Scott Parker finally has the chance to succeed

Scott Parker proved again against Liverpool what a vital player he is to Tottenham Hotspur, when all the flair players underperformed, he stepped up and made sure he did his job brilliantly. Gareth Bale and Emmanuel Adebayor most notably had off days while Niko Kranjcar and Luka Modric could not get involved high enough up the pitch to cause the Liverpool defence any problems.

At the age of 31, Parker just keeps getting better and better it would seem however he has played like this throughout his whole career, but he is finally getting the recognition that he deserves because he is playing for a big club. Plain and simple, he just wants to win the ball back for his team and will keep chasing and tackling until he achieves his target, he does not allow the opposition a moments rest and it is little wonder he is a fans favourite at every club he has been apart from possibly Chelsea. But I think Chelsea missed out here because they most certainly did not give him enough playing time and he deserved more of a chance to succeed at a big club earlier in his career.

But for some reason his career has not really kicked off until quite recently as he was constantly overlooked by England who persisted in playing Gerrard and Lampard in the middle of midfield when clearly this wasn’t working. He should have won more international caps than he has but now hopefully his time has come and he will grab it with both hands.

Even in his early days at Charlton Athletic you could see he was going to be a fantastic asset to any team even though he was probably more attacking back then and has now adapted his game to focus more on being a holding midfielder. He can easily play both roles and he does still occasionally try and get into the box to score a few goals.

He singlehandedly kept West Ham in the Premier League one year and then stayed on for another even though the club were facing another relegation battle which tells me that he has a lot of heart and doesn’t mind rolling up his sleeves when the going gets tough. It must be difficult playing in a very average team when you are being linked to better teams who are competing in Europe but he did and was the best player in the league because of it. It isn’t very often you see a player that has just suffered relegation being praised and given awards from fellow professionals and pundits.

Finally his time has come to be a success because in his career he has suffered many let downs, not getting a real chance at Chelsea, getting sold by Newcastle when it looked like the club had finally got it right and were challenging for European places. Then signing for West Ham who seemed to have a bit of money and a few good players coming in so there was plenty of potential there which the club as a whole failed to live up to. So he has one final chance to make it work at Tottenham and he is doing everything possible to achieve this and his performance against Liverpool shows he is going to fight to win trophies before the end of his career.

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Norwich City’s hard work and team spirit pays off again

Norwich have finally kept their first clean sheet of the season with a gritty performance against Chelsea and it helped them to a fantastic point in a fantastic season. In my opinion Norwich have been the surprise package in the Premier League and this is down to their team spirit and hard work. They are essentially a team built of ambitious Championship and League 1 players with another in Jonny Howson close to joining the club from Leeds.

Looking at the team they were rightly favourites for relegation but the bubble still hasn’t burst from two consecutive promotions. Paul Lambert deserves great credit for bringing this team together and making sure everyone single player knows their job before they even step foot on the pitch. But if he wants to improve the team it surely has to be in the defence although the team performed superbly against Chelsea they have at times looked awful when defending.

In attack, they have two players who will battle for every ball and chase down every lost cause. It must be a nightmare to play against Steve Morison and Grant Holt because they do not give defenders a moments rest and when they come off the pitch they will probably discover a few bumps and bruises. This is not to say they are dirty players because they are clearly just very honest and committed professionals who will do anything to secure three points. They are both very good in the air and when the team is under pressure they know they can send the ball slightly longer as these two will have a good chance of relieving the pressure off the defence and make the ball stick up front.

Which allows the midfield to push forward and create chances and in Anthony Pilkington they have someone who can pick a pass or deliver an inch perfect cross with his left foot. He has also chipped in with a few goals this year which is a bonus but he also always provides plenty of cover for his full back when the team is defending. In the centre of midfield they have Bradley Johnson who has been linked with a call up to the England squad and although this is unlikely, he has deserved his praise this season. Alongside him against Chelsea was David Fox who does the simple things brilliantly and just keeps the game ticking over and very rarely gives the ball away. He just sits in front of the back four and doesn’t mind getting the ball even when he is under pressure, he doesn’t put in many tackles so he is similar to Michael Carrick in that respect.

The defence can be shaky but in Kyle Naughton they have a very good full back and was probably going to have a good career at Tottenham until Kyle Walker came along this season. But the rest of the defence could do with improving although Russell Martin deserves a special mention as he has performed admirably at both centre back and right back.

John Ruddy in goal has also been linked with an England call up and was given man of the match against Chelsea as he produced a few good saves in particular a brilliant save from a Fernando Torres effort.

Paul Lambert in my opinion deserves manager of the year and Norwich deserve all the plaudits coming their way. However, Blackpool were in a similar position last year and they ended up getting relegated so maybe it is too early for Norwich fans to be celebrating. They have enough togetherness in the squad to stay up but this is when promoted teams get found out and teams work out how to beat them. Norwich need to get to 40 points as quickly as possible and this point against Chelsea could be priceless come the end of the season.