Tag Archives: manchester united

Tottenham v Southampton Preview

One of the biggest games in Tottenham’s season this Saturday as Southampton visit White Hart Lane. With the Saints now looking safe from relegation, all the pressure is one the home side to secure the three points and make the most of their game in hand over Arsenal. The Gunners could only manage a draw against Manchester United this past Sunday and although that would have been a good result in normal circumstances, neither side can afford to be dropping points at home.

Spurs go into the match with Southampton on the back of a fairly positive result after gaining a point away to Wigan. Andre Villas-Boas side should arguably have won that match when you look at the league table, but Wigan are fighting for their Premier League lives at the moment and will be very difficult to beat for the remainder of the campaign. Southampton arrive in London off the back of one of their worst defeats of their season, a 3-0 home reverse at the hands of West Brom. Spurs fans will be hoping that their opponents this weekend already have one eye on their summer holidays and that the Lillywhites can take full advantage.

Although Spurs have had their injury list eased somewhat in recent weeks, they do have a couple of fresh concerns following last weekend, with both Mousa Dembele and Younes Kaboul picking up knocks. The Tottenham manager is hopeful that both players can be involved in this Saturday’s all important clash. Danny Fox and Gaston Ramirez are both suspended for the remainder of Southampton’s games this season and will be a big miss for the South Coast club.

Bookies seem to be strongly favoring Spurs at the minute, with odds at $1.44 – (£.95) at time of writing (TAB). It’s understandable that Spurs have been been in as favourites, but I personally don’t think it will be as straightforward as the bookmakers believe. Tottenham have struggled at home at times during Villas-Boas first year in charge and they have often looked more relaxed and clinical on the road. I’m hopeful that Bale and co can run out winners and I fancy a hard fought 2-1 victory for Spurs.

Have the PFA Awards Sealed Gareth Bale’s Exit?

Gareth Bale achieved an amazing PFA double last night when landing both the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards. He becomes only the third player to win both accolades in the same season, and the first since Christiano Ronaldo in 2007. With Spurs’ chances of playing Champions League football next season still hanging in the balance, will the Welsh wonder now be on his way out of White Hart Lane?

Not since Ronaldo at Manchester United has the Premier League seen a player with such impact and who can turn games so quickly, something I’m sure In play betting punters will have benefited from this season. I’ve lost count of the number of games that Bale has rescued for Tottenham during this campaign and to lose a player of this calibre could really hurt the progress of the club for years to come.

Real Madrid are being touted as the favourites to land Gareth Bale’s signature, with the bookies installing the Spanish giants at odds of 6/4. Madrid have endured a tough season, lying a long way behind Barcelona in the race for the title and looking likely to exit the Champions League at the semi final stage. A marquee signing the quality of Bale would go a long way to appeasing the disgruntled fans and he’d definitely be a great addition to their squad.

Daniel Levy isn’t likely to let his prize asset leave on the cheap as his previous negotiations with player sales demonstrate. Transfer fees around the £100m mark have been mentioned and any offer around that kind of figure would definitely be hard to refuse. I’m obviously still hopefully Andre Villas-Boas men can win their remaining fixtures and secure a top four finish but I still don’t believe that will guarantee that Bale will begin next season in a Tottenham shirt.

Ferry Cross the Mersey

Spurs face Liverpool tonight in what has the potential to be a thrilling encounter at White Hart Lane. Spurs are coming off the back of a very impressive performance when beating West Ham on Sunday and should be full of confidence coming into this encounter. Liverpool should also come into the match in positive mood as they are now on a run of eight games unbeaten following a very slow start to the season.

Andre Villas Boas has been under a tremendous amount of pressure since his arrival at Tottenham and three league defeats on the trot certainly didn’t do anything to alleviate that. The results against Arsenal and Man City were unfortunate but excusable, it was the defeat at the hands of Wigan on home soil that really hurt the home fans. Spurs haven’t quite hit the heights at the Lane thus far during this campaign but did look to be approaching somewhere near their best with Sunday’s victory over the Hammers.

Brendan Rodgers is in a similar position to Villas Boas in that they are both at clubs with huge expectations and are both going to struggle to deliver the Champions League football that their fans crave so desperately. Things did look pretty dire for Liverpool at the beginning of the season with no wins in their first five league games but things have steadily improved under the former Swansea coach. They are undefeated since losing to Manchester United at the back end of September and it’s going to take a good Tottenham performance for that to change.

