Swaggering, swashbuckling, super Spurs - 2012 edition
With the season a week away (if the police and local authorities deem the Tottenham safe post riots), might as well get my thang on with a little big adventure of a squad preview/review based on the THFC player profile page on the official site.
I’m omitting Adebayor, Samba and Diarra until they’ve been announced to the stock market.
Brad Friedel – Sixty two years of age, Brad is kept in stasis inbetween games. If he’s not thawed out properly he is prone to the odd rare mistake but otherwise he’s a good back-up to have. We’re actually quite competitive between the sticks if not spectacular. Brad is consistent enough to keep the pressure on Gomes and you wouldn’t complain too much to see him cover the Brazilian.
Heurelho Gomes – Fruit cake cry baby genius shot-stopper who can be game-saving when he doesn’t rub his brain cells together, but give him a thinking man’s second and he could quite easily rip a hole in the space time continuum and draw the ball forwards towards the goal and suck in any chance of holding onto it as it reaches its destination beyond the goal-line. This is not about lack of confidence or self belief. This is how Gomes is built. He is prone to switching off. Not sure you can really change that in a person. He still needs to start the season as our number one. If he does a number two on the field of play, he’ll get flushed out for sure.
Carlo Cudicini – Third choice. No complaints. He probably doesn’t have any either. Professional enough to sit on the bench and has had some decent spells in goal for us when called upon.
Ben Alnwick – Six loan spells. Has a massive c**k.
Alan Hutton – Villa bound? Hopefully. Okay, sure he looks great when he’s running down the flank overlapping but he only looks good because he’s got a shaved head and is a bit scary looking. His crossing can impress but his positional sense is about as erratic as Nikola Tesla’s teleportation machine. Prestige? Hardly.
Gareth Bale – Not sure why he’s still in amongst the defenders on the official site, but I guess technically he’s a left-back that is best played left-midfield. Doesn’t really matter, we all know where he is best suited to cause ample damage. What matters more is the season ahead of him. Other clubs have backed off (more so than they have with Luka). Both have long term contracts but perhaps Bale understands he still has another transitional stage to develop through. Essential for his own progression (and ours) and his valuation. No Champions League football to show off in this time, so hopefully he’ll shut a few gobby mouths and display that rampant majestic power-punch-with-feet skills and spills in the Prem. He was doubled up on more times than an East European porn star last year. His ‘opta stats’ used against him also, but we all know that if you go by opta stats, then Modric and Xavi are rubbish.
Bale; player of the season due to impact of stand-out performances if not consistently brilliant.
Younes Kaboul – Beast and a jack of all trades. Right back, centre back, can even play in midfield (distant memory?). At the moment he’s a utility saviour for us, able to slot in and do a job. I wonder if he sees his future elsewhere so that he can play consistently in the one position. Whatever that one position he believes to be his best. I like Kaboul. I don’t want to see him go (buzz off PSG).
William Gallas – Experience we can’t do without due to Ledley King and his almost certain absence in most games. No melt-downs yet from Willy. I'm more concerned about injuries and old age. Will be important but perhaps not as much as last season when he was vital in our CL adventure.
Kyle Naughton – on loan at Norwich City after a cracking season in the Championship with Leicester City. Very keen to see how he copes with Premier league opposition and whether he has time to ‘go forward’ and conquer.
Sebastien Bassong – Is he any good? Don’t feel we’ve seen enough of him and when he’s played recently he hasn’t had decent reviews. But then a player will suffer if a player spends it on the bench. If another centre-back is arriving, then Bassong will be sacrificed. Stating the obvious. Doesn't appear to be fancied much and is not high up in the pecking order either.
Michael Dawson – I love big Daws. Proper footballer, gives it his all and plays for the shirt. You could actually imagine standing next to him in the stands. Sure, he has moments of clumsy dizzy spells and turns slooooooowly but he’s a 100% get-stuck-in-there defender. Is brilliant alongside King. It’s time he stepped out of Ledley’s shadow and claimed the CB position as a leader with no safety crutch required (in terms of player standing alongside him). Otherwise, cardboard cut out of Ledley stuck on either side of Gallas will do the trick.
