September 27, 2009

Spurs loanee update


Currently we have the following players out on loan:

Sam Cox – Cheltenham Town (until 1st October 2009)
Lee Butcher – Grays Athletic (until 1st October 2009)
Oscar JanssonExeter City (until 1st October 2009)
Dean ParrettAldershot Town (until 17th October 2009)
Jon ObikaYeovil Town (until 11th November 2009)
Ryan Mason – Yeovil Town (until 14th November 2009)
Steven Caulker – Yeovil Town (until 14th August 2009)
Troy Archibald-HenvilleExeter City (until December 2009)
Andros Townsend – Leyton Orient (until 31st December 2009)
David Button – Crewe Alexandra (until January 2010)
Jake Livermore – Derby County (until January 2010)
Jamie O’Hara – Portsmouth (until January 2010)
Tomas PekhartSlavia Prague (until 2nd Feb 2010)
Adel TaarabtQPR (until May 2010)
Kyle Walker – Sheffield United (until May 2010)

Now returned from loan:
Adam Smith – Wycombe Wanderers
Ben Alnwick – Norwich City

Plenty of our players got some game time this weekend. It’s worth starting with Dean Parrett, who took the Man of the Match award for Aldershot Town yesterday, playing 80 minutes on his home debut for The Shots. Fantastic achievement for Dean, who doesn’t turn 18 until mid-November. Sam Cox was again an unused sub for Cheltenham Town in the same match and, with his loan expiring next week, I imagine he’ll be back with us soon. Perhaps he’ll need to go a division lower to get some valuable league experience.

Some comments on Dean’s performance from the Aldershot Town match report:


Within a minute Chalmers had put through Parrett and with the outside of his right boot he struck just wide of the near post from 10 yards.

Parrett was certainly in creative mode in the early stages with Chalmers effective, settling in front of the back four.

Aldershot took the lead on 34 minutes as the visitors were down to 10 men with Andy Gallinagh being treated on the side of the pitch. Winning a corner on the right Parrett delivered a well-weighted cross to the edge of the six yard box. Chalmers rose but the ball bypassed him into the path of Dave Winfield who headed home via the underside of the crossbar for his first goal of the season.

Aldershot responded well. Hudson rifled a shot over the bar after another good exchange of passes between Parrett and Hudson.

Parrett was replaced, seconds after a caution for a late challenge, and received a standing ovation, rightly so for an impressive home debut where he was also awarded the Man of the Match by match sponsors Rye Golf and Leisure.


Lee Butcher conceded two for Grays Athletic, and has now started four games there – playing in the same eleven as ex-Spur Jamie Slabber.

Oscar Jansson conceded two for Exeter City and Troy Archibald-Henville also played the full 90, picking up a yellow card. A few comments on our lads from the Exeter City Official Site report – looks as though Jansson made quite a bad error for the goal.


Stewart fouled Youga and from a couple of yards out of the area to the right of the goal Shevley sent a stinging free kick into Jansson’s arms.

The second half started with the same team, but Archibald-Henville was moved into midfield with Edwards moving back.

Troy was magnificent in the second half, he was winning loads of ball in midfield and showed a pleasing level of distribution. He rose highest at a corner early after the restart and his header went over the bar when you would have backed him to score.

A soft cross came in from the right and Jansson spilled the ball to McLeod who had an easy task to poke the ball home.

Matt Taylor was excellent at the heart of the defence, Archibald-Henville was magnificent in midfield.


I never had Troy down as a central midfielder!

Yeovil Town finally got a win, with Ryan Mason and Steven Caulker both playing 90 minutes. Jon Obika was absent, playing for England U20. Yeovil Town Official Site report:


With just four minutes gone Ryan Mason, making one of many surging forward runs, was brought down by Bristol City loanee James Wilson. Nathan Jones’ free kick was met by Steven Caulker but keeper Nikki Bull caught comfortably.

Jean-Paul Kalala and Shaun MacDonald paired up successfully in the middle while Mason pushed further forward.

Mason again surged forward and chipped his cross in but again the ball was cleared.

