Ed is still in the holiday mood:
Spurs are usually a team on decline in the festive season. Too many games for too thin a squad. But not this year. After a scoreless draw against Manchester United (we’ll take it against that payroll), Harry Kane went big and busted up Chelsea for Spurs best win in the BPL perhaps . . . ever?
The emergence of Kane has dramatically changed Spurs. With 17 goals in about as many games in all competitions, Spurs seem finally to have found their striker. His emergence from the Spurs own academy makes it even sweeter. One might be tempted to say that the team is finally catching on to Mauricio Pochettino’s direction — and I’d say there is something to that — but correlation is not equal to causation and it still remains difficult to tell. Recall that the same was said of Brendan Rodgers brilliance when he had Suarez and Sturridge, but now that they’re gone the press would say he can’t get anything right.
Kane is not merely scoring, but he’s playing the target man especially welll, and he’s also taking the space aggressively with the dribble like few strikers I’ve seen in the league. Kane isn’t that fast, but he’s fast enough and clever enough to use leverage and positioning to keep him in front of defenders. He’s a pleasure to watch operate and will most certainly be called up for England in the future.
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I should note my sorrow at the loss of the Yeovil Town Glovers at the hands of a somewhat fortunate Manchester United. The Glovers gave 110%, and for most if not all of the match made me wonder why players like Rooney and Falcao were paid so much more than some of the players on the mid-third division team.
The FA Cup is a great competition, but at no time is it greater than the third round when premier league clubs have to play at tiny grounds throughout the country. It’s simply a pleasure to see top tier players go against what appear to be true club teams on un-pampered (and sometimes awful) grounds. There’s simply nothing more fun than watching Eden Hazard kick a ball into a tree behind the goal, or Steven Gerrard put one into a busy road next to the pitch.
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Wait, did I mention Stevie G? His departure from Liverpool will, I suspect, mark the end of the Brendan Rodgers era. Gerrard has taken his lumps of late — and in my opinion his critics are largely wrong. As far as I can tell, he’s looked pretty similar to the player he was last year and the year before. I suspect he’d look a lot better if there was anyone on the team who knew how to score a goal. I think even Minulet would look better then. The problem is that when you lose as frequently as Liverpool are this season it makes for lots of blame to go around. The biter, for all his problems, seemed worth even more than his crazy sales price (I wonder also if he’s enjoying Barcelona or finding it, as I suspect, unsatisfying in the same way Alexis Sanchez may have — ultimately there’s Messi and Neymar and Iniesta and . . . . one ball.)
According to the news, Gerrard is headed for the LA Galaxy. Eh. Could have gone somewhere more exciting, but I’m guessing the weather and the money have made it the place to be.
This is farlieonfootie for January 7.