Posts Tagged ‘Bentley’

Season Previews 2010/11 – Tottenham



Last Season: 4th

New Signings: Sandro

Key Player: Luka Modric

One To Watch: Tom Huddlestone. Hard to miss him really.

Needs A Big Year: Peter Crouch

Would Quite Like: Some glory European nights and finally coming ahead of their bigger, better neighbours from N5. Perhaps a trophy too.

Harry counts the number of signings on one finger.

Prediction: 6th

Thoughts: After many years of trying and many years of spending, Spurs finally reached their holy grail and came 4th last season to have a shot at the Big Cup. Assuming they overcome Young Boys (responsible for one of the best ever headlines), Spurs will suddenly be welcoming the top sides to White Hart Lane every few weeks. I get the feeling may struggle to cope with demands of the Champions League and Premier League football.

Certainly their squad is big but I’m yet to be convinced that there is enough quality in it to do well in both. Surprisingly there’s been just the one signing so far, Sandro coming in to provide a much needed second defensive midfielder. It’s clear Redknapp is after a striker a who can play the lone front man role as none of his current ones can (save perhaps Pavlyuchenko).

The ability to adequately play 451 away from home (and in Europe) may go some way to improving their woeful record of no away wins against the top four in about fifteen years. Creatively they look fine with Modric, Kranjcar, Lennon Bale and Bentley all capable of laying chances on a plate. Defensive cover is probably an issue, certainly at right back at least. Corluka is a bit slow and none of the others are fully established. The last time all four central defenders were fit at the same time was quite a while ago too.

It’s clear Spurs are a good side but perhaps they peaked last season. I just don’t see how they’re going to as motivated this year for an away trip to someone like Blackburn when there’s a home tie against say Inter round the corner. They’ll still be challenging the top four again but I personally think they may find that both Man City and Liverpool come ahead of them this season. 6th spot in the league but the knockout stages of Europe.


Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 32 Preview


At the risk of tempting fate, I think I may have wrapped up my private league last week. A massive 15 matches saw all sorts of opportunities for points and while the weekend fixtures weren’t too good, the midweek soon made up for it. 107 points in the end but more importantly another 18 points on my nearest rival.

I was particularly pleased with Arteta doing so well while Fat Frank Lampard signed off with a nice 18 points before I turf him back out for Fabregas. A 74 point lead with seven weeks left should be enough, considering everyone has the likes of Drogba and Rooney now leaving less differentials. Fingers crossed…


Gameweek 31 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):

mikel arteta everton

Maverick wonders how many points Arteta would have got were he fit in August.

For the second time in three weeks the Spaniard (though he’s now technically eligible to play for England) does the job, scoring a total of 22 points over two games. In a nice mirror image, both games saw a 2-0 Everton win with Arteta scoring and being man of the match.

Didier Drogba was all over Portsmouth and in two games scored three goals and assisted for a total of 20. After him were Carew, Lampard and Malouda with 19, 18 & 17. Credit to Lampard for getting the highest one game score of 16. Loads of other players in double figures for the week including four from Wolves!


Three Captain Picks:

A little tricky this week with away games for the top three .

1. Torres/Liverpool – Sunderland ended their winless streak and have picked up recently but I don’t see anything but a home win here. Torres has been back amongst the goals since returning from injury and I fancy him to get at least a couple against Sunderland’s shaky back line.

2. Kranjcar/Spurs – Portsmouth got tanked 5-0 by Chelsea in midweek and with Spurs looking to gain as many points as possible before facing the top 3 in April, I suspect another thrashing might be on here. I would say go for Pavlyuchenko but he’s doubtful apparently so it will rest with creative midfielders and maybe Bale too. Bentley is too risky, while Modric is usually the passer to the assister so that leaves the other Croat Kranjcar as the choice.

3. Rooney/Man Utd – The safest bet of the big three teams though Chelsea at home to Villa could have a few goals in it. Rooney has a decent record against Bolton and will look to score, get the job done early and come off, saving himself for Bayern midweek.

fernando torres liverpool

Gets a Captain's tick.


