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[Archived] Spurs Preview


philipl

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When the Premier League fixtures for 2008/9 were announced in mid-June I wonder how long the odds were against the Spurs v Rovers fixture on 22 November being a relegation 6 pointer pitching 19th against 18th? Something pretty astronomic I would imagine.

Spurs at the time had done a lot of early shopping including snaffling the destroyer of England's Euro08 chances, Luka Modric, one of the hottest properties in Europe. There was disquiet surrounding Berbatov but Spurs seemed to be in reasonable control of the situation and the club was more famous for its embarassment of having an excess of £10m+ strikers than being in danger of having no target men at all.

Equally, Rovers were being linked with calibre of Manager targets befitting a club regularly qualifying for Europe from the world's richest league- Advocaat, Ten Cate, Laudrup et al as well as the most recent England boss and the guy many had tipped to have been an English England boss although the fans were totally disdainful of both McClaren and Allerdyce (me included!). And the transfer fund of £10m whilst nothing to disturb the Premier rich boys league was significantly more than Hughes had spent net during the whole of his time at Ewood. There seemed every prospect of it being boosted by the £5m compo yanked out of City before they could talk to Hughes and another £3m donation from the Walker Trust. Bentley was being a drunken fool in front of the Sky cameras on the Costa Lampard but surely a new Manager of sufficient gravitas would be appointed to sort that idiot out?

In the event, both Bentley and Berbatov departed and Robbie Kean jumped ship as well leaving both clubs looking at how Villa had managed to ride the Barry storm (and pinch Friedel which prompted the other Spurs/Rovers trade bringing Robinson to Ewood). More poignantly, when the dust had settled at midnight on 1 Setember, Rovers and Spurs stood alone in the transfer league table having made substantial and surely wholly unintentional profits from the previous two months' window of trading activity/inactivity.

Those of an economic bent would argue that both clubs' disinvestments in footballers alone would qualify them for tumbling from Euro tyros to relegation sweaters but as we all know, there is much more to the story than that.

Harry Hotspur (http://www.oleole.com/blogs/harryhotspur), a doyen of the football club blogerati and at times total pain in the side (and other parts of the anatomy) of Tottenham's owners and management and other Spurs' fans has kindly agreed to help enlighten us following on from Rovers' abject surrender and Gomes' special at Craven Cottage last week-end (and despite of, or perhaps inspired by, a bad chest infection):

1) Does 'arry walk on water?

No, but he does occasionally skim across the surface like a well propelled flat shiny thing.

2) How could Ramos be so fantastically good in Spain and a complete dud at White Hart Lane?

Despite a decent CV, that guy had too many things not going for him. He was as about as interesting to listen to as Stephen Hawking and his people skills were non-existent. Motivationally he had the midas touch in reverse. Never undervalue the fact that where he came from they didn't put the kettle on.

3) It must be so frustrating to be the best financially managed club in the Premier League yet you famously buy rubbish players every transfer window

Untrue. In the main, we historically buy good players and fail to get much out of them.

4) How is David Bentley?

He's stuck on level 6 of Dragon Quest SwordsThe Masked Queen And The Tower Of Mirrors.

OK - He's happy Ramos is gone.

My guess is he's looking forward to settling in, assisting more, scoring more and establishing himself as an England player.

5) You are the archetypal marzipan layer club- you wrecked Rovers' team by buying our best player but Man U and Liverpool do the same to you. Are you going to join the cake mix or the icing?

First of all I want to make it quite clear I hate Jane Asher and when she was voted out of Maestro that was a happy day in our house.

There's a food chain alright. And it's built on the desires and appetites of the players.

I haven't got any time for the idiots that say a Chairmen shouldn't have sold Player X or Player Y.

Contracts or not you can't MAKE someone play for you.

At the end of the day clubs are at the mercy of the whim of their players.

6) Paul Ince- should Rovers keep him or fire him?

Fire him out of a cannon.

Ever heard of the Peter Principle?

Your problem is who you would lure if he went?

I mean we're frequently as rubbish as you, but we're never linked with the Ian Dowies of the world.

7) Who is going to get relegated this season?

West Brom are gone. West Ham would be nice and I always wish it on Fulham.

The mathematicians will start drawing up their shortlist at Christmas.

Newscastle would be hialrious and if their home form collapses they're gone.

8) Any special memories of playing against Rovers in the past? (I can think of one in Cardiff)

Would you be very deeply offended if I said, "None." ?