The home fans were hoping for an equally bright start after half time and they got what they wanted with Mason’s shot deflected for a corner.

Bean was booked for scuffling with Kalala on the halfway line before sub Danny Foster cynically scythed Mason down outside the box, the set piece coming to nothing.

And some great comments from a Yeovil Town forum on Mason/Caulker.

Early days with Caulker but for 17 yr old very assured on ball,has pace,can use both feet,good passer and strong in air.I think he has the potential to go all the way and expect he will be in premiership in 3/4 yrs.


“Amazing for a 17 year old,like many it will all depend how he progresses and doesn’t fall away to the lower leagues.

Today he was fantastic by the way and was my MOM.”

“Caulker didnt put a foot wrong today and always looked comfortable on the ball. I agree he was my MOM; but can understand why others got mentioned for it.”

“Finally we win a game .Finally mason is played in a forward position.”

“Ryan Mason, who was absolute class today. At the heart of everything.”

“Agreed. Excellent performance. The shape looked much better today. It allowed Mason to shine in the free roll and Williams linked others in superbly. Unsung heroes of the day for me were Macdonald and Kalala – they won so many tackles and loose balls in the middle and distributed the ball briliiantly. Top stuff. Solid at the back too. My MOM, fwiw, was Mason, but any one could have won it today.”


It will come as no surprise to anyone who has seen Ryan Mason play for our U18s that he had arguably his best game in a Yeovil shirt so far in his favourite role, just off the forward. Let’s hope he stays there!

Andros Townsend came on in the 56th minute for Leyton Orient…and scored in the 57th!! His match-winning goal will hopefully mean he gets his place back in their side – he had previously lost it with a couple of poor games in a row. Plenty of positives from the Leyton Orient Official Site report:


ANDROS TOWNSEND came off the bench to sink Millwall and give Orient their first win in nine attempts.

The on-loan Spurs winger swung a tight London derby in the home side’s favour with a super display as a second half sub.

He had been on the pitch for less than two minutes before firing in the winning goal, and it was a strike of quality to beat Millwall keeper David Forde in the bottom right corner.

The O’s were forced into an early change in the second half when Demetriou suffered a head injury and his replacement, Townsend, had an instant impact.

He had been on the pitch for barely 90 seconds before arrowing a low shot across Forde and into the bottom corner to give Orient the lead in fine style.

Townsend went close to adding a second on 69 when he unleashed a stinging shot from range that Forde had to acrobatically tip over the crossbar.


The goal should be up on the BBC web-site within the next day or two.

Jake Livermore played another 78 minutes for Derby County, deputising for first choice midfielder Paul Green, who is currently out injured.

Jamie O’Hara played 90 minutes for Portsmouth as they lost 0-1 to Everton. Great for Jamie to be getting some 90 minute stints under his belt. Reading the Portsmouth forums, the fans seem relatively happy with his performance, and he whipped in some dangerous set pieces (as seen on Match of the Day).

Adel Taarabt was a 69th minute substitute for QPR, as they beat Barnsley 5-2 – he also made a cameo against Chelsea in the cup. Well worth a watch if you’ve not yet seen it – he actually passed the ball a couple of times. Taarabt’s cameo vs Chelsea.

Kyle Walker played 90 minutes for Sheffield United in a 2-1 defeat away at Swansea. He’s been a regular for them so far at full-back and has been generally solid without really shining. Important to remember at this stage that he is the same age as Danny Rose/Jon Obika.

David Button thankfully missed out for Crewe through injury – they conceded 5 on Friday night!

Tomas Pekhart was absent again for Slavia Prague last night – he must be injured as they only named 6 subs again.

To see a round up of appearances so far, click on the pitcture below:

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September 20, 2009

19/09/09 Tottenham Hotspur U18s 6-1 Fulham U18s, Spurs Lodge

A small crowd turned up for Spurs U18s’ 5th FA Premier Academy League match of the season against Fulham. Remembering that the mysterious Omar had told us that Fulham’s Academy were “much better” than ours, but also having noted that Fulham had lost three out of their four games so far, I was quietly confident that Spurs would make it three wins in a row.

