Well I did try and do a live blog for the Liverpool game but it was about as successful as the time I went into Dragons’ Den with a jar of dead bees and asked if they wanted to fund my zoo. We can all strive to be better, were the words chiming in my ears this morning. A maxim that will ring true with most honest folk bar perhaps Dr. Philosophy Rodgers, who flat out refuses to believe he- or indeed any of his team- could possibly find room for improvement.
We were brulliant, he told us. Uxcullunt, he pleaded. I’m sure Liverpool fans looking at the league table last night mightn’t be too thrilled that, were this still the age of Teletext, they’d have to wait until page 2/2 before seeing their beloved team in low-pixelated lights. Maybe I’m wrong but I fancy Brendan Rodgers is a bit of a mentalist.
To the game and Spurs started like underfed dogs being released into the wild. Blistering into a two-goal before the clock had clicked into its twentieth minute. Gareth Bale had one of those spells in which, as a defender, there’s simply nothing you can do but be seen to be making some kind of attempt to catch him, when deep down you know the jig is up and you may as well be chasing the Boogey Man. At full-tilt and in the mood, he’s rather unstoppable. The good lady suggested after the game that the only reason he scored that face-walloping own-goal was to show Liverpool how it was done.
Bale is now the Merseyside club’s joint-second top scorer.
Rodgers claimed the game hinged on two penalty decisions not going Liverpool’s way, and it’s perhaps a valid argument in that you could’ve imagined them being given. There was a certain frisson between Dembele and Gerrard (sexual or not, I can’t determine) but the Belgian undoubtedly wins the ball with the slide-tackle. Calling it an assault it just desperate. Suarez is possibly fouled by Gallas but, again, it’s by no means stonewall/clear-cut/bang-on/100%
Perhaps Brendan could look to his own decision of playing Stewart Downing at left-back for a clue to his team’s problems.
Bit of a nervy second-half, to put it mildly, as the Reds ratcheted up the pressure, following and leading up to the goal. Dawson and Gallas appeared to be feeling the weight of tension as they frequently brought the stupids with their decision making and penchant for losing possession. But in the end, a mixture of stout-ish defending and Liverpool’s trademark profligacy meant the scores never evened up and Spurs just about got away with it. Money in the bank.
West Ham walloped, then. You’d have forgiven Spurs for approaching this with some degree of caution. Having lost four of the last five in the league and facing that dangerous animal of a newly promoted side buoyed by good form and travelling support stricken with Cup Final Fever- amongst other, less savoury afflictions- this could’ve easily turned into one of those afternoons where things didn’t quite click into place. With the WHL inmates becoming increasingly tetchy with every goal-free minute.
Instead it was reassuring to have them get behind the team as they went merrily about the business of out-scoring the hapless Hammers and the 10th Most Expensive Player of All Time . All very nice indeed.
Defoe’s finest goal in Lilywhite? Not many can I think of which exhibited so many of his attributes in one go. Speed, power, tricky feet and a shot like a goddamn champion. The thwack against Arsenal in the 5-4er of a few years ago was rather fabulous, but I’d wager this one surpassed it. Ker-plunk!
Is that the Hugo/Brad debate put to rest, then? Preferably nailed shut in an air-tight casket and buried under thick concrete. Friedel has done little wrong in his time at the club, other than be closer to an expiry date than the competition. It’s no conspiracy, just a bit of forward planning. The circle of life and whatnot.
And it’s some keeper Lloris appears to be. A confident pair of hands who can snuffle out the air of potential threat much quicker than the average bear. He races from his line, flinging himself on danger like a war hero smothering a grenade. One of West Ham’s best moves, a two-on-one breakaway in the second half, was dealt with before anyone realised it was a thing.
Praise be, Clint Dempsey had a game. Far from the ponderous lunk we’d somewhat resigned ourselves to seeing each week, this was a performance of great encouragement. Decisive on the ball, tidy in possession and a recurrent goal-threat. This was retrograde Dempsey. Old School, to use a more fitting vernacular for a man of his talents. More please.
Liverpuddles tomorrow. Philosophy FC. If you’re terribly unlucky I might be live-blogging it.
Pray for Mojo.
Good morning. If you’ve been following my very public breakdown on Twitter this last week you’ll have discovered I’ve been overrun with server issues. The main issue being that the American company taking the bones out of my account every twelve months- while providing me with a site which had the loading speed of an ironing board- has given me somewhat of a bum deal. Anyway, we’re back now so you can stop panicking. Stop it, I tell you.