9) How many are you going to beat us by?

That's a generous question but I think a messy 2-2 draw is on the cards.

A game of two goalkeepers, perhaps?

Ah well, that's me told re my persistent criticising of Ince for selling Bentley or perhaps Harry is toeing the WHL party line.. :P

My recollections of Rovers at WHL include some cracking wins for Rovers not least the 3-2 at WHL which I think was the last appearance of the SAS together (albeit only for the 5 mins Sutton appeared as a late sub but enough to set up Shearer for a fulminating late winner), the 4-0 season ticket confetti game and Samba's wonderful late strike last season. But I can remember two very honourable 3-2 defeats in which Rovers played the Spurs off the park and still lost; 1965/6 and 2005/6 (the Bellamy/FSP double act where we maintained 85% posession for 20 minutes).

I also remember the 4-0 thrashing we took in the old second division in Jim Smith's wonderful season at Ewood and fear that is the precedent for Sunday as surely Gomes will be dropped.

In truth I can scarcely see an honourable defeat let alone a Rovers win this coming week-end. But if we do win, it will feel like Cardiff all over again.

Finally I asked Harry what prompted him to start the blog?

I wanted a wall for the wise and the witty and the winos to write on.

The pleasures and pitfalls?

The pleasures are endless.

The mob that contribute and make the blog what it is and are exactly the the sort of degenerate superstars

you would want to talk to in the pub about your club.

The pitfalls are as in real life.

Dull people.

What does the club think of your blog?

I'm sure senior personel at The Lane couldn't care less about me. I'd like to maintain that relationship.

Many thanks Harry,

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Everything cries out for a Spurs win unfortunately.

We really need some good news so here is hoping that the public criticism of the players from Ince has the desired effect of galvanising the team and patricularly how the two players who thought they were "Brazilian" according to Ince - Simpson and Andrews - respond to a public slating. It is interesting that the two players Ince specifically singled out for criticism were both brought in by him.

Here is hoping we somehow turn things around. Spurs, despite recent results, are also with plenty of their own troubles.

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I think we have a good chance of getting a draw or perhaps sneaking a win.

This season we have played better away than at home and Spurs have had some incredible luck under Redknapp so far. The cracks are still there in terms of having a rubbish defence and a midfield lacking bite. You cannot argue against their sudden scoring form of late, but they always look like conceeding as many as they score.

I'd love us to win as Spurs are a club i utterly despise.

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So, what team will Marvo the Magician pick this week? There's a school of thought that suggests he's picking his team to try and keep some players happy?

We may get a clue on Weds night - Ressys away at Sunderland - as it Kish played for them last time out just before he came back into side.

One wonders if Ince and his coaches have actually sussed out how clumsy Gomes is on crosses, and with the ball at his feet; will be interesting to see if this plays a part in their tactics (if they have any).

Typical Rovers cynicism forthcoming - Bentley will no doubt score and have a blinder, and our generally good Prem record @ WHL will be reversed.

As much as I think Harry is over-rated, it's asking a lot for Ince to out-think him like Keane did to PI on Sat, or is it? Could this be the game to turn THAT 45 minutes on Sat on it's head?

Is it time for Vogel to be recalled for some guile? After all, the Axe has popped up of late for a couple of games. It would be a great sign of management if PI could swallow his pride; it's the good of the team that matters overall - and we're far from good based on our latest 45 minutes.

Is it time to shake up the team in order to get the best players, in the best positions?

Is it time to try and redress the right-hand side issue? Personally, I'm hoping Emo will be back as he's been sorely missed.

Will Oojer reclaim the right back spot for some much-needed solidity?

Is it time for Warnock to get back to his best position at left-back? His energy, drive & commitment is great but sadly his passing isn't for a midfielder IMO

Sooner rather than later, Judge needs a game. There never will be the 'right time' if we keep waiting & waiting, especially playing players out of position instead. Tugay may be in front of him in centre midfield on the 'creativity' stakes, Andrews in the 'running and trying' stakes, and perhaps Vogel (if he's ever recalled) but it would give a bit of hope to the fans to see another homegrownie that can do a job, especially in these turbulent times. Maybe it's just down to bottle, and Ince feels it's too risky, especially as he seems to feel Keithy is a safer bet.

IMO to play against that Spurs side we will need to be very resolute & committed defensively, whilst being mobile & creative in midfield. None of this long ball malarkey, or the Ashley Ward school of forward play of running into & wrestling defenders of Roberts.

