It's international break. I was going to write a 'season so far' review of Spurs and might still do it, but need to find a different perspective as Yorkshire's beastly Bains wrote this for the Spurs Stat Man site and James Blunt lookalike Windy followed it up with this. Plagiarism will be cried from the roof tops if I cover off the same subject matter with such straight laced insight. Misplaced my jesters hat, so if I find it, I'll put feathered pen to paper and throw some grammatically disturbed words together.
Fact is, everything that's been said in the blogs here in the past month or so is pretty much how I feel, so perhaps another repeated session of the same old sound-bites isn't truly necessary.
In the mean time, just to wind up the day drippers and people that own a copy of the internet bloggers directive handbook on what constitutes acceptable content, here's a quick look at my first season in the greatest game that has ever been bestowed on those that adore football...the new instalment of the Football Manager series (FM14). Ooh self-indulgence.
You're still going to agree with this:
Spooky > AVB
...after you've had a butchers at the below.
Luke Shaw in for £23M. Don't worry, in five years time will sell him to Real Madrid for £150M. #specialrelationship
Keisuke Honda on a free (arrived in January). Art intimating life imitating art?
Timo Werner £1.1M (arrived in January). A kid, hardly played him. 'One for the future' (another one for Levy to sell for twenty times his purchase price).
Gabriel Barbosa for £2.5M (arriving in the summer). More future profit for ENIC.
R Lewandowski for free (arriving in the summer). An absolute steal. Take that Redknapp moneyballs!
Danny Rose to FC Bayern for £7.75M. Couldn't say no at that price.
Aaron Lennon to Atletico for £6M. Wanted out. Wasn't getting games.
Kyle Naughton to Swansea - £3.3M. Same as above.
Gomes - free transfer. Had to pay him to leave and now he's stalking Spurs via the media, always commenting on our games and star performers. I think he wants me to re-sign him.
Adebayor transfer listed. Can't get rid of him. Only made 2/3 cameos all season.
Defoe has played and done well, but also transfer listed (his requested).
Use tighter marking
Play out of defence
Much higher defensive line
Stay on feet
Sweeper keeper, back four of two central defender's set to defend and complete fullbacks set to attack (rather than hold back). Rotation here with the centre-backs and Verts and Kaboul take turns to cover full back positions. Walker outstanding going forward. Tactic mentality encourages the overlap.
Two in central midfield, central midfield and a deep lying playmaker (usually Dembele Honda or Capoue if you happen to be scratching your head about Paulinho in the above image - but the Brazilian has excelled thanks to the freedom Sandro allows) - both players set to defend - but as the team pushes forward, so does the midfield.
Three ahead of the midfield in pivotal attacking positions. Advanced playmaker on attack, two wingers supporting.
The advanced forward up front, alone, spearheading team momentum.
What does all this mean?
It allows for constant pressing, high tempo possession. Think Dortmund. In fact, think Tottenham if AVB and the players had quicker transitional play from defence to mid to attack - rather than what can sometimes look like a rigid slow style.
Oh look, FM talk is merging into real life tactical comparisons. If you're still with me, well done, you're showing more loyalty to this than you show to Andre. You shameful excuse of a supporter.
Started the season well, although the football took a while to really blend in and look like something identifiable. Lacked style, players obviously requiring conditioning and understanding - so in these early days I allowed for a little more expression just to make sure points were claimed - but only when desperation called upon it. Otherwise, the methodology was similar to our bearded Portuguese 'kid' of a coach - give it time, it will slowly slowly work.
Four straight wins, then got thumped 4-0 away to Manchester United. The beginning of a belter of an epic narrative against them.
Lost the following league game away to Everton 2-1. Didn't lose again in the league until Man City visited the Lane (lost 3-2), my only home defeat of the season so far.
After the City loss, went on a phenomenal unbeaten run when the tactic finally kicked in. Bossing % with ball retention and shots on goal. Quick, urgent play, incisive attacking intent in and around the penalty area. Wingers drilling in crosses but also cutting in - so no shackles with the real life necessity for inverted play.
17 games unbeaten in the league until losing 1-0 at Man City away. Ironic.
So far have played 33 games, won 21, drawn 7 and lost 5. +39 goal difference and 70 points. Three points clear with a game in hand on Utd. Utd, Everton, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City all inconsistent, everyone beating everyone. Meaning it really is mine to lose.
