Saturday, 11 June 2011
Spurs - an idiot's guide: central midfield
The redux version of this could just be a big tick, or maybe a gold star. And then a question mark.
The tick, of course, is for our current crop, and especially the pair who have established themselves as one and two: Modric and Sandro. M&S. Or, if you're feeling kinky, S&M.
The question mark, just as obviously, is over Luka's future.
For now though, let's assume he's staying and reflect on our strength in the most important area of the pitch.
Luka's always been a bit special and I've praised him to the skies before. If he was a better finisher he'd be pretty much perfect. The only thing he could add at that point would be the ability to fly - and I wouldn't rule it out.
It's Sandro that's been the revelation. In the second half of the season he put in a series of performances that revealed him as the perfect foil for the slight and skillful main man.
Defensively he's not just a tough tackler, he's a super smart reader of the game and unfussily intercepts as often (and as effectively) as he slides in and clears out.
But there's more to his game than breaking up opposition attacks. He can burst forward, link with strikers (often a thankless task, admittedly), find a pass and even grab a goal - the thunderbolt against Chelsea was hopefully just a taste of what's to come.
The one area he really needs to improve, of course, is up top. I mean, that hair: what the fuck?
I'm not saying they're the best midfielders in the Premier League, nothing so absolute, but I do think that we wouldn't swap either of them for anyone doing the same jobs for any of the other big teams.
Huddlestone seems to have been edged out to first reserve. Like Lennon he's a player that needs to push past the 'potential' stage and become what he surely could be - world class. His passing is superb, but maybe needs to be more threatening. His shooting technique in open play surpasses anyone's at the club, yet he's not seen as any sort of threat from a dead ball. Come on Tom, step up.
Behind him there's Palacios, who's looking like yesterday's man but, in tandem with Sandro, was a key part of probably the result of the season, 0-1 at the San Siro.
And then there's Jenas. There's always Jenas. He's been with us five years and is still only 28. Obviously most of us have given up on him becoming the sort of player he could and should have been.
He's probably the most unpopular player with the fans, but I've always defended him - he's popped up with some important goals (a few of them against Arsenal), he puts in a shift (minimum requirement, I know) and he can cover defensive as well as attacking absentees (okay, you might argue that he covers them both with the same disappointing degree of ineptitude, but at least it's versatility - or a sort). Besides, if he's fourth or fifth choice, I'd say that's pretty impressive.
In conclusion: fuck off Scott Parker. (Nothing personal, sorry)
And here are an idiot's guide to the goalkeepers, the full-backs, the centre-backs and the wingers