Three Suggested Transfers In:

Returning players are the theme this week.

1. Arteta/Everton – In case you haven’t got him already, last week should be the trigger to transfer Arteta into your team. He’s been fit for a couple of months now but has only started to make an impact in the last few weeks, with 45 points since week 29. With other player at his price level beginning to fade (see Milner, James and Valencia, Antonio) he should be a high scoring option for the last seven games. Three of those will be against bottom six sides.

2. Dempsey/Fulham – When he first got injured in January there were fears over his World Cup place but he recently made his return and should slot back into being a key attacking player for Fulham. With the Cottagers beginning to feel the effects of doing well in three competitions, some caution is advised but they have enough easier games to make this worthwhile. Only £6.6m again after a high of £7.1m.

3. Bent/Sunderland – More someone returning to goalscoring form rather than from injury. I got rid of him in week 29 and since then he scored 5 goals and six bonus points. I’d probably wait until after the Liverpool game this week but that said, Bent has no issues scoring against top sides. After this week he has a particularly nice run however of TOT, WHM, BUR & HUL.

mikel arteta everton

Might be worth a pick.


Three To Avoid:

1. Birmingham defenders – However cheap they are, I don’t think it’s worth having three of them (inc. Hart) any more. Just one clean sheet in 11, you can get a similarly priced defender with more short-term upside from a different team. Keep Hart though, he’s solid.

2. Diaby/Arsenal – Cheap but can’t wait around for the three home games a season where he is a fantasy machine. Etherington is a better play right now at the same price.

3. Aston Villa players – Starting to tire due to Martin O’Neill’s preference for a small squad. They have a final double gameweek coming up in week 35 but are no longer a certainty fantasy wise.

scott dann birmingham city

Are you taking the mick?!



Transfer Window Hits and Misses


The January transfer window just passed saw the lowest spending since 2003, a whole £140m less than last January’s whopping £170m. Clubs have been certainly feeling the pinch and seem to be much more careful with their money. While it’s far too early to judge here are some thoughts on who could be hits and who might be misses.


The Free Transfers

I think Sol Campbell to Arsenal is quite astute and judging by the game and a half he’s played thus far, he looks like he can still cut it in the top flight. Certainly a better option than Mikael Silvestre! Over in Manchester, I was less convinced by City’s signing of Patrick Vieira. I think it will be difficult for him and there will be games where the pace is too much for him. That said, he’ll bring a lot to that dressing room and should be good for cameos where games are being closed out.

sol campbell arsenal

Beats playing for Nott's County.


The Loans

With money a bit thin on the ground, some of the most interesting deals were loans. Landon Donovan looks to have fitted straight in at Everton and I think he’ll do well for the remaining time he’s over here. Senderos from Arsenal is also a good move – the Swiss has stagnated a touch but people think he’s rubbish just because Drogba messed him a few times. Name me a central defender that hasn’t struggled against the Drog.

Bolton have got a couple of good youngsters in Weiss and Wilshere from Man City and Arsenal respectively. Wilshere in particular could be an instant hit if his cameo Carling Cup appearances are anything to go by. Basturk is one of those players who was once good on Football Manager but I’ve never seen him play enough to comment in real life. Fat Sam had a decent track record with signing older creative types at Bolton and the Turk could be sneaky good for Blackburn.

Maxi Rodriguez will be rubbish for Liverpool and Amr Zaki will be rubbish for Hull. Fellow Egyptian Mido might surprise a few people at West Ham. With a £1K a week wage he’s motivated to prove people wrong if nothing else.

wilshere bolton arsenal weiss

I can't decide whether he's disgusted to be holding that shirt or if he's just very cold.


The Cold Hard Cash

The biggest signing was Man City getting Adam Johnson for £6m+. An interesting one this, he’s done well in the Championship this season but I don’t see where he’s going to fit at Eastlands right now. You have Bellamy and Petrov both playing on the left and they’re both playing very well. One for the future me thinks, but he’ll have a great mentor in Petrov who is an excellent left winger.

