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Tottenham v Aston Villa Preview

Tottenham v Aston Villa Preview

Tottenham go into this home encounter against Aston Villa off the back of a slightly disappointing result in Greece against Panathinaikos. Their second Europa League game of the season ended all square at 1-1, but Spurs had taken the lead thanks to a headed goal from the returning Michael Dawson. The Premiership odds for the Villa clash sees Tottenham installed as the red hot 4/9 favourites with Paddy Power. The Irish bookmaker have Aston Villa at the 13/2 mark, while the draw is 10/3.

Striker Emmanuel Adebayor could well make his return to the Tottenham side after recovering from injury. Andre Villas Boas was rumoured to prefer other attacking options but it looks as though injury has curtailed Adebayor’s chances under the new manager thus far.

Aston Villa did manage to beat reining Premier League champions Manchester City in the Capital One Cup recently, but they were unable to see off West Brom at home in the league last time. They have a return of five points from their six games played and their away form in the league doesn’t particularly inspire confidence, the 4-1 defeat at Southampton a case in point.

While it will be difficult following the euphoria of victory at Old Trafford, I fancy Spurs to take all three points. However, it definitely won’t be a walkover against Paul Lambert’s well organised side who seem to be improving under his management. A 2-1 scoreline would be the most likely outcome for me, see the Spurs betting page for full odds on this game.


Tottenham (from): Lloris, Friedel, Gomes, Cudicini, Smith, Gallas, Dawson, Walker, Vertonghen, Caulker, Falque, Huddlestone, Mason, Bale, Lennon, Sandro, Dembele, Dempsey, Sigurdsson, Carroll, Townsend, Defoe, Adebayor, Obika.

Aston Villa (from): Guzan, Given, Lowton, Bennett, Lichaj, Clark, Vlaar, Baker, Herd, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Bannan, Delph, Holman, N’Zogbia, Bent, Agbonlahor, Benteke, Bowery, Weimann, Burke, Johnson, Williams.

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Sunday Bloody Sunday

After a campaign of both joy and despair, it has come to this. Spurs are within touching distance of an automatic Champions League spot and although I would have been devastated by the prospect had you told me this is where would would end up back in January, it is only thanks to a resurgence in the last few games that we have any chance of playing against Europe’s elite next season. Following a run which saw Tottenham win just one league game in nine, the players have shown a lot of spirit to take seven points from a possible nine in the last three fixtures.

Just two points separate Arsenal in third place and Newcastle in fifth, with Tottenham sandwiched in between. Any two of the three sides can still fill the remaining two Champions League places depending one how results go on Sunday and on paper at least, Spurs would appear to have the strongest claims. Ignoring the fact that Chelsea winning this season’s Champions League final could throw a spanner in the works, it is third place that is all important as it will guarantee automatic progress into the Champions League group stages.

Although I hate to say it, credit must go to both Arsenal and Newcastle for the form they have shown in the latter part of the season. It had looked as though both sides had lost their chance of a top four finish but they managed to close the huge gap Spurs had built up in the early part of the campaign to set up this dramatic climax. Newcastle have arguably the toughest task come the weekend with an away game against Everton, but neither a trip to West Brom for the Gunners nor a home clash with an in form Fulham side for Spurs, are going to be easy.

If Chelsea do manage to beat Bayern Munich, then the team finishing in fourth spot in the Premier League will go into the Europa League rather than Champions League. So basically, Spurs need to win and hope that Arsenal don’t to secure third place. Personally, I think Arsenal will likely draw at the Hawthorns, Newcastle will get something from their game at Everton and Spurs should be able to beat Fulham at the Lane, but who knows! There are bound to be a number of twists and turns on Sunday but hopefully, the football Gods will be on Tottenham’s side this once…

The Slightly Later Than Scheduled Festive Reflection

The Slightly Later Than Scheduled Festive Reflection

Jermain Defoe Blonde
So, it feels pretty good to be a Spurs fan at the moment right?! Six points off City with a game in hand and possibly even more satisfying, six points in front of Arsenal with that same game in hand. I’m looking forward to the FA Cup this weekend and I’m hoping we will make short work of Cheltenham even if most of the first eleven are given what would be a well overdue rest. I do have a soft spot for Cheltenham because of the amazing racing entertainment the town provides me with in March but their football team, not so much.

