HANDS OFF BALLS: West Bromwich Albion

Hands Off Balls is my attempt to liveblog Spurs games from the perspective of an uninformed American soccer fan. That should be easy, because I AM an uninformed American soccer fan. Enjoy, and COYS.

PREGAME: This is another DVR'd edition of Hands Off Balls. Ironically enough, I went to church this morning instead of drinking beer with people I don't know at a bar at 7:30 a.m. EST. The other kind of shitty part is that just before I fired up the DVR box, I saw the score of the game. Yay, I guess? Either way, looking forward to watching it.

Spurs break out the bad jester kit again for this one. I do not like. The formation is either a 4-5-1 or a 4-2-3-1, either of which I am interested to watch.

Now is a great time to remind you I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Lewis Holtby on the bench instead of starting. Oh well. I'm sure he's the first sub on, right around the 70' mark AMIRITE?

2' The ref's haircut is stupid. You're not Julius Caesar, guy, you're a ref.

4' Romelu Lukaku is a badass, and I'm terrified of what Chelsea will look like if he ever gets to play for them. Is that wrong?

7' Couple of decent chances for both sides so far. I'm glad Clint Dempsey seems to be active thus far. Hugo Lloris has been solid also. It's not even eight minutes in; what am I talking about?

9' I had to google what Albion meant; I had no idea. It might as well be a postal address, right? West Bromwich, England. Like East St. Louis, America.

16' Announcers think Andre Villas-Boas is a snappy dresser, top button or no. Spurs have looked pretty good in possession thus far, which is good. West Brom seem a bit disjointed. Plenty of shots on goal so far by Tottenham, too, which can only be a good thing

The Super Bowl is today, Ravens and 49ers. I am, unfortunately, a Bengals fan so I haven't given a shit about who wins the Big Game since [looks up last time Bengals were in Super Bowl] 1988. Joe Montana was the first athlete I ever hated. I don't hate him now, but I hated him then. Jerk, with your awesome gamewinning drives against Cincinnati. Anyway, I'm just pulling for Ray Lewis to be raptured up mid-late pile-on tackle today.


18' I always wish I could understand the songs fans sing at games. I'm sure they're fun. Spurs dominating possession so far, a nice change from the last couple games. Dembele's been busy!

20' Geez, great save by Lloris. The Baggies' offense seems to be mostly based on counter-attack, and it's impressed me thus far.

21' I don't know who's calling this game but I like the old sounding guy. Just learned that "onion bag" means goal net.

I kind of hate hashtags outside of Twitter, so Fox Soccer's #GB4G has earned my derision, and hopefully yours.

27' Turf monster grabbed Long's foot. Hate when that happens!

30' Fun fact: Popov is also the name of a really, REALLY cheap vodka made right here in Louisville, Kentucky. I've used it to clean windows and start a lawnmower before. The more you know!

Just looking back over my notes thus far, and a recurring theme is exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!


Shit, he's leaving the game. Shit Shit Shit Shit Shit Shit. But here comes Holtby. Who's gonna play striker?

I can't get enough of the Harry Kane jokes in the comments around here, btw. Those are the best. But no HARRYKANE for today's game apparently.

38' It looks like they've put about eight socks on Defoe's foot, which is how one usually cures a broken leg, I guess. He'll somehow keep playing.


43' Yeah that foul on Moussa Dembele was bullshit. BrUnt, which exactly is what his shirt says, helicoptered his ass to the ground and then wins the ball? Whatever. Prepare for your Holtbying, shithead.

44' Holla, Watches! says the sign on the far touch line. Or Holler Watches, watches made in the holler. Either way, I'm sure the humor is lost on Britons, especially that asshole BrUnt.

I was getting ready to wonder aloud what the hell Gareth Bale was doing running all over the place with the ball, then he hits a pretty damn good shot that's a little too much.

HT Odemwingie is a hilarious name. Love that someone got him a QPR shirt.