Tottenham are still without Scott Parker, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul due to their long term injuries, while Emmanuel Adebayor continues his suspension. The good news for the home side is that Sandro has been passed as fit to play after being stretchered off against West Ham. He’s a crucial part of the Spurs midfield and could be the difference maker at White Hart Lane this evening. Liverpool have no serious injury concerns.

This is an important game for Andre Villas-Boas’ men. They face trips to Fulham and Everton in their next two games so three points here are much needed. If Spurs can reproduce the form they showed in their most recent win, I think it should go the way of the home side, and a 1-0 score line would not surprise me. Check out CarbonSports Sportsbook before betting on tonight’s big match.

Disappointed but not despondent

It’s a shame but it’s not the end of the world. We were beaten by a better side on the day. While I would have hoped we could cope with Utd at the Lane the fact is we couldn’t on Saturday. It doesn’t mean we can’t.

It’s easy for me to make comment after the game and I’m not criticising Harry’s tactics but I was a little puzzled by his decision to shuffle the side and start Keane out of position rather than bring Kranjcar in as a like for like swap for Modric. I just felt we weren’t as balanced as we might have been but I doubt it would have changed the result in any case.

Man Utd seemed to thrive with ten men. I know some people dislike Rooney but you cannot argue with his ability and determination. Having a player of that quality in your side is priceless. Not only is he world class, he doesn’t stop working for 90 minutes. Utd had four maybe five world class players on that pitch, Tottenham probably had one and he can’t train. Lennon and Palacios have the potential to be world class but aren’t yet. Keane, Crouch and even Defoe arguably fall just slightly short.

The positive thing about the game was that we weren’t totally played off the park. We had plenty of chances and on another day, the result might have been different. Utd played at their best and we weren’t that far behind. We are still moving in the right direction. If you’d have told me at the start of the season after five games Spurs would have won them all except for a loss to Utd, I would certainly have taken that. We still have more points than Liverpool and Arsenal and sit in the top four.

I try not to get too carried away any time Spurs put a decent run of results together but it’s hard not to get excited. Equally, it’s hard not to get a bit down after a home defeat even when it is to a side of Manchester United’s brilliance. It’s important to take a long term view. We have had a great start to the season and this is just a set back. There is no reason we can’t go to Chelsea and get something out the game. The likely scenario is we will hold them until the 93rd minute and they will get a late winner but there is always a chance we can do the same.

The Fear Factor

Tottenham are probably better equipped to beat Manchester United tomorrow than they have been at any point in the last ten years. I have no doubt Spurs are more than capable of beating Utd at White Hart Lane on Saturday and I think they just might.

Personnel aside, the difference between the current Tottenham squad and those of years gone by is belief. This current crop of players actually believe they can beat anyone. We may have had our ups and downs over the last few years, and some players have come and gone and come again, but the fear that used to mean we could never get anywhere against the top four clubs in the country has now gone.

On current form, Spurs should be the favourites going into this game. Based on history and reputation they are not, but if you look at the actual results and analyse the performances on the pitch so far this season, Spurs have outperformed Utd. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing Man U off and it’s asking a lot for Spurs to continue the 100% record against the current Premier League Champions, but as far as I’m concerned, there is a very good chance of us doing just that.

The two games this season that have really stood out for me have been the first and the last. Think back to when Liverpool were awarded their penalty. The Tottenham sides of years gone by would have fallen apart at that point and very likely lost the match. The current side didn’t panic, took the game by the scruff of the neck and got another goal to ensure the three points.

A similar story could have unfolded against Birmingham. A goal around the 75min mark for the visitors would often have seen past Spurs sides get nervy and concede a scrappy late goal to lose the game. Instead, we kept going and found a winner. While you can say it wasn’t a great performance, in my eyes it was. The difference between the top four Premier League sides and us in the past has been our inability to win games that we might not have dominated or even deserved to win on the balance of play. We now seem to have overcome this failure.

Under Harry, Tottenham play with a new confidence and the fear factor that has been holding us back for so long appears to have almost disappeared completely. Obviously the quality players he’s added to the squad have helped, but the mental aspect of the game is just as important. Win, lose or draw tomorrow, I’m just happy in the knowledge that the players on the pitch believe they can do it.

Can we prep for Utd in a day?