We need every player to make a contribution - now moreso than ever. No playing out of position. No relying on others to cover or do all the 'physical' stuff. In addition to the goalie, Spurs are suspect defensively and we should get into them early on.

I'm torn between hoping Benedict is back (and on song) to play 4-4-2 or instead to have Villanueva playing 'loose' behind Roque.

I'd like the defence to be Oojer-Nelsen-Samba-Warnock

I'd like the midfield to be Emerton-Andrews-Tugay-Pedersen

Carlos & Roque up front.

If we're getting over-run in midfield, Judge to come in for Tugay. I'd love Vogel to be involved, but it depends on what his match fitness is like and I suspect he'd be somewhat off-pace. I've gone for Tugay as he's been generally excellent most of the season & played with his experience.

If Ince wants to play a more energetic game, he could do worse than swap Tugay for Judge. I think Moko is too defensive when we should be looking to win games, he can get stuck in but always looks to give the easy ball sideways rather than pass.

Despite being still suffering from PTSD after watching that debacle on Saturday, I'd hope we can play to our potential and beat Spurs. We certainly should have enough to score against them, but if we can win the midfield battle we should be able to claim at least a draw.

Although the points are essential, the team and performance on Sunday will go a long way to determining Ince's future. If there's one game he's got to get right, it's this - so let's hope he does.

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Very refreshing to read a nice balanced preview on here - oh, and well done Philipl for writing the Rovers bit as well ^_^

Actually, to read the opening bit, there is no doubt as to who has underachieved the most so far, but for once the Spurs board seemed to have made the right move at the right time. Is Harry the one to take them into the top 4 and onto European greatness? Probably not, but that wasn't the situation facing them. Equally for us, no time for pipe-dreaming; it's either support Ince with the ever-bulging war chest or get rid before the first door of the Cadbury's Advent Calendar swings open and out steps Fat Sam.

Anything could happen in this game from a 6-0 humiliation to a 2-0 stroll. The players will respond to Ince one way or the other so I see Sunday as the pivotal game of the season.

I'll go for 2-0 with a brace from Benni. If he's not back from the funeral in time, put me down for 0-6

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Some excellent points there DingleBaiter, its really hard to predict what formation/personnel Ince will pick due to the amount of injuries we have, not having a natural right winger etc.

The back four is probably the easiest to pick for me:

Oojer Zurab Samba Warnock

I think we have to get Warnock back into his best position at left back, if he is facing Bentley we need his workrate on that left flank. Samba will I think be Ince’s automatic pick at centre back, and its between Zurab and Nelsen to partner alongside him. I’d go with Zurab, but I think Ince will pick Nelsen, by the sounds of it Nelsen would have played the Sunderland game if he hadn’t of picked up that bug. At right back do we go with Ooijer or with Simpson? I’d personally go with Andre, but I think Ince may stick with Simpson, especially if Lennon is expected to play on the left wing.

In terms of midfield I’d probably pick:

Emerton Andrews Mokoena/Tugay Pedersen/Treacy

Midfield is harder to call because of a lack of natural right winger, plus all the injuries we have. If Emerton is fit I would play him on the right wing. Pedersen looked decent in the first half against Sunderland when he played on the right so he could be in contention to start there is Emerton is injured. With Grella being out I think Mokoena will keep his place as will Andrews. Tugay is an option in midfield as well, as Spurs don’t really have any bite in midfield. I’d like to see Vogel given a chance but I can’t see it happening.

Up front either:

Roque/Benni

or

Carlos

Roque

I’d be tempted to play a 4-4-2 with Roque and Benni up front with Benni slightly in front of Roque. Ince may decide as we are away to play a 4-4-1-1 with Carlos behind Roque. If Carlos plays in the hole he could Spurs some trouble as they look shaky at the back.

Its just so hard to predict what Ince will do, we could quite easily see Derbs on the right wing, Warnock in the middle or Roberts up front with Roque. We need to get back to basics in my opinion, get a formation decided with a set of personnel and stick with it for a run of games. Changing the side/formation each week isn’t helping at all.

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I would probably go back to basics somewhat and pick a side reminiscent of what we could have played last season!

--------------------Robinson------------------------

Emerton ---- Oojier/Nelsen ------ Samba-----Warnock

Villanueva----Vogel------Tugay-------MGP

-----------Benni-------------------------------------

-----------------------Roque------------------------

The most important thing is the defence. I prefer having the speed of Emerton and Warnock at right back as at times Spurs will attack with pace so let us keep Andre in the centre.

