Archive for the ‘Tottenham Hotspur’ Category

You know those pages on Facebook that clog up your news feeds? Annoying aren’t they. Usually pointless advertising and spamming of my own personal social media space (an oxymoron if ever there was one), however in amongst the adverts making me feel inadequate about my manhood (why these are on a Fifa banter page, god only knows) but one fan asked a question that got me thinking, ‘Who is the best left back in the Premier League?’

Firstly let me say, Ashley Cole is not going to be considered because my twenty year plan to make Cheryl Cole/Tweedy my wife will be ruined if she reads this article about what a wonderful left back he is/was.

Jose Enrique appears to be one of the bargains of the season so far at £6 million, with the Spaniard being key in Liverpool only conceding 18 Premier League goals this season, which is only bettered by Manchester City (16). The former Newcastle United player has defended with maturity and attacked with force, encompassing everything the modern day full back is about, however Enrique is yet to make his international debut which is surprising given his form and Spain’s supposed shortage at left back.

Leighton Baines, arguably the most consistent left back over the last two years or so which has started to earn the defender recognition at international level. The former Wigan Athletic man has an attribute that hasn’t been seen in a left back since Roberto Carlos and that is his ability from dead ball situations, which has proved invaluable to Everton with the likes of Louis Saha making Emile Heskey look prolific.

Neil Taylor has been one of several positives from the Premier League new boys Swansea this year, the Welsh outfit have been a great addition to the world’s best league. The Wales international has it all, the pace, the calmness when under pressure and the attacking tendencies; admittedly at 22 the former Wrexham defender isn’t the complete package but given a season or two at the top level and rumours such as the ones linking him with Arsenal will, no doubt be a common occurrence.

Admittedly I started this article thinking there were going to be five or six decent left backs but clearly I’m mistaken.

Overall, you can’t overlook consistency and Baines has been a solid performer for two seasons now. Although the Englishman may not have the Spanish flair or the ability to reach the levels Neil Taylor can, at the moment you can’t look past the Everton man.

Let me know who you think is the best or just give me advice on how to make Cheryl Cole mine on Twitter @DanielTBlazer

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Loan signings are cheating.  I mean how can Emmanuel Adebayor transform Tottenham Hotspur’s season and perhaps in the long run cost his parent club Manchester City the Premier League title?

For all of the praise the Premier League receives for being the best league in the world, it is fundamentally flawed in that it allows loan deals internally within the same league.

Jamie O’Hara last season joined Wolverhampton Wanderers on loan from Spurs and was a major influence in keeping Wolves in the Premier League. When the tenacious centre midfielder joined Mick McCarthy’s side were languishing in 19th position and eventually avoided relegation by one place and one point. Although you can’t say single handedly that the Englishman pulled Wolves from the brink but you could definitely argue that would have David Edwards and Karl Henry impacted as much in the middle of the park as O’Hara did?

Birmingham City were the team to take the unwanted final place back in the Championship but not because Wolves squad was better than theirs it was because Tottenham Hotspur’s reserves were. How can Spurs influence both ends of the table?

If you can’t loan out players between one Premiership team and another, then league’s such as the Championship are the next best option. The benefits of sending the likes of Adebayor, Jamie O’Hara and Yossi Benayoun out on loan to the lower leagues of English football are huge. Players of clubs such as Cardiff, Bristol City and Watford would learn and gain so much from having players who have Champions League, Premier League and World Cup experience within their team.

At a time where the gulf between Premier League and the Championship is currently criticised as being too big of a step up, surely an influx of experienced international footballer’s within the lesser ranks of English football will help bridge that ever increasing gap?

If we ban in the Premier League surely you’d have to prevent loan deals to teams with the same tournaments too? Adebayor couldn’t join Real Madrid, Quaresma couldn’t join Chelsea and Tevez couldn’t join AC Milan on loan (If the rumours are true). However we would expect Andy Carroll to score for Liverpool before we see a swift decision made by the footballing bodies.

The conflict of interests between loan deals is massive and yet in an era that has seen Serie A basically closed down due to match fixing, the most obvious form of ‘influencing’ games is a legitimate rule within football.

Overall if the rules were to change and internal loans were banned, the team that would benefit the most is Sunderland…as they’d get to send Nicklas Bendtner back.

There are a few false pretences over at White Hart Lane, the first one being that Harry Redknapp is the right man for England, the second that Gareth Bale is worth £80 million and the final one is that the Lilywhites’ diminutive Croatian midfielder Luka Modric is irreplaceable and an integral part to Daniel Levy’s grand plan.

