We made it halfway through the season and miraculously AVB hasn't gotten us relegated yet. This calls for celebration. And what better way to celebrate than with completely arbitrary awards that I just made up? Shut up, don't answer that. Made up awards rule.
So without further ado, let's honor our recipients of the first biannual 'Browie Awards:
Most Important Player
Moussa Dembele. The Moose may not necessarily be the best player on our team this year, but there's no disputing his importance to the way we play. Our Croatian talisman left a Modric-shaped hole in our lineup this summer to go sit on Real Madrid's bench (and be voted the worst signing in La Liga this season) and Joao Moutinho, the one we all expected to replace him, slipped through Levy's fingers. But Moussa Dembele's powerful dribbling and sharp passing has filled the void beautifully.
Just compare the league record of Tottenham Hotspur with and without the Belgian Yaya Toure in our lineup to see what a difference the man makes. With Dembele we have 11 wins, 2 draws, and 1 loss. And in our one loss (Everton) both goals were scored after he left the pitch. And in one of the draws, he scored the goal that salvaged a point after coming on as a sub in his first Spurs appearance.
Without Dembele things were much bleaker. 1 win, 1 draw, 5 losses. Granted, three of those losses were against City, Chelsea, and Arsenal, and we may just as well have lost to these "Sky Six" clubs anyway. But what happened against our other match against a top four side? Oh yeah, we beat Manchester United at Old Trafford for the first time in 97 years.
Now this is as much a testament to Dembele as it is a criticism of the depth at central midfield in our squad. But even if we get a brilliant deep lying playmaker, he'll have a hard time ousting the Belgian from his spot. Dembele straight up runs shit.
Jermain Defoe and Sandro both have made strong cases for this award, but they both fall short of the tremendous uptick in form we've seen from little Aaron Lennon.
We've always known he had it in him, but he seems like a man reborn under AVB. He's finally coupled his deadly pace and flappy penguin arms with excellent decision making, and it's paying huge dividends. He currently leads the team with six assists and his three goals have already matched his output from last season. His willingness to cut inside and go for goal has made him infinitely more dangerous and his defensive workrate has been outstanding.
If he hadn't gotten rid of his super cool eyebrow racing stripes, I just might say he's been our best player this year.
Jan Vertonghen. What can be said about the man known 'round these parts as SexJan? He exudes class in every dimension of his play and is there any man who'd excite us so much by pretending to tear his shirt of? He's often been forced out of position to left back in Benny's absence, but even there he marries intelligent defensive play with storming attacking runs. And when he's played in the heart of defense, you'd have trouble naming a better defender in the Premier League. Oh, and he scores goals.
There is no doubt in my mind that he will captain this side one day. If you have anything bad to say about this guy, your brain is broken and I hate you.
The Kyle Walker haters in our midst will have knives out for our frustrating right back, but Emmanuel Adebayor scoops this award. After an excellent year scoring 17 goals and creating a further 11, high hopes were placed on the Togolese frontman's shoulders. But an injury plagued campaign has seen him fail to come anywhere near last season's heights.
Granted, since his return to the side he's played more as a #10 than as a true striker, but his profligacy in front of goal has been fairly inexcusable. Hopefully now that he's finally gotten that first goal under his belt, we'll see more of the Adebayor we expected when we signed him.
Still, as our sole striker reinforcement over the summer, Adebayor hasn't been nearly good enough. Hopefully the big man can put as much product on the pitch as he does in his hair for the second half of the season.
Kyle Naughton's composed displays out of position at left back and Steven Caulker's assured performances at center back see them both in contention for this award. But anyone who watched them last season at Norwich and Swansea respectively can't be too surprised by their contributions so far.
Therefore, the surprise package of the season for me is Jermain Defoe. People clamored this summer for him to be offloaded to make way for a "real" number 9 since he was never going to cut it as a lone striker in the AVB system. But JD Trouble has proved his naysayers wrong and really excelled as our number one goal getter. His off the ball movement has drastically improved and he even looks up for a pass instead of shooting from wherever he receives the ball.
AVB's plaudits that he's as good as Falcao may be completely ridiculous, but he's certainly come a long way.
Adebayor vs. Arsenal. I don't want to say anything more about this, because remembering it drives me into a murderous rage, but what the hell were you thinking man?
5 minutes of stoppage time is a disgrace. We went into Fergie's backyard and absolutely shredded United on their own park. And then we sat back and played a composed defensive performance to prevail in a fixture we hadn't emerged victorious from since 1989. For most of us, this was the first time we'd seen Tottenham win at Old Trafford, and the sweetness of victory was well worth the wait. Plus, we got to see ol' Red Nose pitch a fit about how the referees disgraced the game by not giving him the requisite Stoppage Time Until United Wins.
I'd be surprised if anything tops this moment all season, but if it does, it'll be something truly spectacular.
Emmanuel Adebayor Etihad Memorial Award for Best Goal Celebration
AVB has had his share of fist punching joy in the dugout, Jan's done his best Cam Newton impression tearing open his jersey to reveal the Super Jan beneath, and Bale's heart fingers are always adorable. But Steffen Freund, our venerable assistant coach, takes the cake for nearly leaping onto the pitch in ecstasy during Spurs battering of Villa.
