So ‘Arry reckons he might get a bit bored managing England:
‘I enjoy the day-to-day coming in to work with players, said the media-introvert on Radio 4 this week- going out on the training pitch every day, seeing the players.
I don’t know if seeing players once every six or seven weeks….it would be different for me and I would find it very difficult.’
Talking of which. You know what I find boring? Listening to Harry Redknapp discussing the England job. And what could be even more boring than that? Listening to Harry Redknapp discussing the prospect of being bored whilst doing the job of being England manager. Honestly. Bore off, with the whole charade. In case you hadn’t noticed we’re doing rather well at the moment. A bit of focus, please. You wouldn’t see a heart surgeon stop mid-operation to tell the patient’s family that he’s got a cracking appendectomy lined up for this afternoon.
It’s too good a gig to turn down, to be fair. It’s every surgeon’s dream. Er… sorry about your son.
And now to the main event. West Brom are in the building. It feels like only yesterday that Adebayor and Co. were making a nuisance of themselves up at the Hawthorns- and I suppose in football speak that’s more or less how long ago it was. The Baggies will tell you a lot has changed since then; they’re more than just a team who’ll hang on bravely for forty-five minutes only to roll over like a wheezing dog when it really counts. Their stalemating of Man City last week was something to behold.
We of Tottenham will need to be at our most cunning, then. And, likely, those in residents at their most patient. If we’ve not fully obliterated them off the park within twenty-minutes- leaving only their dental records and the odd loose stud- no need to panic. The goal(s) will come. Life, as Jeff Goldblum says in Jurassic Park, will find a way. And this is probably exactly what he had in mind. Let’s make pre-history of them WBA berks.
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Tally-ho and merry new beginnings to you all! What grander way to spend those final few hours of the year 2011 than in unchartered, unfamiliar and altogether more foreign waters. Swan infested waters, you might say?
Oh alright, maybe not- but there’s no need to look at me like that. The important thing is that Spurs are nipping across the border tomorrow afternoon and, quite literally, anything could happen.
It’s Swansea away.
A rather interesting sub-plot to the game- aside from the necessity of landing three points and keeping the title push at full-tilt- is that the chaps in Lilywhite are a victory away from becoming the first club in history to win competitive away matches in all of the home nations in a single season. (Thank you, F365) Shamrock Rovers, Hearts and any one from Fulham, Blackburn, West Brom, Wigan or Wolves have each tumbled at the hands of the Mighty Hotspur this campaign – now just a representative from Wales is needed for the Grand Slam.
I don’t know about you, but I think some kind of trophy is in order. Something glittery to sit along side the 2005 Peace Cup. A plaque, at the very, very least.
Not to get ahead of ourselves, of course. Brendan Rogers’ outfit have been largely impressive this term. Not least of all because of their unerring proclivity for doing things The Right Way™. That is to say, they’re a team who prefer to keep the white round thing on the flat green stuff- as appose to optimistically battering said white round thing towards the other white round thing in the sky (ie, the moon) and praying it’ll return in a favourable position. In Ashley Williams they have a defender with an 84% pass completion rate- with an alarming, third best in the league 1,196 successful passes in total. Put that in your stat-pipe and smoke it. Oh, you can’t. It’s too creamy.
The question is: should these vagabonds from across the way be anything to fear? Or is it going to be a case of same old Tottenham, always winning? Your thoughts, if you’d be so kind. I’ve a feeling it’s going to be a tight one. Oo-er.
Merry tidings and whatnot. I trust you’re all in good spirits? If not then I suggest you vamoose down to your local retailer and get your hands on some as quickly as is humanly possible. If anything it’ll make reading this hogwash a darn sight easier.
To Carrow Road we head, then. A late evening kick-off with Norwich and the cold turkey leftovers of a hectic Christmas schedule in the old Premier League. Boxing Day has already thrown up one or two surprises (and I’m not talking about the contents of the punch bowl). Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City all fluffed their lines in unlikely company yesterday; each drawing against teams in the bottom half of la table. So apart from the rampant United there’s not much change in the points column of those around us. Spurs remain third with two games in hand.
So far, so good.
No side can be brilliant at everything, of course, and in this vein I would suggest we’ve looked a bit unsteady against aerially proficient teams this season. The first half of the Stoke game was ultimately a disaster, and, far from being a rugby union side, the Canaries have similar airborne potencies in their make-up. Not least of all because of the quality of their delivering midfielders (Patches O’ Hoolahan et al) and the effectiveness of Grant Holt’s forehead. A man who carried my fantasy football side this month when Sergio Aguero went off the boil.
I’m no tactics guru but a Kaboul start might not be a bad little idea if he’s fit and willing. 1-2 Spurs, says I.
If everyone can stop doing racisms for just one minute! Phew. Glad we got that sorted. Rightio, ahead of tonight’s big game with Chelsea, I’ve roped in one of the chaps behind the fabulous movie trailer review site, Trailer Trash. It’s Harry Thompson and he just happens to have the grave misfortune of being a Blues fan. Poor lamb. Anyway, it’s all clean fun. Read on…
WFRF: Hello! Let’s get the big one out of the way first, shall we? There’s only Juan Mata, that much is obvious. But Chelsea also made some pretty big moves to sign Luka Modric in the summer. What do you think you were playing at there, sonny lad?