With a number of players not returning to training until Friday, it means we only have one day to prepare for Saturday’s crunch clash with Manchester United. Harry Redknapp isn’t happy about this situation;

“I have no idea in my head of what team I will be able to play against United because of these internationals and because many of them won’t be back at the club until next Friday. They are returning from all over the world.”

Obviously, Utd are in the same boat but their squad is arguably better equipped to deal with any injuries or fatigue that the players pick up during the International break. With Modric already out, we can’t afford to have any more players get injured or not be at their peak for that matter against a Utd side sure to be buoyed by victory over Arsenal.

Redknapp is suggesting teams shouldn’t play until the following Saturday when players return from International duty to give them a week to recover. I can understand his point but I very much doubt the powers that be would consider his proposal and I also can’t see any way it would be possible, especially in a World Cup year. They struggle to fit all the fixtures in now as things stand now.

As much as I miss the Premiership action during the summer break, I don’t think the players get enough time off. If there were two weeks between League games after each International get-together, it would have to impact negatively on the length of time off for both players and coaching staff in the summer.

With Keane and Defoe being in the thick of things both on and off the pitch for their respective countries this week, they are likely to be slightly drained both physically and mentally. On a positive note however, their confidence will be high after both scoring at the weekend. If they can carry this into Saturday’s game, hopefully adrenaline can do the rest.

Typical Spurs or typical Utd cheating?

I really thought the game was over at 2-0 yesterday but fom history I should have known differently. Fair enough, Utd looked out of sorts first half but Spurs played exactly the way I was hoping for at Old Trafford. They weren’t scared to attack Utd which I believe is the best way to play them. Too many team go there, sit back and get beat one or two nil.

A lot of people will be saying typical Spurs, not good enough for the top 4, can’t beat Utd etc, as well as having flashbacks to when we were 3-0 up at half time against Man Utd. Personally, I can’t really knock the players. They did have a nightmare 15 minutes but he game was basically handed to Utd on plate by referee Howard Webb. Had it not been for the awful penalty decision, Tottenham would not have lost that game.

Utd’s goal that barely crossed the line was about a foot less over the line than Pedro Mendes effort a few years back, but was given without hesitation. Where is the justice in that? Surely there has to be some consistency at OT when ruling goals out? Silly me, it’s only the away sides that have to put up with that bullshit.

The morale of the story is this. You don’t just have to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, you have to beat Manchester United and the officials.

It’s time to beat Man Utd

Fergie & Harry

Fergie & Harry

I, like many other Spurs fans, am sick of our woeful record against Manchester United. I’ve lost count of the amount of times we have outplayed them and still got beat. The two games that stick in my throat the most are probably the same as the rest of you. Firstly when we were 3-0 up at half time at the Lane only to capitulate in the 2nd half, then the win that never was at Old Trafford under Martin Jol when Pedro Mendes scored only for the goal not to be given under orders of Sir Alex!

This season has been more of the same really. At home earlier this season we were probably the better side over 90 minutes, with the match ending 0-0. The FA Cup match at Old Trafford was bit of a farce. Spurs had a large amount of the play but just it just didn’t look like we wanted to win. Nothing much to be said about the Carling Cup Final. We held them for the full 120 minutes of open play and created enough clear cut chances to have won the game.

Saturday’s game is a realistic chance for Tottenham to erase the pain that Utd have heaped on us for the last few years and really throw a spanner into the works where their title challenge is concerned. They currently sit three points clear of Liverpool with a game in hand but a win for Spurs would make the title race a lot more interesting during the last few games of the season. It would also dramatically boost our chances of competing in the Europa League next season.

Tottenham’s form in recent games is top draw and we are 3rd in the form table over the last 6 games, just in front of Man Utd. Admittedly, not many teams go to Old Trafford and win, Liverpool are the only side to have done so this season, but the way we are playing, we can be confident of giving a good account. The Utd players might be thinking the hard work is over after getting 3pts in midweek against Portsmouth and the visit of an in form Spurs side is the last thing they need at this stage of their season. They have had a number of tough matches in quick succession and I feel like this is a great time to play them. We go their fresh, in form and with a new confidence that seems to increase game on game.

I’ve got an image of myself enjoying a cold bottle of Becks while replaying a Defoe wonder goal in my head Saturday evening, safe in the knowledge we have notched up another 3pts. I hope I’m right!