After much of the window saw both Porstmouth keepers being linked with moves away to the same clubs, it was eventually Asmir Begovic who left, joining Stoke for £3.25m. He was wanted by Spurs too but apparently legged it from the hotel they were putting him up in. I do wonder whether he will displace Sorensen, they seem kind of at the same level to me. It’s a good signing for next season though.

Elsewhere Victor Moses should get lots of opportunity to prove he’s worth £2.5m at Wigan given that Jason Scotland has yet to score this season, while Benni McCarthy should score enough to justify his £1m move to West Ham. Sunderland have got a good prospect in Matt Kilgallon for £2m.

Birmingham had lots to spend but only got some squad depth in the end with Michel and Craig Gardner joining for £3m each. They’ll be useful, nothing more nothing less.

adam johnson

As good as Stewart Downing. Maybe.


Harry Redknapp’s Wheeling Dealing Transfer Merry-Go-Round

Let’s face it, Spurs deserve a whole category of their own. Any team with Harry Redknapp in charge is always likely to make deals but when you cross it with Spurs’ odd transfer policy you’re bound to get some baffling deals. First up, they bought Younes Kaboul back from Portsmouth for about £5m (less if you count what Pompey still owed).

This is by my count the fifth player they’ve bought back in about 18 months (Keane, Defoe, Crouch & Chimbonda the others) and they’d probably save themselves a lot of money if they didn’t destroy careers in the first place. Kaboul has improved but won’t play when everyone is fit, so as usual lots of foresight there. Two right backs (Naughton and Hutton) went out on loan leaving them with only Corluka.

eidur gudjohnsen spurs

Come on Harry, let's not play games. You know you want me.

Gudjohnsen was brought in on loan. I’m not sure about this one, it kind of depends where he plays. He certainly hasn’t been a striker for a few seasons now but is a decent player. I get the feeling Redknapp is addicted to buying players he once liked the look of. Lets be honest now, they don’t really need Gudjohnsen do they, but Redknapp just couldn’t say no to a bit of sexy loan action.

The one striker leaving was surprisingly not Pavlyuchenko but instead Robbie Keane who left on loan to Celtic. You don’t normally loan your captain out do you, but by the sounds of it they were constantly changing the price of Pavlyuchenko. No doubt the same happened with Bentley which is why he’s still there too.

harry redknapp

Buy me Harry, no buy me!


So overall nothing that exciting happened, and as usual the bullshit rumour brigade was full of exactly that – bullshit. There are a few decent signings but you sense everyone is saving their dollar for some post World Cup bingeing. Because of course that’s when the best value can be found…



Season Previews 09/10 – Tottenham Hotspur



Last Season: 8th plus a Carling Cup final.

Say hello to your new teammates: Peter Crouch, Kyle Naughton, Kyle Walker, Sebastian Bassong.

Close the door on your way out: Darren Bent, Chris Gunter, Didier Zokora, Gilberto, Ben Alnwick, Ricardo Rocha.

Predicted star: Luka Modric naturally took a while to adapt but by the end of last season was running every game for Spurs. A total of nine assists and three goals should be bettered with a full season of protection from Wilson Palacios. Tottenham need to run their game through him as much as possible.

Needs a big year: Harry Redknapp has no more ‘We had two points from eight games when I joined’ excuses – he’s been backed in the transfer market and now has to deliver.

One to watch: John Bostock made a few cameo appearances off the bench last season and should be given greater opportunity to impress this time round. The dearth of quality central midfielders at the club means he could well find himself a regular by the end of the season despite being just 17.

What they want to happen: Be ahead of Arsenal. Realistically though 5th or 6th and a trophy of some kind would be an excellent season.

Nightmare scenario: Another eighth position or so. They haven’t spent the best part of £70 million since January for nothing.

Plan A: With a defensive midfielder finally in place, they can let Modric or Aaron Lennon attack with through balls and probing passing or pace, dribbling and wayward crossing respectively. Harry loves a little and large partnership, so expect Crouch and Defoe to be first choice strikers even though Robbie Keane is captain.