Even the bookies are starting to take our league form seriously as you can now see quotes as short as 8/1 for Tottenham to win this season’s title. I still personally think we have to much to do to overhaul Man City and I’m sure Utd will bounce back after two straight defeats but what has really impressed me this season is our winning mentality. The game against West Brom this past Tuesday night really illustrates that fact. Roy Hodgson had a few injuries to key players and basically set up his team to take a point. They were very hard to break down and until Sisqo scored, it was looking like being one of those nights. In season’s gone by, that is the sort of game we would have ended up losing through a lack of concentration or determination but Harry now appears to have the players instilled with a belief that they can win every game, no matter the circumstances.

Some fans were saying the point against Swansea was a disappointing result but I definitely would have taken a draw before the game. Only one team has managed to go to the Liberty Stadium and win this season and when you consider it was our third game in quick succession, avoiding defeat was a good result. The performance against Norwich was sublime and Gareth Bale showed once again why he is one of the very best players in the Premier League. While one of the positives of us not being involved in the Champions League this season is our excellent domestic form, Bale not being able to show what he is capable of against the European elite is certainly a negative.

Now the January transfer window is upon us, I expect to see Spurs linked with the usual infinite fictional targets. Samba and Cahill are the most realistic names for me but with Dawson apparently set to start against Cheltenham, our centre back injury problems are easing slightly. A number of my close friends are Millwall fans, so it’s nice to see a couple of our younger players being loaned to the Lions. Hopefully it will be a win win situation, with Ryan Mason and Harry Kane getting some much needed first team action, while also helping Millwall stay in the Championship.

This could well be the key month as far as our title hopes are concerned. Homes games against Everton, Wolves and Wigan with a trip to Man City in there for good measure. City have tough Cup games against Man Utd and Liverpool which could well work in our favour. Is January 2012 going to be the month when Tottenham actually sit on top the Premier League? I bloody hope so!

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp talks Beckham, winning the Premier League and plans to add to the squad in January

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp talks Beckham, winning the Premier League and plans to add to the squad in January

Absolute Radio have live commentary of West Brom v Spurs today. I’ll be on with Ian Wright sometime after 5pm to talk about the game. Here is an exclusive of an interesting interview they did with Harry Redknapp that will be going out later today.

Int: So, Harry, tough trip on Saturday, how’s the squad looking?

HR: Yeah, fine. Raffers, he’s the biggest doubt, he’s got a bit of a hamstring, he did it playing for Holland. Surprised us that he was fit to play the other day really, he did well to back fit enough to start, but after about 65 minutes he felt it, a couple of twinges. Felt he was okay, came back yesterday and felt it again yesterday, so he’s struggling a little bit. And Jermain has got a bit of a groin strain so we’ll have to see how he is.

Int: Tell us about the impact that Adebayor and Parker have had on this squad. Is this the best squad you’re had in your time here?

HR: Well it’s a good squad of players for sure, we’ve got some real… I think we’ve got some outstanding players, you know, it’s got a good balance to it. You know, the players we’ve signed in the last year or a couple of years, people like Walker’s come in now and really been looking a fantastic young right-back, you know. Kaboul is playing like the player that I felt he could be when I took him to -Portsmouth and then brought him back here, he’s in great form. Obviously Ledley’s been key at the back as well I think, you know, get Ledley back in. Lost Michael Dawson, who was fantastic for us, but lucky enough Ledley’s been fit. You’ve got people like Gallas waiting to play. It’s a good squad, you know, and it’s a good group of players. Sandro’s a fantastic player, can’t get in the team at the moment. So, you know, we’ve got Premier strength in depth.

Int: Do you have transfer plans for January, or is that too far away?

HR: Not really, I haven’t got anybody I could stand here and say ‘Yeah, we want to get him’. It’s so difficult, where do you play them? You’ve got people, like I say, like Sandro can’t get in the mid-field, he’s in the Brazilian team, so it’s not easy. There’s no one out there I could look at and say… I mean, there’s players but you’re not going to get them, the top players, but I don’t really see where I’m going to improve us too much with the players that might be available.

Int: Reports this morning of David Beckham possibly signing a deal with PSG, is that a player who you’d have like to bring to White Hart Lane?

