Magnificent to the maligned
Next season is already itching to get started with reports of Tottenham's pre-season with a trip to Denver to play a MLS All-Stars side and a friendly cup competition in Munich that includes the hosts along with Internazionale and our best friends forever, Real Madrid. Off the back of Mauricio Pochettino wishing for a less travel intensive build up to the 2016 season the US game is one to keep the collective chins of our fanbase scratching. Mostly because there's a potential for us to be involved in a Europa League game (in July). Things could get messy.
I've never been overly fussed about pre-season. It's all about bedding in new players, conditioning and preparing for the months ahead. Trips to the States are brand expansion exercises, making sure we build on our global profile. It's the same with the Audi Cup, although from the looks of the line-up we've gate-crashed. As witnessed in the past we've had amazing pre-seasons and then hardly won a game in, say, the opening eight games.
It's also no shocker to see Franco Baldini mooted for the sack. Seems that no matter the man to take the role of buffer between chairman and coach / scout of marquee players, the role is usually the first to be sacrificed. We've restructured internally with the appointment of Paul Mitchell catering for recruitment and squad analysis. So what of Baldini? I can't speak about his future as I remain unclear on his current day responsibilities, but what of the not so magnificent seven players? Have their values diminished based on performance, leaving us with dead weight and none of the profit margin that usually fits comfortably into our business ethos?
Paulinho - £17M
Has played like a Brazilian once in his time at Spurs. Mentally scarred from his World Cup experience. Spurs fans mentally scarred from his control and positioning.
Christian Eriksen - £11M
Even though his form has dipped, for the money spent he's an absolute gem. But he needs better players around him centrally to protect and allow him to truly flourish. We are far too reliant on his creativity.
Roberto Soldado - £26M
For seasons we cried for a striker and now we just cry. Nice bloke, but too apologetic and incapable of finding a groove or goal in England.
Nacer Chadli - £6M
Relatively cheap in comparison. Not exactly your quintessential wide player. Has talent but only periodically shines. Great on the diagonal run into the box.
Etienne Capoue - £8.6M
Was brilliant in his first game for us. That's all I've got. Suggestion from Tim Sherwood (at the time of his tenure) was Capoue's attitude wasn't good enough.
Vlad Chiriches - £8.5M
If Vlad was the protagonist in a movie about a maddeningly loopy maverick who simply doesn't conform to expectancies, he'd be a superstar.
Erik Lamela - £30M
Baldini's jewel in the crown. The player that was meant to give us that spark. Unfair to burden the lad with the pressures of replacing Bale and even though he has undoubted ability, he still remains uncomfortable with genuine expression and influence.
I count two out of seven that might just blossom. From magnificent to maligned.
lol, Paulinho man of the match away to Newcastle. Showed me right up.
Congrats to Harry Kane. 30 goals in all competitions. Gary Lineker will love that stat. Surreal when you look back to the start of the season. But you've heard this from me time and time again. It's the only highlight worth repeating.
Does he have an agent? Will his agent start dropping little inceptions about marketing and profile branding so that in two or three seasons time that decision to move to the continent will be oh so more easier to make even with his proclaimed love for Spurs currently? A bit of ye olde cynicism there for the haters. Probably best we concern ourselves with second season syndrome first. Bring it on. The kid has no fear.
As for the game itself? Enjoyable compared to the Burnley game and the Villa debacle. Did look and feel like an end of season routine outing. Some Newcastle fans boycotting the game with Mike Ashley in mind. They'd have missed their equaliser at the start of the second half which made me laugh out loud, considering everyone must have been thinking about lightning striking twice. Comically poor defending to let them in (offside missed, but still poor).
Our opener was a decent hit, but Krul was poor in getting down to it. Our second fortuitous, Eriksen's free-kick find it's way past the head of Bentaleb and in. Kane on the break past the 90th minute for that landmark goal.
This will give us a little bit more focus to play well in the remaining games. I reckon we're due one worldy between now and the end of the season (when do we play City?) to leave us on a high (definition of high here is a single puff from a blunt rather than a hit of DMT).
Europa League? This club is nothing if not in Europe and ends up with nothing if we're in Europe.
Rock and hard place.