Plan B, just in case: Hope Ledley King stays fit. That or just never ever play Gareth Bale in the league.

Three (points) is something he's never experienced.

Three (points) is something he's never experienced.

Predicted finish: 7th.

Why? For many seasons now, Tottenham’s transfer policy has been a bit odd for one reason or another. Either having an ill fated director of football or whatever Comolli’s job title was to now having a manager who’s fond of buying players simply because they’re available, not necessarily because they’re needed. They seem to finally be addressing their flaws however – Palacios was signed in January to beef up a lightweight midfield, while Bassong has been brought in to provide central defensive cover for the oft-injured Woodgate and King. Swapping Bent for Crouch won’t make too much difference in the goals scored column and they still don’t have a viable left wing option.

The squad is massive and they have good options and backup across the whole pitch. All the youngsters they’ve bought over the past few years should surely start to make an impact too. There are issues like David Bentley to sort as well. They can’t just let him waste on the bench, play him and improve him or get rid.

Big man little man.

Big man little man.

Regardless, Harry Redknapp is pretty good at building a side if given the money and Spurs should see another improvement from 8th to 7th. I can’t see them finishing higher just as Man City have bought better players while Everton are too solid a team and just won’t drop as many cheap points as Spurs.

If Tottenham maintain the home form which saw White Hart Lane go from seeing the most goals in 2007/098 to the least last time, then I may be proved wrong and they could get 5th. The likelihood is that it will be the usual mix of good performances against the top clubs (Man Utd aside) followed by defeat to a struggler who wants it more.



Shakhtar Donetsk vs Tottenham Live Minute by Minute!


Live UEFA Cup action as Ukraine’s finest take on London’s finest, north London’s finest, N17’s finest (just about).


Spurs play a weakened side as they try to get knocked out so they can concentrate on surviving in the Premier League. Harry’s been moaning (as usual) about having six matches in seventeen days. The price of success hey? We are only at the last 32 stage here. The winners get to play Aston Villa or CSKA Moscow.


Shakhtar: Pyatov, Srna, Chigrinsky, Ischenko, Rat, Jadson, Fernandinho, Lewandowski, Willian, Ilsinho, Gladkyy.
Subs: Khudzamov, Fedetskiy, Shevchuk, Duljaj, Seleznyov, Luiz Adriano, Chyzhov.

Spurs: Gomes, Gunter, Huddlestone, Dawson, Chimbonda, Jenas, Zokora, Parrett, Bentley, Giovani, Campbell.
Subs: Jansson, Gilberto, Smith, Bostock, Mason, Obika, Bent.


Bent is on the bench and Dean Parrett makes his full debut. Keane was signed too late to play. Croatia star Dario Srna plays for Shakhtar.

Kevin Ratcliffe (who has never played for Spurs) and Tony Jones provide the commentary for Channel 5. Their budget must be pretty low. Either that or no one good could be bothered to travel to the Ukraine. Everything about this match screams low budget and can’t be arsed. The analysis (we have Colin Murray anchoring), the kick off time, the teams, this minute by minute… 

Spurs have a pre match huddle – “Come on boys let’s just stay like this so we keep warm.”

Spurs huddle, (San Antonio) Spurs huddle, Spurs' Huddle(stone)

Spurs huddle, (San Antonio) Spurs huddle, Spurs' Huddle(stone)


1 min: Spurs kick off.

2 mins: Lots of strange lines on the pitch, some kind of protection from the -7 degree temperature.

5 mins: The ball flicks off Parrett in the box. A snap shot from Jadson goes wide.

7 mins: Nothing really happening so far. Shakhtar have quite a cool orange shirt.

Day glow

Day glow

8 mins: Jenas stick out his leg on Fernandinho and gives away a free kick.

9 mins: Srna hits it straight in the wall.

10 mins: A deep crossfield ball finds Rat-a-tat-tat, whose first time volley flashes wide.

12 mins: Bentley. Cross. Overhit. I may need a keyboard shortcut for that sentence I think.

