Spurs v Bolton Preview – Pav Serves It Up On A Plate

Pav’s Cafe has been a fixture on the seafront at Westgate since I was a teenager. Three generations of the family have been lured by the smell of burnt onions wafting across the sands and sat at the cracked, polished formica tables. Floors sticky with layers of prized ice cream cones dropped by anxious toddlers, we queued to be served with the utter indifference so common of British shops of my youth.

Pav's Ancestors. All Hail.

I declare this to be our place of pilgrimage to honour Our Saviour. Personally I don’t fancy schlepping over to Russia, although the ultra-orthodox amongst you, well, feel free, and these days you can get the new fast train from St Pancras to Margate. I recommend the journey anyway if only to prove that in England you can actually get somewhere quickly on public transport. Whether you wish to go there is irrelevant. Then it’s a short pleasant stroll along the prom. Some of you may cherish the spot at the DW stadium where after heading straight at the keeper he bundled in the rebound but I need a place with a bit of history.

Roman Pavlyuchenko is back and already is in danger of falling victim to the curse of raised expectations.  I was delighted both with his goals and the warmth with which his team-mates toasted his success at the final whistle. The question this evening is not if he plays but with whom. Freed from the responsibilities of being a target man, he revelled in his role playing off Crouch. Coming from slightly deeper and facing the goal is his style. What impressed me most on Sunday was his movement. Immediately and instinctively he moved across the back four and then into channels, where Modric was on the look out for a little something to slot through to him.

We were all anticipating that he was the replacement for a toiling Crouch. Their playing together was either a tactical masterstroke on Harry’s part or a happy accident created by JD’s determination to be sent off for no discernible reason. Something tells me that it was the latter but probably that’s just me. Defoe must partner him tonight but his orders must remain unchanged: don’t drift 5 yards too far up the field, be patient even if it takes time for us to break down the Bolton defence and look for Luka or Nico (Modric must play after Sunday) as he comes inside. I identified the biggest problem with this a couple of weeks ago. It’s not so much the fact that Pav and Defoe might get in each other’s way, it’s the lack of familiarity with the system caused by relying so heavily on Crouch, the big man up front and the long ball. Harry should have at least tried a plan B long ago but Pav has rotted on the bench. The players must adjust quickly and have not been supported by the coaching staff in this but their passing game will suit the personnel that I hope to see as the whistle blows. And the fans can help by seeing this as a promising boost for our form rather than the second coming.

In those days, takeaway food to enjoy was a novelty

We start strong favourites and the Cup is a realistic target this season. We are a home game against a team that cannot score away, never mind win, from a quarter final versus opponents who we should respect but not fear. Complacency is a real danger and we must be alert at the back if Kevin Davies plays. King knows him well but the less experienced Dawson and Bassong or Kaboul will be bullied if they are not careful. If he can’t take a chance, Davies will set one up, and if he can’t set one up he’ll get the centre backs to concede fouls outside or in the box in their desperation to get between him with his back to our goal and the ball as it is played up to him. He can also move wide, thus taking his marker with him, but this is less of a danger with two 6 foot full backs. Daws should take him and this could be the biggest test yet of his maturity. He must not panic or be forced into rash challenges. Sometimes defenders must accept that you just can’t win the ball every time. His colleagues must be alert to the second ball and WP and Hud must get in front  and around him to deal with the threat.

Finally, the news that Lennon will be out for longer that first thought is a real blow. Not only have we struggled at times without him, his return to the team would have been a real shot in the arm as we reach the climax of the season. It would have invigorated and inspired everyone. There’s still time.

8 thoughts on “Spurs v Bolton Preview – Pav Serves It Up On A Plate

  1. Good report.I agree with most of what is said. Pav.(world class) and proven that on the world stage.If i am not mistaken has scored more goals at international level than any of our regular forwards.I disagree with your thoughts on Dawson.To me Dawson is Tottenham’s “player of the year”.I would have him marking any centre forward in the world.Whoever he marks will know they are in one hell of a game.Everyone talks about King but when the ball comes down the middle,air or on the ground,all i see every time is Dawson.Here in RSA i watch all televised games live and whenever Spurs play i tell friends..watch Dawson,maybe it is because we could seldom find Pav.

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  2. Afternoon Alan,I agree with you regarding Pav and Crouch they looked pretty mobile together with both working of the other to find space,but I am going to guess on Pav and Gudjohnsen tonight as Harry has said that Ediur has also performed admirably in training an hence deserves a game,

    It’s also good to hear Pav and Harry commenting on how the relationship between the pair has improved recently(as written in an article on Newsnow).

    Oh yes and the next time yo go to the seaside have a Knickerbocker Tottenhams glory on me mate,and make sure you take that girl with you(from a blog a few weeks ago,sorry can’t remember her name)

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    • Hadn’t considered Eidur – I would go for the best options but Pav and Eidur could be interesting.

      Adriana appears alongside my football obsessions a couple of times – see the topics section at the top of the sidebar, Always On My Mind – Stories of Football Obsession. Expect another outing soon but not in Westgate, she wouldn’t be seen dead there. I think.

      Regards, Al

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  3. I noticed in the last Bolton game that the referee was down on Davies’s little pushes and fouls very quickly.
    He is one of the most fouled players in the league but also one of the leading offenders.
    His game is persistent tugs, nudges, and obstructions, particularly of the keeper at set pieces.
    Dawson can be a little headstrong at times and Davies might know that he can be wound up.

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  4. Good points about Pav liking to play from deeper, as most of the talk has been about him replacing Crouch as a better target man option. Pav and Modric showed that class players can play football on any surface. It reminded me of many a WHL pitch in the 70s especially. Class will out. COYS

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