On Modric

Apparently I struck a nerve with my assessment of Spurs and the talent on their roster with my "First Impressions..." column on Sunday.  Equally apparent is the fact that Spurs supporters (at least I assume that's who would be most likely to disagree with my assessment) don't have a terribly realistic view of the players employed by their club. 

Here's the harsh reality, Spurs have three and a half players who would even be in contention for a spot with one of the other contenders in the "Big Four" of Chelsea, Arsenal, ManYoo, and Citeh.  Here's the list:

Bale - Given the form he's shown since the turn of 2010, he'd contend for a spot just about anywhere in the world.

van der Vaart - Wouldn't start at Chelsea over Lamps/FloMal/Essien.  Not sure how he'd fit with Cesc at Arsenal but has the talent to find a way into the side over Arsh.  Would fit somewhere into the rotation with Citeh but wouldn't be a sure-fire starter.  Would be an obvious upgrade over/replacement for Scholes at ManYoo.

Gomes - He'd start at Arsenal but that's about it. If he returns to his form of the latter half of last season then he's probably about equivalent of EvdS, a step below Cech and two steps below Hart.

King - I call this a half because if he were healthy, he'd start for any of the contenders other than perhaps Chelsea.  That said, he's rarely healthy so in the real world, he'd be a reserve held out for big matches on the big teams.

As they say on PTI, that's it, that's the list.  One player who would start for all of their rivals.  Two players who would only be a clear upgrade for one of their four big rivals (VDV for United and Gomes for Arsenal).  One potentially great player who isn't reliable enough to really be considered a starter at Spurs or anywhere else.  Outside of that, you have a lot of adequate players.  Let's face it, there's a reason that you don't hear much about the moneybags teams either domestically or elsewhere in Europe sniffing around the Spurs roster.  The real strength of Spurs roster is that they have depth of solid players which, especially over the course of a long Premier League season, is enough to distance them from the likes of Villa or Everton who probably have equivalent first team talent but can't survive dips in form or an injury crisis without a significant drop in talent. 

If you think I'm mis-estimating one of more players on the Spurs roster vs. their counterparts from other teams, I'd love to see the analysis in the comments section.  What Spurs player(s) would take the place of someone from one of the other "Big Four" teams?

Cheers - Neal


  1. I think Defoe might get the odd start at any of the other teams and Lennon is arguably not far off the likes of Valencia, but hard to argue with the crux of your point

  2. What a strange GK's valuation.
    1. Hart
    2. Cech
    3. EvdS
    3(and half :). Gomes

    I would put them this order:
    1. EvdS (old but he is definatly the most reliable keeper and still he has the most top save, no flops).
    2. Cech (proven but gaffes happen, when form is poor only, but still)
    3. Hart (hard to say that he is proven, he has never ever played on the highest level)
    4. Gomes (one of best keepers when on form, repeat the important word form. other way he is average or even worse).

    Arshavin is undervaluated. I know he doesnt shine. But when you look on stats he is one of the best wing players in PL (he is winger, am I right?).

    About Spurs man:
    Modric is inconsistent. But of course he is big player (for spurs).
    Lennon was briliant last year but injuries and poor form force Harry to put Aaron on the bench.
    Pavlychenko = super-sub, nothing more, better edition of benchner (and older).
    Defoe - the main point in this discussion. He can score 6 goals in one match, but he can also score none in next 10 matches..
    That says everything.

  3. L'Orange Noir1:59 PM

    I agree with most of what has been said here; Modric/Defoe/Lennon are all good but too inconsistent for the very top teams.
    Surprised no one has mentioned Dawson; still young with plenty of potential I would rate him higher than Terry, Lescott, K Toure, Evans, Squillaci, Koscienly...

  4. Anonymous2:12 PM

    Honestly, I find your assessments way off. How many Spurs game do you actually watch?

    Modric would start for United, Neal, either alongside Nani as an attacking MF or at CM-L in place of Scholes or Evra. No question. Sir Alex loves Modric...last year, he offered Spurs 10mill + Michael Carrick for him.

    Modric would not replace Lampard or Fabregas as the "playmaker" for Chelsea or Arsenal but Spurs clearly utilize two playmakers in their midfield and so I could certainly see him starting for either of those teams as well. Chelsea really plays a 4-3-3 which is much different from the spread formation that Redknapp employs...but to say he wouldn't break into the starting 11 at Chelsea is a reflection on the manager's strategy, not the player's ability. And he'd start for any other team in the Prem as well....Citeh and Liverpool included. Cut him some slack...he nearly broke his leg last month and is just regaining his fitness.

    Top to bottom, I take Spurs MF over Arsenal's ALL DAY LONG. Modric, VDV, Lennon, Kranjcar, Bentley, O'Hara, Hudd, Palacios, Jenas.

    As for other players, I agree re: Defoe...he'd start for all but, maybe, 3 teams in the Prem.

  5. Anonymous2:49 PM

    Neal, you could make the same argument about Arsenal.

    Fabs - certainly world class
    Van Persie- 1/2 b/c always injured
    Sagna and Clichy - Ok, I'm not gonna gripe
    Arsh and Nasri - Not over Bale or VDV (per your own admission) yes, an upgrade over Scholes, but so is Modric.

