Amidst the vacuous football-speak loosely bandied around, the phrase “massive” is merrily pre-fixed to just about every fixture of the season, by managers and players alike, but Spurs-Villa today is probably more deserving of the epithet than most fixtures. Not only are three home points at stake, but winning this one would go a long to reducing from four to three the group of contenders for the Champions League spot. While I can see Man City and even Liverpool stringing together a run of six straight wins, Villa strike me as having too small a squad to last the pace, and stretching out a five-point gap at this stage would go some way to getting shaking them from our coat-tails.”Massive” indeed then, and at AANP Towers we see at least two reasons to be cheerful going into this one.
1. No Ten-Man Defence At The Lane This Week
If we need a template for victory today, the win over Man City before Christmas should be studied and memorised by our lot: the weathering of an early storm, followed by some lightning-quick counter-attacking and the usual flurry of chances. Admittedly Aaron Lennon’s pace was crucial on that occasion, but it was an open game, well-suited to our style of play, and the sort we can expect again today.
2. Villa Weren’t Very Good at Villa Park
The latest post-Keane era beginneth, with Eidur Gudjohnsen in contention to come in for Crouch. Not wanting to over-burden the blighter, but personally I cannot wait to see him in action having quite happily heralded him the new messiah. Ledley is fit again, while Younes Kaboul and his quite scary eyebrows could also be back in a Spurs shirt at some point.
Having been in decent form in recent weeks David Bentley will presumably remain in the right, which means that Kranjcar would drop to the bench to accommodate Modders on the left. The concern at AANP Towers is that Gareth Bale may face his sternest test since returning to the team, his defensive capabilities likely to be fairly rigorously tested against Villa’s various pacey forwards.
Nevertheless, I am confident about this one. These big games at the Lane, against opponents willing to come here and have a go, tend to bring out the best in our heroes.
And as ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the players to be featured in Spurs’ Cult Heroes: Danny Blanchflower here, Dave Mackay here, Cliff Jones here, Martin Chivers here, Alan Gilzean here, Pat Jennings here, Cyril Knowles here, Steve Perryman here, Glenn Hoddle here, Chris Waddle here, Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jürgen Klinsmann here, David Ginola here, Paul Gascoigne here