There’s a go-slow going on at the Coconut Shack at the moment. And not in a relaxing, take it easy, lilt advert way. I’m moving house this weekend, planning a wedding, sunbathing, blah blah blah. Stuff. In addition lady Oog celebrated her birthday weekend in fine style by joining me at the Stoke game. It certainly made the goal celebrations much more fun than with my usual matchday companion – Dave’s kisses are so bleeeeh. On the other hand, sticking the headphones in and getting the post written on the tube home wasn’t an option. So in lieu of a fully formed post here are a few quickfire observations.
Pav’s a rum one. I want to say that if he doesn’t score, he does nothing. But in fact, he set up two of our goals and on Saturday at least was a reasonably effective link man. At times, though, he struggled to play even the simplest of balls. I still want to get rid. I don’t trust him as anything other than the fourth striker out of four. Even then you want to bring someone off the bench who can scare a defence with raw pace or with being six foot seven or whatever. “An eye for goal” is so last decade.
I don’t mind if VDV isn’t always vfontastic – not even wonderboy is perfect every week. I just want him to sublimate his typically tedious Dutch-international ego for the good of the team when he isn’t. On Saturday he worked hard, put in a shift and didn’t moan. Hopefully he will learn – if he can do that then he won’t always be substituted.
Good to see Huddlestone and Kaboul slip effortlessly back into the team. Kaboul was emerging as a genuine first team pick before his injury. Until the emergence of Sandro he would have been a shoo-in for most improved player of the year (or whatever it is they call it). Huddlestone is back in time for the run-in and we have really missed him. Along with Bale’s brilliance and Pav’s purple streak, it was the Hudd-Mod axis that did the most to take us to fourth last year. Not simply due to the pleasing blend of creative qualities they possess, but also because of how well they worked as a unit to shield the centre backs against Chelsea and Arsenal. If we’re to do something similar this time round, we’ll need them both. We’ll work out how to fit Sandro in and around them over the next seven games (and in time let’s hope that becomes a proper headache for Harry).
I completely missed the Corluka clash with one of our own, but to be honest it’s a storm in a teacup. He strikes me as a mild mannered sort, and I doubt the same can be said of the fan. I well remember the free kick, which he ballsed up at a time when we were hanging on. I wasn’t particularly mild mannered myself. By all means curse and howl at the sky until you’re blue in the face at the maddening frustration of it all – I do – but if you are in the front couple of rows and comfortably within earshot, keep your personally directed insults to yourself. Supporter – the clue is in the name.
I’m surprised no-one else picked up on Ricardo Fuller shoving (gently) one of our fans either, but it’s probably a good sign that they didn’t. Not everything needs to be a tabloid outcry a la Rooney. Again, the mug in the crowd probably deserved it and quite possibly realised as much. You could see Delap was getting a load of hassle as well but I got the impression it was good natured – he seemed to take it with a smile. I don’t know much about him but he strikes me as a normal decent bloke who just happens to be a premiership javelin thrower.
Talking of Delap – how untottenham that we didn’t concede from any of his missiles, especially as it was a day in which he didn’t need a towel to dry the ball.
I love it when Modric scores.
I want to know if anyone ripped up a winning betting slip when the station announcer at Northumberland Park erroneously informed hundreds of punters that Calgary Bay had won the National.
As Calgary Bay cannot confirm (too busy eating sugar lumps), a win is a win is a win. That’s all there is to it at this stage of the season. Cue gripe. It’s frustrating that no matter how well we play, we never kill a game off and enjoy a relaxing final twenty minutes. At some point that’s going to catch up with us. For once, it was dodgy defending rather than dodgy defoe-ing (and co) to blame. But a win is a win is a win.
Ok, apologies for the prosaic prose people. It takes hours (1.5 of ’em) of loving care to grow a normal quality post so stick with me because the next report is going to be all about the most famous victory in the history of our history. Or anyone else’s. I’m so confident, I’ve already written it.
Well – you never know……..