Tag Archives: rafael

Emmanuel Adebayor: Spurs belong in top four

Adebayor reveals Euro vision as Spurs striker has no worries over top-four finish

Emmanuel Adebayor is convinced Tottenham have the stars at their disposal to guarantee at least a top-four finish.

Adebayor and his team-mates can move to within seven points of Premier League leaders Manchester City with a game in hand, if they see off Chelsea at White Hart Lane.

Victory would also take them five points clear of the fourth-placed Blues in the battle to cement a place in the Champions League.

Fine run: Emmanuel Adebayor has eight Premier League goals for Tottenham

Fine run: Emmanuel Adebayor has eight Premier League goals for Tottenham

Striker Adebayor is Spurs” top scorer since arriving on a season-long loan from Manchester City and is loving life in Harry Redknapp”s team.

He refused to talk up their chances of finishing above the Manchester rivals come May but did say: “When you have good players, you think about winning titles and today we have great players, people like Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Aaron Lennon and Scott Parker.

“Manchester United and Manchester City have great names, and Tottenham have great names.

“I”m not saying we”re going to win the League. At the moment, Tottenham”s ambition is to finish in the top four. Keep playing as we are now, and we have a chance to do that comfortably.

Big names: Roman Pavlyuchenko celebrates his winner against Sunderland by giving Scott Parker a lift as Rafael van der Vaart (right) joins the party

Big names: Roman Pavlyuchenko celebrates his winner against Sunderland by giving Scott Parker a lift as Rafael van der Vaart (right) joins the party

“We”re two points ahead of Chelsea with a game in hand, and we want to put them as far behind as possible.

“We have been on a good run – 11 wins in 13 League matches – so now we concentrate on Chelsea. They want to beat us to close the gap on City and United, so these are the kind of games you want to play in.”

Bale force: Spurs winger Gareth Bale has been in fine form this season

Bale force: Spurs winger Gareth Bale has been in fine form this season

Spurs fans would love to keep the former Arsenal man when his deal expires but the 170,000-a-week wages he commands could block any permanent switch.

Adebayor added: “It”s too early. I”m not a liar, so I”m not going to start saying “I want to stay here for life.”

“Tottenham brought me here to help them finish in the top four and that”s what I”ll try to do. At the end of the season, let”s judge it and see what happens.”

Harry Redknapp wants Roman Pavlyuchenko to stay at Tottenham

I want Pav to stay, says Redknapp after unsettled striker nets winner against Sunderland

Harry Redknapp insists he does not want Roman Pavlyuchenko to leave Tottenham in January after watching the Russian fire his team to victory over Sunderland at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham failed to test Sunderland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood in a dull first half, but they sprung to life just after the hour when substitute Pavlyuchenko latched on to Rafael van der Vaart”s reverse pass and fired home a powerful low drive.

It was an exquisite finish from the 30-year-old, but he would not have even been on the pitch had it not been for the suspected hamstring tear which caused Aaron Lennon to be brought off in the first half.

Winner: Roman Pavlyuchenko scored the only goal of the game

Winner: Roman Pavlyuchenko scored the only goal of the game

Indeed, the striker may not have been in the Spurs matchday squad had Jermain Defoe not been ruled out prior to kick-off with a hamstring problem.

Pavlyuchenko has voiced his desire to leave White Hart Lane on a number of occasions this season after the arrival of Emmanuel Adebayor and the form of Rafael van der Vaart saw him drop down the pecking order at the north London club.

Redknapp admits he may struggle to keep Pavlyuchenko happy, but insists he will try to hang on to the Russian if he can.

“He”s a fantastic player. He”s got real talent. He”s got great ability, I think. He”s got a good left foot, a good right foot and is a great finisher,” Redknapp said.

“He”s top drawer but he”s just been unlucky. He didn”t start the season great. He hasn”t really shown the form that he”s capable of so he”s slipped down the pecking order a bit.

“It”s difficult. Some people are going to be upset they”re not in the team.

Unsettled: Pavlyuchenko has expressed his desire for more regular first team football

Unsettled: Pavlyuchenko has expressed his desire for more regular first team football

“Today I lost a wide man but I thought I”d change it and if you want someone to score he”s always likely to. I want to keep all four (strikers). You need them all.”

Tottenham looked out of sorts in the opening half and rarely played the kind of football that had seen them go on an 11-match unbeaten run recently.

