Tag Tottenham Hotspur

Tag Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs: view from the other side

September 11, 2009 Tags: Opinion 5 comments

Manchester United’s annual visit to Tottenham Hotspur is always a great day out for the visiting supporters, even if the walk from Seven Sisters tube akin to hiking the Inca Trail and the clientèle in the local boozers somewhat ‘edgy’. This weekend’s much anticipated trip sees Harry Redknapp’s Spurs team sitting top of the Premier League after wining four games in a row. It will be a cracker, and Rant caught up with fellow blogger Robin Graham from Tottenham Blog and Vlog to discuss the upcoming game. You can read Rant’s end of the interview here.

Spurs’ great start to the season has got the fans dreaming of a top four finish. Is it really possible?

So many variables! I don’t think Villa and Everton will challenge the top 4 this year so it’s between Spurs and Man City if anyone is going to break it. Man City have outstanding players but will they gel? If they do, I think they’ll finish above Spurs but I’m not convinced that Hughes has what it takes to fuse the team together that quickly. One of Liverpool and Arsenal usually have a dodgy season where they just scrape the 70+ points required to finish fourth. Spurs’ squad is certainly capable of getting those 70+ points. But much will depend on the fitness of Wilson Palacios who is probably our most important player. He’s also the only player that we don’t have cover for in the squad.

Aaron Lennon has been in great form for club and country. I know many United fans who would love to see him at Old Trafford. I suppose the big question is, if he maintains this form can you keep him?

There’s a cycle at Spurs and it goes like this: Great player emerges – Lots of excitement and expectation comes that Spurs might actually do something. Spurs just miss out on ‘doing something’. Player leaves. Spurs finish mid table. New player emerges and the cycle continues.

If we can break the cycle by getting into the Champions League this season or next, the current crop of exciting players (Modric, Lennon, Palacios) will probably stay. If not, they won’t.

What’s up with the Spurs board. They never seem to settle on a manager. So is Harry there to stay or out if Spurs don’t make the top four this season?

I think Harry will get at least another couple of years after this, unless we get embroiled in a relegation battle next season. Very, very few Spurs fans were unhappy with the sacking of Jol or the appointment of Ramos. Ramos had to go. On the balance of things, I’m happy with our board.

With Ronaldo and Tevez departed and no spectacular signings most opposition fans are writing United off this season. Are you with them?

Tevez wasn’t worth £25 million and simply didn’t play well enough to warrant a regular place in the side so I don’t think he’s very significant. Owen will probably get more goals than Tevez and will play the role of third choice striker better. Ronaldo leaving opens the way for others to step to the plate and that’s just the kind of situation that Fergie thrives on. Rooney and Berbatov will need to respond. And Nani and Valencia will need to have good seasons.

But writing off Fergie and United would be ridiculous. They’ll be there come the end of the season in the league. I think they might need another season before they challenge in the Champions League as strongly as in recent seasons though.

Sir Alex was once interested in Gareth Bale, prior to him joining Spurs. Whatever happened to him?

A casualty of the Ramos debacle – the poor bloke still hasn’t been on a winning side for Spurs! He did very well when he first came in with one performance at Old Trafford especially eye catching. But his confidence dwindled in the second half of that season and nose dived at the start of last season. We were suddenly in a relegation battle and couldn’t afford to have him in the side. He’s injured now but I think we’ll start to see the best of him when he comes back. Benoit Assou Eketto is playing out of his skin at left back for us though so there’ll be an interesting battle there.

So come on, what are your honest thoughts on Spurs’ old boys Berbatov and Carrick?

Carrick will always be highly thought of at White Hart Lane, Berbatov won’t. Berbatov refused to play to get his move, he sulked, he moaned and in his last season with us, he only tried around transfer window time and in the League Cup final. He made it 100% clear that he considered himself far superior to the club and his team-mates and that’s hardly endearing. It’s interesting to see him now, far less swagger, he looks almost sheepish. Basically we all hope he fails at United, sorry!

Carrick on the other hand was a modicum of decency throughout his Spurs career and left with class and decency. Top player, top bloke.

