of thought, worried we won’t sign the striker we so desperately need or worried we’ll sign Phil Neville!!

We were all looking forward to this window, knowing full well that business is usually harder to do but hoping it won’t be impossible. The last couple of games have shown beyond a doubt the strikers we’ve signed in recent years are no longer up to the job for one reason or another. Looking at it in a more sinister way, Daniel Levy has given £40.5m for strikers and is (we hope) being asked to dig deep once again for another. If that was me I’d be wondering why we bought the wrong one’s in the first place. Or are they the wrong one’s? Has the arrival of vdV meant we now need a striker who’s completely different to what we bought originally?

One things for sure, the final days of this window will have a major impact one way or the other on our season but if we do buy and spend big, the last 2 years have shown us that money doesn’t always bring success and no-one’s too good for the bench.


Management and Strikers to Blame

Let me start by saying this write up of Saturday’s game would’ve been the same had we managed to win 1-0. As I stood there in the freezing cold, watching what can only be described as the ultimate long ball game with the odd pass and move thrown in for good measure, all the below thoughts were being formulated prior to their equaliser and the final whistle.

Birmingham have only lost one game at St Andrews in approximately 500 years so a draw was probably the most likely. Considering the players we have missing and those only just returning it’s not the worse result in the world. It’s annoying to concede with only 10 minutes left but as far as the game went, a draw was the fair result.

Let’s get started then. Stan Collymore was on TalkSport as I drove home going on about what a great set of away fans Spurs have got. Being one of them I’m not going to disagree with him but his other point was our defence and how we need to stop conceding and learn how to close games out, which I don’t agree with, well not entirely. Obviously, we need to start keeping clean sheets, but if we could do that we’d be sitting top of the league right now. However, it’s not the defence who are costing us points at the moment. It has been in the past but recently there’s been vast improvements, the main reason behind that is the form of William Gallas who was again exceptional on Saturday as was Bassong. Both had to deal with a strong and in form Jerome who was a handful all day.

If you look at the above image you’ll see just how well we did defensively compared to Birmingham who are regarded as a solid unit. We restricted them to shots from outside the box a lot more effectively that they did to us, which considering the amount of long balls they pumped into our penalty area in the final 20 minutes is quite an achievement.

We failed to win because our famed attacking players failed to deliver, and when I say attacking players I’m not talking solely about the strikers. They’re obviously there to stick the ball in the net which they’re just not doing but the supply wasn’t quite as good as people might think. You can also see from the above image just how many shots we managed from inside the area, 11 in total and 9 from about 18 yards. To only score one goal from those areas and that from a defender at a set piece is the real reason we didn’t win.

I’ve supported Peter Crouch in the past, stating his game is more than just scoring goals but I can’t defend him any longer. The bottom line is he’s a striker and is meant to score goals. Sure, they’re also meant to hold the ball up, link play and create but putting the ball in the back of the net is what they get paid to do. Crouch just can’t do it. He’s absolutely terrible at it. He doesn’t even head the ball any more. He’s developed a new technique of letting the ball hit him in the face instead. Excellent for little lay-offs and assists but not so effective when trying to power a header past a keeper.

by Guardian Chalkboards

We’ve got to give Defoe the benefit of the doubt for the time being. I heard one guy on Saturday night saying we need to replace all four strikers which I thought was a little unfair on the little man. He’ll come good and showed signs of getting back to his old self, he just needs more match practice and a goal. At the moment he’s trying too hard.

Onto the other two members of what I consider an attacking quartet, Bale and Lennon. Neither had the best of games with both being fairly quiet. I’ve read this morning on this sites forum that people felt Lennon had a good game and it was good to see him getting back to his best. Having watched match of the day and thinking back to some of his more “stand out” moments I can see how people would come to that conclusion but from watching the game, and I believe those around me would agree, Aaron Lennon is far from his best.

On numerous occasions, far too many to remember, he had the opportunity to run past the defender for a through ball but instead remained wide and stood still. Both Modric and Hutton were screaming for him to make the runs he’s become known for in behind the defence but he didn’t do it. His performance was a lazy one, highlighted in the first half when he picked the ball up 25 yards from our goal and played a simple ball inside to Wilson Palacios. The one two was on and Palacios played the perfect ball inside the defender for Lennon to run onto, but he hadn’t moved from his initial position. Whether this was a tactical thing or a confidence thing I don’t know, but he could’ve offered so much more. When he did get into the final third, he spent too long dithering on the ball, allowing Birmingham to close him down and steal the ball.

Having said that, he did still manage to get some dangerous balls into the box which is more than can be said for Bale. It’s impossible for him to play well in every game but he offered little threat after the 25th minute and the ageing Stephen Carr had him in his pocket for large periods of the game.

by Guardian Chalkboards

His passing was poor for the most part, so poor had it been other players, like Palacios, forums would be calling for his head this morning. The majority of crosses he managed to get into the box were from corners and as you can see Carr marshalled him fairly well, keeping him away from the final third where he’s less dangerous. Everyone can have a poor game and we shouldn’t blame a player when they do, especially when they’ve had such a brilliant season, but it’s only fair to look at all the attacking players.

However, even with Crouch having a shocker, Defoe not fully fit, Lennon looking lazy and Bale out of form, the one man who could’ve made a difference but once again looked lost and confused when things weren’t going the teams way was Harry Redknapp.

What the television wouldn’t have shown was a message that Redknapp gave to Ekotto around the 70th minute mark. With a stop in play he called Hutton over and issued instructions. Hutton jogged over to Ekotto and clearly explained to him that he was to push forward and support Bale. As Bale wasn’t having much luck I have no problem with that, except for the fact we were 1-0 up, dropping deeper and starting to lose the midfield battle. Ekotto did as he was told and at one point got so far forward once he realised he was in Birmingham’s penalty area he just stopped and didn’t know what to do. I’m not saying Ekotto would’ve been in a position to stop Zigic heading the ball across goal, in fact there’s no way he could’ve stopped him but there’s the possibility he wouldn’t have been completely alone. It was also the 3rd time in succession Birmingham had looked for the long diagonal ball to the far post and each time Zigic had been left alone and we still didn’t learn.

Then there’s the fact Redknapp himself has said he was worried that we were dropping too deep. May I ask why nothing was done about that then? Would it also be a viable option to bring on Sandro or Dawson instead of Pav for Defoe to tighten things up when we know the penalty area is going to be bombarded? It’s great playing attacking football and on another day we score more than one goal, but when we don’t the last thing we should do is put on a striker who can’t hold the ball up, isn’t very good at passing or linking play and continue to play 2 up front.

It shows a naivety that a manager of his experience shouldn’t have and if he can clear his name of the fraud accusations I would fully expect anyone at the FA with the smallest amount of footballing knowledge not to offer him the England job for that reason. It’s more than just putting your arm around players.

You’d think we’d lost the game from all of that. Sorry for the slightly depressing and negative look at things but it’s so frustrating watching us make the same mistakes over and over. As I said, I don’t think we should look at this as a bad result but we must learn from the mistakes we make in these tough away games if we want to be in that top four again. Next time we’re 1-0 up away from home with 10 minutes to go, I pray we don’t start telling our full backs to push up and bring on another striker. If we do, then we’re going nowhere.