October 26, 2011
Spurs moved up into fifth place with a win over Blackburn Rovers that was somewhat harder fought than it should have been. Harry Redknapp admitted that "in the end we were hanging out there as they put us under severe pressure". The expression the manager was looking for was probably "hanging on" or perhaps even "hanging in", although in truth he might have inadvertently hit upon an apposite phrase. Many of the Spurs team did appear to be "hanging out", producing a somewhat flat display which was only just good enough to earn maximum points against opponents who had won three of their previous 23 Premier League games.
February 16, 2010
After an hour's play at the Reebok Stadium, the Spurs fans could have been forgiven for thinking that this season was going to be one of disappointment.
Following an abysmal league defeat at Molineux in midweek, Spurs were facing a Bolton side that totally dominated the first half of this fifth round FA Cup tie and in the second half, with Spurs hitting the bar twice in quick succession, looked like they might then ride their luck to a place in the quarter-finals.
Thankfully Defoe’s goal on 61 minutes preserved Harry Redknapp's dream of lifting the cup once again. Spurs could and should have finished the game off, but for Huddlestone’s poorly taken penalty.
August 18, 2009
Spurs won their opening fixture of the new season in convincing style, outplaying a Liverpool side that has aspirations of winning the Premier League title. In the aftermath of the 2-1 victory, a lot of the attention has focused on Liverpool’s failings, and the loss of Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid. This does scant justice to a Spurs display that was full of creativity and commitment.
The opening half hour highlighted that latter quality, with Spurs closing down their Liverpool counterparts and denying them time to settle on the ball.
April 7, 2009
Spurs' six game unbeaten run came to an end at Ewood Park, thanks largely to an inept performance by the referee. The worst of Peter Walton's many mistakes was to send off Wilson Palacios - the team's best player on the day - and thus allow Blackburn back into a game that they deserved to lose.
The home side's Aaron Mokoena tried to handle Palacios by kicking lumps out of him in the first half and elbowing him in the face in the second, yet all of that went unpunished. Mokoena was taken off on the hour mark, presumably in recognition not only of Palacios' dominance in the middle of the field but also out of concern that Blackburn themselves would be reduced to ten men.
In the event, it was the Honduran who was given his marching orders, following Dunn's absurdly theatrical dive. Harry Redknapp condemned the referee's decision as "diabolical" and even Sam Allardyce conceded that it was "a bit harsh". Spurs proceeded to lose two quick goals and it was game over.
February 25, 2009
A well-taken goal from Jonathan Woodgate - his first of the season in his 50th appearance for Spurs - sealed a vital three points against a poor Hull City team. Prior to this match at the KC Stadium, the home side had taken just three points from their last nine games and had clearly punched well above their weight during the opening weeks of the season.
They are now part of the pack trying to avoid relegation, with Spurs still very much in the same boat despite moving up to 14th in the table.
The league win came on the back of a UEFA Cup defeat at the hands of Shakhtar Donetsk and it's hard to question Harry Redknapp's tactic of playing a second-string team against the Ukrainians. At 2-0 down from that first leg, it is probable that Spurs will not be progressing in the competition, especially given that the manager has already outlined his team selection for the return meeting at White Hart Lane:
January 26, 2009
Spurs made it through to the final of one cup competition last Wednesday and were then knocked out in the fourth round of another on Saturday. While this sounds like a week of mixed fortunes, in fact it was perhaps the worst few days since Harry Redknapp took over the reins at the club.
The manager has tried to portray the FA Cup defeat at the hands of Man. Utd. in a positive light, stating that the team did well and – rather worryingly – that had Spurs played a more open game, it might have been possible to concede “four, five or six goals”.
January 6, 2009
A first win in six took Spurs through to the fourth round of the FA Cup, at the expense of a Wigan side missing their first-choice goalkeeper, Chris Kirkland, and their two main strikers, Zaki and Heskey. The victory sets up a tie with Manchester United, who knocked Spurs out of the Cup last season before being beaten themselves by Harry Redknapp's Portsmouth in the last 16. A showdown with United in the Carling Cup Final is also looking likely - assuming that Spurs can overcome Burnley in the semi-final.
