Can we finally drop the Goalkeeper Rumours?

I was skimming over various news items regarding Tottenham today, and came across one that really grated on me. It’s not the most shocking piece, nor is it that original, yet the Daily Mail are still continuing to invent new rumours regarding an “alternative” to Heurelho Gomes. It seems absurd the way that the papers are still continuing to grip on to his early season mistakes, yet even then it was clear that he was a quality keeper. He has been a significant improvement to Paul Robinson let’s not forget, who I seriously cannot remember making more than a handful of saves last season, yet the rumours persist.

The underrated Gomes has been magnificent for Spurs recently

The underrated Gomes has been magnificent for Spurs recently

Way back in November I believe, Martin Tyler produced a list of the stats of Premier League goalkeepers in his weekly column, and if im not very much mistaken, Gomes was the top of the shot-to-save ratio lists, just ahead of Shay Given. Forget about the amount of clean sheets, as that is a figure that is very much down to the strenght of the defence, but when you come down to straight saves, it is only the skill of the goalkeeper that can help out the team. Edwin Van Der Sar’s recent record of 1,311 minutes without conceding was impressive, yes, but with perhaps the best defensive talent in the league spread across the back four he was rarely tested or called upon. Gomes does not have this luxury, his defence is good, but at the same time prone to some pretty poor shows, yet throughout the season he has been there to make those crucial saves. In light of this, we have produced a list of his game saving performances that have helped us to a share of the points.

Cheslea 1 – 1 Spurs

A fine performance from Gomes at Stamford Bridge when Tottenham needed everyone to be at their best to get something from a ground where we have not found the greatest amount of success in recent years. He was excellent when called upon to pick up all manner of crosses and corners, and really proved a thorn in the side of the Chelsea side when coming forward. His showing was topped off with an excellent save early in the fifth minute, brilliantly diving backwards to tip a Frank Lampard chip over the bar.

Dealt well with every cross that came his way on the day

Dealt well with every cross that came his way on the day

Spurs 0 – 0 Wigan

The first clean sheet of his Spurs career was overshadowed by a failing from the Tottenham attack to convert their chances, yet Gomes showed that he was the deserving owner of the No.1 Jersey with a good game. Undoubtedly the busy of the two stoppers in the first half, Gomes made a wonderful full-stretch save to prevent Paul Scharner from scoring a well hit volley just before the break. When the sides changed ends Tottenham took more of the game to the Wigan defence and Gomes was left fairly untested, but gripped on tightly to the point with another good save, this time from the right boot of Olivier Kapo.

Arsenal 4 – 4 Spurs

It is not often you will see a keeper who has let in four goals recieve praise for his contribution to the match, but on this occasion I think that Gomes deserves some credit for our remarkable comeback against the other team from North London. His early game saves when still 1-0 up from a Van Persie freekick and a low Cesc Fabregas drive kept us in the game, and followed this up with a smart save from Denilson in the second half. Although not his greatest game, he showed his excellent shot stopping ability to aid a superb team comeback.

Spurs 2 – 1 Liverpool

His next performance was just as good as the Arsenal game, producing two excellent saves to help us grab the full three points. The first was a smart little reaction save from a poor Darren Bent clearance that sliced back towards goal, but the second was really something to be proud of. Perhaps his best save of the season, and definately a contender for the Premier League save of the season , it was made that much sweeter after the comeback that followed it. It came on the stroke of 50 minutes and after a powerful Gerrard shot skimmed off a Ledley King block, Gomes dove at full stretch to tip the ball onto the post and keep Spurs in the game,and enabled them to go on and win it.

Gomes saves brilliantly from a Park Ji-Sung shot

Gomes saves brilliantly from a Park Ji-Sung shot

Spurs 0 – 0 Man Utd

Another sensational performance here from Gomes, who started to prove that he can really up his game against the biggest teams in the league. Not much of note in the first half, with only a Rio Ferdinand drive testing him, but when Man Utd came back out in the second half they threw alot more at the Brazilian, testing him with some routine saves from Park Ji-Sung and Vidic. Then, seven minutes from time, the ever improving keeper defied gravity to fly through the air and tip and Park Ji-Sung shot over the bar. Tottenham were holding on to the death, but if it were not for another remarkable save from Gomes, the points would have travelled back to Manchester. Marvelously diving across his goal to turn away a Ryan Gigg’s free kick that looked certain to hit the back of the net, Gomes helped Tottenham to a much deserved point against the league champions.

Aston Villa 1 – 2 Spurs

Not an outstanding performance from Gomes in terms of remarkable saves, yet I think that this match shows the real progress he has made to the English game. One save of note in blocking a shot from Martin Petrov well with his body, but it was his ability to come out and collect the ball from crosses, corners and set pieces that really aided in our win, and prevented Villa from really making use of their strong strikers John Carew and Emile Heskey.

