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Man Utd – Spurs Preview: How Far Have We Come?

Manchester United away will be a good test of how fair we’ve come this season. Actually, the very fact that I can type that and not immediately be carted off to the nearest nuthouse is itself a measure of how far we’ve come, irrespective of how the game pans out.The fact that we had only two points from eight games a few months back has had all meaning sucked out of it by ‘Arry’s narcissism, so it’s easy to forget that once upon a time this wasn’t just a relentless soundbite, but actually a damning indictment of what a wretched team we were.

How things have progressed, particularly since Palacios arrived. The gauge of our ability went from how we’d fare against Hull away, to Villa away, to Chelski at home – and suddenly I’m genuinely curious to see whether we can compete with the European and Premiership champions on their own patch. Blimey.

Top Four Next Season? Then Let’s Compete With Man Utd Today 

It could be a particularly important game for the Hudd. I would actually expect Jenas to replace him if fit, but if Hudd gets the nod this would be a massive test of how good he really is. Opinion is split. The Hoddlers and the Haters have regularly made their respective cases. We’ve seen that he can pull strings at home to West Ham and a relegation-threatened Newcastle, but if he really is to push on and cement his place in the team, and indeed the England squad, he’ll soon have to start walking the walk against the best teams in the country. An anonymous 90 minutes today would do little to advance his cause.

Anonymity against Man Utd would be no disgrace – but the “no-disgrace-in-defeat” mentality is something I’d be glad to see the back of. Let’s see who can cut it against the best, and have a think about who to jettison in the summer.

Occasional Wobbles From Man Utd 

Their fallibility has, for me, been epitomised by their goalkeepers. We’ve been rather shot-shy in recent weeks, and it would be a shame if this trend continued today, as Van der Saar has looked ropey every time I’ve seen him in recent months (cue a blinder from Van der Saar this afternoon). Thanks to the rock-solid Ferdinand-Vidic combo in front of him he kept around thirty thousand consecutive clean sheets and made the PFA shortlist, but he seems increasingly prone to spill, or flap, or get beaten at his near post. Foster’s most recent outings have also been notable for a couple of David James-esque calamities.

I don’t expect us to win, and I’m not holding out for that. But on the back of recent results, I’d love to see that our improvement extends to giving the best team around a real run for their money. Just some indication that we really have slightly closed the gap. The win against Chelski has already hinted at that. The consensus seems to be that we don’t need much tweaking in order to push for Europe or even the top four next season (although there’s still some debate as to precisely where such tweaking is needed). A good performance, if not necessarily a good result, would be further evidence that we’re inching closer, and that we’re well set for 09/10.

5 Responses

  1. Shannon Says:

    Thanks, you’ve said it, let’s see an end to our galant defeats and start winning these matches.

  2. Who Framed Ruel Fox? Says:

    Wise words.

    I think, as you suggest, Modric and Palacios will be the key here. Modric has been known to fade out of fixtures such as this; particularly the F.A cup tie against United. If he can take the game by the jugular, however, then he could dictate early on. He’s good enough. Palacios will be no doubt be pumped after his performance at Old Trafford earlier in the season. Still at Wigan, he looked set to tear Ronaldo’s legs off and use them as a bat.

    A bat to club the rest of United’s midfield.

    Having said that, It’s imperative he stays on the pitch.

    As results stand (16:18 pm) we need a 3-0 victory to slide up into seventh spot.

    Did someone say… ‘game on?’

  3. Spooky Says:

    Did someone say… ‘game on?’

    Yes. The bald bloke in black.

  4. Likeyourblog Says:

    With the re-introduction of Jenas, I think Huddlestone can safely assume that his future lies elsewhere.

    As for who to jettison in the summer, look no further than Jenas and Bent. Replace these two with players who have a spine and skill (respectively), move Modric to the centre, where Keane is currently flapping around and buy a left sided, left footed attacking player and we could have half a chance next season. Failure to do this will see our ‘nearly men’ status extended for yet another season.

    On the subject of Keane, and after just 3 poor games on the trot, it might be too premature to write him off, but I believe he’s damaged goods. Another year older and without that Bulgarian cunt alongside him, his recent form has been shocking and, for me, that money would have been better off spent elsewhere. His captaincy will also become an issue if, as expected, a left sided player is brought in this summer.

    It’s obvious to me we’re playing 4-5-1 at the moment with Keane given a free role in the hole. Make no mistake, that’s definitely where Modric should be playing and although credit should be given to the team for making this currently slightly imbalanced formation work, it’s still far from ideal.

    I’d like to see the team built around Modric. Buy another strong and aggressive midfielder to partner Palacios (Jenas is neither aggressive enough nor goal grabbing enough) to act as Modric’s bodyguards. Buy a left footed attacker with an eye for goal for the left and buy an all singing and all dancing number 9.

    Do it Redknapp, please.

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