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Sunday, 22 January 2012

Winners. The lot of 'em.

Citeh away. It's fair to say that there was optimism flowing through the squad and that flow was felt very much through the hearts of Spurs fans all over the country. We travelled up there with words of title aspirations; when a similar thing was said last year it came at a time we were sitting in fifth with the very team we played today always looking out of arms reach. A string of disappointing home results soon dashed any vague one man voice of talk of the title and with it ended our goal of finishing in the top 4 as well.

After we fell foul of a 5-1 drubbing by City at the Lane this was the game that we couldn't even begin to dread any more so. Did we really have to play them twice? With Luka seemingly uneasy at the colour of the top he was playing in and with no holding midfielder or forward in, how were we ever going to break back into the Holy Grail of the top 4 positions?

But the beauty of football is things change. Even the most optimistic of fans could hardly have pictured since the City game that we'd only lose one more game in 2011 and go on a run that pitted us 10 points ahead of Arsenal and 4 ahead of Chelsea in third. 3rd spot, back then, was delusional. Now, I hear whispers that we wouldn't take 4th if it was offered now. There's still just under another half of the season to go, but I'd take 4th if it was offered, not that we get that privilege anyway.

We started more comfortable than City. We soaked up the occasion as the home side seemed to begin with trembly knees. We kept possession well without creating too much and, in all, I was satisfied with our performance in the first half. We'd given a good account of ourselves on a pitch where no side had turned up and taken anything. For the 1st City goal the movement from N*sri was exemplary. Although, it was almost scary how easy our defence just seemed to be carved open. Knife through butter stuff. No matter how well Spurs are doing you can never rest when we're facing a corner. It's not our nature. Walker leaving Lescott and suddenly not 15 minutes into the second half we find ourselves two behind. Sh*t.

Ahh, that's more than a kick in the bollocks. This left us with a dilemma. Do we stick numbers behind the ball for damage limitation or do we do what Spurs and 'Arry love to do and have a go? Ironically, as great as our football has been, Kaboul's long ball over the top to Jermain was inch perfect. Savic was indecisive and, before City's owners had finished their glass of Perrier-Jouer we were back in it.

The goal brought with it a flood of optimism. Defoe looked incredibly sharp the entire game. He lead the line well and wasn't afraid to get stuck in. He exploited the Savic mistake and Hart's indecision to give us what our play had warranted. We never looked back since pulling one back and fully deserved to go level not long after. Bale was far to individual and didn't look a team player. His performance was poor and yet with one sweet strike he's put us level. It's what the best players do.

At 2-2 I was more than content. We'd taken the game to Manchester City and made them look incredibly ordinary. The City fans felt their knees starting to tremble. The Spurs fans couldn't stop singing. The game showed the mental strength we have in our squad to battle back as we did. It's unfortunate that we couldn't take one golden platinum opportunity before handing City a gift. It was unusual for Ledley to be so rash to go to the floor as he did. For a player that has been so consistent in the years he's battled through each game for Spurs, a rare error of judgement can be easily forgiven. The player who rolled in the penalty should've been sat in the stands suited up and waiting for the final whistle.

We should take more positives than negatives today. We had the best team in the country on the back foot for large spells. We had the mental resilience to not let the ghost of the 5-1 hammering striker fear into the side and just kept playing our game.

Parker also took a sore head.

When's this karma thing going to work in our favour?


Monday, 2 January 2012

Time For A Fresh Change?

So we've entered 2012 as London's top club. For the first time in a long time, a very long time, we are the side that Chelsea and Arsenal are looking to catch. We're the one's being chased. The top two Manchester Clubs are, at this moment, just out of arms reach; hopefully we can keep stretching. Will we catch them? It'll be an interesting season.

Even the most optimistic of you would've struggled to envisage us sitting 3 points clear in third and 6 points off of the Holy Grail of top spot in the Premier League with a game in hand after the first two games of the season. In fact, according to @OptaJoe, (Part of the OptaSports team) Spurs had more points this season after 17 league games than the league leaders (37) had at the same stage in 2010/2011.

On reflection, a point away at Swansea was what was deserved. We weren't as sharp as we'd been in recent weeks and, I know I estimate I'm probably the seven millionth person to say this, but Swansea have been incredibly solid at home and play some wonderful stuff. It was like watching Spurs v Spurs in a way. Either half the squad pigged out on Christmas day left overs prior to the trip to Wales or they were just running tired- much like myself after 10 minutes on a treadmill. After a busy Christmas period and West Brom to face tomorrow, freshening up the squad should be an option.

@WindyCoys made a god point of shifting Kaboul to RB, with Daws and King coming in at CB and possibly playing Rose at LB. I'd also stick Lennon back on the right, Sandro and Modric in CM and Niko out left. Defoe and Ade up front for me. Assuming that such players are all fit that is. This isn't underestimating West Brom. This is exploiting our squad size and saving the players from potential injury and fatigue. We have an incredibly hard run of fixtures from the end of January through to March that could shape our season and have a big impetus on where we finish.

I'll go Spurs 2-0 West Brom.

So January's upon us, what about Podolski?

I love and hate the January window. The excitement of bringing in the next best thing all month usually ends up resulting in someone not quite there. Ahem, Rasiak. I also paused to think back at how he ever ended up in a Spurs shirt. Bloody 'ell. I don't think we've ever seen a season go by when we haven't been on the hunt for a forward. Whether it was one to lead the line, or one for depth, we seem indefinitely on the search for a goal-scorer. I'm not complaining, just making the point, I think.

I often pay little attention to transfer rumours, unless if they appear to gather pace or originated from a credible source; yes the definition of credible remains a little hazy. ESPN today reported that Podolski had fallen out with current Cologne director Volke Finke. Cologne are now, reportedly, willing to consider selling Podolski for around £12.5m despite the form the forward is currently in having score 14 goals in 16 league appearances this season. The same report is also crediting Arsenal with an interest in the forward which seems to make logical sense with themselves being light in numbers up front.

The expected departure of Pav does leave me confident that we're well in the hunt for a forward, whether it be a short 6 month option or a more permanent deal. Podolski looks in promising form this season and, at 26, could possibly be hitting his peak. We're not strangers to late moves/attempted late moves/the feeling of disappointment after virtually no activity for 31 days. This is another window where I find myself hoping we don't drag out our transfers but get them wrapped up as early as possible. I know, we say that every season as well.