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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Spurs expectancy gone down

Welcome to EliteFootballTalk for the season of 2008-09.

Yesterday, I watched the highlights of the game at White Hart Lane between Spurs and Sunderland. For the 2nd game in succession Spurs were made, coincidentally by a North East England side, to look 2nd best. Yesterday they responded to equalise but that came in the 2nd half and then, with experienced tall internationals like Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate in central defence, a swet left foot Darryl Murphy cross eludes Spurs for Djibril Cisse to head in on his return to the EPL. Good header too but made easier by the non-marking goal-side of him and poor approach to the high ball by any Spurs player (it went over King's head).

Remember Spurs signing Darren Bent last year June? At the time Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe were present and there was huge expectation they would rampage up the table with four firm strikers. No, they wouldn't be playing at the same time but with Keane adaptable at right midfield two of them could or would be present and Keane is such a good assister even from right midfield, you would expect two out of the other three to be on the end of plenty of balls for goals.

Come a year or so later, Defoe has moved to Portsmouth, a regular player instead of the bit-part at Spurs, accompanied by Peter Crouch. While we have sold to Portsmouth, we have replaced with Keane to partner Ferdnando Torres. Spurs have sold on two of theirs and not replaced them. Bent is there and so is Berbatov and you would think that would be that, until you hear Man Utd are interested in Berbatov and Berbatov appears to be in preference of a move, to the degree where apparently he made clear he was not in the right frame of mind to compete at the Lane yesterday.

Think back to The Riverside last week where he came on as a sub and Boro scored minutes later and then fifteen minutes after that. We saw footage of Berbatov becoming irate with his team-mates if the ball wasn't good enough for him to grab or hold onto. Has there been no talking to Berbatov as in is he prepared at all to focus on Spurs while he is still their player, or it has been the case Spurs were prepared to release Keane in order to keep hold of Berbatov, only to hear he wants to leave as well?

Spurs played David Bentley behind Bent with Aaron Lennon on the right, Giovanni Dos Santos, who played upfront last week, was on the bench. If Berbatov is to leave WHL, then the workings between Dos Santos and Bent is crucial, as Spurs said yesterday they only have the one striker. IMO, Berbatov needs to be spoken to in depth, establish 100% where he sees himself and go on from there. Not what we've heard in the media, let Spurs speak to him in depth and take it from there.

If need be, sell him on and use the finance to get in a sharp striker of the same calibre, and if chairman Daniel Levy is of his worth, he would attract Ajax's Klaas Jan Huntelaar or Euro2008 'celebrity' and Zenit St Petersburg's Andriy Arshavin to the club. That is the level of player I would expect to replace Keane and Berbatov. I may even be pushing it to suggest Roman Pavlyuchenko.



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