The team will certainly enter that game with some confidence following the well-deserved win over Wigan. With Darren Bent now injured, Pavlyuchenko will no doubt start up front, perhaps partnered with Campbell in a 4-4-2. That partnership and formation certainly worked well on Friday evening, with Pavlyuchenko scoring twice and producing a well-rounded performance for the first time since his arrival from Spartak Moscow.
December 31, 2008
Even a pessimistic Spurs fans might have predicted that the fixtures over the festive period - away to Newcastle, home to Fulham and away to West Bromwich Albion - would have yielded at least five points. Newcastle have, after all, been in the lower reaches of the table all season, Fulham are much stronger at Craven Cottage, and West Brom were - and are - rooted to the bottom of the Premier League. Spurs contrived, however, to take a single point from these three games, scoring just once in the process. Entering the new year, they remain outside the relegation zone only by virtue of goal difference.
So what can be learned from these three performances, each one worse than the one preceding it? Most obviously, Spurs need a striker. Darren Bent is now back to displaying the "form" he showed under Juande Ramos, Pavlyuchenko has disappointed, and Campbell looks like a Championship player. West Ham have already turned down a bid for Craig Bellamy, whom Harry Redknapp describes as "a feisty little character" - a euphemistic description indeed for a player who has gone through seven clubs in eight years. Thankfully Bellamy scored twice on Boxing Day, which will no doubt increase the price on his head and thus price Spurs out of a deal. At least let's hope so. Man. City now looks a more realistic destination for Bellamy, assuming he can bear to tear himself away from his equally "feisty" and no less dislikeable teammates, Bower and Dyer.
December 13, 2008
It's a measure of how far Spurs have come under Harry Redknapp that Man. Utd. and Alex Ferguson left White Hart Lane well satisfied with a single point. Although Heurelho Gomes made a succession of fine saves - no doubt boosting his confidence in the process - Spurs had their chances too. Tellingly, though, the best efforts on goal came from Bentley, Lennon, Huddlestone and Modric. Roman Pavlyuchenko was ineffective once again, as was his replacement Daren Bent, who was given more than half an hour on the field to make his mark.
There is talk that Juande Ramos is interested in bringing Pavlyuchenko to Real Madrid, especially now that Ruud van Nistelrooy is sidelined with a long-term injury. Like the rumors surrounding Gomes - who is now being linked with a return to his old club, PSV - tales of the Russian striker's imminent departure must be regarded with some skepticism. It would certainly be unusual for a high-profile player to be brought in and then sold on so quickly, especially given the fact that he has clearly not had adequate time to adjust to the pace and rigours of the Premiership.
December 8, 2008
Another win for Spurs, all the more valuable for having been achieved against a team in the bottom half of the table. West Ham had not conceded in their last three games and it took a header from a player who had not scored in three years to break the deadlock. Ledley King's opener was followed by a great strike from O'Hara, which killed off the contest and moved Spurs up to 15th in the table.
Although the game was not the prettiest, there were many encouraging signs for the Spurs fans. They had the much-maligned Gomes to thank for a vital double save when the score was 1-0, and the players in front of him restricted West Ham to three shots on target, a statistic which would have dismayed the home crowd. Lennon continued his good run of form, while Modric bossed the game in midfield. All in all, a good team performance, admittedly against one of the poorest teams Spurs have faced so far this season.
November 30, 2008
For any Premier League manager who was watching on Sunday, David Moyes and his Everton side would have provided plenty of clues on how to take all three points against Spurs. Earlier in the season, the likes of Sunderland and Stoke - teams with markedly inferior players - achieved victories thanks largely to their commitment and fight. While Harry Redknapp has undoubtedly remedied the malaise that seemed to infect the players under Juande Ramos, Spurs once again succumbed to a team playing "ugly" football. Everton strung five players across the midfield and Joleon Lescott snuffed out the threat of Aaron Lennon, who was so influential against Blackburn one week ago.
David Bentley was again ineffective, wasting a whole series of set-pieces, and surely the time must be approaching for him to be dropped. The fact that he cost a lot of money should not guarantee a starting place, and since Redknapp did not sign Bentley, he should have little compunction about leaving him on the bench. In doing so, the manager would also be giving the player an opportunity to show what kind of attitude he really possesses.