Presumably the first team were in for a training session, as Clive Allen and Tony Parks were present at the game. Also worth nothing that Bostock was there, crutches and cast now gone – he was doing some sprints on one of the other pitches, and also kicking a ball again.

Inglethorpe made a slight change to the formation for this one, switching from a 4-4-1-1 to a 4-1-4-1, with Harry Kane’s starting position noticeably deeper. Kane again took the armband, and we included three “overage” players in Smith, Butcher and Blackwood.

Butler (17)
Smith (18) Butcher (18) Byrne (17) Francis-Angol (16)
Nicholson (17)
Fredericks (16) Kane © (16) M’Poku (17) McBride (17)
Oyenuga (16)

Subs:

Durojaiye (16) for Butcher (18), 46.
Waller-Lassen (16) for McBride, 66.
Blackwood (18) for Francis-Angol, 72.

Not used:
Ranieri (17)
Lancaster (16)

The opening was frantic with both sides playing at a high tempo and, therefore, it took a while for things to settle down. Spurs’ first meaningful attack came when “Pablo” (previously Polo!) M’Poku took a quick free-kick, exchanged passes with Francis-Angol, and set Fredericks away on the right. He beat his man and put in a low cross which was easily cut out at the near post.

On 7 minutes, Nicholson set his stall out – Spurs had committed a lot of players forward in an attack and, when the move broke down and Fulham broke forward, it looked as though we might find ourselves in a spot of bother. Nicholson, through good positioning and reading of the game, came across and saw out the danger.

Fulham had the first reasonable chance to score 10 minutes in – Keanu (that was never going to get old…) Marsh-Brown forcing a decent save from Butler. Francis-Angol then committed himself in a dangerous area, his man going round him, before the young full-back showed great responsibility and commitment by getting back and clearing the danger.

With 18 minutes gone, Spurs were having plenty of possession without finding the cutting edge – although a couple of borderline offside decisions didn’t help the cause. Minutes later, Spurs had their best move of the match. Skipper Harry Kane decided to go direct and, from the centre circle, fired a brilliant ball right-footed down the left flank for Oyenuga. Kudus showed a good touch and found space for a cross. Unfortunately McBride was stretching slightly, and couldn’t bring it under control, although a first time finish may have been the better option.

Oyenuga was involved again, this time cutting in and having his shot blocked after a similar long ball from Kane. The ball came back out to Kane, but his shot dribbled wide. Oyenuga was, by this point, really giving Fulham the run around. He received the ball wide on the left, found room for a shot, and his near-post effort rattled the goal frame. Reacting quicker than any of the Fulham players, he charged off after the rebound, stopping it going out for a throw, before laying off a pass to Francis-Angol. Eventually the ball found its way to Nathan Byrne, but his pass was intercepted. Kudos to Oyenuga (groan) for the effort though.

Spurs opened the scoring on 26 minutes – a cross from Fredericks was not dealt with by Fulham’s huge centre backs, and M’Poku intelligently headed the ball down to Kane. With two men behind him, he turned and fired in a low shot, which found the bottom corner. A well-deserved lead.

Virtually immediately after this, Spurs should have made it two. Nicholson turned his man in the middle of midfield, and lofted an excellent pass wide to Fredericks. He beat the full-back again and laid off to M’Poku, who picked out Harry Kane in the box – his initial shot hit Oyenuga, and Fulham tried to clear the ball. It came back to Kane and, as he controlled, the Fulham players appealed for handball. Play continued, and he drew a good save from Bettinelli in the Fulham goal – the ball rebounding out again and, this time, it looked like McBride would score, but his volley hit the bar! A real goalmouth scramble.

Spurs were playing well and dominating against a poor Fulham side, and M’Poku was getting increasingly involved. He showed some brilliant skill in the middle of the pitch, turning his man with ease before striding forward and hitting a firm effort down the keeper’s throat. M’poku and Fredericks than played a lovely one-two which ended with Fredericks intelligently attempting to pick out McBride at the far post. Unfortunately the cross was slightly overhit.

