League Cup, ahoy!
With the squad we’ve now assembled, it’s not in the ambit of wibbling lunacy to suggest that we might challenge on more than one front this season. We could even win something. No, hear me out.
Rightly or wrongly, Champions League qualification takes precedence over much else for Modern Spurs these days (unless you count *ahem* a title challenge) but with strength and quality in numbers at White Hart Lane, there’s every reason to think a Shiny Old Tin Pot would be just lovely, too. If you’re not convinced: imagine Lewis Holtby’s little face if we were to lift a trophy.
Don’t you want Lewis to be happy?!
Villa are likely to be without former Spurs striker Christian Benteke this evening. He’s suffering from a dicky-hip which you wouldn’t blame Lambert for not risking. Libor Kozak will probably feature in his stead.
Here’s how I’d line Tottenham up, by the medium of Champs Manager 01/02:
Some elite level trolling from Christian Benteke yesterday as the thigh-slapping hee-haw he let out when asked on camera whether he was joining Spurs, turned out to be just a laugh at the very idea of the London club signing a striker. Ha, you guys should write a sitcom- as he guns the accelerator in his Mercedes and skedaddles back to Villa Park.
As expected, some of the online community have aimed their soiled underpants in the direction of Daniel Levy for this one, which seems odd as I’ve yet to see any legitimate evidence that we were ever in for him, or, even, expressed a passing interest. Can you fail in something you’ve not actually entered? I’m not so sure.
It was mentioned last week that the Belgian’s serial transfer requesting made the £25million-odd a sizeable gamble, particularly if you factor in the one-good-season-yadda-yadda angle.
All the best to him, I say. He’s shown a modicum of loyalty to the club who gave him a chance in England and Villa will probably make a grotesque amount of capital on him in a season or two. If Benteke was thinking about handing in a transfer request, Lambert’s I deent f*cking think so, pal rebuttal has potentially made his employers millions.
If the examiner pressed a gun to your forehead and asked you to show your workings, it’d be hard to argue that Atlético wasn’t the logical destination for David Villa this summer. Not too much travelling involved: a ready-made Champions League club with a history of providing food and lodgings to some of the world’s finest strikers. Vieri, Torres, Forlan, Sergio Agüero, Falcao. They even found room at the inn for the considerable backside of Jimmy Floyd Hassebaink. Yes the council had to knock a wall through, but that’s not the point.
The point is that while Madrid proved to be an understandable decision for El Dave, it doesn’t help one bit in Tottenham’s ongoing, near-mythical quest for new centre-forward. Much more so, for those of us who thought- perhaps romantically, hopelessly as it turned out- that Spain’s all-time leading scorer might just be the one. WHAT’S WRONG WITH US, DAVID? IT’S BECAUSE I’M UGLY, ISN’T IT?
On an entirely separate note, would anyone like to buy this season’s replica shirt with club legend Ricky Villa’s name on the back? That’s Ricky Villa. Definitely Ricky Villa. Anyone? No?
With that ship long gone, tethered and anchored in another port, the searchlight swings elsewhere. The papers have become fevered (sexually, no doubt) with idea of us signing Christian Benteke- whose thigh muscles alone put the fear of Mumm-Ra into opposition backlines last season. At twenty-two, even with the inflated price-tag Villa have (rightly) attached to their star man, it looks like it could represent good business for Daniel Levy. The only worry is that the Belgian’s attitude is stinking the whole damn place up. Two transfer requests and a self-imposed strike in two years and what’s to stop more of this jack-assery should, say, PSG show an interest after another good season with us?
Merry everyone! I trust the festive period has handled you well? Upon hearing the rumours on Christmas Day that contract rebel Wesley Sneijder was about to join Spurs, the thought occurred to me that someone may have spiked the bread sauce with anti-freeze. Then the sobering but inevitable quotes from Camp Wesley immerged yesterday and the dream cough, spluttered and finally met its maker. There is nothing, absolutely nothing true about that, said one of his representatives, with what sounded like genuine contempt for the very idea. Ho-hum.
It was with flawless timing, then, that Gareth Bale and chums made us forget about Rivaldo/Kaka/Moutinho MK2/3/4 and be thankful for that which we already have- as is customary this time of year. A walloping fine win on Boxing Day was both the ticket and just what the doctor ordered.
The first half at Villa Park was an exercise in sterile domination; gluttonous amounts of possession and corners- lots and lots of corners- but very little in the way of actual chances fashioned. The set-pieces and minutes racked up and still Brad Guzan looked reasonably comfortable with what we were hurling at him. Defoe had a decent one-on-one scuppered, Bale pop-shotted on occasion but the breakthrough didnae come and every man, woman and child could see where this might be headed. As long as it remains 0-0, the dangerous watchwords of the hopeless.
And the Midlanders were hopeless for the most part. A spirited flurry just after the break was the best it got for them before JD and Gareth began sending out invites to the goal banquet. Naughton’s lip-smacking assist started things off; when Spurs were yelling out for a bit of final-ball smarts from the midfield, it was from a rather unexpected source that the lock was finally jimmied. It’s a bloody Christmas miracle!
Then it was all about Bale. His second hat-trick for Tottenham, first in the League. Pace, power, composure and precise finishing. The boy is no more a one-trick winger than I am an astronaut. So numerous are the components to his game that it would be no surprise to learn that he can do a nine dart check-out on demand and has a formidable badminton serve. Multi-talented, multi-layered and genuinely world class. Let’s not take him for granted, shall we?
Sunderland up next.
This fixture from last season will be most fondly remembered for Alex McLeish’s quite spellbinding teamsheet; riding fast and loose with Emile Heskey and Alan Hutton on the wings and four whole centre backs. It was the kind of morbid tactical blunderbussery that had become synonymous with the Scotsman’s reign in the Midlands. Adebayor knocked in two and appeared genuinely troubled that he didn’t get more. The possession stats were more lop-sided than pair of trousers hand-stitched by Mr. Magoo. Glorious times.
With Big ‘Eck long gone, it’s unlikely we’ll be afforded such a pre-emptive surrender from Villa today, which is a shame. Though the football is far from, well, good (Lambert’s a bright coach, yet have I seen any evidence he’s a miracle worker) they at least play with a degree of positivity- ie; endeavour to pass the thing- and the young chaps he’s drafted in appear committed, fearless and a darn sight easier to love. Banishing Alan Hutton to the nether worlds would’ve helped in this regard, also.
Adebayor might well get a chance to continue his Villa-themed scoring bluster this afternoon, having netted three in his last two against them. According to the vigilant folk at PhysioRoom.com, he’s a late fitness test away from being de-hamstrung, which will take some of the pressure off the boy Defoe should things not go swimmingly early doors. Even from the bench and half-fit, it’ll be nice to have options.
Anyone care to make a prediction? A prize for the closest guess. I think we should have too much for ‘em.
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