So, Martin Jol lost his job after 6 defeats in a row, five of which have been in the Premier League. With his side stuck in the bottom three (almost certainly whatever the result tomorrow), the board was bound to act, and Jol's body language has been telling the story over the last two games in particular. It hasn't been just the matter of losing, but the manner of the 3-0 defeat at Upton Park was embarrassing, with the absence of Brede Hangeland most evident in recent weeks.
Hangeland has been missing since that last win of Fulham's which was a 4-1 at Crystal Palace. The bad news for Spurs fans is that he could be available tomorrow. Dimitar Berbatov missed the West Ham game through llness, but he too might be available to play against us. Mind you, Berbatov's form, and attitude has not been at its best so far this season. Fulham's form has been a bit of a mystery when you consider the talent at their disposal, but the results certainly do not lie.
No doubt there will be some "Jol love" from Spurs fans tomorrow night, and potentially there will be one or two more ex-Spurs players in the squad. Scott Parker has been playing a full part in Fulham's season, whilst Adel Taarabt (on loan from QPR) has had less opportunities. He did play 90 minutes on Saturday for only the third time in all games this season.
At least Martin Jol's dismissal was dealt with in an honourable fashion, and not in the infamously underhand manner with which Spurs got rid of one of their most popular managers in recent years........
It was a cool evening for Spurs' opening cup match being played at Leyton Orient's ground where a noisy crowd supported the team throughout the game. Middlesbrough are mid-table in the northern group and lost to Spurs at Hotspur Way in August 4-0. The tie was being played early due to the Academy taking part in a tournament in Florida later in the month.......
.....This was an easy victory for an in form Spurs. The visitors were out-played for most of the game, which was more one-sided than the scoreline suggests. Spurs Academy now travel to Florida to take part in a tournament in Bradenton while their name goes into the hat for the next round in the New Year.
This was not a good performance by Spurs which is not surprising as they have not played a competitive match for over a month. The injury to Kane meant that full back Ward was played in midfield. Wolves deserved their win as they were too powerful and while the referee allowed them to get away with some physical challenges they were more up for the game than Spurs. There were signs towards the end that Spurs' passing game was coming together so hopefully when they meet Fulham on the 13th they will do better.
(Ed:- The U-21s' commitment on 13th December means we cannot expect to see any of them in our "dead rubber" Europa League game against Anzhi. On this form, that is just as well)
My pride in Tottenham Hotspur Football Club was restored today, thanks to a performance which was full of the intensity and vigour that any football fan likes to see, especially those that follow Spurs. A draw was arguably a fair result in a game that was comparable to the traditional Spurs v United matches down the years, in which both teams played with no other intent but to attack. There was no "ten men behind the ball" football today.
Either team might have snatched victory, and in terms of the Premier League race for glory, or at least Champions League, one point was not the ideal for either side. Football was definitely the winner today in what I consider to be the best game I have seen in person so far this season.
Spurs' goals were quite sensational, with Kyle Walker scoring direct from a first half free kick, and "The Beast" Sandro giving us an early second half lead, with a superbly struck right footer that beat De Gea in his top left corner.
It was as expected truly Arctic conditions, 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, but after struggling with the conditions, particularly in the first half in sub-zero temperatures, Spurs found their feet in the second half, and at last managed to score two goals, one of which was actually an own goal, although initially it looked as if Vlad Chiriches had converted Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free kick. Mousa Dembele completed the scoring with his first goal since February in Lyon in last season’s Europa League Round of 32. Now Spurs can go forward to the knock-out phase of this season’s competition knowing they will be seeded and guaranteed a second leg at home.
Spurs have only conceded one goal in all seven of their Europa League games so far, and this has proved to be a competition in which they can score goals, with a total of 19. Group K has been settled before the last game is played, with Anzhi drawing at home to Sheriff, to guarantee their qualification. Spurs did take a few youngsters with them to Norway, but apart from Naughton and Fryers in the starting line-up, left the job to the experienced players, with Vertonghen, Holtby and Lamela coming on for the latter stages of the game. Andre Villas-Boas could now play some of the Development squad against Anzhi on December 12th.
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