As I’m away for the weekend, thought I’d post the Spurs-Everton preview nice and early…
Confusion hath made its masterpiece here at AANP Towers. Are we back on track, or is this just a fleeting break from the woes of 2010? Sunday’s game should help clarify a situation that has become rather confusing for legions of bandwagon-jumpers. It barely seems five minutes ago that we were struggling for goals, and grumbles were being raised about ‘Arry’s future. Since then however, convincing wins against Wigan and Bolton have, temporarily at least, silenced such mischievous chatter, and ought to put some swagger in our step; but Everton will be a rather different kettle of fish. Seasoned visitors to AANP Towers will be aware that I rarely like to dwell on our opponents, but with successive wins over Chelski and Man Utd recently added to their CV, this lot are, strictly speaking, one of the most in-form teams in Europe.As such the microscope falls on several in lilywhite. It will be a day for the Hudd to shed that pesky anonymity cloak of which he is far too fond; Lennon’s continued absence means Bentley will be pitted against a potential England left-back in Leighton Baines; while in the absence of Ledley I don’t think any of us have quite the same confidence in our centre-back pairing, but it’s nevertheless another chance for Daws and Bassong to prove their worth.
Pav or Crouch?
Rather excitingly, we also have a couple of genuine selection posers. Assuming that Crouch recovers from his knock, ‘Arry will presumably have to choose between him and Pav. The Russian certainly takes his goals with aplomb, but chins across N17 and beyond are being thoughtfully stroked as we ponder whether he does enough off-the-ball, or shows any signs of developing a partnership with Defoe. However, his classier touch, white-hot form and frankly the fact that he does not automatically induce the long-ball from his team-mates make him the preferred option around these parts.
Bale or BAE?
The return of Assou-Ekotto on Wednesday also provides some choice at left-back. Gareth Bale has been in blistering form, and in the absence of Lennon has often been our primary attacking outlet. With our left midfielders cutting infield, his overlapping from full-back has seen many an opposition’s right side cut merrily to shreds. Doubts remain over his defensive capabilities however – doubts which surfaced away to this same Everton side a couple of months back, when he was given the run-around at Goodison. In the long-term this does not strike me as a problem – Bale is still a whipper-snapper, and has plenty of time to improve his game – but in the short-term we cannot really afford a glaring defensive error at this stage of the season. BAE is a more solid defender, but offers nothing like the same attacking potency. The AANP verdict is Bale, particularly at home; ‘Arry’s opinion is as yet unknown.
Plenty for our glorious leader to ponder then. There are those – including yours truly – who suspect that our lot simply don’t quite have the desire to stand up and be counted at crucial junctures in the season; this represents a cracking chance to silence such criticism.
AANP’s first book, Spurs’ Cult Heroes, will be in shops from 6 March – with Gary Mabbutt signing copies that day in the Enfield Waterstones – but is available to pre-order now from Tottenhamhotspur.com, as well as WHSmith,Amazon , Tesco, Waterstones and Play
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