Do you hear that sound? That faint scratching noise in various press rooms across the country? That my fellow Tottenham fans is the sound of journalists struggling to come up with the latest Andre Villas Boas crisis headline.
When the full time whistle sounded at Old Trafford, Spurs fans across the country were finally able to send a 23 year old back perching monkey off to a nice home in the country. I love a Gary Lineker stat, but that stat is one that I will be delighted to never hear again.
If like me you have watched, MOTD, Goals on Sunday, MOTD2 and used the ESPN phone app whilst having a toilet break, there is nothing more that can be said about the Spurs goals other than: When we attack at full speed, no one lives with us.
Instead I would like to focus on Brad Friedel. When our previous manager signed the veteran American, I along with many other Spurs fans questioned the sanity of this move. However, I was proved wrong. Last season Friedel was without doubt the soundest keeper I had seen at our club since Paul Robinson’s debut season.
The former American international, was a safe pair of hands, a reliable kicker and a massive confidence boost to a back line that grown accustomed to moments of brilliance inter spliced with enough gaffes to fill a Christmas DVD.
In 2011/2012 Friedel was the best keeper at our club, but this is now 2012/2013.
The season has started well for Friedel, he has put together a string of fine performances against Norwich, QPR and in parts against Man United, but there is this nagging feeling that the praise he has been receiving is a little over the top.
Just as AVB has been receiving unfair criticism, Friedel has been platitude after platitude. Yes he has made some good saves, but they have been saves I would expect a keeper of any top Premier League team to make. To warrant them amazing due to his age is like saying Sophia Loren is pretty hot for an old bird. The moment you have to use age as a quantifier, the strength of that quality is lost. Friedel may be an amazing keeper, for his age, but I would sooner have just an amazing keeper. Just as I would rather have Natalie Portman, than an amazing for her age Sophia.
Friedel is a solid keeper, better than most in the Premier League, but Hugo Lloris is an outstanding keeper better than most in the world. The French captain may not have kept a clean sheet at Old Trafford, but he may have saved at least one, especially the Shinji Kagawa goal, where perhaps a younger more athletic keeper would have closed down the space faster.
This season there isn’t one goal I can directly attribute to Friedel’s advancing years, but the more I see the Demba Ba strike, the Bobby Zamora goal and the Kagawa goal, the more I feel confident that Lloris would have saved at least one. If I look back on all the saves Friedel pulled off this season, there isn’t one that I don’t think Lloris wouldn’t have made.
My issue with Friedel is his inability to come and grab a cross or sweep up behind his back line. When a ball is swung deep into our penalty area all we hear is a booming shout: “Away!!” Instead of a confident “Keepers!!” When a team is under the cosh like we were at Old Trafford the sight of a commanding keeper coming and claiming a ball in between the six yard area and penalty spot is worth a corner at the opposite end.
I am delighted Friedel got to be a part of the Spurs team that won at United for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century, but I don’t want him to be part of the team that faces up to them at White Hart Lane in 2013. The American has played better than we ever could have imagined, but now is time for him to end that incredible 308 consecutive game record and pass on his experience through coaching, or being a number two keeper.
Lloris may be our future, but I feel now is the time for him to be our present.