Rather a lot has happened since we last met- too much, if I’m honest. Premier League baddies, Liverpool, were held to a credible scoreless impasse on Monday night. It was all a bit of a pantomime, really, underneath it all. Returning chief racialist and all-round bad egg, Luis Suarez, stepped back into his role nicely by hoofing Scott Parker in the abdomen; to the widespread disgust, and, let’s face it, non-surprise of the viewing public. Parker, himself, as well as Dawson were the heroes of the ensemble. Despite all the Dark Arts (Bale’s dive included) and spicy tackles flying in around them.
Kenny Dalglish’s latest PR trick of sending a cuddly wuddly little cat onto the field has done little to get the neutrals on his side, either. Not that he cares one jot about that.
The close of the transfer window saw Louis Saha join from Everton. At first, I was as crestfallen with the news as I was overjoyed that I potentially had the headline That’s the Way Saha Saha I Like It! to use in the near future. Now I’m rather warming to the idea of the former and having second thoughts about the latter. I’ve got standards, you know. Ryan Nelsen is one of our number now, too, which may turn out to be another shrewd bit of business on the part of Field-Marshall Redknapp. Another one of those ‘nice to have about the place’ types that Harold seems so awfully keen on. Perhaps the hinges on the boss’s office door need tightening or something.
Right, that’ll do me. Well done Mr. Harry for not going to prison. Now just to get him off the next charge of being Next England Manger In-Waiting. Which, I hear, is likely to be a terminal sentence.
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**A massive thank you to WFRF reader, Kaybee, for her part in getting us up and jiving again. Her generosity and kindness knows no bounds. Top stuff.**
Well, what a day in the old Anglais de Premiero that was. (Pretty sure that’s a flawless translation) Barely had we put on a pair of trousers that could be deemed fit for public display was Fernando Torres and his new chums doing a hilarious job of not beating Norwich at Carrow Road. Torres, of course, at the heart of the Lol-cano; spewing out Lol-ten hot lava for everyone to see. He’s all about the comedy. Then, it all got a bit weird when Robbie Keane started peeling the years back in the Midlands derby in early afternoon. Weird in the way that you might go to a nightclub with your dad. You know? You’d laugh if only it wasn’t so pathetic.
Oh, yeah. And then Liverpool lost to Bolton in the evening kick-off. Only they said it was Bolton. To me it looked suspiciously like Real Madrid. Nigel Reo-Kaka doing some lovely things in the white shirt of Los Blancos as Andy Carroll did some equally puzzling stuff in the rouge of Merseyside.
Now, of course, it’s Spurs’ chance to benefit while others have stumbled. Whatever joy there was to be extracted from the results yesterday, it’ll count for the equal sum of bugger all if nothing’s taken from Manchester in the cold light of the here and now. Thems the breaks, kiddo.
So what are we to expect? Well, one thing I will guess. If there’s any of that pretend card waving nonsense in the technical area, I’d imagine it wouldn’t be too long before a rather angry Joe Jordan made it his personal business to reduce the number of limbs Roberto Mancini was able to use for such skulduggery, down to zero. Nothing says ‘keep a lid on it, son’ like an arm dislocated at the elbow and shoved up one’s nether regions. Shocking stuff from the silver- plumed Italian in recent weeks. And doesn’t his voice sound like a zip? Yes. Yes it does.
On the pitch it’s likely to be even more exciting. There’s every indication that there won’t be a repeat of the August fiasco, and that can only be a good thing. Both teams are missing key men. Suspension and The Africa Cup of Nations claiming two of City’s finest- while so-called ‘contractual obligations’ leave our most potent striker in the stands. The colossal Ledley King is a doubt, too.
Much, then, rests on the shoulders of one Jermain Defoe and his capacity to operate as a lone-striker. The force is strong in this one but so far in his career there’s been little to suggest this is entirely his bag. A terrific finisher with oodles of raw, explosive talent but he’s more of a ‘cover me, boys- I’m going it alone’ type of player and his greatest gift is perhaps is his greatest weakness. Selfishness. Harry, though, seems to have little doubt that he’s up to the task and that’s more than enough for this humble onlooker. So there. Bring on the City, says I.
My, the hardworking folk at The Mirror have been a busy lot this morning; none more so than resident ink-slinger, Darren Lewis, who’s been cooking up a spicy bit of gossip concerning that of Liverpool Football Club and one Thomas Andrew Huddlestone. Despite the Merseyside club having more central-midfielders than I’ve got angry red letters from the council- not to mention Liverpool’s position as ‘direct rival’ in the hunt for those precious Champions League spots- the story’s author seems fairly determined to make it stick.
The line goes that the husky England man has fallen down the pecking order in recent times- what with long-term injury, the emergence of Sandro, Scott Parker being all brilliant and whatnot- so far, in fact, that he may find first-team football rather hard to come by once his return is made and ankle declared ‘not buggered.’
