There is an awful lot to like about Benoit Assou Ekotto as a footballer. This is a man that admits to not particularly liking the sport, and therefore is able to leave his job at the end of the day, rather than allowing it to encapsulate every aspect of his life. He enjoys winning, we're [...]
There's no official confirmation from the club but it seems that there are no fresh injuries from the clash with Lyon last Thursday. However, it also means that Jermain Defoe, Sandro and Younes Kaboul will continue to sit this one out.
The side should see at least two changes from the second leg in France with Hugo Lloris coming back in goal and William Gallas making way for Jan Vertonghen.
Tottenham's versatile left sided player Danny Rose will stay at Sunderland until the end of the season after his parent club allowed the recall clause to lapse. There had been some doubt as to whether Rose would return to White Hart Lane after a long term injury to left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto but with BAE back in the squad, Danny stays in the North East.
Despite spending the best part of the week holed up in bed with the dreaded lurgy, Benoit
Assou-Ekotto dragged himself from his pit on Saturday night, wandered into an East London pub,
ordered himself a little pink cocktail and then completely obliterated all comers over on the table
Tottenham's left sided player Danny Rose looks as if he may well take up a loan deal this season
but it's been reported today that any such arrangement will have to wait until such time as a new
manager is appointed.
Danny commented that he was one of the players who felt unhappy at the lack of squad rotation in
the last campaign and he only came in at the end of the season to cover for BAE at left back.
This weekend sees a rather welcome break from league action as Tottenham prepare to face Bolton
in the FA Cup 6th round. A trip to Wembley beckons for the winner and a chance of a place in the FA
Cup final itself but defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto claims every game is a cup final at this stage of
At the start of the week, injury concerns were held over from Sunday's game at Stevenage after
Adebayor, Modric and BAE were all late withdrawals. At the time, Harry was concerned for this
weekend's match but as the week has progressed, many of the doubts seem to have eased.
Firstly, Rafael van der Vaart announced that he was winning his own fitness race before Ade
tweeted that he also expected to return.
With yesterday's FA Cup tie quickly glossed over and forgotten for the time being, attention has
already turned to Sunday's North London derby with news that Tottenham's injury problems are
getting much worse.
Yesterday saw the return of last year's match winner Younes Kaboul but that was about the only
piece of good news amidst reports that Luka Modric, BAE and Emmanuel Adebayor are all doubts for
next Sunday's clash.
Remember on Tuesday evening? When Benoit Assou-Ekotto very nearly carved Franco Di Santo's leg
in twain with a disgusting, over-the-ball leg-breaker of a horror tackle?
A tackle, it's perhaps worth noting, that apparently didn't merit any form of punishment for BAE
from either the referee at the timeÂ (as the blood sopped through the Argentine's sock) or the FA's
Two parts 'Horror Hair' to one part 'actually pretty impressive'; it's BAE's latest crop of
'between styles' free range Afro fuzz, which is the size of a Capybara and looks like a distinct
No naked flames within a three-metre radius please people.
Ruddy nora and crikey hell! What about that, then? An absolute thunder-punt from everyone's
favourite Smart Car-driving, Oyster card-carrying Evening Standard columnist/community
support worker/international superstar footballer/all round good egg. If I was describing it using
the medium of retro beat 'em, Street Fighter II, I would conclude thusly: sonic boom +
flaming hadouken x hurricane kick= that goal.
Windswept Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor flaps his arms and generates a powerful wind tunnel
allowing team-mate Benoit Assou Ekotto to put his afro to the test. OK, you rumbled us: this is a
spurious excuse to showcase the Spurs left-back's increasingly spectacular hair. OTP has only just
noticed Assou Ekotto's odd boots combo.
What a joy to watch that was. Full of life, effervescence and wonder. It moved, it didn't move,
it moved some more; it made the opposition's efforts look like wet spaghetti in comparison. A
shining light, a colossal effort. Disco Benny sported one of the finest haircuts in the history of,
well, everything on Monday night.