HR: Well I enjoyed having David here, you know, when he came and trained, and he’s a fantastic professional, great buy, but again it would be difficult, I couldn’t bring David in and say ‘Well you’re going to play every week’ because it would be difficult, you know. I’ve got Aaron Lennon playing well, we’re not short there really, so it would be a problem. Listen, wherever David goes he’ll do well because he’s a top class bloke.

Int: Do you look at Chelsea and the way they’re struggling as a team that perhaps you could replace in the top four, or are they too strong to play this badly for this long?

HR: No, I think Chelsea will turn the corner, you know, they’ll get it right. They’ve got great characters there I think, you know, players that have been there and done it all, won it all, and it’s only a matter of time before they go on a run and pull themselves up the table. At the moment, for the first time in a good number of years, they’re struggling a bit, but I certainly wouldn’t write them off, and I think the young manager will sort it out there and get them going.

Int: Tottenham are priced at 100/1 to win the League, is that worth a few quid?

HR: No, I wouldn’t, no. No, I’d be quite happy for us just to win it, you know, but it would take it, that’s the odds, that’s a realistic figure, but we are probably, 66/1 or whatever the bookies make you, they’re not going to give you them odds if they really think that you’ve got a chance of taking their money. So it would be difficult, but, as I’ve said 10 times just now, it’s not impossible. It’s unlikely, but it’s not impossible.

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Is our season over?

Is our season over?

Five points behind Chelsea, six off Man City. We haven’t scored in our last three games, haven’t won in five. Since the 16th January, our strikers have only scored six goals between them. Worst of all, Tottenham are highly unlikely to be playing Champions League football next season. A heavy defeat in the Bernabeu on Tuesday night would really finish us off. Even the biggest optimist would struggle to see us winning the Champions League and I’m worried whether the players will have the motivation as well as the threat in front of goal to go to Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool and get results.

Admittedly, we have three home games coming up in the League against Stoke, Arsenal and West Brom. Maybe things will look very different after that, but the fact we couldn’t manage to beat any of the bottom three sides in our last three games doesn’t exactly inspire me with confidence.

Tottenham’s destiny is most certainly still in their own hands. On top of the games at the Lane, Spurs also have to go to Chelsea and Man City. Having dropped so many points in recent weeks, the likely scenario now is that we go into those games desperate for a result. Had we managed to beat a couple of the relegation candidates, the pressure would have been on Chelsea and City to win their home games.

There have been a number of stages this season where we have dropped off the pace a little and I’ve been worried we would struggle to get back in the hunt for a top four spot, but every time the lads have managed to get back involved. I certainly wouldn’t be having a bet on Spurs at the moment and I just don’t like the look of the little gap that’s developing or the fact Man City scored the same number of goals in one game as Spurs have managed in their last six…

West Brom won’t be a walkover

West Brom won’t be a walkover

The majority of football fans think West Brom are going to be back playing Championship football again and I’m in that majority but they have 12pts left to play for and while it’s still mathematically possible for them to stay up, I’m sure they will put up a hell of a fight.

West Brom’s 3-0 victory over Sunderland last weekend was arguably their best performance of the season and will give them a lot of going into the game at White Hart Lane. On paper, Spurs should have far too much for the Baggies but at this stage of the season strange things often happen.

Like West Ham and Newcastle, it’s a game I think Spurs will win but I don’t expect it to be over by half time or a comfortable 3 or 4 nil result. The difficulty West Brom face is their style of football. They play an attractive passing game and I believe that is likely to be their undoing at Tottenham. They aren’t going to come and sit back and I’m sure we will get a number of openings which will be taken advantage of.

I’d imagine the Spurs line up will be largely unchanged from the team that faced Man Utd. Hutton is pushing for a return and Huddlestone might also get a game after some good performances prior to being on the bench last week.

I can envisage plenty of goals and a 3-2 or something similar would not surprise me. It should be a lot more exciting than our recent home games although a 1-0 win every week would suit me fine!

They might have managed the great escape four years ago but the unfortunate thing for West Brom is that they are playing a Tottenham side who are becoming one of the toughest to beat at home in the league. A Spurs victory will take West Brom’s chances of staying up from slim to none and I think that’s going to be the case come a quarter to five on Saturday afternoon.