Vedran Corluka – tehTrunk recently called him the Berbatov of the right-backs. Looks slow, is slow but is the type of player that isn’t as detrimental to the teams play as some believe him to be. Because his mannerisms are of a player that lacks speed (he does lack speed) people are quick to slate him when he has an off day because he's a slow b*stard that doesn't move quick enough. King doesn’t have a high percentage of tackles made (in ratio to his appearances – don’t get smart) because he reads the game so well. Corluka is intelligent. I’d rather his ilk than a Hutton. I expect him and Walker to share the position, but if I’m honest, Kyle will win in the end because of his dynamism (if we don’t ruin him first).
Ledley King – If he had two working knees he’d have been sold years back for £35M and now be playing for Madrid or Barca. Adds an extra dimension to our side when he plays. It's like playing with five men at the back instead of four. One knee, and yet he's still better than most. Cameos against the 'top four', we hope.
Kyle Walker – Exciting times. We really do have some talent at Spurs. Superb for Villa on loan. A side with Bale, Lennon and Rose and Walker in it will be wonderful to watch (we’ll lost 4-3 though what with all players goal-hanging and not bothering with the boring defending stuff). Big season for him. Selected for England. Hope that’s not a curse.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto – Too cool for school. Best left-back in the country? Who cares about the country? He’s a Spurs player so other left-back players are hardly of any consequence. BAE probably couldn’t even name any of the other clubs let alone opposition players. He turns up, he doesn’t huddle, he does a job and he does it extremely well. Took us so long to fix this position. Boy, what a fix.
Bongani Khumalo – On loan at Reading after a loan spell at Preston last season. Really trying hard to not believe he is nothing more than a strategic signing with our apparent obsession with ‘cracking’ South Africa and the merchandise market out there. He’s twenty four. Is he seriously not good enough for our squad? Then again, he would probably be 4th or even 5th choice centre-back if he remained with us, so loan spell again it is then.
David Bentley – Haircut. Star jumps. Epic goal. Kicking a ball into a skip. Car crash. Foot on fire jumping into an indoor swimming pool. Drenching Redknapp. Lesson learnt? Never sign another ‘player of the moment’ again.
Tom Huddlestone – From Anakin to Vader. A reference to his somewhat evil streak what with the stamping and dirty play. Not something I like to see from him or any of our players. Not in our nature. Much prefer his disguised passing, cross-field balls and sumptuous volleys. Okay, so his mobility yadda yadda yadda. What you see is what you get. He’s a special player, I actually think he’s under-rated by some who prefer to cite bulk and slowness. He gives us something extra and I would hate, absolutely hate for him to ever play for another Prem side. Doesn't boss games enough. More than capable of doing so.
Aaron Lennon – Big things expected from the small man. Again. When he’s on the ball, running at the opposition it terrifies me what he might do terrorising them. We need him at full pelt. Always liked his work ethic too, running back to help out, nicking the ball off players. Don’t like the diving lark. We could do with another right-winger though. Or a midfielder who can slot in there and give Azza some competition. Could Bryan Ruiz play there?
Jermaine Jenas – The quintessential Levy poster-boy is still with us. My opinion on Jenas is this. It’s not about confidence, it’s not about ‘if he had some, plenty of it, bordering on the arrogant’. It still would not turn him into a world class act. The argument (debate, opinion) has always been about whether JJ would be as productive for us like a Lampard or Gerrard were at their prime. The reality is, Jenas can excel at times. That isn’t him displaying what he could potentially do week in week out, it’s just him excelling beyond his standard level. It’s not a criticism. Jenas does not have that extra confidence therefore it’s not relevant wasting time on visiting the ‘what if’ alternate universe. He’s a good athlete, great lungs but that’s what you expect from a player. He’s just not consistent enough at that upper level of performance he can sometimes display. But I’d keep him. He wants to stay from what I can tell and he’s a good squad player. It’s easier to accommodate and accept JJ if you don’t expect him to be the player everyone else once expected him to be.
Rafael van der Vaart – Injury aside, hope to see him at around the 90% mark this season when last was spent at around 70%. Never truly fit, mostly subbed and looked like he was carrying a couple of extra pounds. Leaner, meaner – considering what he produced at 70%, 90%+ will be somewhat sexual. The world 'galvanise' was synonymous with him last term. With a world class striker (or near enough) in the team, we’ll be buzzing watching him buzz around the pitch.