It wasn’t until the 40th minute that Spurs doubled their lead. Adam Smith, ever the willing runner, charged up the right before cutting in and drilling a left-footed shot from 20 yards into the keeper’s bottom left corner. A fine finish, and some breathing room. The next goal came more quickly! Oyenuga had again pulled to the left and, when he received the ball, he managed to cut in and get the ball on to his right foot. This time he went across the keeper, curling the ball into the far corner – a great finish and certainly a well-deserved goal. He celebrated with a dance, before thanking Kane for the assist – “cheers for the ball H!”

The half ended with a slight annoyance – Jake Nicholson went into a 50/50 strongly but, in my opinion, fairly. He won the ball but was deemed to have been showing his studs and the referee booked him.

At half-time, Inglethorpe brought on Olumide Durojaiye for Calum Butcher, as he had in the previous home game against West Ham. Valuable experience for Durojaiye, who is one of the first year group. He will almost certainly have a role to play later in the season when the likes of Smith and Butcher go out on loan.

The start of the half was quite competitive and, one of Fulham’s better players, Christian Marquez, had a decent chance which Butler saved. McBride was cynically brought down on the edge of the box (no yellow shown), and M’Poku’s free quick was firmly struck just wide. Minutes later, we probably should have scored again. A corner was headed down by M’Poku, but a defender cleared off the line, and the rebound was harmlessly put wide.

On 60 minutes Jamie Butler was forced to rush out and make an excellent save with his legs as Fulham broke our offside trap. The game became a little more scrappy, and a few tackles started going in. McBride was hacked down over on the left – a clear yellow card offence from where I was stood – but the referee didn’t even give a free-kick. Kane went down heavily moments later and received fairly lengthy treatment. Minutes later he had another heavy fall which knocked the wind out of his sales.

With 65 minutes gone, Adam Smith went on yet another marauding run, and put in a superb cross, which M’Poku put wide on the half volley. At this point, Jesse Waller-Lassen was brought on for McBride, who had received some rough treatment from the Fulham defenders all game. With one of his first touches, Jesse buried a simple header at the back post after an excellent run and cross from Ryan Fredericks.

Fulham had a couple more chances, one of which fell to Keanu (!), before Spurs made their final change – the impressive Francis-Angol withdrawn, Blackwood coming on at left-back. Fulham did eventually get a goal back – Blackwood didn’t deal with the ball, and eventually it was crossed for one of the subs to head the ball against the bar, having not been picked up by Smith and Durojaiye. The rebound fell to another substitute, who finished past Butler. Smith seemed to be explaining to Durojaiye that it was his man who had headed on to the bar.

It didn’t take long for Spurs to go 5-1 up, with Adam Smith again causing problems. This time he drew a free-kick (and this time the offending player was booked), and Kane’s set piece was palmed out by the keeper to Waller-Lassen, who scored his second. The icing was put on the cake by Fredericks, who deserved a goal for some good wing play throughout. M’Poku slid him in with a well weighted pass and, with the Fulham defender backing away from him, he had plenty of space to plant the ball across the goalkeeper.

There was just time for another great Spurs chance, a perfect set up for Kane after good play from Waller-Lassen on the left flank. He blazed well wide first time, when in reality he had as much time as he wanted.

Butler – my first time seeing him, and he was called upon to make a few stops, none better than the save with his feet. Did everything expected of him, but I didn’t really get to see a range of goalkeeping skills, so it’s hard to really judge him on this performance. 7/10

Smith – looked useful going forward, and clearly needs a full season out on loan now. A few lapses defensively, but it’s a bit of a mish-mash defence at the moment, so I think these moments can probably be forgiven. 7/10

Butcher - marshalled the back four well, winning headers and often taking the safety first approach. Job done for him at half time, and he didn’t re-appear. 7/10

Byrne – the first time I’d seen him play at centre back, and he did a good job. Not the tallest, but he’s fast and quite strong, so has enough of the necessary skills. Reads the game well, and broke forward a couple of times. I don’t think this position is going to be a long-term thing for Nathan, and he may well end up at right-back if Smith goes back out on loan. 7/10

