It's been, what, a week since I last blogged? Hardly a sabbatical but still, sorry about the Lord Lucan. Blame International Break. Not forgetting the fact that transfer deadline day left me emotionally drained. I've struggled ever since to regain any form with keyboard and fingers. But is that the smell of a Premier League game making my nostril hair dance a merry jig?
We're back baby.
So, hands up if this season still doesn't feel like it's kicked off proper for us? Hopefully I won't be asking that question come the first week of October. But it still feels like we've somehow been cheated out of watching Spurs. Our Spurs. The crowing cockerel. The fighting cock. All we've had is the limp chicken with hardly a cluck to write home about.
I guess we now enter that point in the season (LOL - 3 games in, ridiculous) where there is nothing anchoring us back. No excuses primed and ready to be spat out. And why is that? Deadline day, done and dusted. New players for key areas willing and able to wear the Lilywhite. There is surely no reason to blame lack of minutes and only a passable nod at injuries.
Parker will bring that work ethic, that much need industry and perhaps even that missing quality of leadership we seem to crave for. Adebayor has that ilk of arrogance to lash the ball in from all angles. He can move about a bit. In and around the box, meaning he is not someone to be used as a target but someone who can actually play football on the turf. That isn't a dig at Crouch by the way. Crouch is Crouch, it's not his fault he's limited. But even at his limited level he still produced for us, on occasions. The reality is, much like Darren Bent can do a job for a team that sets itself up to support his strengths. It was time for us to admit that Crouch simply doesn't fit into the Tottenham template (that and Levy needed to cut the wage bill).
I'll attempt not to go on a tangent here, but the fact Harry Redknapp probably wanted to retain Peters services suggest that he would have persevered with a formation that was/is fundamentally flawed. For the time being at least, he can embrace back to basics and start with a 442. Defoe, I would hope, will be galvanised by playing along side Bad Ade. Same with our flankers. Will be staggered if Harry has not taken both Bale and Lennon aside and instructed them that standing isolated and apologetic on the wings waiting for a ball is hardly showing signs of hunger and desire. Cut in or cross it. We have a player up front now that will slide all over the place to make a point and allow us to earn some.
It's time for the team, collectively, to stand up and get a grip of the situation. We have class in abundance. We'd like to see that again please. Starting at Wolverhampton.
Going back to the 442, Rafa out is the reason we'll be blessed with this more traditional set-up. I don't feel the need to bury myself in the depths of discussion on this, but dance around it for a moment. Some people (that's some of you lot) should consider it isn't van der Vaart that is the issue in terms of having to accommodate him in the team and thus causing strategic issues. World class players, you don't accommodate them. You bloody well play them and you make sure they give the side that air of authority that's required and expected. Perhaps when he's back it will be easier to play Ade up top on his own, but not so much on his own with Rafa playing just behind him. Such a partnership will probably hold up more than the good olde ball in the air knock down to feet tactic that worked in pockets for the Dutchman and Crouch.
Only concerns around Rafa remain fitness (looks to have improved) and not being rushed back from injury (six weeks out is now apparently only two).
Back that Prem game. We've struggled at clubs like Wolves in recent seasons. Professionalism please Tottenham. Three points will be all the evidence I need that we have regained some self-belief. Two or three one in our favour too cheeky to ask for?
Back to the international break...
Parker looked good for England. England, relatively average in both games. There was a point in time that I actually got a buzz out of International games on the same level as I do with Spurs. It's been a decade I reckon since I could last state that as fact. Now I watch and hope we don't lose players to knocks. There is something overwhelmingly unexciting about it all. Guess that will change once Harry takes over. You'll wake up in the morning and he'll be sat next to you in bed giving you an update on training and how he plans to sign a couple of solid African players to bolster up the Three Lions midfield.
Should also mention Sandro. He's signed a new 5 year contract (having spoken up about a potential future move to Italy and cited Roma and they're alleged summer time interest). Cue several jokes about gentleman's agreements and the fallacy of loyalty. Not that we needed it, but we obviously did...the Luka Modric was a wake up call. Contracts now exist as a means of insurance for the club to be able to sell at a high valuation price. Although some might suggest the club has a habit of rewarding players with new contracts based on performance (but that still doesn't mean its not to safe guard our investment).
I like Sandro. Has that BAE look about him in terms of becoming a hero. The worry is, if he turns into the beast of a player he's expected too, then his head will also turn if we fail to match his individual expectations. Alas - modern football bites back again. Players practically deemed more important than the club, as its the club that has to appease the individuals ambitions. Rather than the other way round. I'll leave you with this email from Tricky (regular reader and guest blogger) that inspired the whole hero aspect of this concluding rant, just to depress you that little bit more in preparation for the weekend:
Given the transient nature of footballers today, and the way footballers have become, perceivably, individually more important than the clubs they play for. Are there any more heroes in the game? A quick stat for you to throw into the mix as a comparison:
Ricky Villa - Appearances/goals: 124/18 (LG), 21/3 (FAC), 15/3 (LG CUP), 8/1 (EUR) Total 168 / 25
Jermaine Jenas - Appearances/goals: 155/21 (LG), 10/2 (FAC), 13/2 (LG CUP), 23/1 (EUR) Total 201/26
Comparable stats (frightening really) however, anyone arguing that Jenas has been a spurs Hero is clearly not, as the sight of JJ warming the touchline to my memory never made the crowd at WHL stand up in unison and sing his name.
Benny, the weight of the world is on your shoulders son. No pressure.
I did manage to sneak in a little interview over at Backpage Football during my lost week of blogs regarding our up and coming Europa League clashes with Shamrock Rovers, so take a look when you've got a second.
THE FIGHTING COCK PODCAST - EPISODE SEEEEEEEEEVEN
It's Episode Seven. No Spooky this week, Thelonious Filth deputises, gentle applause please. Part I kicks off with a colourful round-up of what the Fighting Cock team have been up to. It's massively off-topic, so deal with it. We've got tall tales and blatant cheek from engineer Al, the defending of the C-word and a transfer deadline review. We also ask; What does Rafa van der Vaart do exactly? Part II sees a surprising head to head finale in a game of killer. We've got feedback, including an email that asks the poignant question: At what point does glory and success meet? And there's a NextGen report (via WindyCOYS). If that isn't enough, TehTrunk provides comedy voices aplenty. We end with a Twitter re-tweet mission update (come on Tommy, you've been warned). Also THANK YOU to Case. Listen in.
Love the shirt.