Monday, January 17, 2011

Spurs were the losers, but SAF strokes 'Arry'

With all Barclays Premier League matches drawn this Sunday, the biggest winners in the stalemates were Manchester United, and of course, the losers Tottenham Spur. In an entertaining and blood warming romance between the two protagonists, it turned out to be just a sterile affair, both teams spilling wide of the target finishing 0-0.

United were obviously the beneficiary of 'soon-to-be-fair-refereeing' (I am trying hard to be polite here) having travelled, got a point, maintained an unbeaten run and shot to the summit of the league above neighbouring arch rivals, Manchester City. By contrast, Spurs were at home and could have overtaken Chelsea for the top four spot. Despite what happened, Harry Redknapp was not ready to call any decision a 'farce'.

As we have come to expect, Spurs will not be surrendering points easily, as they refused to be charitable to championship contenders. Any good coach knows that if you are to win it, one has to beat fellow aspirants yourself and win home and away. For that reason, Spurs will be hoping someone beats United for them and that is not a championship material mentality at all. They, however, did not give much away.

Sir Alex Ferguson, usually expected in big match mind games, went straight between his opposite number's legs, gently stroking Redknapp's balls, saying Spurs are the contenders. Fortunately Harry is experienced and a realist enough to tell you somebody will have to give it to them. Spurs are not yet good enough to subdue City, Arsenal, Chelsea and United beside party spoilers, over the stretch of the season. 

Both managers showed respect for each other on the pitch, fortifying the rear to protect the point they had at kick-off. The tactics seemed to unfold simultaneously to cancel any decisive offensive raids. They praised central defenders of both their sides. Spurs felt a little undone by failing to score, and rightly so, but gave United a lot of respect. Any team failing to beat United now are average and that is not what Spurs need to be, both for their Premiership campaign and the UEFA Champions League.

Kenny Daglish started off well with a point after a home 2-2 derby draw against Everton. The fading Reds have been notorious for changing coaches like nappies and hopefully, the former icon and Liverpool legend will see them through tough times. Sunderland and Newcastle finished 1-1, as did Birmingham City and Aston Villa.