I’m inclined to stick to my guns and say it’s pure toilet. But it does raise the question as to what Tom’s future will hold in the coming months. Huddlestone’s a marvellous player but what’s the likelihood of him thinking ‘balls to this’ and looking for employment elsewhere if he’s sitting on the bench week after week? People have walked for less.
And in news of a less trivial nature. I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing a hasty recover to Harold Redknapp, whom is set to undergo minor heart surgery today. Terrible business, that. Rumours abound, though, that he’ll be back to work within a day or two. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore, eh?
Four to us, none to them. That’s the long and short of it. A dazzling afternoon of football from the chaps in Lilywhite yesterday; one in which numerical advantage might’ve provided the opposition with reasonable excuse, had we not been utterly dominant in every minute before Charlie Adam’s second yellow and every minute after. At eleven-aside, in the autumnal North London sunshine, Parker, Modric, Walker and Co. had Liverpool trussed up, gagged and going nowhere. Things change pretty quickly in football, of course, but the importance of The Red’s reduction in personnel might be like describing the difference between a slap in the face and a kick in the groin. Neither are going to end well.
Modric had a wonderful game. Much like the reverse fixture in the closing act of last season, the Croatian’s presence was all-consuming. When he’s good, or, indeed, is able to locate the whereabouts of his head, then my word is he good. With Fabregas’ homecoming, Essien perma-broken and Lampard long since descended into irrecoverable bouts of largeness, the title of League’s best central-midfielder must surely bestowed on the Spurs man. In the nanoseconds between him making contact and the ball jettisoning into the net’s top pocket, all the grizzly summer transfer hoopla was all but forgotten. Then it was just the task of watching a truly fantastic player at the height of his powers.
Likewise, Scotty Parker Party Starter looked proper. All the tenacity of Palacios but with the foresight to realise that he ought to do something useful with the ball once it was obtained. There was one defence-splitting pass in particular- for Defoe, if I’m not mistaken- that was so top-drawer it had a nosebleed and asked to come down again.
Defoe and Adebayor’s partnership is coming along nicely. Again, it’s that odd sensation of having two strikers on the score sheet at the same time that doesn’t sit well. I’m sure we might get used to it. In time. Did anyone else see Peter Crouch’s shin (I will stop picking on him) collide heavily with thin air on MOTD2 last night and thank all that’s holy he’s not doing it for us? The ghost of Christmas pass, pass, oh and he’s put it wide.
Tottenham are doing just fine, folks. They’re doing just fine.
You have to wonder. If only there was a way of convincing our men of Hotspur that it’s not considered bad manners to score first in a game, this whole points-getting business would be a heck of a lot simpler. Then again, for those of you who’re happiest when looking danger in the face and getting him into a headlock, I dare say there’d be no fun in that at all. Cavalier stuff from Tottenham at the weekend- enough to fizzy the blood and cause heart walls to cave in on themselves. A microcosm of this remarkable season in ninety minutes. Injuries, penalty misses, more injuries, last-ditch tackles, goal-line clearances, gun-ho attacking, last minute winners. At times it was reckless, at times wondrous. But boy howdy doesn’t it make you feel alive…
Balance. In wide areas, we’re close to having it licked. While young Baler remains a behemoth of speed and delivery from the left, the steadily improving Lennon on t’other side has at last made the threat two-fold. It was only a matter of time before it happened. You don’t pack two fireworks like that in your luggage without them going off together at some point. Injury and form has kept them out of sync in the past. Let’s hope it’s a sign of things to come that in the last two games they’ve both been electric.
As has Luka Modric. If Bale and Lennon have provided the fireworks for the week, the Croatian has slapped down the plunger and blown the chuffing roof off. A superb run for the goal- punctuating an altogether marvellous Sunday afternoon’s work. As well as his usual bag of deft touches and slights of hand, he was to be seen tracking back and generally getting himself get stuck in. He’s a winner. And, as such, was doing his darndest to make sure we did just that. Mammoth.
Much as it troubles me to admit of a player whom at one time I felt to be among our most important, Sergeant Wilson is continuing to struggle. Next month sees FourTwoTwo magazine release their annual list of the top 100 hundred players in world football. Last year, after a barnstorming twelve months at Tottenham, Palacios came in at 93rd. Outranking Ryan Giggs in the same season the Welshman picked up his gong from the PFA. What a difference a year makes. While the imbeciles booing on Sunday may’ve rather missed the point of supporting one’s club, it does represent an astonishing downturn in fortunes for our midfield destroyer.
Eesh. Well that was a dour note to end on. Erm. Quick. Look at this.