    So what are you left with? You would have to argue:

    1. Walcott (always injured) over Lennon. (I personally think Lennon is better and deserved to go to the WC over Walcott but regardless, this is certainly not the place to pin the crux of your argument)

    2. Vermalen or Squillaci or Koscienly over Dawson. Nope, I don't think this warrants much discussion.

    3. Chamak and Bendtner over Defoe and Pav. I would take Defoe over Chamakh, but Chamakh is certainly an upgrade over (horrible) Bendtner. Go ahead, wax poetic about Bendtner if you disagree.

    4. Song over Huddlestone. Different skill sets so a good argument could be made either way. Neither is the finished article.

  6. neal you are on you own with this one. i am not going to say anything in your favor.

  7. Modric is without doubt being undervalued here, he'd walk into the united midfield.

    And Floma better than van der vart????

  8. Fabianski

    Boateng Coleman Bosingwa

    VdV Fabregas D.Silva Nasri

    Chamakh Chicharito Torres

    I got 8 mil left in the bank tho! feel really uncomfortable leaving so much unused....but i dont know what to change! what do you think? thanks for the advice guys

  9. Gomes as a "form" player is interesting, he has been consistently fantastic for all but his first 6 months IMO, with a defense that has changed virtually every week and behind an overtly attacking midfield. Put him in the Chelsea side and he'd do no worse than Cech. Modric is better than any of the midfielder's Utd have IMO. He is also 7 years younger than Lampard (which doesn't matter in terms of who is better...but who would you rather have?). Fabregas is obviously a lot better, but is Denilson? Rosicky? Nasri? I don't think so (although if Nasri's recent form continues..). Modric is, by his own admission, going through some poor form due to his broken leg, but fully fit he is brilliant. What lets him down is that he really isn't a goalscorer. Dawson is an excellent, relatively young defender who is surely better than the dross at Arsenal's CB, and again considerably younger than the better Vidic or Terry. Huddlestone, another young player who has come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of years, again I think he would walk into Utd's midfield, if not Chelsea or Arsenal's. Strikers are weaker. Player's like Defoe, Hutton, Assou-Ekotto, Pav, Crouch I think fit perfectly into Neal's description of good but not great. But so does Obi-mikel, Squillaci, Koscielny, Denilson, Diaby, Rosicky, Arshavin (yo-yo form, like Defoe), Eboue, Carrick, Chicharito, Berbatov, the 2nd string Utd CB's, Bendtner, Almunia (and that's generous).....

  10. On Lennon, he got more assists and more goals than Valencia, in less games. Considerably more assists than Walcott, in less games (although 1 less goal).

  11. Anonymous6:39 PM

    Which team do you support Neal?

  12. Too Tall9:29 PM

    I am going to be out of town this weekend, so I have to do my picks today. How does this team look? I appreciate any help you can give me! Thank you! :)

    S. Carson
    A. Hutton, Boateng, Bosingwa
    Brunt, Malouda, K. Nolan, Reo-Coker
    Drogba, A. Carroll, Chucharito


  13. Too Tall9:49 PM

    Made some changes...

    A. Hutton, Boateng, Bosingwa
    Brunt, Malouda, Nasri, Davies
    Drogba, A. Carroll, Chucharito

    Someone, help a sista out! :)

  14. if arshavin is underrated, its totally in a fantasy perspective, because watching him play week in and out, i can barely recognise him as the creative terror from years past. Nasri on the other hand is 23 and is coming to form as a talented asset who can distribute and score. much better than the likes of modric, lennon and those other hotspurs who are talented at times yes, yet way too inconsistent. (vdv and bale the obvious exceptions)vermaelen is hands down better than tottenhams back end, depending on where you consider Bale.
    quit being anonymous and put your name to it lol.

  15. Should I keep A.Cole or Bale to get Nasri or Nani?

  16. Anonymous7:02 AM

    I almost agreed with your previous assessment but surely Van der Vart could start ahead of Malouda and will surely start for Arsenal. Maybe you really know little about football afterall, i remember you telling people Tevez was tired and won't start for City after the Japan friendly which i found to be stupid and ludicrous like i told people on AM's blog.

  17. Anonymous7:12 AM

    @Too Tall- i believe you can also downgrade Hutton and upgrade Davies, though its still cool as it looks.

  18. Merv XI7:18 AM

    Can't believe I'm in 10th place. My highest ever. My team at the moment:

    Bosingwa Boateng Squillaci
    Nani VdV Brunt Adam Nasri
    Torres Rodallega

    I have 3+ in balance. Should I go from

    Squillaci/Nasri to

    Coleman/Arshavin or Coleman/Walcott



  19. Anonymous9:54 AM

    the half-wit who accused Neal of knowing 'little about football' and making 'stupid and ludicrous' comments about Tevez is clearly completely out to lunch.

    i don't always agree with everything Neal and/or Jeremy say but you gotta respect their opinion after the sterling work they've done over the years.

  20. if i was a blogger, i would be afraid to post, with the way everyone is jumping on neal. other blog's including AM's make bad picks and choices, but nobody is holding them to the grill for it.

  21. Anonymous6:03 PM

    neal I think u gt wat u wanted,a heated debate.good on u mate

  22. to be clear (way after the fact), I really respect Neal's opinion (and Jeremy's) and have read this blog for years. Just enjoying the debate. Also, enjoyed watching Spurs take apart Inter at the lane :)