It's reported that Sandro and Aaron Lennon suffered no ill-effects after appearing in last
night's 1-0 win over Rubin Kazan and both could make a start for Tottenham in Sunday's clash at
The injury problems in defence mean that the back four picks itself with Walker, BAE, Kaboul and
Bassong likely to line up ahead of Brad Friedel in goal.
There's no official team news from the club website at the time of writing but there are two significant reports from other sources regarding injury. It's claimed that Clint Dempsey continues to struggle with the groin problem that forced him out of Saturday's game against Stoke while Benoit Assou-Ekotto may finally be set to return after a long standing knee problem.
There are no reports of fresh injuries ahead of tomorrow's game at St Marys but that does leave a few questions across the park.
The main news is that Gareth Bale returns from parental leave and should take his place on the left wing while Emmanuel Adebayor and Moussa Dembele both stand a chance of returning to full fitness for tomorrow.
It's a real guess as to who will take to the field tonight but what we do know is that there are several absentees due to injury. Emmanuel Adebayor has joined Scott Parker, BAE, Younes Kaboul and Jake Livermore on the sidelines and all five are certain to be ruled out this evening.
"Ade has been struggling with a muscle injury, so he will be out of the game," said Andre Villas-Boas.
With so many hamstring injuries at the Lane this week the team for tonight virtually picks
itself. The big news once again is with Rafael van der Vaart whose scan seemed to give the Dutchman
the green light to return to the starting XI.
Before the game, Harry spoke about VDV and gave some news about other recent injury victims.
Injuries and suspension at the centre of defence could force Harry Redknapp to bring back Ledley
King for Sunday's game against Martin O'Neill's side. Harry reports that Ledley is struggling but
we've been in this position before where the club captain makes an unexpected return to the line
With Benoit Assou-Ekotto's continued absence from the side, Spurs head coach Andre Villas-Boas has been forced to play others out of position owing to lack of cover. However, even if BAE returns shortly and impresses the boss, there are growing suggestions that AVB will look for a permanent solution to the problem in January.
Many of the newspapers and websites are giving the nod to VDV this morning for his all round
contribution to yesterday's win. Rafa linked up with the two strikers well after Harry shuffled the
pack on 27 minutes and his neat pass let in Pavlyuchenko for the goal.
Pav could conceivably be a contender too while elsewhere, Scott Parker made his usual telling
One transfer story that we didn't touch on this week was the potential interest from Chelsea in Benoit Assou-Ekotto. The Stamford Bridge side were supposedly looking for a potential replacement for Ashley Cole, who was rumoured to be on his way, and BAE's consistency appealed to Roberto Di Matteo.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto's absence from the Spurs side could come to an end this weekend with reports that he will not need surgery on his troublesome knee. BAE has been out for six weeks and it was claimed that an operation would be necessary in order to clear bone fragments but that has been avoided for now at least.
Harry Redknapp once predicted that Gareth Bale would ultimately revert to his old left back position and finish his career there but that's not a view shared by Spurs head coach Andre Villas-Boas. On Sunday against QPR, injuries to BAE and Kyle Naughton meant that Gareth dropped back into defence at the start but the lack of a cutting edge up front saw AVB switch things around at half time.
Casual lobotomy is one of my less typical weekend pursuits, but I'm willing to hazard that were
one to pluck out the respective brains of BAE and Scott Parker, the two would be as dissimilar as
medically possible. At one point in the second half yesterday I'm fairly sure Benny executed a
scorpion kick, seemingly just to pass the time.
So finally this much-vaunted "Game in Hand" is upon us. Truth be told, I will be a little sad to
see it go. It has practically become part of the family, like a scruffy, uncouth urchin discovered
in the wreckage of the summer riots, and adopted by the cheery folk of White Hart Lane. And let's
face it, this Game in Hand has proved more useful than the Sword of Omens when it comes to
pointless bickering with fans of l'Arse, Chelski, Liverpool and the like.
VDV celebrates his first. That's 5 wins out of the last 6 now for us. A brilliant run by Kyle
Walker down the right allowed him to get into the Rovers penalty area. He cut it back for Rafa to
slot home from inside the area. 0-1.
Endless sloppy tackles and defenders climbing on Blackburn strikers resulting in endless free