Manchester United and Chelsea are the two clubs that have been strongly linked with the former Dinamo Zagreb man, so surely I’m just another ignorant journalist getting it totally wrong if Sir Alex Ferguson and Roman Abramovich see something special in Modric?

I hate football statistics, I really couldn’t care that Dirk Kuyt ran 50 miles in 90 minutes or that England haven’t ever beaten Guadelope when Dave Nugent has been playing. However, the fact that Modric, an attacking midfielder, contributed only four goals and three assists last season paints a very different picture from the one being constructed in the press.

Maybe I’m being too harsh, I mean I know Modric brings way more than misleading stats suggest, but does he bring more than Leon Osman does to Everton? Osman has been an unsung hero for a couple of seasons on Merseyside and despite not perhaps having that natural flare that the Croat has in his game, the Englishman has the ‘Modric Role’ for Moyes’ team and contributes more statistically than the Spurs midfielder does.

If Modric were to go, ‘Arry really doesn’t have to worry too much with regards to bringing in a replacement; I know Redknapp would need to bring in someone in the heart of the midfield, but my point is that the Lilywhites’ manager wouldn’t need to buy a world class centre midfielder to replace Modric. In my opinion, Sandro has the ability to be the complete midfielder, the man to step up and dictate Tottenham’s play and pull the strings, so a signing such as Lassana Diarra could prove a step in the right direction, especially considering the balance of the team with the very much attacking minded players in Bale, Lennon and Van Der Vaart.

Is Luka Modric a great player? Yes. Is he replaceable? Of course.

I think everyone was pleased when Fulham announced the return of Martin Jol to the Premier League as their manager last week, after his rather disrespectful exit from Tottenham Hotspur. The Dutchman though will no doubt not want fans’, pundits’ and newspapers’ reminding him of his exit from White Hart Lane as he looks to begin his own quest to go down in Fulham’s history. The former Ajax manager has taken over a club very much on the up with a supportive chairman and good ‘solid’ foundations, and with Jol looking to make his own ‘mark’ on the Fulham squad there is definitely a case that the former Tottenham man should return to North London for a few ‘bargains’.

Fulham are lacking a striker who can consistently get them 15-20 goals a season, Bobby Zamora and Moussa Dembele are their main attacking outlets and both players’ do offer attacking flair in the final third but the two forwards, in my opinion, will not be setting the goalscoring charts alight any time soon, which why a cut price move for Lilywhites striker Robbie Keane would be an ideal signing. The Irishman has continually proven himself as a clinical finisher in the Premier League, and despite a disappointing campaign this season, which has culminated in Harry Redknapp stating that Keane doesn’t feature in his plans, the former Inter Milan forward could be a huge success at Craven Cottage with just a little bit of TLC.

The Cottagers lack that spark in midfield, that player that can unlock a defence or win you a match but if Jol were to sign Niko Kranjcar all those problems would be solved. Many Spurs fans rate the former Portsmouth player highly and were left baffled when he didn’t start the Champions League first leg against Real Madrid after Aaron Lennon pulled out. It is moments like that which have led to the Croatian international stating he wants to leave White Hart Lane and with Redknapp clearly lacking faith in Kranjcar, he could be available for next to nothing.

The third and final addition that I believe the new Fulham boss should make from White Hart Lane is Jermaine Jenas (don’t shoot me down just yet). Fulham will be a bit light in midfield with both Clint Dempsey and Zoltan Gera more than likely on the move in this transfer window, and Danny Murphy isn’t getting any younger (even though his performances have gotten better with age if anything), so the signing of the former Newcastle United player would help re-energise the middle of the park for Fulham. The England international doesn’t have too many admirers in the beautiful game but on his day the former Nottingham Forest player can be a real influence at the heart of the midfield.

Think these are shocking suggestions? Let me know at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Daniel-T-Blazer/185495024836102

This season will be remembered for the emergence of Jack Wilshere, Gareth Bale and Javier Hernandez and quite rightly so, all three players were in inspired form the whole season and became pivotal to their respective teams achievements. However you can be forgiven for thinking these three players were the only three to play well last season, such was the media frenzy surrounding them. There were several players who finally proved their worth after a couple of poor seasons or finally lived up to their price tag or billing.

Here are my Top TEN most improved players

Rafael (Manchester United)

When Gary Neville announced his retirement there wasn’t a worrying look on United fans’ faces like there is now after Paul Scholes announced his retirement, and that is all due to the improved performances of Rafael. The Brazilian was always renowned for his energetic runs up and down the right hand side flank but his defending left a lot to be desired, but this season saw Rafael become a stronger tackler of the ball and just an all round more composed defender.