United visit Spurs seeking momentum

September 11, 2009 Tags: , Matches 4 comments

Now that the World Cup break is over, Manchester United’s mass of international players can concentrate on the real task in hand – racking up points in search of a fourth title in a row. United return to Premier League action with a tough trip to White Hart Lane on Saturday, facing a resurgent Tottenham Hotspur side, with the glow of victory over Arsenal still warm. While question marks may still hang over the team’s form, three wins in four mean that United head to London as favourites for another victory.

Harry Redknapp, dodgy though he is, certainly produces teams that play football the right way. The game will no doubt be another classic in the mould of United’s 5 – 2 win at Old Trafford last season, or the magnificent comeback from three down in 2001. Indeed, Redknapp’s Spurs side has undergone the usual Harry makeover, with players leaving and arriving through an unstoppable revolving door. While the cynical may say this is simply to line the manager’s pockets, Redknapp has turned Spurs into genuine contenders for the top four.

The Tottenham manager’s problem in making the top four come May – aside from the strength of Arsenal and Manchester City – is in make-up of his squad. Harry has Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch and Roman Pavychenko on the books, but barely a fit central defender to call upon.

Central defence, of course, is an area upon which Sir Alex Ferguson is building his title defence. Indeed, Fergie will be able to pair Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic for the first time this season at White Hart Lane. Ferdinand returns after missing five games with a thigh injury.

The former West Ham United defender’s recovery is just in time, with Johnny Evans’ long-term fitness under question. The Northern Irishman’s left ankle must be operated on sooner, rather than later. Moreover the international break has ended with John O’Shea nursing a blood clot in his calf that could, in theory, keep the Irishman out for the next six weeks. And with Rafael da Silva still out, but Wes Brown and Gary Neville fit, the defence almost picks itself.

More focus at White Hart Lane will be on who Sir Alex chooses in forward areas. Will former Spurs favourite Dimitar Berbatov play, after sitting out the Arsenal win on the bench? After the Bulgarian’s performances at Wigan Athletic and then in Bugaria’s demolition of Montenegro in midweek, Berbatov deserves to play. But with Sir Alex almost permanently wedded to deploying a single striker in the biggest games it seems unlikely that Berbatov will start at his old stomping ground.

Either way, United faces one of its toughest away trips of the season.

Classic United v Spurs

September 10, 2009 Tags: , Matches 2 comments

It’s a football cliché but over the years there have been some classic Tottenham Hotspur versus Manchester United encounters from two teams that play the right way. United’s comeback from three down at White Hart Lane in 2001, or last season’s blistering second half spree at Old Trafford and of course the 2 – 1 win that brought the title to Old Trafford in 1999.

United 5 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur, Old Trafford, 26 April 2009
Last season’s comeback from two goals down was the moment that turned the Premier League title race, according to many pundits. United’s second half performance, led by the fab four of Wayen Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov, Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez, was as good as anything United fans have witnessed in recent seasons.

Tottenham Hotspur 3 – 5 United, White Hart Lane, October 1 2001
United came back from three goals down at half time to win in emphatic style. Goals from Andy Cole, Laurent Blanc, Juan Sebastant Veron, David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy capped a magnificent comeback and one of the finest second-half displays in recent memory.

David Beckham

United 2 -1 Tottenham Hotspur, Old Trafford, 17 May 1999
United needed a win in order to claim the first part of the 1999 treble. Not for the first (or last) time, United was forced to come from behind in order to win. Andy Cole went mad, Fergie hugged his staff and there was dancing in the streets of Piccadilly that night!

United 3 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur, Old Trafford, 12 August 1967
One for the Spurs’ fans here as Pat Jennings, Tottenham’s Northern Irish goalkeeper scores. Alex Stepney in the United goal won’t be happy with that one. Still ranks as one of the most celebrated Spurs goals ever.

Actually lads it was a penalty

April 27, 2009 Tags: , , Shorts 4 comments

Sometimes it seems there’s one media law for United and another for everybody else. Take this Sunday’s game for example. The media consensus is that United were given a penalty that should never have been and that Spurs were ‘robbed’ of a potential win as a result. In fact Heurelio Gomes’ foul on Michael Carrick was just that, by any interpretation of the law. Gomes took both man and ball – and it really doesn’t matter which came first for a foul to be given. Meanwhile, Wilson Palacios’ disgraceful two-footed knee high lunge at Ronaldo went unreported in many media outlets. It all goes to prove the old adage that it’s always better to print the story rather than the facts.