Wilson Palacios – The destroyer in his first season. Never been the same since the death of his brother. Lost that edge. Lovely bloke. The story where he waited up in the hotel lobby until the morning for Redknapp to awake (rather than disturb him hours earlier) to inform him he would be leaving for home after news of his brother’s murder just about sums up his class. Stoke City his alleged destination (might have signed by the time this article is pushed live). I hope he can rejuvenate lost form.
Luka Modric – I’m not going to cover old ground relating to the transfer saga. As a player he was outstanding last season. A box of brilliance. The Lilywhite Xavi. Recycles possession, akin to turning coal into diamonds in a blink of an eye. Doesn’t assist? Doesn’t score? If it wasn’t for him we probably wouldn’t get into positions as a team to assist or score. Deep lying playmakers are in fashion again. At least with us. We need him to conduct. If he ticks, the rest tock.
Consistently the best player of last season, should have walked the awards.
Niko Kranjcar – Looked miserable in the recent pre-season friendly at the Lane. Won’t play regularly. He’s a true Tottenham player. Grace and skill. Eye for goal. Just won’t play regularly and is deserving of it. He'll only get it elsewhere. Not sure he will remain focused enough to keep as a squad player.
Danny Rose – So his best position is left-back? I’m good with that. Harry seems pretty certain of it. About time we had a kid break into the first team. Might be some way off from doing that. But as cover and for games against lesser opposition in early cup rounds? Stick him in. Let him grow (ooh). With gentle care.
Jake Livermore – Plenty of loan spells. Hand on heart, haven’t seen much of him. Seems to have been around for ages. Another one for the cup games and possibly Europa League.
Andros Townsend – One I hope we retain and don’t loan out. Blood them in the cups, get them playing for Spurs and get them involved in the set-up. If we get into the group games, and it’s a ‘killer’ then we need depth to cover ourselves.
Sandro – Get well soon. Such character and tenacity. Was off the pace of the EPL initially, took time to adapt and is now a beast of a player. Doesn’t look the type to be fazed. No doubt someone from La Liga will come knocking if he progress further in the next year. Really fancy our midfield with him in it. Robust.
Steven Pienaar – Was superb for Everton. Not sure we’ve seen the best of him. In fact, we haven’t. Not even sure how he fits into our first team plans other than being a utility player and good for the SA ‘relationship’. Oh, that again. He’s a hard working player and hope his injury isn’t a serious one. Do think he can offer us something as part of a squad. Just hasn’t quite set our world alight just yet and might not be the type of player to do so.
Roman Pavlyuchenko – Not the player we hoped he would be after he signed and took a season to settle into English life and learn the language. He can talk the language, right? Scores great goals, exceptional technical ability at times, especially when he rifles one in. But his touch and movement can be frustrating and without oomph. Shows glimpses of star quality but is more Darren Bent than Dimi Berbatov in terms of connecting with his team-mates on the pitch. Perhaps if he played week in week out? For £14M I expect him to be too good to be left on the bench. Harry favouring others or simply knowing Pav can’t do it week in week out? Regardless, not quite got ‘it’. Far too apologetic. Would retain as supersub. But that was never the point of signing him.
Robbie Keane – This current Keane is not the Keane I adored. This current Keane is going through the motions. I hope he’s sold. Prefer to remember and honour the first incarnation.
Peter Crouch – Will probably be sold when we sign a forward. Which we will. Crouch, nice enough bloke, does a job but seems to be handled far better now in the Prem by opposition defenders and gives away far too many free-kicks because he is discriminated against for being tall.
Giovani dos Santos – On his way. Was he ever with us?
Jermain Defoe – Will never be consistent I feel across a season. Plays well in bursts. Suffered last season due to injury, never found a rhythm to his play. Could still do a job but should not lead the line. He'll score goals but JD, is still JD...forever failing to grasp the workings of offside.
Harry Redknapp – Back to basics, ‘arry. Get the team working with one working formation and get them playing at their very best because we have a superb set of players at our disposal. It’s not half as dire as he would want us to believe but then Harry likes to work a miracle. He knows we underachieved last season. Pressure is on him even though he has attempted to detach himself from the pressures, writing our chances off and claiming Europe might ‘kill’ us. If Levy adds to the squad, expectations will be high regardless of money spent by City. We’ll be judged on how we compete against the smaller clubs we struggled against last season – and lost points that proved to be deceive.
Nowhere to hide, nobody to blame. Everyone, gaffer and players have to stand up and show that same desire and belief that got us forth back in 2010.
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