15 mins: Chimbonda fouls Fernandinhho. The free kick comes in and causes some confusion. Suspicions of a Parrett handball.

18 mins: Spurs have a decent spell of possession.

19 mins: This leads to Bentley finding some space. Cross. Dealt with easily. I don’t really understand why he’s regressed so much this season. Perhaps he should spend less time kicking footballs off rooftops and more time practising his crossing.

21 mins: Shakhtar completely in control here.

26 mins: Gladkyy wastes a great chance. A deep cross comes in and he chests it down whilst going past Chimbonda at the same time. He then fluffs his lines completely slicing away from goal when standing on the edge of the six yard box.

27 mins: Another great chance. A low cross from the right byline flashes across the face of the goal but no Donetsk player can get their foot to it to poke it in.

31 mins: I’ve just noticed Chimbonda is wearing 97 on his shirt! I know squads are big these days but seriously.

Yep, that's 97.

Yep, that's 97.

32 mins: Giovanni has Tottenham’s first attempt of the game. A close one too! He’s on the left hand side of the box almost by the byline and decides to shoot at goal despite having no angle. His curling effort clips the outside of the post. The keeper was struggling.

34 mins: Ilsinho carries the ball forward, waits an age and shoots at Dawson.

40 mins: Bentley lines up a free kick. Straight at the keeper. Rat gets booked for encroaching so Ratface Bentley gets another shot at passing it straight to Pyatov.

41 mins: Bentley takes it again. He surpasses himself and hit it straight at the wall. So predictable.

43 mins: Rat hits a decent shot but Gomes saves comfortably.

44 mins: Ping pong football in the Spurs box but it’s eventually cleared.

Half time: The ref blows his whistle right on 45 mins. He must want his half time cuppa. Or maybe something stronger. I may go the same way as the ref, it’s been that sort of scrappy game.

Shakhtar have dominated really bar one Giovanni shot for Spurs. Bentley has been justifying his reputation as second choice Tottenham right winger. Stanley Victor Collymore is providing some good analysis (as is Pat Nevin), it’s just a shame Colin Murray is making stupid points. 


46 mins: Shakhtar kick off the second half.

48 mins: A great chance for Shakhtar. William has time in the box. He controls and shoots across goal with his let foot but Ilsinho can’t quite get to it and it goes wide.

51 mins: Pyatov races out of his goal to clear a ball, makes a mess of it, but the onrushing Jenas can’t guide it into the empty net. Three defenders crowd him out and clear. 

55 mins: Spurs showing a bit more attacking ambition at the start of the second half. Darren Bent is warming up. I imagine he’ll come on for Frazier Campbell who’s been a little anonymous thus far.

58 mins: Nothing to report at the mo. I just sipped some tea if you’re interested.

60 mins: Dawson gives away a soft free kick about 30 yards out. Fernandinho belts it at some pace but it deflects over.

61 mins: The resulting corner comes to nothing.

65 mins: Spurs are pretty solid at the mo, and are doing a good job of frustrating the home side. The crows are starting to whistle loudly.

68 mins: Some changes are afoot. No not an sudden spell of good football but some substitutions. Ilsinho off, Luiz Adriano on for Shakhtar. Ilsinho goes straight down the tunnel. I imagine this is more because he’s cold and wants a shower rather than being annoyed at coming off. Bent coming on for Giovanni.

72 mins: A half chance for Spurs. Sort of. The ball falls to Parrett in the box and he tries to lift it back central over the oncoming keeper. He doesn’t though.

73 mins: Gomes annoys ‘Arry with some sloppy, rushed distribution. Spurs annoy me with some sloppy, boring football.

77 mins: A Spurs break see them three on two and bearing down on the Shakhtar goal. Parrett plays in Bent but the ball is just knicked from his feet by Ischenko.