I took revenge on Utd during that run, smashing them 4-1 at the Lane. Both NLD's ended in score draws. Beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Game available on DVD.
Need 10 points from the final five games to secure the league.
Lasagne at the ready.
Okay, so I got to the final of the League Cup, rotating the team along the way, where I met Manchester United. Part three of the epic. Possibly the most heart wrenching game of my FM career. Ever.
Stormed into a 2-0 lead. Eriksen 30th min. Lamela 34th. In control. Then Luke Shaw was sent off in the 59th and United woke up.
Kaboul OG 90th.
The defeat actually shook the team's confidence. Well sort of.
Beat Arsenal in The FA Cup 6th round in the next game but had a couple of 'tired' performances (again against the scum, 2-2 in the league then 1-1 against Norwich).
FA Cup semi-final? Manchester United. Again. Part four. This time...revenge.
2-2. 89th minute. Honda. Shot. De Gea outside of his six yard box saves, but the ball loops up and into the goal. Deflected glory. Cardiff in the final.
In the Europa League, lost 4-2 away to Sevilla then beat them 4-1 at the Lane in a classic quarter-final ding dong. Soldado enjoying both games. Got Zenit in the semi-final.
Dramatic 'treble' still on the cards. Never won the title in my first season on FM. Sign of the times I guess, what with the squad you're blessed with from day one of your save game. Hedonistic times for us Lilywhite supporting gamers.
Key player stats with a handful of games left:
Soldado - 42 app 35 goals
Lamela - 31 app 16 goals
Sigurdsson - 25 app 13 goals
Eirksen - 33 app - 11 goals
Eirksen - 18 assists in the league.
All a consequence of sticking with the same 'side' (injuries permitting) in the league games until everyone was settled.
I'm blatantly using this as my CV if Levy gets trigger happy.
Might as well just add this here as I'm sure some of you will burn the internet in protest if I share two separate FM articles. Don't fret. Actual real life football talk, you know, the type that makes you all depressive and narcissistic will return shortly.
(H) Chelsea - Won 2-1 (qualified for CL by securing a top three finish)
(H) Southampton - Won 3-1
35 played, 76 points. Utd on 36 played with 73 points.
4 points required to guarantee the title. Sandro rallies the troops.
Hold me. I can smell silver.
(A) Cardiff - Won 4-2. Got 'em in the cup final.
36 played, 79 points. United on 36 with 73 points. Party time at the Lane imminent...
...Utd draw their game which hands me the title before the next one. Party poopers.
(H) Newcastle - Lost 2-1. Yep, how very Spursy of me.
Tottenham's first league title since '61 (yeah yeah I know it's a FICTIONAL GAMEl) and we win it thanks to United drawing and then can't even muster a decent 'homecoming' at the final game of the season at the Lane. Toon winning it with a 92nd minute goal. Only the second time I've been beaten at home all season. Is that booing I can hear?
The 'double' is still on the cards. Now that would be symmetrical heaven.
(A) Hull - Draw - 1-1. No wins since Utd handed us the title. It's gone to our heads, it's gone to our heeeeeeeeaaaads, winning the league, it's gone to our heads...
Final league table:
Europa League. Hulk smash Spurs in first leg. Lost 4-3 at the Lane to Zenit. Second leg was frustrating. 1-1 with with 58% possession and 20 shots to their 8. The European dream shattered. The 'treble' lost.
FA Cup final against Cardiff. Sandro with the winning goal in a 2-1 win.
THE DOUBLE. Deal with it. I'll have a statue next to Nicholson outside the new stadium please.
End season stats:
Soldado - 50 apps, 39 goals
Lamela - 37 apps, 17 goals
Eriksen - 39 apps, 11 goals (24 assists)
Eriksen wins the FWA Footballer of the Year award.
Lamela wins the PFA Player of the Year award.
Soldado wins Barclays Golden Boot Award (25 goals in 35 games).
I win the Barclays Premier League Manager of the Year award. Obviously.
Four players in the PFA League Team of the Year (Verts, Eriksen, Lamela, Soldado).
Oh hold up.
Local council blocks planning permission
Tottenham Hotspur have announced that their planned stadium move has had to be scrapped. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy stated that the local council had unfortunately refused to grant full planning permission for the work required.
Spurs imprisoned in a 36k stadium. David Lammy is trolling.