With games against North London rivals Arsenal and fellow title chasers Manchester United coming up, Tottenham Hotspur will see these fixtures as vitally important matches rather than just a chance to get one over on long running Premier League foes.
In recent seasons, wins for Spurs against Arsenal and United have been all too rare. Although Redknapp has broken the losing trend that has hurtfully followed us in games against Arsenal over the years, these victories have only provoked short term bragging rights until the final league standings inevitably show our neighbours above us in the table.
This term however, Tottenham’s superiority over Arsenal has been evident, with Spurs reaching the heights of a ten point advantage over our fierce local rivals. A win on this month’s derby day would see us climb even further away and could effectively see Tottenham secure imminent Champions League qualification.
A home match against second place Manchester United follows in which victory, depending on prior results, could see Spurs propelled further into the excitement of a title race. It is obviously important that our team continues to play without a weak link. With inevitable fatigue and injuries provoking rotation to our usual first eleven, it has been delightful to see players such as Michael Dawson, Niko Kranjcar and Louis Saha come into the side and perform exceptionally in the month of February.
Three players that have a vital role to play in our upcoming fixtures are central figureheads Scott Parker, Emmanuel Adebayor and club captain, Ledley King.
With the departure of Fabio Capello from the England managerial position, many people may have forgotten the issue of selecting a new England captain as well as a head coach. Scott Parker has been an incredibly consistent performer in the centre of Tottenham’s midfield this campaign, and it seems that he would be a popular choice as an England skipper candidate alongside the likes of Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard.
In our recent game against the reds at Anfield, Gerrard proved that he still has the credentials to be a top player and could well lead his nation in the European Championships this summer. However, one player that managed to stop the Liverpool captain’s attacking force was Scott Parker himself. ‘Super Scott’ threw himself in front of every ball, preventing Liverpool from breaking down a managerless Tottenham on the night.
One of the great things about Parker is his ability to make a simple pass to a more creative player after winning the ball. Knowing that he can’t do everything himself, the relentless midfielder will always look towards the creativity of Gareth Bale or Luka Modric to continue the move that he has started. Another admirable trait that Scott has is to make himself available for a pass. Often when our full-backs are in possession, Parker will be just four or five yards away from them, giving them an alternate option to a wild punt up field.
Emmanuel Adebayor brilliantly exposed a slow-to-start Newcastle team at White Hart Lane on Saturday. This performance seemed all the better in contrast to the on-loan striker’s performance at Anfield where Scott Parker played so well. Adebayor had no striking partner against Liverpool, meaning that when he had the ball there was no one for him to lay it off to. The Togolese forward gave away the ball almost every time he had it, and his generally ineffectual performance resulted in a rare substitution.
In-form Newcastle most likely arrived at the Lane quietly confident whilst cautiously aware of Spurs’ attacking threat. What they didn’t expect, however, was to be down by four goals at half time due to four assists from Adebayor.
With Louis Saha alongside him, ‘Manu’ looked a whole different prospect as his hold-up play proved increasing useful. A delightful ball across from the right for Saha’s first Tottenham goal was a particular highlight of Adebayor’s man of the match display. He then managed to break his person goal duct with a well taken volley in the second half. This reminded us of what the former Arsenal and Manchester City striker was brought here to do – score goals.
The presence of Ledley King in both matches against Liverpool and Newcastle inspired Tottenham to four vital points from a possible six. Spurs captain King proved that his ongoing knee injury, if handled correctly, does not go far in hindering his leadership and incredible defensive performances. The skipper’s awareness and positioning continue to be second-to-none, aiding his hopeful talks over a contract extension at White Hart Lane.
As well as performing admirably himself, King seems to inspire whoever is chosen as his centre-back partner. Younes Kaboul has flourished into one of the Premier League’s best defenders this season, whereas Michael Dawson has settled back into the team comfortably with Ledley at his side.
Sunday’s FA Cup tie at Stevenage will see more of Tottenham’s fringe players given the chance to prove themselves worthy of a first team place. It is safe to say that Spurs’ second string will find it extremely difficult to break into the first eleven with Parker, Adebayor and King leading the way; the definition of ‘a good problem’.
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