Win, Lose or Draw: Finishers take the honors

It was a weekend for ruthless finishers as chance creation took second fiddle to chance conversion. Three high profile match-ups saw teams with all the shots fall short to teams with all the goals. Win: Tottenham Clint Dempsey’s goal proved to be the winner in Tottenham’s first victory at Old Trafford since 1989. His side was quick to strike, as Jan Vertonghen gave Spurs the lead just two minutes into play. Gareth Bale doubled the lead in the 32nd minute as the visitors took advantage of a Manchester United side reeling from the early onslaught and struggling to deal with the energy of their opponents. The defining period of the game proved to last just four minutes, as United came out firing in the second half, lifted by the introduction of Wayne Rooney. Goals in the 51st and 53rd minutes looked to spark United into life, but Dempsey’s goal between […]

Win, Lose or Draw: League table takes shape

After a busy weekend of Premier League soccer, most clubs have four games under their belts and an early picture of the league table has begun to emerge. Who put their mark on this season’s campaign and who lost ground? Tottenham: Win It took four games, but Spurs finally have their first win under new manager Andres Villas-Boas. After a 2-1 loss to Newcastle United, Tottenham faced successive 1-1 draws in which they were denied the full three points, first by a 91st minute goal from West Brom and then by an 85th minute goal from Norwich. There were no such dramatics against Reading this Sunday. Spurs dominated the newly-promoted Royals in almost every conceivable way, opening the scoring after 18 minutes of play and adding two more for comfort in the 71st and 74th minutes. The visitors were rarely in the game, their best opportunity coming from a denied […]

Win, Lose or Draw: Week 3’s big results

The table is slowly taking shape as teams are starting to hit their stride, just in time to be thrown off again by the international break. Here’s a closer look at a few of this weekend’s big matchups. Arsenal: Win The Gunners finally snatched their first goals, along with their first win, of the season on a road trip to Anfield, courtesy of new signings Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla. And yet, despite the initial focus falling on the resumption of business as usual for the Arsenal attack, the real story here is in defense. Arsenal conceded a total of 49 goals last season, more than any other team in the top eight save Newcastle United. In fact, at this point last season, the Gunners had already bled 10 of those goals. This year, though, is a different story. Three games in, the North London club has yet to see […]

The Luka the draw

How much will Spurs miss Luka Modric? The numbers don't lie. Photo courtesy of caughtoffside.com It’s a North London sell-off, but Arsenal isn’t the only club to see its best player go. Luka Modric completed his transfer to Spanish giants Real Madrid Monday, bringing the saga that has plagued Spurs fans all summer to a close. The Croatian midfielder has been pulling the strings for Tottenham for the last four seasons, tallying 17 goals and 20 assists in all competitions in 160 appearances. But as solid as those numbers are, they don’t do justice to the buoyant effect his presence has had on the team. For the six seasons preceding Modric’s arrival, Spurs struggled to finish in the top half of the league table, just barely getting themselves over the hump on two occasions when they finished 10th and 9th, slipping below it when they settled in 11th after the […]

Challengers and Wannabes at the 2012 Olympics

Olympic soccer may not be the pinnacle of competition that it is for other athletes, but it’s still a great showcase for young players and teams looking to lay down a marker before more prestigious competitions. Over the last 16 years, unlikely challengers such as Nigeria, Cameroon and Chile have stood on the medal stand alongside giants like Argentina, Spain and Brazil.  Olympic gold is there for the taking for whichever team wants it the most, so who will it be in London? Team Great Britain – The team that didn’t have to qualify The mash-up of Team Great Britain makes for an interesting story, but a poor team.  Because England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales compete as separate teams in FIFA competitions, Great Britain has passed on Olympic soccer to avoid qualifying confusion for the last 50 years. As hosts, they can put all that aside this year, but they […]

Was Redknapp a landmine for England?

 The British media all but crowned Harry Redknapp king of the English national team over the last couple of months, only to be shocked by the appointment of West Bromwich Albion manager Roy Hodgson this week. But did England dodge a bullet in Prince Harry? Tottenham’s collapse since Fabio Capello’s resignation has been widely attributed to a lack of focus: a man with half his mind on the England job not putting as much effort into his current squad. And it’s certainly hard to argue that the club hasn’t been on a slide. Since the departure of the national side’s Italian general, Spurs have only taken 36% of the available points in their games. That’s compared to taking 69% of points before. Shots on goal have decreased as well, from 6.2 per game to 5.3 per game. But this isn’t just a freak decline brought on by media hype. Tottenham’s […]