Francis-Angol – looked a different player compared the United game, and he really impressed me. Some good, no-nonsense defending, and looked much more useful going forward. Never likely to carry the ball 50 yards like Smith can, but he got up in support, and was sensible in possession. Encouraging! 7/10

Nicholson – he has made this role his own, and he looked very comfortable. Good reader of the game, and generally useful in possession. Sometimes his range of passing can let him down, but he picked out Fredericks with a cracking long pass in the first half. Made plenty of interceptions, but also wasn’t scared of a tackle, despite being a real bean-pole. I thought he was very unlucky to be booked at the end of the first half. 8/10

Fredericks – impressive performance from Ryan, who has quick feet, and generally delivers dangerous crosses. Mixes it up by firing in low crosses once in a while. Clearly a player who likes to get to the by-line, and I think he would benefit from keeping defenders guessing by coming inside more. 7/10

Kane – generally I’ve seen him used in the Mason role, but he was even deeper today. Kane is more of a passer, whereas Mason is probably more of a Modric-esque schemer. He still looks quite clumsy at times, but he is very effective, and he took his goal really well. Good all-round performance. 8/10

M’Poku – he was less involved this week than he had been in the previous three games, but looks a real class act. One of the few players in this squad who has a bag of tricks, and is not afraid to use them. He’s a strong runner, and has clearly also improved on his defensive game this year. The brightest prospect in the current side IMO. 7/10

McBride – he impressed me again. He’s quite unfussy – I get the impression that he likes to work a yard, and deliver a cross where possible. Has a very neat touch with his left, and also showed the occasional burst of acceleration, although he doesn’t have blistering pace. 7/10

Oyenuga – he battled very hard, which I felt was lacking from his game against United. He must have given up 3 or 4 inches to the two Fulham centre halves, but he won a very high percentage of aerial challenges, to the extent where the Fulham goalkeeper bellowed “how many more d’you wanna let him win?” at one point in the second half. Willing runner, great workrate, and plenty of quality too. Probably our MOTM. 8/10

Durojaiye – we looked a little uncertain with the Durojaiye/Byrne combination at the back, and he was probably at fault for the goal. 6/10

A drastic improvement from the last time I saw this team, and I’m pleased that Inglethorpe now has the balance right in the middle of midfield. I have a few concerns about the defence, as there doesn’t seem to be a natural partnership that can take over from the Caulker/Butcher combination.

Spurs Odyssey report.
Official Site report.

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September 13, 2009

Tactics for Chelsea

Yesterday was a little disappointing, but I expected 0 points or 1 point from these two games, so it wasn’t as earth shattering to me as it seems it has been to some. United were well worth the 3 points – Vidic, Fletcher and Rooney in particular were excellent, and Berbatov in the first half was majestic at times.

Next week we play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. They will probably line up something like this:

Cech
Bosingwa Carvalho Terry Cole
Mikel
Essien Ballack Malouda
Lampard
Drogba

Lampard and Drogba have been quite exceptional so far (I struggle to see how Defoe took PotM ahead of either of them), and in my opinion our focus must be to contain these two if we are to get anything from the game.

How do we contain them?

  1. Sit Huddlestone just in front of Drogba, so when competing for any high balls, he has King behind and Huddlestone in front. We tried this with King against Kevin Davies last season, and it seemed to work well.
  2. Have Palacios man-mark Lampard. Everything comes through Lampard, so nullifying that threat will mean they have to take chances in other areas of the pitch, which could leave them open to the counter.

Chelsea’s other huge attribute is their height; they are so dangerous from set pieces. In Terry, Ballack and Drogba, they have three of the best in the league at attacking the ball. For this reason, playing both Gomes and Crouch could prove vital. Gomes, whilst being capable of blunders, will compete for crosses, whereas Cudicini hugs his line like Robinson used to, inviting pressure on to us. A decisive goalkeeper against a strong set-piece side is crucial.

My full line up would be:

Gomes
Corluka King Bassong Assou-Ekotto
Palacios
Lennon Jenas Huddlestone Kranjcar
Crouch

NB: If Dawson is fit, he would also be in my side ahead of Bassong/Woodgate, as he has played well against Drogba in the past.

