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Tottenham’s Festive Period – Winners and Losers

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It’s all over for another year and in case you’re wondering we’re 106 days away from the next bank holiday and long weekend. Kill me now!! What a festive period we’ve had though, with three wins out of three, two clean sheets, 5 goals scored and two red cards. I haven’t updated much because quite frankly I haven’t had the time or inclination to do anything between watching Spurs, other football, darts, pulling all nighters to watch the Ashes and eating more food than a really hungry fat man. So before we get back into the swing of match previews and reviews and the traditionally boring January transfer window lets take a quick look at the winners and losers of the last 10 days or so.

The Winners

Spurs – As a club, team and set of fans things couldn’t have gone much better for us really. As I’ve already said, having a 100% record over Christmas and New Year is something I don’t remember doing before and something few clubs achieve. I could be wrong because I haven’t done my research and am going on gut instinct and a hazy memory but only ourselves and Man City managed it this year. Couple our good form with Chelsea’s shocker and we’re now sitting in 4th spot again and have a very healthy 6 point cushion with a game in hand over 6th. With the likes of Arsenal and Man City playing each other this week we can close the gap further if we can get 4 wins on the spin tomorrow night against Everton.

Gareth Bale – Scored our last goal in 2010 and our first in 2011 as well as playing a vital role in our eventual winner against Aston Villa on boxing day. He seems to go through these patches of goal scoring and then goes quiet for a few games before reminding everyone who he is again with a match winning performance. Fulham kept him fairly quiet on New Years Day and Newcastle tried their best to hack him down at every opportunity but our Gareth still managed to produce the goods when it mattered.

Michael Dawson – Captain fantastic is back and how. It’s no coincidence we only conceded 1 goal in 3 games with him marshalling the back four. Makes you wonder where we’d be had England not ruined him earlier in the season. At one point or another awesome Dawson played with Kaboul, Bassong and Gallas. Ok, so none of the three teams we faced really showed much precision in front of goal but as I said, that’s not a coincidence. Great to have him back.

Luka Modric – When he plays, we play. It’s as simple as that and Luka put on a show, especially in the two home games we had and the pass to Hutton against Villa which led to our first goal was worth the freezing temperatures alone. Easily man of the match against Newcastle and probably again against Fulham. An ageing Frenchman once said, “he’s too small for the premier league”, but while Modric is small in stature he’s often the biggest player on the pitch. I can’t think of any intelligent football manager who wouldn’t have him in their team. With the exception of Barcelona I can’t think of any football club he wouldn’t improve.

Steven Caulker – One of the few positives from being stuck in the west country at the moment is being able to keep tabs on Steve Caulker and unfortunately from what I’ve seen and heard on Danny Rose at Bristol City. Unlike Caulker, it doesn’t look like Rose will make it at the very top. He will probably develop into a very good Championship player or mid-table EPL but I don’t see him making more of an impression at White Hart Lane than his wonder goal last season. Think of Matty Etherington and I think you can see what the future holds for Rose away from Spurs. Caulker on the other hand is immense. Not only a future Spurs player but an England international. Personally, if we’re going to let Bassong leave we should be looking at Caulker to warm the bench and get him into the first team squad in the next year or two. In the few games I’ve seen him play I can honestly say I’ve never seen a better young defender than him and that includes Sol and Ledley. According from City ST holders I know, the games I’ve seen are the standard so look for him in the near future.

That’s it for the winners. I could mention vdV and Lennon for the impact they both had, including 3 goals and 2 assists between them. Ekotto, who apart from a shaky 10 minutes against Fulham, played out of his skin especially against Villa. Even Palacios, who was overrun against Newcastle but yet again showed signs of returning to form in the other two games and the fact we haven’t missed Huddlestone since his injury should be noted here too.

The Losers

Jermain Defoe – Slightly harsh perhaps to put him into this category, especially as he only played 28 minutes before getting sent off against Villa and in those 28 minutes he looked like he might be able to form a decent partnership with vdV. Most people thought the red card was harsh but we’ve all seen them given and he should know better. Just returning from injury and knowing what a pile of crap our reserve strikers are JD needs to make sure he’s on the pitch as much as possible. It’s also only fair to include him given the next two selections.

Roman Pavlyuchenko – I’ve never hidden my feelings on our maverick Russian striker. He scores goals and can do so for fun when he’s in the mood but I want more from a striker than just goals. Odd I know but now we’re competing at the top table it’s what we should all expect. JD isn’t the best all round footballer but he’s worked at his game and has improved immensely. This was Pav’s big chance (again). Defoe is out for 3 games and Redknapp shows faith by playing him against Newcastle and Fulham instead of Crouch. Unfortunately he does very little in either game and is taken off fairly early in both. His first touch was terrible and while he was unlucky not the receive the ball at times when he made good runs, they were few and far between. It’ll be interesting to see if Pav has wasted his chance and finds himself on the bench tomorrow night.

Younes Kaboul – Another early bath recipient. Frustratingly he showed both sides to his game against Newcastle. Was excellent alongside Dawson against Villa and like Pav had the chance to cement his place in the team with Gallas injured. When we were finding it hard to break Newcastle down, Kaboul did what was needed and brought the ball out of defence into midfield and was the catalyst to Lennon’s opener. Unfortunately, not long later he decided to head “push” Tiote who in all fairness deserved it and should’ve gone too but it showed un-professionalism that we can do without in the second half of the season. He’ll come good without doubt, as long as he learns to control his temper.

The Rest of the EPL – We’ve now set out our stall. We’re ready to make a challenge on the summit of English football. I don’t think we’re going to go for the title this season but when was the last time we were only 5 points off the leader going into the new year? If we can continue this run of form, staying unbeaten and preferably winning more than we draw at some point even Alan Hanson and Mark Lawrenson will have to acknowledge a beast is awakening in N17.

Happy new year my fellow Spurs fanatics and welcome back to work.

Submitted by THFC1882

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