Joey Barton (Newcastle United)

Love him or hate him, there is no denying that the former Manchester City player has been instrumental in Newcastle’s successful first season back in the Premier League. The Englishman’s range of passing has been his one stand out improvement, with Barton displaying the ability to find that defence splitting pass either from the centre of midfield or on the right flank.

Ben Foster (Birmingham City)

We all (quite rightly) wrote Foster off after Paul Robinson’s goal kick goal against him in 2007, but the former Manchester United keeper has come back fighting. Foster has been named man of the match on several occasions this season, most notably the Carling Cup final, where he made several world class saves to help Birmingham win the trophy. With the burden of being Edwin Van Der Sar’s under study off his back, the Englishman looks to finally be the goalkeeper we were all promised back in 2005.

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Leighton Baines (Everton)

How Fabio Capello must be regretting the decision to take Stephen Warnock instead of Baines to South Africa last summer, after the Englishman’s inspired season for Everton. The former Wigan defended strongly and looked composed on the ball, however it is his attacking exploits that have caught the eye of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City with the Englishman helping his team’s cause with 11 assists this season.

Samir Nasri (Arsenal)

Major transfer activity is expected at the Emirates this summer but maintaining Nasri’s services should be Wenger’s priority after the season the Frenchman has just had. Outshining captain Cesc Fabregas and making Arsenal fans realise there is life after the Spaniard, Nasri’s goals’, trickery and all round work ethic have made him a joy to behold this season, a different player from the previous two rather mundane and uneventful campaigns.

Dimitar Berbatov (Manchester United)

Two years of criticism, abuse and ridcule from the Red Devils faithful, the former Spurs front man has come up with the ‘goods’ without really altering his playing style. Leading the Premier League goal scoring charts for the majority of the season is no easy feat, especially when you rarely start games, but the Bulgarian managed it and despite this is still rumoured to be on the move (how’s that for gratitude).

Johan Elmander (Bolton Wanderers)

The £8.2 million spent by Bolton to acquire the Swede’s services looked better served being spent on Michael Ricketts after a rather bleak start to Elmander’s career. However the beginning of this season saw the former Toulouse striker in free scoring form, including a contender for goal of the season. The goals dried up in the second half of the season but Elmander’s influence continued with his fantastic work rate, as well as forming a successful understanding with striking partners Kevin Davies and Daniel Sturridge.

Matthew Etherington (Stoke City)

The former West Ham United player looked a broken man after admitting to a gambling addiction but Tony Pulis showed faith in the winger and is reaping the rewards this season. Etherington’s crosses were almost as valuable as Rory Delap’s throw ins, with his continual supply of pin point crosses to Stoke’s several aerial threats.

Lucas Leiva (Liverpool)

Funny old game football, the Brazilian was deemed useless and a laughing stock at the end of the 2010 season but 38 Premier League games later Lucas is now the midfield lynchpin. With Steven Gerrard out for a fair bit of the season, someone needed to step into the middle and fill the hole the Englishman left and Lucas duly obliged. With consistent and hard working performances throughout this campaign the former Gremio player has shown former manager Rafael Benitez why he was wrong to play him out of position for a large portion of his tenure.

Stewart Downing (Aston Villa)

The former Middlesbrough player looked to be drowning under the expectations that fans’ and pundits’ alike had for him after a poor debut season. However this season the England international has turned his game around, contributing the level of assists’ and goals’ an attacking winger should, as well as forming a fantastic partnership with fellow Englishmen Ashley Young and Darren Bent in the process.

One goal in 400 appearances, or whatever stupid stats are getting thrown around about the Tottenham Hotspur strike force this season. Whatever the correct figures are, we all know how poor they have been and without question Harry Redknapp needs to address this problem in the current transfer window. The likes of Forlan, Gervinho and Adebayor have been linked with White Hart Lane, but in more recent days it is Sunderland’s Asamoah Gyan who is reportedly top of ‘Arry’s wish list this summer; is the Ghanaian really the man to spearhead the Lilywhites attack?

The former Udinese striker enjoyed a successful World Cup and joined Sunderland as the club’s record signing after the tournament. The forward has been a breathe of fresh air this season with his obvious love for the game and flair when it comes to goal celebrations, which we saw quite frequently as Gyan scored ten league goals, but is ten goals enough for a team hoping to regain their Champions League status?

