The Premier League has just kicked off and so Damon and Damian take a look at their respective team’s chances. Here is Damian looking ahead to his team’s Tottenham’s 2011-12 season, complete with worksheet, while there is also a transcript below. Explanations of key vocabulary (in bold) can be found at the foot of the post, while other key phrases (in blue) also have meanings explained.
Download the Spurs Preview Worksheet here
Listen to the report on Tottenham here
After the rather disappointing end to last season when Spurs finished fifth in the Premier League and qualified for the Europa League, it appears that the pundits have already written off their chances for this season. Of course, when we talk about chances we refer to qualifying for the Champions League, finishing in the top 4, rather than the title which is still way beyond our reach.
It has been a very quiet pre-season at the Lane – rather unusual for both the club and a manager with Harry Redknapp’s reputation – and this low-level approach was further manifested by the fact that Spurs did not play on the opening weekend after the unrest in the area earlier in the week. It seems that the Spurs board will not buy any players until we sell some of the current squad meaning that David Bentley, Jermaine Jenas, Roman Pavulechenko, Giovanni dos Santos, Sebastian Bassong, Peter Crouch and Wilson Palacios may all be heading out the door. Irish captain Robbie Keane has already left to play for the LA Galaxy and Jaimie O’Hara is now with Wolves but the main transfer story at the Lane concerns our best player from last season: Luka Modric. The Croatian playmaker is wanted by Chelsea who will double his wages and offer him Champions League football. Tottenham have said no and it seems that this stand-off has caused a form of paralysis at the club where no one seems to know what is going on.
Of course, the main problem for Tottenham last season was there for all to see – the strikers simply did not score enough goals. With a strict pay structure in place at the club finding a top-level striker to come into the side has not been easy. But Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor has come in on loan – it will be interesting to see what kind of relationship he builds up with the fans after his Arsenal days and their singing of abusive chants. Veteran US keeper Brad Friedl has joined the club from Aston Villa which should mean the end for Brazilian goalkeeper Gomes – far too many high-profile mistakes meant he lost the trust of management, defence and the fans. But the club is crying out for a centre-half and a ball winner in the midfield as Brazilian star Sandro recovers from injury – though it does seem that West Ham’s Scott Parker will be the man to take on that role.
A poor pre-season, littered with injuries and transfer speculation, coupled with two dreadful results at the start of the season has meant that there is an air of despondency around White Hart Lane at the moment but I still feel we can get back into the top four though it may depend on other teams around us, in particular Arsenal and Liverpool. Overall prediction: 4th but with many twists and turns to come – it wouldn’t be Tottenham otherwise.
the pundits: Experts about the game (usually former players)
written off their chances: To suggest that a time does not have a good chance
pre-season: The time before the season starts – training and friendly matches take place during this time.
the unrest in the area There were violent riots in London, which started in Tottenham
the Spurs board: Tottenham is a public company and those that run this company are known as the board (includes the chairman, secretary and so on)
heading out the door: Leaving the club (resigning)
stand-off : A dispute between two parties
pay structure in place at the club : Tottenham do not pay as much as other clubs
come in on loan: The player has not been bought with a transfer fee but instead comes for a shorter period of time and usually for no money.
abusive chants: The fans sang nasty songs towards him – in this particular case they were accused of racism
is crying out for : Really needs something
littered with: Full of
dreadful results: Spurs were thrashed by Manchester United and City in their opening two matches
an air of despondency: The atmosphere around the club is fairly low – a little depressing