Kyle Walker Award for Ability to Frustrate and Be Brilliant in Equal Measure
Sorry Kyle Walker, you don't get to win your own award. This accolade goes to Gylfi Sigurdsson. Gylfi came to us on the back of a dynamite half-season with Swansea where he banged in goals for fun and a preseason where he looked to be our best player.
Fast forward a few months, and he's barely been able to crack the side. He's recently showed glimpses of his huge talent with some lovely set piece work and some great assists. But on the whole, he's really struggled to adapt to his new surroundings. Last week he looked very good against a terrible Reading side in his first start in ages, but even so he managed to have one of the lowest passing percentages on the team.
Robbie Keane Boyhood Club Award
Jermaine Jenas did his best Keano impression this year, returning to his boyhood club of Nottingham Forest, having minimal impact, only to return home in January. Hopefully someone in MLS will take him off our hands sooner rather than later.
The Doctor Who Award for Best Regeneration
Andre Villas-Boas. The man was chased out of Stamford Bridge by pitchfork-wielding
goons hired by Abramovich for the occasion fans. And delivered straight into our welcoming arms. He's learned from the mistakes he made at Chelsea and has quietly molded Spurs into an incredibly effective footballing unit. He survived a media firestorm for most of the season, and now he's even managed to win plaudits from the journos. He's completely reinvented himself from the curt, abrasive, player-alienating manager we saw last year into a genial guy who the players and fans all love.
Eric Wynalda Award for Best American Goalkeeper
Sorry, Brad. In honor of the debt owed to General LaFayette in the American Revolution, this award hereby goes to Hugo Lloris. Hugo Lloris has been absolutely sensational in his time at Spurs, and though we all have a soft spot in our hearts for his heavily-accented American predecessor, Lloris has made this team so much better by his mere presence.
He's the "sweeper keeper" AVB's system demands, and there's no question it's working. Where Friedel was often cemented to his line, Lloris treats the entire back half of the pitch as his domain. Fearless claiming crosses or charging down one-on-ones, Hugo Lloris is the most badass Frenchman since...well...ever, probably.
But not only is he a brilliant net-minder, he impacts the way the whole team functions. His style of play allows the defense to successfully play a high line, and allows our attack to press further up the pitch.
The Jamie O'Hara Most Likely to Break into the First Team From Our Youth Ranks, Transfer to a Lousy Club, Then Disappear into the Championship Never to be Heard From Again Award
I hate to do it but, Jake Livermore, this one's got your name written all over it. A breakout year under Harry Redknapp last season will almost surely see him reunited with the man who had so much faith in him in the first place. A half-season of valiant fighting in a relegation scrap will amount to nothing as QPR disappears beneath the waves, swallowed by the sea of their own mediocrity, and returns to the Davy Jones Locker of the Championship.
Farewell Jake. Hopefully you father Orlando Bloom before you go so one day he can rescue you from the prison of your own making. (Yes, I just referenced the worst in a trilogy of bad Pirates of the Caribbean movies. When you get your own made up award show, you can judge me.)
Steven Pienaar Award for Why Aren't You This Good At Our Club
ON HIS PREMIER LEAGUE DEBUT aside, Danny Rose has never looked more than adequate in his time at Spurs. But his loan spell at Sunderland has seen him emerge as one of the best left backs in the league. He's winning rave reviews from the Black Cat faithful and he's almost certainly been the player of the season for Sunderland so far.
He's doing great defensive work and marauding forward dangerously, and while it may be a case of him finding his level at a smaller club, it also may be worth considering making him part of our future plans.
Leandro Damiao Award for Biggest Tease
The past few transfer windows have seen us tormented by the will he won't he saga of Leandro Damiao, but this year a new flirtatious transfer target has emerged. Step forward, Joao Moutinho, who toyed with us all summer only to fall through at the final hurdle. (Seriously, who still uses fax machines? What year is this?) A new transfer window is upon us, and while Moutinho remains many fans ideal target, expect him to slip away, coyly batting his eyelashes over his shoulder as he recedes into the distance.
Daniel Levy Award for Biggest Screwjob
His ability to dominate lesser mortals in the transfer market is nothing short of miraculous. Last year he made Everton pay us for the privilege of stealing Pienaar from them for a year and made Man City pay Adebayor to play for us all year. This season, he again bent Man City over a barrel and made them sell us Adebayor for less than they wanted to and made them compensate his lost wages in the process. He stole both Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson out from under Liverpools noses. He flatly refused to even acknowledge Roman Abromavich's existence when selling Luka Modric.
But his recent move for Zeki Fryers blows them all away. He essentially managed to loan Zeki Fryers to Standard Liege for half a season without even owning him in the first place. And in the process screwed United out of a cool £6m.
For those unaware, we were interested in Fryers, a United youth product, over the summer. He was available on a free, but because he was under 21, United were entitled to a fee set by tribunal for their development of the player. That fee was said to be £6m. Levy said to hell with that. Liege, being out of the country, were allowed to snag the free agent on a free. And now a few months later, Levy finally has his man at half the price. And the best part is, none of the money goes to United.
Thus we conclude our first biannual 'Browie Awards. Thanks for stopping by, be sure to pick up your swag bags on the your way out. Any other awards you'd give out?