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02.03.2010

Another transfer window has come and gone and the Spurs signings were odd ones.  Just the two players in, with Jimmy Walker arriving as cover for Heurelho Gomes.  Eidur Gudjohnsen was a fine player when he did his stuff for Chelsea (mainly against us), but that was five years ago and now he has been shunted out of Barcelona to Monaco and now on loan to us.  He looks to be a straight replacement for Robbie Keane, who wasn't functioning as he has done in the past, but perhaps suffered for arranging the Christmas party behind Harry Redknapp's back.  Whether Gudjohnsen can add to the Spurs attack remains to be seen, but with the resurgence of Roman Pavlyuchenko the Icelander might end up surplus to requirements.

The other signing brought Younes Kaboul back to White Hart Lane.  Having spouted about how Spurs treated him like a dog when he moved to Portsmouth, it is perhaps a strange move in more ways than one.  Spurs were still owed money on him and with Jonathan Woodgate out for the foreseeable future, another central defender was needed, especially with Ledley's knee as it is.  However, at a time when Harry preaches the need for the team to concentrate until the 90+th minute, he says that Kaboul has the makings of a very good centre-half, but needs to sharpen his concentration.

It might have been a good bit of business for Tottenham, but Kaboul arrives as potentially our fifth central defender when everyone is fit.  A good career move or another one of Harry's back-up signings like Chimbonda ?

It was a little surprising that Bentley and Pav did not make it out in the transfer window, as both seemed not to have a future at the club.  However, it was a better bit of business not to do business where the two of them were concerned, as they have been needed with Lennon out long term with a groin injury and Crouch not getting much from referees nor our supply lines.  Pavlyuchenko is probably the calmest finisher at the club.  And he is a goal-scorer, whereas Crouch offers a bit more, but is not an out-and-out scorer.  Where JD will try to take the leather off the ball when in a shooting position, Roman will pick his spot and pass the ball into the net.  Between the two of them, they might be the best partnership we have.  Pav's time on the bench certainly seems to have made him goal hungry, which is paying dividends for Spurs at the moment after a particularly lean start to the year.

The draws we were picking up were stripping points from out potential total and the need to get some wins under the belt was becoming pressing.  The April series of games against Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal will determine where our season goes.  Even the last two matches against Bolton Wanderers and Burnley might have something riding on them with the two Lancashire sides in the bottom regions of the table.

Spurs need to step up their game for the run-in.  A hard-fought win over Everton showed they can scrap results out of games, but the absence of Lennon is proving a hindrance, with his pace opening up opposition defences.  Bentley has done well in his place, but lacks the devastating pace to go beyond defenders.  Luka Modric's return has been most welcome and has shown him to be a brave and mercurial talent that has lit up the side since his return.  Every time I see him play he reminds me more of Ossie Ardiles and his runs and perceptive passing make a big difference to our forwards without Lennon to get the ball to them.

Not forgetting the back line, the presence of Gareth Bale in the side has added a different facet to the teams options, with his pace and delivery from the left compensating for Lennon's absence.  His defending seems to be getting a bit better to, so his place in the team will be keenly contested with BAE when he returns.  Gomes has been in very good form at the back too, with some key saves to earn Spurs points against Fulham (home and away) and Everton (home).  He is showing us what a good keeper he is, with his adaption assisted by the addition of Tony Parks to the coaching team.  Finally, a word for a player I always have a lot of time for and that is Michael Dawson.  Not dirty or cynical, Daws is an honest professional, who gives everything for the cause.  His elevation to Tottenham captain is well deserved, as he leads by example and not in a John Terry way.  Michael seems to be the sort of role model you want as a footballer and I hope his good form is recognised at a higher level in the national set-up.

Injuries are starting to make a dent in the team, with Jenas out and Huddlestone now with ankle ligament damage.  These two players tend to split the Spurs support.  Some would happily see them shipped out as not good enough to be in a top four side, but others feel they have assets that add to the others brought to the table in the side.  Jenas can be an effective performer, but needs to grab a game by the throat and dominate the midfield.  Some say the same of Tommy, but he has picked up more yellow cards lately for getting stuck in and his regular presence in the side indicates that Harry believes he is a player who can make a difference in the Premier League.  His passing is often wayward, but more often than not, he picks out white shirts with unerring accuracy.  He sees passes that others do not and while the forwards stick the ball away, it is often forgotten as to where it came from in the first place.  Hud seems to be adding a bit more in the work-rate department to round out his game and I hope he is one who stays with the club for a long time.

Anti-football seems to be the Wenger-word of the moment and there is a good article on it elsewhere on the site.  Suffice to say that Spurs have suffered at the hands and feet of those who ply this style of play.  The difference, Harry doesn't whinge about it.  I do, but that is because I believe that you should try and play a team off the park not kick them off it.

Part of that includes the approach some teams take to the FA Cup.  Bolton were obviously more concerned about their lowly league position and the team they put out in the Fifth Round replay reflected that.  The fact that Harry takes the competition seriously is pleasing and with a number of top clubs already falling by the wayside, it leaves Spurs with a decent chance to get further in the Cup.

The way Spurs have been playing has not always pleased out won support, let alone the naysayers who label us long ball merchants.  However, with Luka back in the team and with Pav back up front, things seem to be clicking and the  passing game has returned.  It gave Everton all sorts of problems, even when they were pressing in the second half, they were reduced to desperate measures to stop Tottenham hitting them on the break.

There is still a way to go in this campaign, but with any luck (and without any penalties), Spurs may yet go marching on.

Keep the faith.


MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE CUPS AT WHITE HART LANE
MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE CUPS AT WHITE HART LANE
MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE CUPS AT WHITE HART LANE
AND THE SPURS GO MARCHING ON.

BRUCE CASTLE

 

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