Okay, Man City are a shambles, this we know and this we have all accepted. However, while there’ll be plenty more woeful/over-priced transfers coming from the Eastlands’ boardroom in the coming months, the club that really fascinates this January is a little further down the table.
At the beginning of the season, myself and Mark did our usual hash jobs of predictions for the year and much like the last few seasons the team we really came unstuck upon was Spurs. Come on, be honest, how many of you haven’t fallen into the trap of predicting a fourth place finish for them in the last few seasons? The signs were there – great players, decent managers, a good brand of football, money to burn, and the added bonus of any success pissing off Arsenal fans. What wasn’t to like? They even – in Giovani – had a player once tipped to be the best on the planet.
In the past few years, as we fell into the trap of thinking that Jol and then Ramos were the men to take this bunch of underachievers to something bigger and better, Aston Bloody Villa came up on the outside and are doing exactly what Spurs were supposed to for years by shaking up the top four. Man City admittedly also took some of their thunder too with their Dr Evil approach to football politics.
While the Villa story is a good one, and City at times play excellent football there’s still something unbelievably intriguing about Spurs which would make me watch any of their games over a Villa or City match this year.
Maybe it’s the belief that there has to be some moment this season, probably about twenty minutes into the second half of a game against Everton or Bolton, where Harry Redknapp will send on a sub and out of nowhere his team will click into place. Why wouldn’t they – the talent is there for everyone to see. Poor Adel Taarabt for one may make a difference – certainly Redknapp thinks he will – as he approaches full fitness, while Modric looked a lot stronger at the weekend, despite playing a deeper role, than he has done at most points of the season. Up front Defoe should deliver a good few goals as well.
There is, of course, a smattering of over-priced British talent such as Bentley (who was disgracefully greedy with dead balls against Pompey, seeming to suffer from a heightened form of Gerrard’s Hollywoodball Syndrome), not to mention Jermaine Jenas and Darren Bent. What with Redknapp recognising that these guys believe far too much of their own press and with Wilson Palacios on the way perhaps that moment where it all clicks is coming sooner rather than later.
The squad looks like this at the moment, surely enough talent to stay up and possible upset United at Wembley in early March.
1 Gomes 2 Hutton 3 Bale
4 Zokora 5 Bentley 6 Huddlestone
7 Lennon 8 Jenas 9 Pavlyuchenko
10 Bent 11 Gilberto 14 Modric
15 Ghaly 16 Gunter 17 Giovani
18 Campbell 19 Taarabt 20 Dawson
22 Corluka 24 O'Hara
25 Defoe 26 King 27
39 Woodgate 51
Add in Carlo Cudicini, who is apparently on his way today, and hey presto, I’ve fallen for it again and think Spurs might actually turn into a decent side one of these days. Trying to attach logic to this bout of belief, perhaps Spurs are The Wire of the Premier League; new characters each year, storylines which are never wrapped up totally and false dawns brought down by crushing reality. Man City would then most likely be The Tudors – bloated nonsense with far too much money and an all star cast who couldn’t give a toss.
The Wire wins every time.