Season 2008 Preview

So here we are again. The summer almost over, the football season once more providing us the only sunshine we can enjoy. Last season was one that wilted at the wrong times, on three occasions. It brought just four points from a possible twenty-four against the ‘big four’.

It brought disappointing away form that killed any chance of another prolonged stay in 4th spot. But whereas the season before last we could blame a hotel and its under-cooked meal, last year we could only look as far as ourselves. The manager and the players got us into 5th spot, almost apologetically on the final game of the season. The cup games ended in not so much in brave glory but more self-inflicted agony.

And now its 2008. Bent, Kaboul, Bale, Taraabt, Boateng, Rose, Berchiche all signed. No left-winger. King and Lennon both out injured and missing pre-season. Players already there, such as Dawson and Zokora will (hopefully) continue to improve.

The much maligned Jeans (Mr 16km per game) blocks, chases and harrys like no other – but with one weakness. He’s Steven Gerrard with a fear of round leather balls. Seems controlling the football is a task too difficult for him to handle.

Lennon, when he does return will need to place aside his bling to allow for better balance when crossing the ball. King, god bless him, we can only hope that when he returns he remains injury free. Without King, we are sometimes just about average. Though Kaboul may allow the next few months to be less painful as many would imagine.

Bent, even for the money spent, is looking like money well spent. Keane will always be in the thick of things, and Berbatov is the talisman that will hold the key to a sustained challenge.
As for the young lads.

Bale will be special, and finally we have someone who knows how to get a free-kick on target.

Taraabt – according to Jol – is potentially the most talented player we have at the club. Somehow I don’t think this is another Blondel waiting to happen. But his progression and development will be imperative to his success, and looking across to Defoe you wonder how the young lad will blossom. Defoe has done nothing more than stagnate. But maybe that’s not a coaching problem. Maybe that’s down to the player and his own mentality. I say keep him raw. Don’t try to Sven him by asking him to think. Just let him do what he does best. Instinctive, brutal finishing.

Kevin-Prince Boateng is like a suped-up version of Ghaly, with the addition of actually being a decent footballer. Half of Germany will tell you he’s brilliant, the other half will tell you he’s hot headed and not half as good as he can be. Not productive enough apparently, and fancy footwork wont hide that fact in the Prem. I’m looking forward to seeing the progress of this player more than anyone.

Seems that pre-season, more than ever, the media continue to praise us and politely inform their readers and listeners that we are a team with a bright future and one that is no longer categorised as laughable when suggestions are made on our credentials.

Although part of me firmly believes it’s a way for them to hack us down if things don’t go well, I’ve made the executive decision to remain positive in time for the kick-off to the 2008 season.

Even Jose and Fergie are talking about us. Times have changed.

Yes, yes. Hypocrite this hypocrite that. He’s up and down like a yo-yo that Spooky. Yes, well, I did say a month or two back that I would be more open-minded and less critical unless there is substantial reason to be so.

Today is day zero. I will not sit in the past, but instead look to the present. The canvas is untouched, and Martin Jol, with brush in hand is free to paint our future. If he cuts his ear off then we’re in the shit but at least he wont be able to hear half of the abuse.

It’s well known that I have hang-ups about the simple things we can’t get right (set pieces, defending corners etc) and the horrid choking we suffer each time we think we might win when it matters, but don’t.

I’ll assume that this won’t be a problem this season. We have Sunderland away. Opening day. Live on Sky Sports. Traditionally, this would mean we lose. Its against a promoted side, so that choking we do so well would be the main talking point at the final whistle. Well, I say. It’s simply not acceptable. And I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way to Sunderland and their fans.

Most people – not just Spurs fans – except Spurs to finish in the top 5. I demand that we are not out of the top 6 from the first game of the season. None of this shit we had to endure last year. For the money spent over the past 2/3 years it’s now time to step up. Already, people are saying such things like ‘Oh, if we lose, it wont matter. Pressure will be off’. Yes, fantastic insight there.

How is losing against a promoted side when you are expected to finish in the high end of the table, progress?

Spurs have the players. Many, for the future, but enough for the present to be capable of dismantling the likes of Sunderland.

If we lose by getting beat in a great game of football, then that’s fine. If we lose for being shambolic or gutless – then shame. We need to be professional. Ruthless. And who spirit and belief. It’s that fucking simple. That’s it. I cant be arsed to write anything more now. This Diazepam stuff the doctor gave me is making me dizzy.