Spurs 1 – 0 Chelsea

It was clear that Gomes took his excellent performance from the Villa game into the clash with Chelsea at the Lane, with another fine performance from our No.1. Two good saves in the first half from Essien and Anelka’s shots respectively proved to be all that troubled him before the break. After the short interval, Chelsea came out with a slighlty better attitude, testing Gomes with numerous high balls that he delt with comfortably, but it was 11 minutes from time that the Brazilian came to the rescue again with a splendid reaction save to stop John Terry’s close range header from going into the bottom left corner of the goal. A splendid performance from Gomes, matched only perhaps by the draw with Man Utd in December.


Tottenham’s Best Young Players – 1 Year On

We profiled seven of Tottenham’s best young prospects way back in May of 2008, highlighting who we felt would be the future stars of Spurs, or indeed who could make the step up to the first team in a few years. Since then we have seen a fair amount of activity regarding these young hopefuls, much more so since the inclusion of Harry Redknapp as manager. So we went back to take another look at them and see how they have grown over the last eleven months.

At the top of our list was Adel Taarabt, highlighted as the brightest of our prospects, yet at the beginning of the season he was not even given a number by manager Juande Ramos. It seemed like Tottenham were looking to loan him out for some much needed first-team football, yet the move never came and rumors came from within the Spurs camp that Ramos did not see him as part of Spurs’ future. He sat in the reserves for much of the season, and despite regaining his squad number from Harry Redknapp, his opportunities to prove himself were limited by the clubs relegation battle. Thankfully, Taarabt was sent off to West London to join up with QPR and went straight into their first team. Since his arrival, Taarabt has undoubtedly been QPR’s best player of those three games, contributing a handful of assists and a goal on top of his typical dazzling dribbles. Hopefully throughout the rest of the season he can build on this success and continue his adaptation to the British game. It seems likely that if he keeps up this rich vein of form, then a call up to the first team squad seems more than likely.

In stark contrast to Taarabt’s ever increasing promise, Tomas Pekhart has had a much harder time. At the start of the season it was believed he would have a place in the first team due to the departures of both Keane and Berbatov, though with the rushed loan signing of Campbell and Ramos’ preference for a lone striker, his chances were limited. A short loan spell to Southampton proved fruitless, with only nine appearances producing one goal, and he returned to the Tottenham reserves. Pekhart publicly stated that he believed he would have to leave Tottenham if he wanted first-team football and it is assumed that his loan spell at Slavia Prague till January 2010 could well turn into a permanent move.

Chris Gunter, now on loan at Nottingham Forest

Chris Gunter, now on loan at Nottingham Forest

Next up is the other of our Welsh full-backs, Chris Gunter, who despite already gaining fifteen caps at international level, has only made five appearances for Spurs. Ignoring the fact that he shares a flat with a Gooner (Welsh team-mate Aaron Ramsay), he is not too far off from the finished product at the moment, providing some excellent defensive displays for Wales and a notable start at right-back in our early season clash with Chelsea. He has since moved to Nottingham Forest on loan till the end of the season to get more first team football. It is unlikely that he will ever become a world beater in terms of his attacking prowess, but he could possibly make the step up to become a good squad player in the next few years, yet our current plethora of right-backs means that he will have to wait a while if we do indeed decide to keep him.

French central defender Dorian Dervitte has made perhaps the most significant progress out of the bunch, with two Under-21 appearances now to his name. One who has kept somewhat under the radar since his arrival in 2006, his progress has been slow, yet a loan spell to Southend United in January has proved to be an amazing piece of work by the Tottenham bosses. In his 12 outings for the seaside club, the Shrimpers have won 9 games and kept 6 clean sheets, and it has been widely agreed that the 6ft 4in defender has been integral to these results. Dervitte perhaps needs another loan spell, maybe in the Championship before we should think about bringing him into the first team, but if he proves himself there then there would be no reason not to view him as the natural successor to Ledley King.

Now it comes to the English contingent, our homegrown heroes (well it is Spurs so this will count as just being English and young), the ones that could possibly fill that hole in our Tottenham and England hearts simultaneously. First up is the most promising of the trio, Tottenham’s youngest ever player, John Bostock. It is hard to evaluate him as easy as the others due to his age, having only just turned 17, so first team appearances may be too soon yet whatever level they are at, yet his decent display in the UEFA cup shows that we may see a few more appearances for him in the next few years. No loan deal for him on the horizon, but some good showings at youth level mean that he is still very much one to keep an eye on.

Pacy winger Danny Rose has had a frustrating time with injury

Pacy winger Danny Rose has had a frustrating time with injury

Finally we come to the remaining two players, each sharing the same amount of success as the other at this time. Danny Rose has had a season troubled with injury, and the pacy winger has yet to show himself at his best. A loan move to Watford has just happened, yet he has not yet made a start due to the international break. Hopefully we will see what the potential solution to Spurs’ left handed problems can do. Then we have Dean Parrett, who despite a big money move a few years back, has yet to feature in the first-team, and still seems a good few years off of a loan move, so not much to report on that front.