They missed the presence of Gareth Bale, who was absent with a foot injury, and Lennon”s withdrawal deprived the Londoners of the usual pace and penetration down the flanks.

Lennon will miss Thursday”s London derby against top-four rivals Chelsea while Bale is a doubt for the game.

“Lennon felt the hamstring tear. He”s got no chance for Thursday,” Redknapp said.

“It”ll be weeks, if it”s a tear.

Torn: Lennon injured his hamstring

Torn: Lennon injured his hamstring

“We”ll see about Bale. He”s sprained his ankle. He just did it in training.

“There”s every chance Defoe will be fit.”

Sunderland are now within one point of the relegation zone after the defeat which was harsh on the Wearsiders, who frustrated Spurs for large parts of the game.

Brad Friedel saved superbly from Sebastian Larsson and Kieran Richardson, and the former Manchester United winger was guilty of missing a gilt-edged opportunity to give the Black Cats the lead in the first half.

Sunderland manager Martin O”Neill was happy with his team”s efforts in his second game in charge.

“I didn”t think any player wearing a Sunderland shirt today downed tools,” O”Neill said.

Satisfied: Martin O

Satisfied: Martin O”Neill was pleased with the efforts of his players

“I saw an effort. It was a little bit misguided at times, but these are the things we have to rectify. Getting goals is difficult.

“I as disappointed to lose the game but I couldn”t ask for much more in terms of effort.

“There were certainly a lot of things I felt were pretty good about us and we certainly never gave up.

“We were euphoric last week having won the game (against Blackburn), but tasted defeat today against a really fine Tottenham side.”

O”Neill, whose team take on QPR on Wednesday, had to withdraw 18-year-old striker Connor Wickham at half-time through injury.

The former Leicester boss played down fears the striker, who recently recovered from a serious knee injury, is facing another spell on the sidelines, however.

“I think Connor”s going to be okay,” O”Neill said.

Tottenham 1 Sunderland 0: Roman Pavlyuchenko scores the only goal

Tottenham 1 Sunderland 0: Roman ruins O”Neill”s start as Spurs climb to third

Tottenham moved up to third place in the Barclays Premier League after returning to winning ways against Sunderland at White Hart Lane.

Harry Redknapp”s men failed to test Sunderland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood in a dull first half, but they sprung to life on the hour and took the lead through substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko”s fierce drive.

Pav some of that: Pavlyuchenko fires home on the hour mark

Pav some of that: Pavlyuchenko fires home on the hour mark

MATCH FACTS

Spurs: Friedel, Walker, Gallas, King, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon (Pavlyuchenko 27), Parker, Sandro (Livermore 82), Modric, Van der Vaart (Rose 89); Adebayor. Subs not used: Cudicini, Bassong, Kranjcar, Pienaar.

Booked: Assou-Ekotto.

Goal: Pavlyuchenko 61.

Sunderland: Westwood, O”Shea, Richardson, Brown, Bramble, Colback (Gardner 75), Vaughan, Bardsley (McClean 69), Larsson, Sessegnon, Wickham (Bendtner 46). Subs not used: Carson, Cattermole, Elmohamady, Ji.

Booked: Richardson, Vaughan.

Referee: Mike Dean.

Attendance: 36,021.

Sunderland would have taken somethingfrom the game had it not been for Spurs goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who saved well from Sebastian Larsson and Kieran Richardson, while Luka Modric missed a gilt-edged chance to make it 2-0 at the other end, blazing over an open goal deep inside the second period.

The victory, which came a week after Spurs” 11-match unbeaten run ended at Stoke, means they are now two points ahead of Chelsea ahead of the London derby between the two sides on Thursday.

Sir Alex Ferguson began the day by claiming that Spurs were genuine title contenders, but Spurs looked anything but after a drab opening half.

Shorn of Gareth Bale, missing through injury, Spurs lacked a cutting edge and began sluggishly.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto fired a blistering shot from 16 yards that could have gone in had it not hit Rafael van der Vaart and deflected wide, butother than that, Spurs were poor in the opening half hour.

Head over heels: William Gallas challenges Connor Wickham

Head over heels: William Gallas challenges Connor Wickham

Sandro, keen to impress on a rare start, broke Sunderland”s play up well, but scuffed a shot wide from Rafael van der Vaart”s pass on a rareforay forward.

Without Bale”s marauding and pace down the left, Spurs were struggling to penetrate the Black Cats defence, although the visitors rarely threatened.

