“The Cockerels may never stop crowing after this comeback” – Matt Hughes

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “I feel like superman, I could fly home.” – David Bentley.

Runner-up: “We were really superior and produced the game we wanted. We were really outstanding. The only down side is we didn’t win. That was down a little bit to a lack of maturity. We were too cautious rather than scoring number five or six. The players are deflated. It’s my job to raise them and ensure there’s no resentment against the mistakes we made in the team. With the game we produced tonight, we should have won. With two minutes to go there was no Harry Redknapp factor. It’s very difficult to prove scientifically why that happened.” – Arsene Wenger.

Today’s overview: Recovered yet? From a quick glance at this Thursday’s papers one could be forgiven for thinking Spurs actually won at Arsenal last night.

Still breathless, Barney Ronay summed up last night’s North London derby as “Bentley had his moment; Spurs had their late surge. Arsenal have the same old nagging questions, brilliance undone by carelessness.” Dominic Fifield believes this match, “the chaos of the final exchanges defied belief,” could be the turning point for Tottenham’s season.

Sam Wallace was quick to hail Harry Houdini, who is leading “the most entertaining relegation fight in living memory and we are not in November yet.” While David Hytner reacts to the renewed Tottenham by stating “Redknapp and his players, though, mainlined the adrenaline with a scarcely believable comeback. Spurs are back and the manager’s reign has a powerful touchstone.”

Matt Hughes waxes lyrical that “Tottenham were beaten not once, twice, but three times, though like a modern-day St. Peter, found themselves in a state of insistent denial. The Cockerels may never stop crowing after this comeback.” But arguably Martin Lipman went one step too far in his analysis, having claimed “the good was sublime, not just Bentley’s wonder goal and rejuvenated Spurs performance, but the quality of Modric, the poise of Tom Huddlestone, the grit of Jenas and Jonathan Woodgate.”

Jeremy Wilson looks at the tactical changes implemented since Redknapp joined Spurs, noting how “Tom Huddlestone… has been immediately assigned a holding role that helps the likes of Luka Modric, Bentley and Roman Pavlyuchenko to exploit their strengths.”

In other news, Marina Hyde takes time out to look at how the open letter has become the resort of chairmen who slip up on the director of football banana skin, Arash Markazi argues that the MLS will get more from Ljungberg than Beckham, and John Nicholson focuses attention on Robin Friday, “the greatest footballer you never saw… He smoked dope and dropped acid regularly. He had ‘mild’ and ‘bitter’ tattooed on his chest, under each nipple I assume. This was no ordinary footballer, clearly. He was told to calm down a bit by the club but he would laugh it off. He lived like a 70s rock star.

The final major topic of the day surrounds Argentina’s appointment of Diego Maradona as their new national manager.

Marcela Mora y Araujo is left questioning the decision, remarking “Notoriously unreliable, lacking in discipline, and with an innate contempt for established rules and corporate status quo, will [Maradona] be able to impose order and focus among the players who could form one of the best squads in the world?” Robert Booth and Sam Jones are left to recall the “astonishing comeback for a controversial player who came close to death in 2004 when he spent 10 days in intensive care with respiratory problems following what was thought to have been a cocaine-induced heart attack.”

Rob Hughes tries to understand the rationale of the appointment, saying “the clamor for Maradona is based more on instinct than a believe that he has the power of motivation. There is no record to show whether he can motivate players, though his past surely offers an inspiration.” It is left for Glenn Moore to dismiss the selection out of hand, arguing “the appointment looks about as logical as the Football Association calling for Paul Gascoigne.”

It is left for Gabriele Marcotti to defend Maradona’s appointment, pointing out that the “protection he will offer, means the squad is going to have a bit more breathing room than they would have done under other managers.” Elizabeth Nash also takes a more pragmatic approach to  Maradona’s appointment saying, “who knows if he’ll still be there in 2010? But until the next twist in the extraordinary narrative of his life, fans and sceptics worldwide will be agog to see if Maradona secures his place at football’s Olympian heights, or if he crashes, burns and tumbles back to earth, a fallen angel once again.”

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