I watched that Newcastle-Chelsea game yesterday, it was awesome. Can we buy a Sissoko? He's pretty good at soccer and stuff.

45' Half opens with a discussion about pie. I assume they're talking about mincemeat pies, which I've had, and think are kind of gross. REAL PIE TALK: Caramel Dutch Apple is the shit, followed closely by Derby Pie. This is not up for discussion, as these are real facts.

46' CHEAP VODKA KICKED OUT FOR SPITTING! Gotta love shitty Russian attitudes toward freedom and general decency. Hilariously, he's still spitting.

I know if that happened in the NBA to, I don't know, DeMarcus Cousins, Popov would be missing his head right now. DMC don't stand for no bad manners.

50' Bale is having a very, very good game, holding onto the ball really well, and earns a corner. Holtby's kick is short, as is his temper, I assume. Because he's German, you see.

51' It's like Brom is trying to actively lose this game. Why pull off noted badass Lukaku for some guy named Liam? There are way too many babies named Liam right now, btw. I like Oasis more than most, but that's no excuse for naming your kid that.

53' Holtby's got a cannon for a left foot. He probably has to take a boat over from Germany because that thing can't be legal to fly with.

55' Just saw the esprit signs at Hawthorns. Isn't that a thing girls used to wear in the eighties? I think it is, kind of like Bennetton.

58' Dembele just got trucked outside the 18 yard box, and no call. Spurs are killing it this half, it's like the ball's never left the attacking third of the field. I do guess it helps that the Baggies are a man down.

63' Another strong shot on goal, this time from Deuce, my mancrush. Gylfi Sigurdsson warming up on the sideline, just in time for the 70' mark. Brom forward Long looks like he REALLY wants to make a cameo in the Entourage movie by way of hair on his head and face.

66' DEATH BALL FROM GARETH BALE!! BOOM MFER! Holtby kind of did a circle run, made what seemed like a wasted pass to Kyle Walker, and then Bale gets stupidly left alone to bolt one into the top left corner. He's on form, as they say.

69' I'm gonna call Graham Dorrans JOHNNY SNOTROCKET from now on in honor of Jon Gruden. HE ROCKETS THAT SNOT.

70' You know, we can bitch all we want about no THE the past few windows, but Holtby is pretty awesome and we got him for a steal. He's all over the place.

73' Aaron Lennon playing the role of Rip Hamilton over on the right side, running and pressuring everywhere.

77' William Gallas on for Walker. I know nothing about him. I think Walker played a very good game. I also think it's a little weird that the ball is yellow, so take that however you want.

80' West Brom have finally resolved to maybe try to put the ball in Spurs' half of the field, then sub out some dudes for some other dudes. SNOTROCKETS is off? Well, that's no fun.

82' Well Spurs are just playing keep-away now. Not sure how great an idea that is, but Bale and Holtby both had chances to take shots and both just deferred backwards. I'm pretty sure that's a bad idea, even if I do know the final score already.

85' Lennon off for Sigurdsson. Good game by Azza Lennon; Sigurdsson promptly hits a good corner kick that bops off Bale's head into the seats.

88' Jon Champion made a funny joke about how QPR was interested in Brom's Olsson, saying "that doesn't make him unique." I LOL'd. Bale then tries to link up with Holtby on a strong run on the left. I LIKE.

90' I don't know how Holtby doesn't start from here on out; he's involved all over the place.

More Holler Watches!

Forearm shiver to Bale's face, I'm sure he'll be fine, ladies.

David Pleat seems to know a lot about dentistry for an Englishman. He's the best.

Much better game from Siggy; glad to see it.

Dawson called for a foul three minutes into stoppage time; that's what we call "over the back" in basketball. Can't be shocked about that. Lloris disposes of the free kick, and Bale, who may actually be Superman, gets a corner on the other end shortly thereafter.

FULL TIME. SPURS WIN! Needed three points, first win since late December, and a good result given the crazy shit that happened in the league yesterday. COYS!

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