Tottenham”s attack was adjusted in the 26th minute when a hamstring injury to Aaron Lennon forced the winger off and Pavlyuchenko came on inhis place.

Sunderland piled the pressure on and ended the first half the stronger side.

Close encounter: Stephane Sessegnon (right) applies the pressure to Sandro

Close encounter: Stephane Sessegnon (right) applies the pressure to Sandro

A clever backheel from Connor Wickham gave Kieran Richardson some space on the edge of the box but his low drive was saved well by Friedel.

Larsson then sent a wicked ball across the Spurs box, but Richardson somehow failed to convert from eight yards despite having an empty goal in front of him.

William Gallas” foul on Wickham gave Sunderland a free-kick in a dangerous area but Friedel pulled off a good diving save to deny Larsson”s brilliant curling shot.

High hopes: Bramble and Adebayor do battle

High hopes: Bramble and Adebayor do battle

Pavlyuchenko wasted a glorious chance in the last minute of the half when he volleyed wide from Scott Parker”s cross while unmarked in the box.

David Vaughan tested Friedel with a 25-yard drive as Sunderland continued to impress at the start of the second half, while Nicklas Bendtner, on loan from Spurs” bitter rivals Arsenal, was booed when he came on for Wickham.

Assou-Ekotto entered the book for hacking David Vaughan down deep insidethe Spurs half before Richardson also saw yellow for kicking the ball away after a foul had been given against him.

Old acquaintances: Martin O

Old acquaintances: Martin O”Neill (left) and Harry Redknapp

Westwood scampered across his line desperately after Van der Vaart fired at goal but the deflected effort flew inches wide.

Sunderland were still proving to be more than a match for their hosts, however, and Richardson played in Jack Colback with a clever pass but William Gallas and Sandro muscled the youngster off the ball before he could get his shot away.

Angered by their team”s poor performance, the home crowd urged their side on and they responded by taking the lead on the hour.

Clincher: Pavlyuchenko

Clincher: Pavlyuchenko”s shot beats the despairing dive of Titus Bramble

Van der Vaart held off his marker and laid on a delicate reverse pass for Pavlyuchenko, who paused before firing a powerful low shot past Westwood for his first league strike of the season.

Buoyed by hitting the opener, Pavlyuchenko confidently strode towards goal before Vaughan tripped him on the edge of the penalty area and the Sunderland midfielder went into the book.

Van der Vaart drilled the free-kick against the wall, but he soon made amends by playing Adebayor through with a wonderful pass.

Roman conqueror: Pavlyuchenko celebrates his goal

Roman conqueror: Pavlyuchenko celebrates his goal

Westwood parried the striker”s effort and the ball fell straight to Modric but he blazed over an open goal from eight yards – a contender for miss of the season.

Kyle Walker hammered a long-range effort just wide as Spurs upped the pressure in search of a second goal to kill the game off.

Van der Vaart got in the way of Modric”s goal-bound effort and Assou-Ekotto embarrassed John O”Shea with his trickery but could only cross into a vacant penalty area.

Job done: Spurs moved back up to third place

Job done: Spurs moved back up to third place

Bramble”s clumsy trip on Pavlyuchenko gave Spurs a free-kick on the edgeof the Sunderland box but Van der Vaart rifled another effort at the wall. Westwood showed good reflexes to deny Adebayor before Pavlyuchenkowent agonisingly close to adding a second with a sweet drive that flew just wide.

Stephane Sessegnon played a clever one-two with Bendtner but the Dane miscued his volley horribly, much to the delight of the home fans.

A dangerous cross from Larsson in the dying minutes caused a few gasps among the home crowd as Sunderland looked for a late equaliser which never came.

Jermain Defoe will be part of England"s Euro 2012 plans, says Younes Kaboul

Defoe will be part of England”s Euro 2012 plans, insists Kaboul

Younes Kaboul is baffled by Jermain Defoe”s recent omission from the England squad and has backed his Tottenham team-mate to force his way into Fabio Capello”s Euro 2012 plans.

Defoe was left out of the squad for the recent games against Spain, Sweden and Montenegro and has not played a competitive match for his country in 15 months.

The 29-year-old has struggled to break into the Tottenham first team at times this year, but has looked sharp all season and is the club”s top scorer with eight goals in all competitions.

