Tag Archives: Carling Cup

Stoke City 0 – 0 Tottenham Hotspur: Match Report

21 Sep

So, obviously I didn’t see the game, but having heard it on the radio, I’m not too upset about that fact.

Clearly then there is little point in trying to go over the details of a game I could only listen to, however, there are a few impressions that I was left with.

  • Pav. How frustrating is this man? His form, like his desire to stay at Spurs seems to change like the wind. He rarely makes a huge impact on games, but even when he’s quiet he can get on the score sheet, usually with a spectacular effort. Away at Young Boys last year springs to mind immediately. However, it seems that in this game he was absolutely abject, rounding off his performance with a ridiculous skied effort in the penalty shoot-out, leaving far less experienced takers having to step up and accept responsibility. Now, let’s be clear, I don’t blame Pav for the miss; anyone that steps up in a penalty shootout, even in the Carling Cup 3rd round deserves respect. However, it seems that the appalling miss was symptomatic of his entire night. I wouldn’t be surprised if Harry is now only keeping him to maintain the numbers up front; although it is worth noting that (I think) the Russian transfer window is still open. £10m+ would be more than enough to convince me into selling and promoting Harry Kane to 4th striker (if you include Rafa in those numbers).

  • The academy boys…Starting with Tom Carroll. It sounds like he was excellent in this game. I have to admit, when I saw him against Hearts, I thought he looked far too young to be playing first team footie. Shame on me, as a short guy with a baby face, I’ve had the same snap judgements made about me and they are invariably wrong.We’ve heard so much in the past about John Bostock and Dean Parrett, ‘big money’ academy signings, although Bostock seems to have believed his hype and Parrett has suffered with injuries. Ryan Mason and Adam Smith have both made an impact in their various loans and Harry Kane scores for fun (although I am weary, because Lee Barnard broke all sorts of records for the reserves and never looked much kop for the first team). With Jake Livermore breaking through into the first team, I had almost sub-consciously decided that would be our lot for this year. However, we have an academy team which keeps performing well in youth tournaments, a group of players recognised by many as one of the best we’ve had in some time. The academy is now a progressive set-up which recognises the poor return  over the last 10-20 years and with the changes all made over the last 5 or 6 years, now is the time we should be expecting to see a return. For me Jake Livermore is the start of that, but the likes of Tom Carroll may really be the type of player who will prove the academy’s worth.Massimo Luongo. His name sounds Italian, he was born in Australia and he plays for Tottenham Hotspur. Again, I made a bad assumption here. My thought was that with a number of our other youngsters in our UEFA ‘B’ list (see the squad list on this site for full details here), Massimo Luongo would be waiting another year for his shot. He only came on as a sub and to be honest, with us dropping out of this competition it may be another season before he sees first team action again; however, he has been roundly praised by those who watch academy games and it seems his performances have been noticed by the management. It’s a shame for him that he missed the decisive penalty, but hopefully he won’t take it to heart because it’s certainly no reflection on him as a player.Heurelho Gomes. It sounds like he had a poor game. He’s a confidence player and it’s his first game since Hearts away (often not even sitting on the bench) which says to me Harry has lost confidence in the sometimes amazing, sometimes amazingly bad ‘keeper. It comes as no surprise then that he had a few hairy moments and had to be saved on a couple of occasions. However, he kept a clean sheet, which counts for something. I have to admit though, despite being shorter in the tooth and longer in the arm than both of our other two stoppers, he looks the most likely of the three to be making his way out of White Hart Lane.

Spurs’ Team

Heurelho Gomes

Vedran Ćorluka

Younès Kaboul

Sebastien Bassong

Benoît Assou-Ekotto

Rafael van der Vaart

Jake Livermore

Sandro

Tom Carroll

Roman Pavlyuchenko

Giovani Dos Santos

Sub ’63: Jermain Defoe
Replaced van der Vaart

Sub ’71: Massimo Luongo
Replaced Sandro

Sub ’96: Andros Townsend
Replaced Giovani

So there we have it. You can find a proper match report on the BBC and whilst I am sure I haven’t told you anything you didn’t already know, sometimes it just feels good to get it down in writing!

