|photo by Here's Kate
James is back on the Spurs' beat. And just in the nick of time:
There's death. There's taxes. And there's the fact that Spurs will sign a reasonably accomplished center half in January, and it will probably be Gary Cahill. This after an in-form Spurs side and the jaw dropping idiocy of referee Stuart Attwell conspired to hammer another nail into the Bolton relegation coffin and provide further lift for Spurs charge up the Premiership table. As for Cahill, Spurs chased him unsuccessfully in the last window and will with no doubt bring him in next month. His reputation for headiness and solidity should not be diminished by the events of last Saturday.
The unsurprising fact that Cahill and the rest of the Bolton back line had trouble dealing with Spurs' front line in the first 17 minutes aside, one would be hard pressed to witness a more ludicrous red card than that given by Attwell upon Cahill's sliding tackle of Scott Parker at that point. Either both cleats would have had to have been up (they weren't) or it would have had to have been a clear goal scoring opportunity (it wasn't: I had a better chance of scoring from my family room than Parker from that place on the pitch). Uncle Harry looked embarrassed. Owen Coyle looked like someone had confiscated the rest of his scotch for life. And what little drama was to be found in this match dissipated immediately.
After this, Spurs bombarded Bolton in waves. But for Adebayor's increasingly troublesome inability to finish, the score could easily have been 10 nil. And this was without Rafael Van Der Vaart, who rested his troublesome hamstring and was replaced by Jermaine Defoe (a goal), and Ledley King, who rested his troublesome knees and was replaced by William Gallas (great game). If one looks for vulnerabilities in this Spurs squad, then attention falls to the latter two defenders, whose age and fragility are well documented. On the other side, Younes Kaboul has been fantastic - a model of consistency. But should the aged Gallas and fragile King be lost for an extended period of time we are left with Sebastien Bassong, and anyone who witnessed his performance in the Europa League flame out to PAOK last week has good reason to be filled with trepidation. So, you can count on Cahill's arrival at White Hart Lane in January. He will be reasonably priced and most probably available as Bolton lowers their payroll in preparation for the Championship next season.
As for the Europa League flame out, most Spurs' supporters seem quite ambivalent. Many wanted to see a continuation in the competition because a trophy is a trophy. Others - including Redknapp - don't seem to be all that misty-eyed given the obscenely challenging nature of the competition both before and after the knock out stages. And while it is always disappointing for any tournament run to end, it is difficult to argue with Uncle Harry given Spurs league form - especially as compared to the Champions League teams, and Stoke and Fulham, who chose not to field teams of subtitutes in their respective competitions. Moreover, we've gotten a nice draw in the 3rd round of the FA Cup - home to Cheltenham - so perhaps there will be opportunities there.
In the meantime, one would've been hard pressed after the demolition by the Manchesters last August to predict us in December to be two points off second place United, three up on Chelsea, five up on the Gooners, with a game in hand to boot. Just two day ago, gloriously, Mr. "You'll Never - Dive/Be A Racist/Bite/Give the Finger - Alone" Suarez and the Scousers lost to Fulham of all teams to further solidify a top 4 position for Spurs. More importantly, with the exception of Rafa's hamstring and Ledley's knees, all key contributors are fresh and supremely confident.
With the expected back line reinforcement, perhaps an additional striker and a few of our top 4 challengers falling to the dreaded Europa League, things still appear set for Spurs. There has even been talk of a serious title run. While that is not only premature but really fairly unrealistic, perhaps - dare we dream - a top 4 finish AND a FA Cup run?
And since we're dreaming, a new contract for Harry while we're at it?
This is farlieonfootie for December 7.