A weekend which sees progress into the 4th round of the Cup, a legitimate German Wünderkid join for next to zip and- much to the fnar-fnar-quacking of Spurs fans- a public dressing down by Alex Ferguson which can be summarised as The Nasty Chairman Stole My Pudding- I’d wager was a rather good one. Not bad at all, in fact.
And the piping hot German talent in question is one Lewis Holtby. A classic number 10 (9 ½ 8 ¾) swamped with absurd amounts of technical ability and potential. He’s been one of Shalke’s star performers this year and it’s widely viewed that the 22-year old single-handedly dragged Germany to the U21 Euros. So far, so groovy.
But now there’s more.
Being an impatient sort, it did seem a bit of a shame that we’d have to wait until July to see the kid in home colours and later still to the time he actually put his welly through the old latex bag. Now it appears the day could come much sooner. Here’s what noise Schalke’s managing director, Horst Heldt, made with his mouth hole:
“If Tottenham ask for Holtby in the January window, we will talk to them about it. Nothing has happened yet, but, from our point of view, we are prepared to speak to them.”
“It would have to be done quickly, because we would have to find a replacement for him.”
The snag in that particular plan, of course, is the idea that Daniel Levy could hammer out a deal quickly. Somehow I doubt Mr. Heldt’s idea of haste is twelve seconds before the window closes. But we’ll see.
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…
Well this is getting interesting. Just when the season looked to be shuffling off its mortal coil, to quote the Bard, Tottenham have ploughed the infertile landscape and miraculously found new life. Thrill-seekers or, indeed, masochist will no doubt be enjoying themselves in the current winds. Me, I’m still on the hunt for a quiet life but know in all honesty I chose the wrong club for that. And you can’t say the pure drama of it all hasn’t captured the imagination. Can you? No, you can’t. So there. Two games remain; a single point between 3rd and 5th. It’s going down to the wire.
So, one or two arbitrary thoughts on Wednesday’s game, with no particular mind for order or importance. Modric’s opener. My what a thing of loveliness that was. It’s been noted on several occasions- in this very parish, for one- that the Croatian appears incapable of scoring an ugly goal. In fact the thought alone looks to make him quite nauseous. The by-product of this net-bothering snobbery, of course, is his rather meagre return in the goal-scoring charts. I guess we’re supposed to stop belly-aching and just admire the vision. When will I score? This is unimportant. What matters is that when I do, the gods themselves will weep in the wake of its beauty. I am Luka.
As high on the splendid scale that Modric’s effort was, the same won’t be said of Owen Columba Coyle’s touchline attire. I can’t put my finger and what’s so- shall we say- unsettling about the Paisley Panther’s sporty get-up. Ostensibly there’s nothing wrong with a manager dressing like he’s ready to peel back the (considerable) years at the drop of a hat- and I’m sure there’s a certain freedom of movement that comes with prowling the technical area with bare thighs- but I do wish he’d put some bloody trousers on. Maybe I’m scared I’m going set eyes on a shrivelled testicle.
Apologies if you’re just about to have your tea. Maybe watch the highlights to take your mind off things. Doesn’t everybody look happy? Yeah.
In other news, of a less puckered variety. Kyle Walker has been busy with the fizzy this week; scrawling his name all over a brand spanking new contract. Using joined-up handwriting or not, it’s yet to be confirmed, but the important details are that he’s committed himself until 2017 and presumably his bank account is about to get a whole lot more awesomer. Just rewards for a fine season (on the whole) which has seen him play a lung-busting 47 out 51 games for Spurs and pick up the YPOTY gong along the way. Top stuff, Master Kyle.
Now a goal and a clean-sheet against your erstwhile team-mates and we’ll call it quits?
Ruddy nora and crikey hell! What about that, then? An absolute thunder-punt from everyone’s favourite Smart Car-driving, Oyster card-carrying Evening Standard columnist/community support worker/international superstar footballer/all round good egg. If I was describing it using the medium of retro beat ‘em, Street Fighter II, I would conclude thusly: sonic boom + flaming hadouken x hurricane kick= that goal. Deflected slightly, on closer inspection, but the type of person who’d want to take the gloss off of Disco Benny’s moment in the sun is the same person who, as we speak, is looking for a nice bridge to abandon that puppy they bought home for their children at Christmas. Sit back, press play and enjoy the sheer wonder of it all. Tottenham are joint second with Man United. Imagine.
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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.
West Brom, then. Uncle Woy caused somewhat of a hoo-hah within the Baggies’ dressing room this week by publicly questioning the legitimacy of striker Peter Odemwingie’s duff knee. I just can’t get the bugger on the pitch, said the softly-spoken Hawthorns supremo. Peter, in a move very much a sign of the times, responded by posting an image of his knackered joints on Twitter. Look, see. It’s swollen up like an octopus’ head, for chirssakes! Not what you’d call subtle from the Nigerian net-botherer, I suppose, but he probably has every right to feel a bit miffed. Not all of these chaps are using the treatment room like their own personal day spa, you know, Roy. Or so I’m told.
Apropos to nothing in particular, Odemwingie’s declared himself fit for the weekend’s visit of Spurs- he’s in the squad, at least- and between him and the excellent Shane Long (ha. Slong) The Brom are packing ample heat with which to cause us a problem or two. Chris Brunt’s beginning to play well again, too, after having the startling fortune of being removed from my fantasy football team.
For Tottenham there’s rumours abound that Roman Pavlyuchenko might be in for a rare start. With Van der Vaart and the mighty J-Dizzle both doubts, we’re likely peering down the barrel of a good ol’ fashion meat and potato four-four-two; with the Russian and Adebayor pairing up for the first time in their colourful careers. Notwithstanding any ninety-second cameos Pav might’ve been treated to since early September. Even then I’m drawing a blank.
Anyhoo. Your predictions, if you’d be so kind. Apart from trees of green and red roses, too- I see goals. And plenty of ‘em. 6-3 or something mental like that.