Monday, January 14, 2008

Spurs really are a LONG way behind Chelski

The sun was shining and there was plenty of banter from the moment I stepped off the Tube at Earls Court (a Spurs fan walked right up to a Chelski supporter in the Earls Court lift and, with a crowd of Chelski fans around him, asked the guy "did you support them when you was sh*t?"). Alas, the optimistic feelings of how we were going to cause an upset ended soon afterwards.

Don't get me wrong, I always enjoy our trips to the Bridge, even though I haven't yet seen us win there (yet). The banter between the two sets of supporters is a little more witty and intellectual than at Spurs-Arsenal games (if you can call the above example witty), and I for one enjoy the atmosphere and the pre-match positivity.

The points that hit home abundantly clear to me on Saturday afternoon were as follows. Firstly, although we all hate Chelski and their money, the fact is that even though they have a load of world class players out injured and away on international duty, they are still incredibly effective. We got a decent share of possession on Saturday but never ever looked like taking anything from the game. Chelsea looked like they would win from the moment the game kicked off. It wasn't particular pretty, but they were effective and clinical. Although I always want a Spurs side to play the "Tottenham Way", we still need to develop a ruthless streak that we currently do not have.

Secondly, Berba was pretty quiet on Saturday and in situations like that we really suffer against the stronger sides. I don't sign up to the school of thought that blamed his performance on him wanting to leave or not rating his team-mates... the guy just had an off-day. And boy did we look so average in front of goal. We may have been the joint highest top scorers in the Premier League going into the match, but our frigid, inept performance in the attacking third told another story.

Thirdly, we lack the depth of squad to really compete with the big guns. Lee looked like a Championship left-back and light years behind a player of Bale's ability. Boateng was a disaster and unless his performances improve quickly I may be forced to lump him in the Ghaly bucket (i.e. players who should never play for Spurs again). O'Hara played OK, but his youthful exuberance suggested that he would develop better playing alongside someone with more experience like Jenas or Zokora (rather like Dawson who looks much better when he plays next to Ledders rather than anyone else). And although Jenas is so inconsistent and not the most popular midfielder we have, I really felt we missed him on Saturday.

Enough of the doom and gloom though, I hear the club are getting close to finally landing Stuart Downing. Although I have to ask, why? Although we need a true left-sided midfielder, I don't think he's playing as well now as he did at times last season and at the start of this season. If we were to bring him in, what happens to Malbranque, who I think has been playing his best football for Spurs in recent months?

With nearly another three weeks to run, there will be plenty more transfer rumours connected with Spurs. What really matters is finding the right player or two to make a difference. There's no point Ramos bringing in ten new players just because he doesn't like what he's inherited. We have a large squad so any changes need to be improvements. Getting rid of Robbo, Chimbonda and co will only be acceptable to fans if better players are brought in.

And one final point from me... why are the bookmakers and the media so intent on bigging up first Harry and then Sparky for the Newcastle job? The ideal candidate would be BMJ in my opinion - he's got a real personality that the Geordies would undoubtedly warm to, he's a proper football man that is so important in a place like Newcastle, and he's available now. I know Kemsley may not have put in a good word for him with his mate Mike Ashley, but Jol managed us to two fifth place finishes and is now out of work. He's a great manager and someone will snap him up soon.

No comments: