Dancing on Thin Ice


If you were wondering what that damp squelching noise was as ‘Arry and his troops clambered aboard the team bus at five o’ clock on Saturday afternoon, it probably wont surprise you to learn that is was the sound of grown men hobbling in shoes filled with blood from repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot. Any more episodes like that and there wont be much foot left to shoot. Two points lost and the jets of Champions League aspirations- for now- cooled slightly.

A bizarre game in many respects. Not one that’ll be remembered for its abundance of quality but rather for its moments of absurdity. From both ends there were episodes which puzzled rather than infuriated; prompting bewildered silence rather than apoplectic raving. Until the ninety-first minute, that is. Even the stuff that went to plan- Crouch’s assist, for example- looked for all the world like it was bred from remarkable good fortune. Bar one or two stand-out performances and some neat exchanges in the final third, we were treated to ninety minutes of comedy finishing and wild speculative long balls- nothing you’d wish to submit to a scrap book. But, for all its ugliness, it looked like it might just be enough. Birmingham certainly didn’t look as if they were willing to punish our lackadaisical methods.

The double substitution- I think wrongly- has been ear marked as a turning point. It takes a brave man to introduce two players whose collective boo-brigade could invade Tibet. But while their contributions were flimsy- as is customary right now- it would be an oversight to suggest they single-handedly lost us the game. Form-wise, neither deserves a place in the team at present; simply there’re players who can offer more. That’s been established. Their numbers are all but up. What they should be able to bring to the table, however, is exactly what ‘Arry had in mind for their cameos on Saturday- a dose of much needed liveliness. A shot of energy for the remaining minutes; nothing to too strenuous, just run around a bit, look busy and make life difficult for the tired opposition. Maybe ‘Arry hoped for too much, but in my mind the substitution didn’t smack of tactical insanity. In fact it sort of made sense. Until Ridgewell bundled in an equaliser.

The point is, if we get to the stage where ‘Arry can’t even trust them with a bit part role, then the situation is well beyond recovery. Maybe it already is.

The real villain here was the nanosecond brain spasm from Vedran Corluka. The habitually assured performer was, on this occasion, caught out of position and out of sorts. King didn’t look too clever in the build up to the goal, either; losing his man easier than I lose my house keys. But that’s all we’re talking about here; microscopic blunders. Vapour thin margins of error which separates us from ugly win and infuriating draw. Eradicate these from our make-up and we’ll be in business. Thankfully, while we remain in the shake-up, it’s not too late to dispose of this bloody annoying habit.

On a positive note, we seem to be coaxing some half-decent form from the rogues gallery. Namely, two of its more long-standing members, messrs Bale and Bentley. Say what you want about DB, but the man has some character. If you were asked to do your day job to some degree of competency while someone was hurling faeces at you from every conceivable angle, I’d wager you’d find it pretty difficult, too. Yet he just about manages it. Alright, it’s nothing which you could garnish too much with unending superlatives, but he appears to be improving at least. And growing in confidence. Which is good news.

Bale, again, looks a genuine threat going forward- as highlighted in the build up to the goal. I just hope he isn’t flung back to the doldrums of obscurity once BAE graces us with his presence. At the very least Bale’s efforts should revitalize competition at left-back. At most, with the improvement demonstrated, he could make the position his own. Watch this space, I guess.

So, little time to dwell on Saturday’s result- the points are gone but can certainly be made up elsewhere, and, perhaps, in unlikelier places. By my calculations we host Villa at the weekend. Further estimates reveal that this is a big one. Possibly the biggest yet. What’s to say we can’t invite them in and bludgeon ourselves three handy points?

Bring the noise, I say.

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36 Responses to Dancing on Thin Ice

  1. avatar who framed ruel fox? says:

    Are we buying anyone then?

  2. avatar JimmyG2 says:

    I think you’re being a bit kind Foxy which is not like you really. One or two people should be aiming a bit higher than shooting themselves in the foot. About six foot seven higher in one case.
    Defoe and Crouch doesn’t work. Nor does Defoe and Keane. Logically that makes it Defoe’s fault. But Crouch and Keane doesn’t work either. Still Harry’s got five forewards to juggle now. I’n not holding my breathe.
    But we are having our best season for years. God knows how.

