Defoe is on his way back to regaining full fitness, which will prove to be interesting with regards to how he'll fit into the team with Robbie Keane (captain) reclaiming his place as darling of the Lane. JD is exactly what we need in the run-in. He'll be hungry and determined to pick up where he left off. But does he partner Robbie up front? Can he partner Robbie? Does Keane go wide and Defoe partner Pav up front? Can anyone say 'here we go again'?
I'd like to see Robbie and JD play together, at least once or twice so we can find out once and for all if its workable. If by some miraculous miracle they'll connect on a different level to the limp ineffective Hobbitesque attempt of yesteryear - then happy days. Don't quite see how it will and also doubt Keane drifting from the wings would work either. As for the idea being laughed about concerning Keane taking a role in midfield and replacing Modric......behave yourselves.
Then there's Pav. He's stated that he's happy at Spurs and doesn't want to move. It's all dependent really on what Harry decides in the summer, but I guess Roman is reacting to one of the daily churned out quoteless made up stories which always seemed to be based on very little of anything. Personally believe we should stick with him. Hasn't scored a lot in the Prem (4 in about 22 I think) which is disappointing, but then it's not like he has been swaggering in a team of swaggering players. Berbatov took a while to adjust. Pav is not of the same quality as the Bulgarian but to dismiss him after a debut season is criminal. It's not like he's struggling ala Rebrov.
I say judge him based on next season. He's a team player, not the strongest or fastest on current assessment, but his movement is good and his finishing in front of goal more than decent. His finishing from further out and some of his decision making (lack of composure too) is where the concern begins to creep in. £14M, Russian International.....surely these qualities should be more apparent? Can I refer to the textbook response of 'he's tired/played 5 months in Russian league before joining us/can't speak the language/still adapting to English culture' etc etc? Which is why we need to be patient and see how he performs next term.
Now some of you are probably picking up a shitty stick and poking me with it along with accompanying eerie chanting:
"Darren Bent...Darren Bent...Darren Bent..."
Yes, yes. Top scorer. But of all the forward players we have, it's practically a certainty he will be the one to leave the club in the summer. Unless we start playing like Charlton, he won't be a success here - even with his decent goal ratio. We saw it, a very simplistic example, against Boro. Pav went off, Bent came on, Spurs struggled with their forward play. The flow disappeared. He doesn't fit in. Scoring goals apologetically is in no way a foundation to build on. Because if there has to be a plan B, he has no way of fitting into it. One dimensional football to appease his selection might produce a tasty goal ratio across several games, but stats aside - it doesn't breed quality team football.
Alan Hutton is also not far off from his return from a long injury lay off. He has a foot injury. Prefer not to dwell on any whispers being made to suggest otherwise. And when he is fit and able (and hopefully not as nervy as he was when he played in the Arsenal away game way back) it will mean we have him, Chimbonda and Gunter for the right back positions. And Corulka. Gunter is out on loan. Corluka works well on the right hand side with Lennon. Pascal has yet to reclaim any decent past form for us and was always a little suspect defensively - but is more than decent offensively. Although you could argue that when he does wonder forward he does so with little regard for the player who is then meant to cover him. Both Shimbo and Charlie can also play central along with King, Woodgate, Dawson. Hutton can only play right-back, the lazy git. You following this so far?
We have substantial cover at the back. There is no doubting that. Over on the left hand side BAE has been very consistent for us and Gareth Bale will hopefully find his way back onto the ladder of progress soon enough and begin to climb it with the hoodoo laying flat on its face at the bottom as the Welsh kid looks down from the top all smiles. Ideally then we could have a back four of:
Hutton - Woody - King - BAE
Hutton - Dawson - Corluka - BAE
Chimbonda - Woody - King - Bale
Corluka - Woody - King - BAE
Hutton - Woody - Corluka - Gunter
I can be doing this musical chairs routine all day long. Best way to just summarise it:
- Chimbonda can not play left-back and should either start at RB or cover a centre-back position if we are desperate
- Corluka is a right-back, but might be the answer in slotting into CB when King is unavailable
- A flying Hutton is a better option than Chimbonda out the right side IMO
- Woody will always start as long as he is 100%
- Gunter is one for the 'future' and will get his chance because Pascal will be due a transfer request a year from now
- BAE is not world-class but has acquired an edge to his game (also don't you just love the way he turns to go one way then turns and runs in the opposite direction? Its the most telegraphed move in football yet works every bleeding time!), and until Bale re-discovers his bite he does a more than decent job for us
Hold up. Oh Christ. I've forgotten to include you know who.
Hutton. Chimbonda. Corluka. Gunter......and Zokora. Add another one to the list. Didier is a better RB than he is a midfielder. Unless someone can define what type of midfielder Zoko actually is, I'll stand by my word. So that makes '5' players who can slot into the spoilt position of the right hand corner of our defence. Insane depth for a bread and butter team position. Seems that every part of the team has either far too much of one thing or too little of the other. I'll get to our midfield issues in another blog article.
Finally, let's finish with Dan Silver. Works for the Daily Mirror. Read this. Insightful stuff. I thought some of my work lacked substance but I do this for free so the standard of content varies depending on alcohol levels. Shame on you Mr Silver. Shame on your editor. Out of interest, who do you support? Let me guess...