We shoud have the likes of Zurab, Andrews and Derbyshire on the bench as all can come on and inject a bit of energy when players get tired. I am not sure about the right midfield slot but Gomes is poor on crosses (or, recently, on shots or backpasses or throws or corners or goalkicks etc etc as well!) and Villanueva might be able to ping in some balls and especially with Emerton, probably our best athlete, having the pace and strength to both support and overlap.

I am not sure if this would a team which would win but - other than our problem right hand side - all the players should be comfortable in their positions.

Time to get back to basics and stop farting about having players here and there.

PS - This is presuming Benni and Brett will be back and available again.

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4-0 defeat including a hat-trick from Bentley, rucks in the dressing room, Ince to resign after the match, Allardyce to turn down the job on Monday and managerless Rovers then to go on a 4-match winning streak.

Next.

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I would probably go back to basics somewhat and pick a side reminiscent of what we could have played last season!

--------------------Robinson------------------------

Emerton ---- Oojier/Nelsen ------ Samba-----Warnock

Villanueva----Vogel------Tugay-------MGP

-----------Benni-------------------------------------

-----------------------Roque------------------------

Villanueva cannot play out wide. Repeat. He is not a wide player. He isn't fast enough to be a serious threat. He'll just get pushed out and isolated. He has to play in the hole.

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Villanueva cannot play out wide. Repeat. He is not a wide player. He isn't fast enough to be a serious threat. He'll just get pushed out and isolated. He has to play in the hole.

I am not saying it is ideal. However I could not really thinkk of anybody else. Judge? MGP? Whatever...we need Emerton at right back.

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Harry Hotspur (http://www.oleole.com/blogs/harryhotspur), a doyen of the football club blogerati and at times total pain in the side (and other parts of the anatomy) of Tottenham's owners and management and other Spurs' fans has kindly agreed to help enlighten us following on from Rovers' abject surrender and Gomes' special at Craven Cottage last week-end (and despite of, or perhaps inspired by, a bad chest infection):

What a bloke! What a fan!

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isnt warnock suspened for this game-im pretty sure he is..

my team would be

.....................robinson.........................

ooijer......samba.....zurab......olsson.......

...............mokoena....andrews.............

derbyshire/.........................pedersen.....

emerton

...........santa cruz........mcarthy..............

i think we will lose this game..

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and patricularly how the two players who thought they were "Brazilian" according to Ince - Simpson and Andrews - respond to a public slating.

Crikey, a semi humourous and almost affectionate comment is hardly a "public slating".

At least not when delivered by anyone other than Ince it seems. :huh:

Back to this game, I think 'arry has been very very fortunate thus far some of his results.

If we can tighten up at the back, and frustrate them for a period we can come away with at least a point.

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Villanueva cannot play out wide. Repeat. He is not a wide player. He isn't fast enough to be a serious threat. He'll just get pushed out and isolated. He has to play in the hole.

How do Carlos and Bentley compare on speed?

We'll get beaten, my boss is a Spurs fan.

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Crikey, a semi humourous and almost affectionate comment is hardly a "public slating".

At least not when delivered by anyone other than Ince it seems. :huh:

It was during an interview regarding an utterly unacceptable performance and they were personally mentioned. It was obviously done in such a way as to spur them on the next game to improve but it was still a negative impact.

Not only that but it came at a time when a lot of Rovers fans were seriously peeved off with what they had been seeing and a "semi humourous" and "affectionate" comment regard under-performing players was not what the fans wanted to hear after sliding into the relegation zone. It was not gallows humour...merely facetious.

Still, I might be wrong...don't you always know best? :rolleyes:

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I think Warnock is suspended for this one isn't he? Or is it the Pompey game?

It is worth remembering that Rovers have a pretty good away record playing teams managed by 'arry as well as a more than decent recent track record at White Hart Lane.

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Warnock IS out for this one. So we lose one of our only shining lights this season.

I say go for it on Sunday. Their defence isn't much better than ours and they currently boast the worst keeper in the league so I'd go with Benni and RSC up top. I really hope that Emo is back for this one..he offers us so much more down the right than anybody else who has had a crack there this season. Lets just hope he doesn't go all 'Brazillian' on us.

Please please can we avoid a defeat here so that I don't have two Spuds fans cheering in my ear all the way home.

I reckon we'll get a point.

Spurs 2 Rovers 2

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