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Stoke City vs Tottenham Hotspur: Preview

20 Sep

Carling CupCarling Cup – 3rd Round
Date: 20 September 2011 Kick-off: 19:45
Venue: Britannia Stadium (Stoke-on-Trent)
Radio:

The League Cup, or Carling Cup as it is currently known. What an interesting competition. Over the years teams have begun to deem this competition as something between an irritation and an irrelevance, which appeared to start with Arsene Wenger fielding his favourite little boys. We have seen clubs use the competition to blood youngsters and give a game to experienced players unable to get a game in the league. Despite the fact this competition has never had the glamour or romance of the F.A. Cup, it remains a sad fall from grace… or does it?

We have reached the stage now where the league is all important, the riches on offer are vast and the rewards for reaching the Champions League huge. Despite the squad limits now in place there are a number of younger and fringe players who struggle to get a game when the first 11 is fully fit. Whilst this is rare at Spurs, players like Bassong, Giovani and Pavlyuchenko may be called upon at important times to cover for suspended and injured players. Short of match fitness, these guys will probably not do us, or themselves any favours, meaning the Carling Cup is an ideal competition to get these guys some minutes. Gallas and Sandro, on their way back from injury, will also benefit from minutes on the pitch, without the pressure or risks associated with playing in the Premier League. Finally, those youngsters, many of whom have played in Europe’s equivalent of the Carling Cup (The Europa League) will also get the chance to add to their appearances in the Lilywhite.

It’s wrong to assume that it’s easy to win the thing. Whilst the early rounds are populated by sides big and small playing younger teams to protect their stars, once the competition reaches the final stages, the big guns will come out to play. For a club like Spurs it’s certainly a serious prospect. We can take advantage of weakened opposition and we know in a one-off game we can beat anyone, 2008 proved that and maintained our record of winning a trophy at least every 10 years which stretches back to 1951. The evidence is there, though, that despite not always showing the competition the highest level of respect in the early stages that big clubs often do win this competition. (Chelsea – ’05, ’08; Manchester United ’06, ’09, ’10; Spurs ’08), Birmingham bucked the trend last season beating Arsenal 2-1.

Lets try and get through this and have a proper run at it

Obviously we won’t be fielding our strongest team here, but this is a trophy we can win, I want to see us have a good go at it. Given that last season was our ‘year ending in 1’ chance, which we didn’t take, it’s about time we started some new traditions. If we can win it playing the lads most of the way through that will be a great achievement.

Stoke might have 2 metre Peter up front, which is obviously not too much of a worry for us, perhaps more of a concern is if they decide to play the man Crouchaldinho has replaced, the significantly more effective Kenwyne Jones, who may be out to prove a point. Regardless, if he plays it will be great to see Jonathan Woodgate again, a player I was less happy to see leaving the Lane.

I don’t really care about the Carling Cup

If we go out I won’t be sad, it will ensure that we are not over-committed, particularly towards the end of this year and the start of next when everything starts to get serious. However, games = revenue and more importantly, as I have mentioned, it means the younger lads and others will get some games.

Stoke

Stoke’s tactics aren’t subtle, but they certainly are effective. We’ve dealt with Delap’s throws well in past games, but with a less experienced side on the pitch it will be interesting to see how we get on, regardless of which large/beanpole striker they play.

Spurs’ Team News

It looks like Sandro and William Gallas will each get a run out on their way back from injury, as will Rafa. In addition, Gomes, Bassong, Corluka and Pav all look like getting a game. It will be interesting to see which of the younger players will get a chance, although given performances so far Harry Kane and Tom Carroll both look like candidates and Livermore needs a game to keep up his momentum.

Injuries: Michael Dawson, Danny Rose, Steven Pienaar, Tom Huddlestone, Aaron Lennon.

Stokes Team News

Glancing at Stoke’s website and the BBC suggests Stoke do not have any injury worries.

Tom Soares, Danny Pugh and Michael Tonge were all omitted from Stoke’s Premier League squad, suggesting that they may get a run out in the Carling Cup.

Prediction

I’m not super optimistic about this game, but I am hopeful. I’m going to go for a 2-0 Spurs win, despite this being a difficult away game.

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