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What Difference Would An Early Penalty Have Made To Spurs ?

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Three penalty appeals turned down early on and a brave opening onslaught saw Spurs make a brave attempt  to make a game of it against Rel Madrid at White Hart Lane.  What a difference an early goal would have made to the very vocal and supportive atmosphere with the crowd urging their team on.

Bales early appeal was hopeful but fouls on Modric and Roman Pavlyuchenko should have brought penalties as Real Madrid struggling to contain a buzzing Spurs side.  Who knows how the level of excitement might have changed if even one of those had been given.

The longer Real Madrid held out the calmer things got and slowly they found their way into the game.   At half time the tie looked beyond Spurs and not long after Gomes made another howler to allow a Ronaldo shot to slip through his hands for a goal the shot did not deserve.  Game over and although Spurs tried to look willing and showed commendable spirit the game petered out.
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I feel Spurs beat themselves in this tie rather than being beaten by a superior team.  Crouch causing the tie to over very early with his sending off and Gomes making a mistake in both games costing 2 goals.   Also if you need to score goals I still feel the man most likely is Jermaine Defoe and he wasn’t on the pitch.  Sandro must consider himself unlucky not to start because he has been the best player for the last few matches.

It has been a great adventure for Spurs and I hope they can repeat what they did last year to qualify when they were given no chance of beating Chelsea , Arsenal and Man.City yet beat them all.

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Wouldn’t It Be Great To Be Called Lucky Spurs ?

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Being called ‘ Lucky Spurs’ would be a sign of success.  The teams at the top always get their fair share of luck and late winning goals.  I never rememember having thought this way about Tottenham.  I can remember the Gooners being called ‘ Lucky Arsenal’  for years with countless fortunate victories to their name by odd goals or dubious penalties.  It seems if you can get a roll with this type of luck as Manchester United do then it gathers its own momentum.

Spurs were a touch lucky to pick up all 3 points against Liverpool on Sunday but on the other hand Jermaine Defoe missed two great chances and got marginally offside for a third.  This sort of luck comes with self belief.  Most years Spurs would be happy with a draw against Liverpool but this season a draw would have been a big disappointment.  The expectancy is so much greater this season and Spurs for the first time in many years see themselves as better than Liverpool.

Liverpool played better than expected but then Tottenham were below par particularly in the first half. Palacios was not at all good and surely only stayed on because of injuries to two of his teammates.  Benoit Assou Ekotto was frustrating beyond belief with his hopeful dollies forward at Crouch which rarely got there and was wasteful of possession.  He didn’t look like he knew he had the quickest wide player around just in front of him wanting the ball.  Bale wasn’t able to get involved at his usual level as he was being bypassed and was restricted to a few runs but several free kicks and corners. The nice thing about Spurs at the moment is that if one player is having an off day somebody else can step up and perform. In this match that was Luka Modric who opened Liverpool up and change the course of the game.
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The luck of course came in injury time when another hopeful punt by Assou Ekotto eluded Crouch but dropped perfectly for the on running Lennon to slot in the corner.  A well taken goal from a very fortunate ball forward was what it needed to win the game.  Lets hope that next time things aren’t quite going perfectly Spurs get another slice of luck.

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Can the away team ever get the rub off the green at Old Trafford?

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When you complain about decisions going against your team after they have lost there is always that element of sour grapes. Whether it is against Manchester United or Blackpool in always sounds like excuses. Unfortunately at Old Trafford it has become an annual event for Tottenham and is very often the same for other teams too. If there is any rub of the green to be had it is to the team in red.

Having suffered at the hands of Mr Clattenberg before at Old Trafford when Pedro Mendes had his winning goal played on it was speculated pre match that he was a disaster waiting to happen and so it proved.

This time the referee allowed Nani to get away with diving then get away with hand ball and play on to score.  Gomes was culpable too here for assuming a free kick and not playing to the whistle.    However the linesman clearly pointed out to the referee that a handball had occured and he chose to ignore it and give the goal. I am not sure what the point of the linesman is if he is over ruled on such a blatantly simple point.   It is clear that Mr Clattenberg showed favourism to Rio Ferdinard by allowing him to listen to his conversation with his assistant whilst shooing off the Spurs players and booking one of them for a very reasonable protest.
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I am convinced like many others that away teams can’t get those sorts of decisions at Old Trafford and that the dice are always loaded towards the home team.  Harry Redknapp will no doubt be fined for stating the obvious about the refereeing but he is not as scary and powerful as Sir Alex Ferguson so will never have the benefit of this sort of refereeing.

Is that sour grapes? Possibly it is, but Ferdinard shouldn’t be any more important than Modric.  John Terry appears to be allowed the same privilege by some referees too and it is time it was stopped.  Manchester United would probab;ly have won the game anyway but it is a shame that we again are talking about home bias by the referee at Old Trafford instead of what until then was a pretty good game

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Why do Spurs need Ashley Young?

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There has been speculation about Ashley Young moving to Spurs from Aston Villa all summer long.  I can’t really see why this has been the case and would be totally puzzled if it turned out to be true.   Firstly because Spurs don’t need him and secondly because there will be uproar at Aston Villa if they sell another of there better players.