So there we have it, hopefully a little insight into how these bright youngsters are doing, and of course we will come back in another year to see how they are all doing, and hopefully add a few more to the list to boot.

John Bostock joins club…finally

After many weeks of deliberations and negotiations, the former Crystal Palace attacking midfielder has agreed to join Spurs in deal worth around £5million based on appearancesfor club and country. We had previously reported, that we believed he had already signed, and had included him in our list of Tottenham’s Best Young Players, but it appears that a deal was only made official today according to the Spurs website.

John Bostock

The 16 year old John Bostock while talking on the matter had this to say…

I am definitely ready to make this move and Spurs is the team I wanted to join. I feel this is a club with a great future and this is where I want to be to develop my potential and improve as a player

It seems that he has a good head on his shoulders and made the move for the right reasons, though we would say that, and rejecting Chelsea is a clear sign of his desire to improve and look to break into the first team, something that would never happen with Chelsea who have the money to never need youth players. Hopefully this will be the first of many new signings this summer.

One Spurs Player in Euro 2008…We know who we are going to support!

The only player in Euro 2008 that is under contract at Spurs has funnily enough never played for Spurs nor has he attended a single training session. Yes, it is new summer signing Luca Modric!

The Croatian playmaker is, according to many pundits, set to be a key player in Croatia’s campaign and as the only Spurs player at the competition, we are rooting for him. So to help you also root for him, which I know of course you will, we at Tottenham Tattler will be following him through his whole journey in the land of lederhosen and tax evaders.

His first three matches are against hosts Austria on the 8th of June, Germany on the 12th and Poland on the 16th. Come the day before the games to get a match preview and probably line-ups including all the facts and figures that you would ever want to know.

Tottenham’s New Goalkeeper Coach

Well, if you hadn’t heard, Spurs have a new Goalkeeping coach, filling the void left by the departure of Hans Segers last year. This is great news for our squad, especially Robinson, who is in great need of some realcoaching and could potentially regain his previous ability with the right guidance, depending on if he stays with us to fight for his place or not. The new coach is called Hans Leitert and the best thing about him is…he has his own website!

It is disturbingly in depth, telling us of his language ability, the amount of kids that he has, one daughter if you were wondering, and pretty much his life history. He has books, videos and speaks at goalkeeping seminars and it seems he’s as close to a footballing mogul as there will be, I mean which other teams can say that they have a celebrity goalkeeping coach?

I just hope that he’s good…

Fan Favourite Jol says Spurs cannot break into the Top Four. Could it be true?

The manner in which Martin Jol left the club, and the humiliation that he must have faced to be axed after all he had done for the club, gives him a little permission to throw a parting shot our way, yet it seemed for months that he would remain amicable and simply move on with his career. Today though the big Dutchman has gone to the press and stated that…

 It’s not realistic for Tottenham to be top four because the financial differences are too much.

Everton were the last club to do it and that was merely a one-off.

Not the harshest of words from our ex-manager, yet is this really true or was it simply Martin Jol reaching his managerial peak at fifth place? We have been literally points away from grabbing that fourth Champions league spot and on multiple occasions have shown that we can best the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United over 90minutes, yet it is our consistency that proves our downfall every season.

We could not break into the top four under Jol, but is Ramos a much different story? This season he took the team from the midst of a relegation battle into a safe-mid table position and in the League cup bested Arsenal and Chelsea to win the competition. In all fairness our end of season trailed off, but many could put this down to the lack of anything to aim for after we had won the cup. Look at the results before this and Ramos had a win ratio of about 55% and only lost a handful of games, form that would be seen in a top four side most definitely.

What do you guys think then? Can Spurs break into the Top four? Or are we destined for a life of fifth place finishes and unfulfilled potential?


Is Dos Santos about to sign for Spurs?

It seems, if many of the British tabloid and broadsheet newspapers are to be believed, that highly-rated wonderkid Giovani Dos Santos is on the verge of signing with Spurs. The deal, worth a potential £12million, is said to be in its closing stages and only minor details are to be ironed out. But is this a genuine deal, or just another rumor that each newspaper jumps on in turn with?

Dos Santos

At first it seems very unlikely that one of the most highly rated youngsters in European football would move away from Barcelona to a club that does not have Champions league football, yet there would be obvious advantages, the primary being first team football. With the huge array of talent, especially in the attacking midfield role, Dos Santos has had, and will have in the future, his opportunities to play competitive action reduced at the Nou Camp. Barcelona had a desire to loan out Dos Santos to gain some experience before he could break into the first team, but the young playmaker expressed his desire to play at a club who wanted him now, not in 4 years time.

Tottenham then seems an extremely beneficial destination for Dos Santos, as with interest from Chelsea and Manchester United he would find it very hard to break into the team, yet at Spurs he would be the only player who can play in his role really and would blossom with us.

Only time can tell whether or not he will sign with us, but if it does become true that he is coming to North London, it will definately be a coup for the Ramos revolution and probably, if he was the key negotiator, keep Damien Comolli’s job.