Tag Archives: Jermain Defoe

At last a decent home performance – Spurs 3 West Ham 1

After recent results and West Ham producing results to beat our points tally I fancied anything could have happened at White Hart Lane this afternoon. On previous visits I had seen Andy Carroll silenced by Michael Dawson and tweeted as much on our journey to the ground never expecting to see him named in the side.

I got a text regarding the starting line up from a golfing mate saying “AVB must have been listening to us.” “Christ”, I replied “do you think that he heard everything we said…..”

So Michael eventually gets a start and after a tentative opening I thought he had a good game, with some deft headers and decent distribution. Not only that but we seemed to have some leadership across the back and he was talking to Walker who had his best game for some time. I am no way against Billy Gallas but at his age he should be supporting the group not playing every game.

It was also interesting to see Vertonghen moving back to left back. Is this an admission that last weeks back four was misjudged? Whatever, I was a little surprised to see Huddlestone starting after Dembele came on in Rome but he did and in the second half played his best 45 minutes for some time.

At last Bale and Lennon got into the game and combined well to create goals Lennon squaring to allow Defoe to score his second when a shot might have produced a goal for himself. In the first half a great run from Bale produced a blistering shot which smashed onto the crossbar.

Our first half performance saw a number of long distance shots not causing West Ham too much trouble until Defoe who was abused by the travelling fans for most of the afternoon picked up the ball on the right and carried it before unleashing a brilliant shot which flew into the net. Answered in the appropriate manner they fell silent for a period.

Our second from Bale saw him play a deft chip over Jaaskelainen which the keeper knew had beaten him and the result but could do nothing about. The through ball was a delightful chip from Dempsey who played a much better game today. A third followed after we broke and Lennon’s pace outstripped the defence before he squared for Defoe to add his second.       

Unfortunately the clean sheet wasn’t to be after we gave the ball away in a needless manner that allowed a back stick cross that Carroll was able to loop over Lloris leaving him stranded and like Jaaskelainen before him knowing the end result. Apart from one palm out punch Lloris looked more comfortable as the game went on and came and collected more than once.  

We finished with Sandro being carried off and taking oxygen but understand that he will be available for Wednesday when he will certainly be needed. Today West Ham weren’t at their best, in fact in parts they were quite poor, but we needed a performance to clear out the memory banks last weeks defeat. We got that and during the second half Tommy was knocking it around quite comfortably in his best performance for some time.

So the positives, better tempo throughout, no sitting off and trying to protect a lead, playing more as a team than in parts of previous games and scoring some goals and some decent ones to boot. Best home performance of the season so far and we need to continue it on Wednesday night to keep the pressure on those struggling above us.

Come on you Spurs!

Lets burst those bubbles: Spurs V West Ham preview

We have a really good record at home against West Ham not losing since 1999 yet I have some trepidation about tomorrow’s game. When we lost at Upton Park earlier this year the Hammers put on an extremely committed performance and deserved to win yet before and after were absolutely clueless hence their basement position.

Yet in recent weeks the signing of Demba Ba and fitness of Thomas Hitzelsperger have transformed their side to the point where Robbie Keane must be concerned he will be a permanent bench man at the Hammers should they stay up. Therefore we should expect another tough test where before Christmas we might be looking at the chance of an easy three points.

Unfortunately the problem rests with us due to an inability of our front men to put away the chances in recent times and then when we have our generosity at the back to allow sides back into the game. Yet if we are to finish our season with the required flurry its important that we put this right starting tomorrow. 

Last time out at Wolves we managed to score three with Pav and Defoe in the side.  All our goals were well taken and Defoe’s efforts something out of nothing. But in that game there was no Van Der Vaart so it was easy to go 4-4-2. Tomorrow Rafa is likely to start so this in many ways pushes Peter Crouch forward to partner him and I’m concerned about the damage that this does to Defoe, particularly as he did not feature at all against AC Milan.

West Ham can be sloppy at the back. Tomkins is improving and will be an excellent defender but inevitably still lacks experience. Upson makes more mistakes than he should, Bridge lacks match practice and Green can make as many strange decisions as Gomes yet unless we capitalise on any opportunities awarded we are going to limp home. 

In all our recent games Van Der Vaart has not managed more than an hour which for me points to a lack of match fitness. Yet we still start him irrespective of this fact. I appreciate you should start your best team but if this leads to a lack of confidence in others does it really help. The fact that Defoe scored two brilliant goals and hit a post in the last Premier League game would point to another start in the next game but it never happened. So what happens to his confidence if he does not start tomorrow?

How about leaving Rafa on the bench for the first 60 and giving Defoe a run out?

Looking elsewhere I fancy the midfield will feature Bale on the left for the first time in a while. Against Wolves he looked good during his cameo but understandably had some stiffness afterwards. With Lennon having been our best attacking midfielder over recent matches I am looking forward to see how stretched West Ham get by these two which should allow Modric to come inside and cause them problems. 