HT: Good day. I seem to remember Modric wanting to move to Chelsea more than anything: handing transfer requests, refusing to play, that kind of thing. It was all a bit finger-bang and no %£!* in the end, wasn’t it? Mind you, we’d probably be in a better league position (i.e. above Tottenham) had we acquired Modric in the summer. We’ll have to see what Father Christmas brings in the New Year.
WFRF: Steady. John Terry is a terrible human being. No need for any debate there. But is there a direct correlation between how much the rest of football despises him and how much Chelsea fans love him? Or is it physically impossible to love John Terry?
HT: I used to really love John Terry. He was an exemplary defender and captain, really one of a kind. Note the use of past tense there, because I now see him as a symbol of everything that is wrong with Chelsea, and to a lesser extent – football/society. Still, given the choice between having JT on the pitch or not…I think the old dog still has something to give. Just not in any civil rights debates.
WFRF: What’s up with the boy Torres? He used to be good. Now, you know, he’s not. To me it looks as if he’s gone and done a Michael Owen and lost his entire game with the loss of a few yards of pace. Which is a shame as I thought his composition as a player was more than just p*ss-whippet speed and great finishing. Or is this just confidence thing? His touch of late has been like a trampoline.
HT: I am not the least bit surprised you brought this up. I’m no psychiatrist, and I don’t know what’s wrong with the overpaid, Spanish diva. But if you think about it, he’s getting paid monstrously well to do very little, that to me, is a form of success. It seemed like he was having a good spell a month back or so and now can’t even get a cameo in the final minutes. I guess we’ll see what happens for the African Cup of Nations, when AVB has no choice but to bring him on.
WFRF: More of the same, I would guess. You had Scott Parker on your books under Mourinho. It’s fair to say Chelsea weren’t exactly short of central midfielders at the time- Makélelé, Lampard, Geremi, Tiago and whatnot- but what do you make of him as a player now? I remember him being brilliant at Charlton and obviously did well at the stinking lot across town, but he seems to have turned into a sensational footballer overnight. Do you think some of the other big teams might be regretting not going in for him? Man United, for example, crashed out of Europe with a 36 year old left-winger, a 19 year old centre-back and Ji-Sung Park in midfield.
HT: He’s a great player, and not just because he looks like a Thunderbird come-to-life. Bear in mind he’s 31 years of age now, it’s not like you’ll have him forever. Trust me, I learnt the hard way…I had this brilliant dog once, one of the best, but we got him old- too old some said. Anyway, one Christmas morning we came down and boom – dead dog. Exactly the same thing will happen with Parker, just enjoy him while you can. One day, he’ll be gone…not entirely sure if I’m talking about Scott Parker or my dog. Maybe both, maybe both…
WFRF: Are you saying someone’s going to shoot Scott Parker? Well that’s not on. So what do you make of AVB, then? Do you think his handsomeness covers up for his inexperience and tactical naivety? Or do you think he just needs more time to implement his ideas? I mean, it must be quite a task with all the- how to put this- c*nts you have in the dressing room.
HT: Yeah…managing Chelsea has become an impossible task. If you’re winning, but not winning beautifully you’ll be sacked. Having said that, I don’t like AVB, he’s arrogant, stubborn, and humourless. If I see one more highball loft over our back four because he insists on having the defence near the halfway line, I’ll go crazy. He’ll probably be sacked after Xmas anyway, so let’s not lose any sleep.
WFRF: Okay, let’s cut to the chase. Predictions for tonight?
HT: Erm…1-1 seeing as it’s Christmas!
Spurs done a win; the other team didnae. That would by my conclusion of Sunday’s meeting with the floundering Wearsiders. And if that’s not enough woodbine for your mind-pipe then I don’t know if we can go on meeting like this.
But, it’s the festive season, I suppose, and I’m a generous sort. Here’re some more expert opinions. You heard. Expert. Do bear in mind, though, that I left my good glasses in the car, so plenty of what I tell you might not have happened exactly as I describe. And, in some cases, replace ‘exactly’ with ‘at all’.
Brad Friedel didn’t put a foot wrong. Or a hand, more importantly. Every ball that came in range of his massive paws- be it a cross, shot or hopeful hoof into the heavens- was either caught flawlessly or swatted away as comfortably as someone might brush off a cobweb. USA! USA! USA!
In the absence of Lennon and Bale, Kyle Walker was perhaps our most effective outlet on the break. Without the other two speedsters- and in a team which relies much on the blistering pace of its wingers- the England full-back’s attacking duties were effectively doubled. Or, at least, his responsibly to get forward was increased. Barring the odd wayward final ball, I thought he adjusted to the task well. Which is, you know, nice.
Sandro, after a somewhat unsteady opening forty-five, was colossal. Someone after the game commented that he began to feel sorry for one or two of the Sunderland chaps as he just wouldn’t leave them alone. In any other walk of life, this would be considered a problem. Arguably one that the courts might need to step in on. Talking of which…
The away fan’s brought the funny with their rendition of stand up if you pay your tax. Jail being all hilarious and all. The Bob Marley reworking was pretty good, too.
Pavlyuchenko stank the place up for a sizeable portion of his allotted time, then scored the winner. That’s so him, isn’t it? Isn’t that just so him? I mean, it’s really him all over. Expect him gone in January.
Nicklas Bendtner was awful.
We’re into third.
The world keeps on turning.