Eye for goal: Jermain Defoe scores for England against Slovenia at the World Cup in South Africa last year

Eye for goal: Jermain Defoe scores for England against Slovenia at the World Cup in South Africa last year

Defoe has benefited recently from the absence of Rafael van der Vaart, scoring in two successive games while the Dutchman makes his way back from a hamstring injury.

Spurs and France centre-half Kaboul has been impressed with Defoe”s form this year and thinks he could end up facing his team-mate when England meet Les Bleus in Group D”s opening game next summer.

“Of course Jermain can get in (the England team),” Kaboul said. “I”m surprised he wasn”t picked in the last squad.

“Everyone knows Jermain. Every time he plays he scores, especially for England.

“Every time I have seen him play for England he has scored at least one goal. He”s got a good average with his national team. If I was the manager I would play him straight away.”

Spurs currently sit third in the Barclays Premier League after picking up 10 wins and a draw in their last 11 matches.

Confidence is so high within the Tottenham camp that Defoe has vowed to give 3,000 to charity if his team finish below their north London rivals Arsenal.

The striker made the pledge in response to Jack Wilshere”s vow that he would donate the same amount if Arsenal failed to finish above Tottenham.

The injured Gunners midfielder, who has watched his team turn around their season after a dismal start, raised the stakes in the bet today, telling talkSPORT: “I”ve thought about it and I”m going to raise it to 5000. I think Tottenham are due a bad patch and I think on this good run I can see us winning every game.”

Spurs looked destined for a long season after opening their campaign with defeats at the hands of both Manchester clubs.

Happy days: Defoe celebrates a recent goal at West Brom

Happy days: Defoe celebrates a recent goal at West Brom

However, they have not looked back since, with their remarkable 11-match run including wins over Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa.

Kaboul has played a huge role, providing stellar leadership at the back alongside Ledley King. But he has warned his team-mates that any complacency could cost them dearly come the end of the season.

“It”s a great achievement of course, but me and the lads are not looking at where we are now, we”re looking at May,” he said.

“The most important thing is to see what”s going to happen at the end of the season.

“If we”re second or third now and then we finish fifth or sixth in May then it will be disappointing for us, so we”ll concentrate and focus on winning every game now.”

Next up is a tricky away fixture at Stoke, where Kaboul is likely to come face to face with Peter Crouch, who left White Hart Lane this summer.

“It”s always nice to play against players that you”ve played with and he”s going to be very tough for us on Sunday, but we have to go there and take the three points,” Kaboul added.

“Everyone knows Crouchy is a great player, especially in the air, so we”re going to have to be aware of that.

“I”m looking forward to playing against him. I”ve got his number. I”ll send him a message this week to tell him not to jump so high.

Rafa Benitez could join David Beckham at Paris St Germain

Rafa”s return! PSG line up ex-Liverpool boss Benitez to form French dream team with Beckham

Former Liverpool and Inter Milan manager Rafael Benitez has been lined up as a replacement for Paris St Germain coach Antoine Kombouare.

The move could see the Spaniard link up with David Beckham who is also touted to join the French side.

The French giants are in pole position to sign the former England captain and as money is no object to the Qatari owners of PSG will offer Becks an 18-month contract worth almost 12million.

Allez! Benitez looks set to take over at ambitious French side PSG

Allez! Benitez looks set to take over at ambitious French side PSG

The Ligue 1 side look set to sack Kombouare and have approached Benitez, who is available after being dismissed from Serie A club Inter last December.

Benitez enjoyed success at Liverpool between 2004 and 2010, winning the ChampionsLeague in 2005 and FA Cup in 2006.

The Spaniard would be interested in taking over if Kombouare is sacked. However, no contact has been made.

PSG are currently second in the French top flight after they ended their three-game winless run with a 3-2 win over Auxerre on Sunday.

Qatar Investment Authority took control of the Parisian club in May and have invested heavily, bringing in big-name signings such as Javier Pastore and Jeremy Menez.

Crowd puller: Beckham is currently on a world tour with LA Galaxy

Crowd puller: Beckham is currently on a world tour with LA Galaxy

Beckham is out of contract after helping Galaxy win the MLS Cup and is set to return to Europe with French giants leading the charge to sign him.

Becks will take his time weighing up his next move and has suggested he will wait until the New year before making an announcement.

But with a huge cash deal on the table from the French, it is likely Beckham will snub the advances of Tottenham Hotspur who he spent time training with earlier this year.

All smiles: Becks

All smiles: Becks” time at LA Galaxy has come to an end but he hasn”t revealed next move