Spurs are looking for a player to take over the mantle as main goalscorer, but during Gyan’s time with The Black Cats he was very much the monkey to Darren Bent’s organ grinder. Ok, that may be a bit of a harsh assessment, but if you look at the statistics, Gyan only scored three goals after Bent’s departure to Aston Villa; when partnered with the Englishman he scored seven. Spurs don’t need another supporting striker, they have them in abundance and from Gyan’s goalscoring record that’s exactly what he is.

So Gyan isn’t going to set goalscoring charts alight, but the Ghanaian does have something to offer the white half of North London. At the moment Tottenham’s strike force consists of a Jermain Defoe who has lost his edge and sharpness, Robbie Keane who is on the move and Peter Crouch, a man who plays like he is 4 ft 4 rather than 6 ft 4; they haven’t got anything in the final third, let alone goals. Gyan would bring to the Lilywhites front line what all fans want to see, some passion and the excitement that when on the ball he can make something happen.

If Spurs can bring in an Adebayor or Forlan as well as Gyan for next season, there will be a few more restless nights for the Premier League defenders out there.

It is that horrible time of year again, when us football fans try to find something to entertain ourselves with for a couple of months while the players have a ‘well deserved’ rest. The transfer window has now kindly reopened in order to give the fans something to talk about down the pub and no doubt there will be ridiculous rumours, surprising signings and barbaric amounts of money spent. However in amongst the forever changing stories, there will be a few things that will no doubt remain, but what are they?

Robbie Keane joins dream team

The Republic of Ireland left Spurs because “Joining Liverpool is a lifelong dream of mine and one I couldn’t let pass me by.” and after rejoining Spurs left again, stating “It’s a dream come true” and This is the reason why I’ve always wanted to come to Celtic.”

So where will the former Inter Milan striker be living the dream after this transfer window?

Harry Redknapp linked with everyone

The Spurs man has a bit of a reputation as a successful ‘wheeler-dealer’ in the transfer market, but also has a reputation that he can’t refuse a ‘bargain’. It is such opinions on ‘Arry that will no doubt, like every transfer window that has gone before, see the Englishman linked with every player including a surprising double swoop for Dion Dublin and Dean Windass.

Arsenal won’t sign anyone…worthwhile

“We have to strengthen the squad where it needs and make the right decision on that front. It is always on my mind, every day. Don’t think it’s not on my mind.” This was Wenger talking on the 26th April of this year, sound familiar? It should do because for the last couple of years the Frenchman has been saying this and as of yet the Arsenal fans have seen several Sebastien Squillaci’s come and go for minimal transfer fees, hardly a signing that will allow a team to win a Quadruple.

 

English talent will move for inflated prices

The rumours have already started surrounding the Three Lions talent, Gary Cahill valued at £15-20 million, Ashley Young £20 million and no doubt the same sort of prices for Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Phil Jones. Are these prices really representative of what these players have achieved or can offer a side? Especially when you consider Connor Wickham of Ipswich is valued at £15 million just because ‘he may become a star in the future’, it is ridiculous but with the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea willing to spend, no doubt these players will move for inflated rates.

Fabregas saga

With each transfer window that passes the ‘Fabregas to Barcelona transfer’ becomes more and more like an Eastenders storyline. Tiresome to say the least, but this episode will no doubt carry on this summer but will it finally end or will it end with ‘continued next time’?

Promoted teams linked with experience

The promoted teams always look to sign much needed experience, usually players who have plied their trade in the Premier League for years and are now looking for a couple of ‘easier’ years. This transfer window could see Joe Cole move to QPR epitomising such a deal.

Absurd transfer rumours

It is dubbed the silly season so you can’t blame the newspapers linking Barcelona’s ‘holy trinity’ with a move to Portman Road. It is just annoying because us naïve and excited fans believe the stories and already plan what our team’s shirt will look like with ‘Messi’ on the back.

Manchester City will buy everyone

Roberto Mancini has come out this week and said he feels he will need to make five big name signings…FIVE! Absolutely crazy claims when you consider the wealth of talent at Eastlands already, but no doubt it will happen, especially when you consider they paid over £20 million for Joleon Lescott.

Always that one surprising deal

Despite all the media coverage there is always one deal that escapes the rumour mill and then BAM, at two minutes to deadline it is announced and the world of football is rocked. I remember it happening with Ashley Cole’s move to Arsenal and last year it was Rafael Van Der Vaart’s move to Spurs for a mere £8 million, I wonder who will surprise us this window?

Liverpool will sign an expensive flop

It is usually around the £20 million region, first Robbie Keane and then there was Alberto Aquilani…whose next?