Spurs arguably currently have the most effective wide players in the country with Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon in the starting line up.  If they are not available then there is Gio Dos Santos, David Bentley, Modric and Kranjcar that can play the position at least as well as if not better than Ashley Young.  Danny Rose is also an effective wide man.   There just doesn’t seem a logical reason for signing him unless one of the Spurs men are leaving.

I haven’t seen anything from Young that makes him an improvement on the players already at Tottenham and when scrutinized his final ball is  not accurate enough to be paying silly transfer fees for.

Spurs have made two very sensible signings this summer.  To remain in the land of logic the best thing would be for Keane to depart and a talented forward to arrive. It seems unlikely to be Luis Fabiano and there are no other obvious candidates in the frame at the moment so perhaps Keane will be staying again.

Jenas is perhaps the other candidate to leave as he is unlikely to start many games.

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Plastic pitch takes its toll on Spurs

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Spurs travel to Stoke City for the second league game of the season with 4 out of  the possible 5 front players injured on the plastic pitch in Berne Switzerland on Tuesday night.  All the forwards that played picked up strains and only Peter Crouch is fit possibly because he is the only one that didn’t play.

It is a bit difficult to predict the line up with Modric also injured.  If none of these players travel it looks like Harry might be forced to play Jenas as an attacking midfielder getting up to play in and around Crouch or possibly Kranjcar could play in the hole.

It looks like Spurs are getting stronger now with the arrival of Gallas and Sandro.  The weakness appears to me to be the fullbacks now. Ekotto can be great but has a few stinkers but how Corluka gets the nod over his rivals for right back is a bit of a  baffler.  He is tidy but slow and rarely delivers a decent cross.  He is too slow to overlap and often gets outpaced when defending so it ought to be a good time for Walker or Naughton make the breakthrough this season.  It is unclear why Spurs bought Kaboul back as they had already sold him once because he wasn’t good enough.

For Saturdays game perhaps only having one forward might be a blessing as going to Stoke is a job for the physically and mentally strong.  A packed midfield might just be whats necessary to get a result.

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Isn’t it great to be a Spurs fan ?

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The world is in chaos today with flights grounded , the general election nonsense going on and an armed robbery just down the road.  But all is well in the world because Spurs gave the Arsenal a beating for the first time in years.  It could only have been better if Sol Campbell had been sent off and Wenger had claimed it wasn’t fair.   Actually he was unusually gracious in defeat this time to his credit.

The difference in attitude of the Spurs players from Sunday to Wednesday was huge. Instead of the pedestrian arrogance of a team that thought it only had to turn up to win there was a work ethic and determination that was a  joy to behold.  I loved every moment even though Arsenal had much of the possession.  From the moment Danny Rose rocketed Spurs into an early lead they always looked in control keeping Arsenals intricate passing far enough away from Gomes for him to get out his deckchair.

Bale and Modric were splendid, King and Dawson super strong and everybody else without exception dogged and determined.

When Bale scored  a well taken side foot into the corner soon after half time Spurs looked even more  comfortable and in wasn’t until Arsenal brought on Van Persie that there was any threat to the Spurs goal.

Van Persie made a big difference and had 3 efforts spectacularly saved in the last ten minutes by official man of the match Gomes.  He carved out the goal which Bendtner scored with five minutes to go.  The Spurs fans had to live on their nerves for another 9 minutes before erupting intoscenes of delirious pleasure.

Now the big ask to go do it again on Saturday against Chelsea  probably without Ledley King.  But why not?  Spurs won this fixture last season so it is not as unlikely as the pundits would have us believe.

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Myhill plays well but sloppy finishing to blame

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The Hull goalkeeper was rightly acclaimed as man of the match, however he would still have been the most effective player on the pitch if Spurs had won 3 – 0. He made several superb saves, ‘worldys’ to use the latest phrase,to deny Modric Keane Palacious Defoe and Crouch.  I have to say that Crouch was particularly wasteful near the end first shooting from a ridiculous angle and then a lazy header when  putting any sort of direction on a perfect ball in would have left the keeper with no chance.

Harry Redknapp really needs a rethink on how to deal with teams that come to White Hart Lane just to defend. It is happening more and more the stronger that Spurs get the less the opposition wants to come out and play. Who would have thought Spurs wouldn’t manage a goal at home against Hull , Wolves or Stoke? They all just camped in and defended and Spurs were suckered by all three. Spurs have the talent to cope with this but unfortunately didn’t .  Once might be unlucky but three times is a worrying trend and if Spurs want to mount a realistic challenge for fourth spot this wastefulness has to stop now.

Of course most people consider Keane and Defoe as an ineffective pairing so were disappointed with the starting line up.  Crouch and Defoe or Pavlyuchenko and Keane or any combination of big and small would be preferable to a small and small pairing.  Spurs really should know enough about Anthony Gardner to exploit his weaknesses yet they really didn’t get at him at all.  If teams are going to keep turning up with this game plan Spurs need the anti game plan because it is becoming expensive keep giving away the home bankers.

 Many fans are wondering where is Gio Dos Santos because he is a tricky talent who hasn’t had a chance yet didn’t make the bench again against Hull. He would add a bit of unpredictability that might unlock a stubborn defence.


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