That leaves a straight choice between Jenas and Sandro for the defensive slot and after his recent games I would be shocked if Sandro was not asked to continue. With Palacios sidelined after a knee operation it is a straight choice between these two for a few weeks and I expect both to offer strong performances as both look to be in good form.

At the back I would not expect any changes with Gallas and Dawson continuing and Charlie and Benny playing fullback. Interestingly Ledley is listed as injured but I might be wrong but I thought he was a sub against Milan. Behind them Gomes and it might be a busy day for them if Parker, Hitzlesperger and Noble have any say in the matter. 

So the midfield battle must be won and it won’t be an easy one. In this game attack must be the best form of defence but we must make sure that we capitalise upon the midfield chances we create. If we do that then we can win the game comfortably but if we don’t then we make it hard for ourselves at a time when we need to start knocking out the victories. 

My team for tomorrow:

                          Gomes

    Corluka      Gallas     Dawson     Ekotto

 Lennon           Sandro       Modric       Bale

                   Defoe              Crouch

Prediction: I’m hopeful we have our shooting boots on and come through 3-1 after a derby full of passion.        

Half Term Report – our strikers

It’s half term and a chance for us to review our performance on the field as a team and our squad in each individual category. If you missed the first two articles you can catch them here:

Half Term Report – fighting on all fronts, goalkeepers and defenders

Half Term Report – Midfielders

Strikers

I am including Rafael Van Der Vaart in the striker group as a consequence of his desire to turn action into goals. Quite how he has taken the Premier League by storm when he could not get into the Real Madrid team is difficult to understand. They must have some players!

If I’m honest I was not that aware of Rafa when he was signed. Having made enquiries of the boy I found out he was pretty good but having seen him play I’d be willing to say he is much better than that. I’m happy to admit that Ardiles was my favourite ever Spurs player and I really enjoyed Ginola too but this guy has to be bordering upon equal to Ossie. I say this because I’ve never seen the addition of one player change the team so much so quickly. 

Such is his skill that you are desperate to get back for more and then when you consider that we also have Bale, Modric and Lennon in the same side it’s hard to miss a game at The Lane any more. He has some issues. Having missed a proper pre season with us his fitness may be a little questionable and he has already missed games as a result of injury. Without him I believe we have a great chance to win the game, with him I believe we will win. The next big test is Manchester United at home. We need to win that to show Fergie he hasn’t got all the answers any longer. I think a fit Rafa can help deliver that.

Elsewhere, we are still waiting to see how Jermain Defoe links up with Van Der Vaart. Unfortunately his 3 match ban means we have to wait longer to find out though an understanding seemed to be developing. I think JD is our best striker but I do believe that he is too greedy and certainly needs a couple of goals to settle him down. I’ve always believed he links well with Lennon and that gives me confidence that he will fit back into the side that has developed in his absence. Unfortunately his height dictates one method of play. On the floor. That suits our best game but it must be understood that it rubs both ways. We give the ball to you and you consider giving it back. I still fancy 10 goals from him in the second half of the season.

I wish I could say the same for Robbie Keane. Unfortunately the name Mr Reliable has been lost and his club form has spread to international games. The problem that Robbie has is his wage cost. Many clubs will be interested until they know the deal but lets be honest Rob how much money do you need? I cannot see him offering us lots of goals as he always was a little wasteful and therefore his use to us remains as a squad player. He won’t want that so the door is the only way forward for both parties. I shall miss him but always remember him singlehandedly winning games for us when he first came.

Pav presents a similar conundrum to me. He produces some incredible moments of brilliance but 40 minutes pass in between. When the brilliance comes the ball ends up in the net but he needs to offer more. I worry about his style of play and if it fits in with the side. All too often he comes deep looking for the ball to play those long switch passes but when playing only one up front I feel he needs to lead the line. That might be harsh but when you have the pace of Bale and Lennon it’s impossible to get from a deep position in time to slide it in. When he’s up there he does but when absent it can go across the net. Then there is his aerial threat? At best “not good” would sum it up. Without Crouch every ball is aimed at Bale because he has a chance of winning the header.

Like Pav Crouch has a number of shortcomings but in his favour he has built up a relationship with Van Der Vaart. Many of you don’t like Peter. Yes I agree he looks like a pantomime character on occasions and that his heading could be more powerful but we have been winning with him in the side. But in fairness he is not the best striker in the world and as with the goalkeeper position if we want to get into and stay in the top 4 and compete in every competition a ruthless streak would suggest a new name in this group and at least two out.

One out would be Giovanni who I don’t see having much of a future and Keane would make that two but a really good striker might need a further saving of wages and therefore either Pav or Crouch could go if the right offer came in. If it did not I would not be disappointed as both have things to offer from the bench.

So what would a new striker need to be capable of? The necessary strength to win and direct the ball in the air, pace to keep up with our wingers and sufficient ball playing skills to link with Luka and Rafa. So it’s quite easy to find such a player I’ll warrant!

As I said before I follow Spurs not every other team so I don’t know a list of names but answers on a postcard ignoring the obvious paper names such as Andy Carroll.

Next up a review of our Management and the Ownership.