  3. avatar JimmyG2 says:

    If we go upo there and batter Villa it won’t count because they will be at WHL. as per fixture schedule. You might be on to something though Foxy.

  4. avatar superyid says:

    Are we not at home to Villa?

  5. avatar TonyTott says:

    Your calculations are half wrong – Villa come to us! We have to take ’em out. Hopefully we rest Kingy against Leeds to make Villa game. The only challenger that really worries me is City and their 2 games in hand. I would have taken a point before the Birmingham game – it was not easy. Liverpool and City had quote unquote: easy games. Villa had a tougher game, but Fulham are depleted now. Not unhappy, but it is soooo tight.

  6. avatar TMWNN says:

    Scoring is the problem.

  7. avatar TonyTott says:

    …well, you got Villa right…

  8. avatar Basher says:

    Our expectations were raised by the start we had but we would have all taken our present position before the season begun (that’s what I keep telling myself anyway). What’s fustrating however is that we could and in some cases should have won games we didn’t but we lack experience both individually and collectively. I only hope we can keep this team together for another year or two before ol’ red nose comes calling because if we do then we’ll take some stopping I think 4th place would be a fantastic achievement this year but it’s looking more and more unlikely and that is down to the fact that we still have a lot to learn and to some extent so does Harry. Overall though really pleased. It’s been a while since i’ve been able to say I’m quite proud of the team I support.

  9. avatar anon says:

    We drew because we tried to defend the 1 goal lead instead of going for a second

  10. avatar wtf is going on anyone says:

    just read veloso might be happening
    does anyone have any news worth getting excited about


  11. avatar TonyTott says:

    You obviously don’t trust what Harry says (although most of the time you can’t.) He has said that he cannot buy until we sell. We haven’t sold anyone so we ain’t buying anyone…. Don’t expect us doing anything else – although I expect someone to crack and do some unexpected late late business – but not us. As for me, I am excited about this season – best for ages. If you said we’ll be 4th and 12 points off top, 7 points from 3rd with 14 games to go, having lost to Wolves & Stoke at home and drawing with Hull at home, I wouldn’t believe you. COYS

  12. avatar TonyTott says:

    By the way, is there some ‘Catchphrase’ appreciation website that you got that picture from or something? My childhood is coming soaring back to me and I can’t get Roy Walker’s voice out of my head now!

  13. Charlie F’d up for their goal but spare some bile for JJ’s chicken-hearted non challenge in the box. More concerned about protecting his FACE than asserting himself. There have been players at Spurs that I haven’t liked much, but I am beginning to actually despise Jenas.

    • avatar Spiritual Advisor says:

      Couldn’t agree more, can’t remember the last time I saw Jenas provide a positive performance. His dire positioning and lack of effort during the Leeds match was also notable.

      On the flip side, Bentley previously a player I rated as only worth a good tar and feathering seems to have taken massive strides in both effort and consistency.

  14. avatar Spiritual Advisor says:

    Can anyone confirm the sale of Pav and Wee Hutton ?

  15. avatar Spiritual Advisor says:

    An excerpt from the beeb, seems to be a carbon copy of what they said about Keane being a dyed in the wool Liverpool fan.

    “Keane, a lifelong Celtic fan, has made 25 appearances for Spurs this season but has recently been confined to the substitutes’ bench.”

    “He is a Celtic man and it looks like it probably will happen,” Redknapp said of Celtic’s move for the Republic international team’s captain and all-time top scorer with 41 goals in almost 100 games.

    here’s the rest

  16. I’m not at all getting the loans for both Begbie and Kyle. We had 14 RB’s at the start of the season and now we have Charlie.

  17. avatar KayBee says:

    We’ve recalled a much improved Kyle Walker back from S.United.

    I know a huge United fan, and he’s tipping Walker for big tings. Some competition for Charlie would be a v healthy thing indeed, in my humble.

    Still shocked that Pav’s still here, though!

  18. avatar KayBee says:

    I know this is hardly the place for it, but has anyone else seen the trailer for the Chris Morris (he of The Day Today & Brasseye infamy) movie, ‘Four Lions’?

    Yoochoob it; looks utterly brilliant.

  19. avatar KayBee says:

    This is it, by the way http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dwcj7o4pW_o

    A comedy about Jihadi’s? God, he’s got balls like watermelons has our Chris.

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