Christian Eriksen was left behind in the boggy trenches of International Football last Friday, nursing what looks from a parishioner’s eye to be a severe case of ankle-flub. If you average out the conflicting reports blowing around the airwaves it sounds as if Tottenham will be without their miniature Dane in the region of four-and-a-bit weeks.
This, as you might well imagine, is not ideal for Spurs. With both Manchester clubs lurking in the shadows of late-November and creative inspiration already at a puzzling low, what didn’t need to happen was one of their most cunning operators to go down for a month.
So, what’s to be done? Well, there appears to be four options with which to fill the playmaker-void left by Eriksen and here, by golly, are your legitimate candidates
Many suspect the Belgian’s most effective position is in the wake of a main striker, as oppose to the deeper role he’s often been asked to play under AVB. Certainly any position might prove more useful than his current residence sur le banc, which was perhaps his argument when telling his Nation’s press recently, that he was ‘unsatisfied’ with how things were going at Spurs. I suppose he may have a point.
The only worry with the gifted Antwerpian, is that his decision making isn’t always so hot. Often we see him slither past opposition as if they were bollards in a Cycling Proficiency Test, only to run into a dead-end or hesitate when the time’s right to play a killer-pass. His itchy-trigger finger (foot?) is also prevalent in his shooting. Seriously, you’re allowed to score, Moussa. No-one will mind.
What he lacks in extreme cunning he makes up for in selflessness, enthusiasm and an agreeable row of teeth. That’s not to do the young German a disservice, he’s got oodles of natural talent- and the potential is there to be a wonderful player (exhibit A: his two assists against Villa in the Cup)- Holtby is just perhaps a little too raw to be burdened with the role of Chief Creator, particularly against the League’s spicier outfits. But his time will come.
You can’t argue with Sigurdsson’s goal return this season. Well, you could because it’s not exactly spectacular. Just in light of the fact that we’ve forgotten how to score, his reasonable haul of ‘4’ looks positively biblical. Does his relative goal-threat make him a more worthy applicant for the number 10 position? No, probably not. Does it mean he should start every game? Again, it’s hard to argue to the positive. Can we just say he’s a lovely little player and an important member of the squad? Yes. Yes we can.
Come on. What’s the worst that could happen? The fresh-faced Argentinean was plucked from the Eternal City with the charge of being au fait in a number of key attacking positions, including as a central playmaker. Perhaps the Etihad is a little too tempestuous a stage for a starting berth in that role; indeed, the decision to involve Lamela gradually since his arrival negates any chance that he’ll be thrust into the limelight for a game as high-profile as this. Which will no doubt prove a fairly astute bit of man-management in the long run. But, still, it would be nice to see the boy in action, no?
RELEASE THE COCO!
Team sheets for City on the way.
Afternoon, all. Here’s something I did for the Huffington Post last month. It’s about them bloody Belgians, coming over ‘ere taking our jobs- with their footballing talent and disarming good looks. Please skim over the entirely, definitely-on-purpose short change I gave their national team for tournament qualification. Poor show.
Ho, ho and indeed ho. Tottenham are up against footballing Renaissance men Stoke this afternoon; a team who if they were represented by the medium of architectural design, would be a pile of breeze blocks thrown into a dirty skip.
Tony Pulis. Man’s man; man’s manager; manager’s manager. Man. Great worth does the Newportian place in safeguarding the values of the game we call soccerball. Doing things, in a manner of speaking, the right way. Which approximately translates as: them perfume PONCE foreigners go down too easily and there’s no amount of stamping, shirt pulling or wallops about the brainbox that a firm handshake couldn’t resolve between men.
To recap: bone-shuddering two-footed challenge followed by a dusting off and a sturdy meeting of paws= good. Unhindered tumbles (unless performed by Charlie Adam) = very much bad.
Meanwhile for Spurs, that injury list which threatened to run longer than Methuselah’s beard is beginning to recoil. Parker last week, Disco Benjamin with every chance of making a return this. A lad name Gareth Bale, still riding high on the buzz of reaching 200k Twitter followers this week, is also in contention for a start. Which’ll go down well with the locals.