Tough choice to not select Defoe or Keane, but I think both have been poor in the last two games (despite Defoe’s cracking finish against United), and I don’t think we can go with two many small players against a side as big and strong as Chelsea.

Harry was out-thought by Old Whiskey Face this weekend – let’s hope he comes back strongly.

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September 8, 2009

Academy round-up

With thanks to the brilliant Spurs Odyssey.

Friendly
Sat 25 Jul (Spurs Lodge) Tottenham U-18s 3-2 West Ham U-18s
Our scorers: Kane (2), M’Poku

Ranieri (17)
Waller-Lassen (16) Durojaiye (16) Francis-Angol (??) Nicholson (17)
Fredericks (16) Ekim (17) Carroll (17) McBride (16)
Oyenuga (16) Kane(16)

Subs:
Butler (17) for Ranieri, 46
M’Poku(17) for McBride, 46
Lancaster (16) for Francis-Angol, 46
O’Neill (17) for Fredericks, 46
Pritchard (16?) for Ekim, 52
Byrne (17) for Carroll, 62
Fredericks (16) for Oyenuga, 83

NB: Rolling subs were allowed, hence Fredericks coming off and back on!

Match report from Spurs Od.

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Friendly
Sat 08 Aug (London Colney) Tottenham U-18s 0-2 Arsenal U-18s

Butler (17)
Byrne (17) Durojaiye (16) Blackwood (17) Carroll (17)
Waller-Lassen (16) Mokotjo (??) Parrett (17) Zongo (??)
Kane (16) M’Poku (17)

Subs:

Nicholson (17) for Byrne, 26
Byrne (17) for Blackwood, 46
Ekim (17) for Parrett, 46
Oyenuga (16) for Waller-Lassen, 56
Lancaster (16) for Zongo, 63
McBride (16) for M’Poku, 76
Ranieri (17) for Butler, 76

NB: Rolling subs were allowed again.

The South African pair of Masibusane Zongo and Kamohelo Mokotjo played on trial.

Match report from Young Guns.

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FA Premier Academy League
Sat 25 Jul (Rockcliffe Park, Hurworth Place, Darlington) Middlesboro U18 3-2 Tottenham U-18s
Our scorers – Durojaiye, M’Poku

Butler (17)
Nicholson (17) Durojaiye (16) Blackwood (18) Byrne 917)
Fredericks (16) Cox (18) Ekim (17) M’Poku (17)
Kane © (16)
Oyenuga (16)

Subs:
Parrett (17) for Ekim, 39.
Lancaster (16?) for Fredericks, 58.
Carroll (17) for Durojaiye, 68 (at this point, Harry Kane moved to centre back!)

Spurs Odyssey report.

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FA Premier Academy League
Sat 29 Aug (Spurs Lodge) Tottenham Hotspur U18s 1-3 Manchester United U18s
Our scorer – Oyenuga

Jansson (18)
Durojaiye (16) Blackwood (18) Cox (18) Francis-Angol (16?)
Byrne (17) Parrett (17) M’Poku (17) McBride (16)
Kane © (16)
Oyenuga (16)

Subs:

Fredericks (16) for M’Poku, 55.
Ekim (17) for Francis-Angol, 70.
O’Neill (17) for McBride, 75.

Not used:
Nicholson (17)
Butler (17)

My report.
Official Site report.
Spurs Odyssey report.

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FA Premier Academy League
Sat 05 Sep (Spurs Lodge) Tottenham Hotspur U18s vs West Ham U18s
Our scorers – M’Poku 3, Oyenuga 2

Butler (17)
Smith (18) Butcher (18) Byrne (17) Francis-Angol (16?)
Fredericks (16) Nicholson (17) M’Poku (17) McBride (16)
Kane © (16)
Oyenuga (16)

Subs:

Durojaiye (16) for Butcher (18), 46.
Lancaster (16?) for Fredericks, 60.
O’Neill (17) for M’Poku, 71.

Not used:
Ranieri (17)
Blackwood (18)

Spurs Official Site report.
West Ham Official Site report.

Next up is a tough game at Southampton, who beat United a fortnight ago…

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