So is it really goodbye Darren Bent? Out injured for two weeks, it’s doubtful we’ll see him again this season which means next time we do, he’ll be holding up a shirt for his new club and smiling to the cameras. Much maligned Bent© has been in useful form with the odd ball in the onion bag trickery in recent weeks. Let’s not go over old ground relating to goal-ratio V what does he do with regards to team-play? argument, as it’s more than obvious that Harry has already decided he will be one of the players moving on.
Whether David Bentley is another casualty remains to be seen. He’s also been cited by Harry in his pre-match interview. Suggestions that Lennon and Modric are ahead of him in the selection process. Suggesting the bloody obvious or what. Although if David’s nightmare has been because of personal problems (as he stated) then he should buckle up and prove himself rather than scarper off to another club. Wasn’t it his dream to play for his boyhood club? Well, one of them. I think pro-footballers tend to have around 3-4 boyhood clubs they dream of representing. If little Aaron got injured, then who would cover him? Keep the Bentley. Just needs a wash and polish to sparkle again.
If you can’t tell, Harry has been busy with various sound-bites and a key one is the suggestion that Roman is very much in his plans. Something Pav’s agent has also confirmed by stating that it’s unlikely the Russian will be moving on. But then again, when do we ever believe football agents? Not sure whether we’ll see Pav tomorrow or not. He’s in the squad but so is Jermain Defoe who’s had a more than difficult time recently on a personal level. Could be quite emotional for the lad on Saturday if he plays and scores. I’m glad we have him back and I’m sure he’ll get another rapturous reception.
After the dramatics of last weekend, I’m looking forward to a more simplistic outcome tomorrow. If we don’t concede it will be a sixth successive clean sheet at White Hart Lane. I’m hoping we do the business offensively, rack up that goal advantage and just try to reclaim a little bit of that buzz we had when we were 2-0 up at Old Trafford.
Are you bothered with Europe? I can't decide whether the extra 16 (or whatever it is) games will distract us from the league (which has to be the priority next season - I wouldn't mind seeing an attempt at pushing for 5th spot) or whether playing in the Europa League/Uefa Cup will allow Harry to 'play the kids'. Although it's not an impossible competition to win. But taking it seriously means we need a strong squad. Stronger. If Champions League clubs can fight for the title and the CL then (on a lesser level) I guess we could do the same with 5th spot and the Uefa Cup (can't get use to Europa). I think I just bothered myself into being pro-Europe.
Regardless, there is still a matter of mathematics and if we want the bonus of Europe we need to beat WBA and City at home and do more than well at Everton and Liverpool. Over to you Harry and the boys. Hopefully we can turn it on.
Talking of turning it on, Juande Ramos (just one league defeat since taking the helm at Real Madrid) is looking for a win in El Classico to close the gap with Barca to just one point. Could be some game that. Love a bit of La Liga. It’s been a stunning managerial performance from the ex-Spurs man, one that might just earn him the job on a permanent basis. See – this is what happens when you apply yourself, give it 100% and select players in their right positions and have clear tactics. Us over here in N17 might not have the ‘superstar’ players, but we had more than enough for Ramos to assert his authority and style of play on the team. Our squad wasn't (isn't) exactly below average in terms of ability. And although there was much made of the signings being a mish-mashed selection of players reminiscent of different pieces from various jigsaw puzzels - it should not have ended in tears in the manner it did.
Which means he failed because he struggled with England and the EPL, or his methods didn’t quite get through to our players. You don’t need to point towards the difference in class of some of our players in comparison to the not-so-Galactico-but-still-sublime Madrid squad. Fact is, Harry has the same group of players (with additions) than Ramos had for the best part of last season, the pre-season and the opening eight games of this season. Maybe he tried too much too quickly and confused the fuck out of everyone.
Eight games. Two points.
And let's remember, Madrid were in a God awful slump before Ramos turned up there and changed things around. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Seems Harry and Juande aided the re-discovery of confidence for their respective clubs. The only thing that's been proved wrong is the suggestion that Ramos could replicate his La Liga form at a club outside of Spain.
Not that Ramos is suggesting anything himself. It’s more a case of the tabloids doing that thing they do with words. But the suggestion made is we made a mistake in sacking him. But we all know that’s a little daft. The mistake was offering him that dizzying contract in the first place. Although at the time some (including me) felt it might work based on what he had achieved at Sevilla. And that’s the crux of it. To reiterate, he’s obviously far batter over there than he is over here. And the underlining feeling I get is that he is a little more bothered by his current job than he was when he looked like a lost kitten in Battersea Dogs when employed by Daniel Levy.
I’m sticking £10 on a Spurs/Barca double tomorrow.