Hamstring pending, this is could be a game for Michael Dawson to savour, like a hog frolicking in his own swill. Call it team selection of the putting tab B into slot B variety (Stoke like twonking into the mixer, Dawson is adept at propelling it out) but you can’t help but feel this would be just his kind of afternoon. I’d also fancy bunging Parker AND Sandro in midfield today, if only to see how the Brazilian operates when his defensive chores are reduced. There’s more to his game than grinding adversaries to bone-marrow: he’s a joy to watch going forward, too. As for the rest of ‘em…
Hello. We’ve been off your screens for a few days now. I would blame it on the chronic gambling addiction I’ve developed but everyone knows nothing ever bad came of gambling. In the small amount of time it takes you to wish we’d stayed away a bit longer, then, let’s have a look what’s been going in the world of Hotspur since we last spoke. Who knows, it might be fun.*
*There will be precisely no fun had by anyone.
When scientists eventually find a way to delete precise chunks from a person’s memory, this might be ninety-minutes I’ll do away with. Indeed, it’s not yet possible to un-watch something that’s already happened; perhaps this game will encourage governments of the world to increase funding and get that memory expunger built. Must-Win was the understanding before kick-off. Must Not Bore to Death would’ve been a start. On the bright side, Gylfi Sigurdsson scored. Which after much discussion has been confirmed a nice thing to happen. Good on him.
This, a third successive away win for Spurs in the League, which propelled Andre Villas-Boas’ team to a rather handsome fourth spot. If this truly is the End of Days for our dear club it’s a lot less fire and brimstone than I’d imagined.
The first half was one of virile domination from Tottenham, signalled rather handily by the two-goal lead we took into the break. Lennon was bright and bubbly for large parts. Walker, off the back of a disappointing day against Chelsea last week, looked pretty good too. Appreciative, I’m sure, of the vast expanses of green he was allowed to gallop into at his leisure. Meanwhile, enjoyer of ladies, Jermain Defoe, could well have taken the match ball home at half-time. Had he not spent much of the afternoon trying to catapult said ball into the Channel.
The second half, well. Thank heavens for Sandro’s face, I say.
Again, by the sounds of it, Spurs had their assertive paws on this one but allowed Norwich back into it after Bale’s opener. Two late goals conceded through varying degrees of defensive cow-pattery. Limping out of the Cup is never fun- especially as some of the other big teams appear to be having such a hoot in the COC this year- and neither is missing a penalty. It’s all relative, though. Clint Dempsey should thank himself lucky he’s not Roy of the Rovers. I found out the other day that the fictional kickballer was forced to retire after injuries from a helicopter crash required him to have his BLOODY FOOT AMPUTATED!? You certainly can’t rap your way out of a missing foot. Also, most seem to agree that Iago Falque had an excellent game, so it swings in round-a-bouts.
Some thoughts on Wigan in due course. Just have to make a quick phone call.
Sometimes I do Twitters, too.
So this is goodbye. Maybe because we’ve had an entire twelve months to get used to the idea of Luka Modric vamoosing to pastures sexier, the official confirmation of the Croatian’s departure on Monday wasn’t quite the dead-weight blow that perhaps other high-profile escapees have affected in recent years.
If you want to mark it on some kind of grief-barometer; for me, the lowest ebb was when Sheringham dumped us for United in ‘97. Not only was he feasibly our only good player at the time (Ginola signed a month later) his parting words were the quite astute acknowledgment that we were a club utterly void of ambition. Eesh. One thing being deserted by the one you love, quite another to have your biggest flaws pointed out to you while they’re galloping off into the sunset. I told you, it’s supposed to look like that!
With Modric gone it feels like nothing we can’t handle. Certainly one of the best players I’ve seen in a Tottenham shirt and for footballing reasons, I’ll remember him with a great fondness. Happily for us fans, though, the by-product of a hyper-protracted transfer saga like this, is that you eventually get beyond stages of grief, disbelief and anger, and you’re quickly on the way to sober acceptance. Four fabulous years in Lilywhite and I wish him well at Madrid. Now, let’s bloody spend of that delicious coin.
Ooh hello, what’s this?