78 mins: GOAL! Shakhtar 1-0 Tottenham! Donetsk make a change with Gladkiy off, Seleznov on. Jadson swings in a teasing free kick and with his first touch Seleznov heads it in. Brilliant substitution! Gomes came and missed and nearly knocked himself out in the process while the centre-backs were nowhere to be seen. Comedy from the Spurs keeper


Yet another blunder...

81 mins: Gomes is treated for a few minutes but eventually is alright to continue.

84 mins: Shakhtar press for a second. Spurs resorting to long balls. 

88 mins: GOAL! Shakhtar 2-0 Tottenham! Jadson scores a lovey second goal but once again terrible defending by Spurs. He has the ball on the right hand side of the pitch starts to dribble infield, dribbles a bit more, plays a nice one two with William, dribbles some more until he is past the penalty spot, then shoots across Gomes, wrongfooting everyone and scoring. No challenge forthcoming, so he ran and ran and picked his spot. Harry not pleased with that. I am though…

89 mins: Bostock on for Parrett.

Full time: Shakhtar 2-0 Tottenham! A little bit of effort on Spurs’ part to try and snatch an away goal but Shakhtar close it out. They fully deserved this victory, Tottenham were woeful and created nothing at all. Donetsk on the other hand kept testing the Spurs defence with teasing crosses and eventually found a way through. Jadson then showed what happens when your ‘defensive’ midfielder is Jermaine Jenas as he waltzed past about six Tottenham players who decided it wasn’t worth trying to tackle him and slotted a lovely shot into the corner. I’m glad this finished early, I’m off to watch Masterchef.



Fantasy Football – Gameweek 11


Our midweek Captain choices worked out pretty well with Ronaldo, Adebayor and Lampard all scoring double figures points wise (16, 12, 11). Joleon Lescott, our top suggested transfer in, kept a clean sheet and got a couple of bonus points too. All in all a good week.

This week sees the start of a new month and several battles between the top 4, meaning you potentially have to look elsewhere for big points.


Top 3 Captain Picks:

1. Lampard/Chelsea – An obvious one to start with but the guy is on absolute fire at the moment. The Liverpool game aside, he is averaging ten points a match in the last 5 gameweeks. At home against a Sunderland team coming off their worst performance of the season, he should pick plenty more.

2. Ronaldo/Man Utd – Again an obvious one, but it’s the obvious ones who score most and win you leagues. Had his highest score of the season against West Ham and faces Hull in what is bound to be an open game.

3. Fabregas/Arsenal – More in hope given his recent form but you figure he has to come good. Only one goal and one assist thus far but I’m expecting a backlash against Stoke after Wednesday’s shambles against Spurs.


Suggested Transfers In:

1. Bentley/Spurs – Seems all he needed was a bit of love and a spot on the right wing. A goal, assist and two BP in Redknapp’s two games. Liverpool is a tough match but I fancy him to keep his good form going.

2. Alex or Ivanovic/Chelsea – With the new that Carvalho is out again for a few weeks, one of these guys is going to get some easy points against Sunderland, Blackburn and West Brom. Alex should be the pick but Ivanovic played the last match so see what happens.

3. Young (Ashley not Luke)/Aston Villa – Steady and consistent and now in third place overall in the midfielder standings. Wendesday was his first game of note for a while but I reckon he’ll get good points in the next few weeks.


Players To Avoid:

1. Arsenal defenders – Terrible value given their high price and inabilty to keep cleansheets. For less money you can currently get any Liverpool defender (Carra aside).

2. Portsmouth players – Not because they’re not good value or doing well but because Tony Adams has become manager. He tends to over think things sometimes (remember the drop Rooney thing in Euro 2004) and is still working out his ideas. He didn’t play Defoe the other night for example. Wait and see with them.

3. Milner/Aston Villa – As the Football Guy said to me, Martin O’Neill must have thought he was paying £1.2million not £12million!



Quick Thought on Bentley


Yes it was a great goal and yes he meant it. Almunia should have done more but instead went for that palmed “camera save” thing he does. However all this talk of goal of the decade is a bit silly. It wasn’t even best goal of the night. Lampard’s goal against Hull was.

Mmm, chips!

Mmm, chips!



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