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Stoke – Spurs Preview: Lessons From Last Time Out

Stoke away is traditionally the cue for an AANP diatribe against the merits or otherwise of the long-ball game, and assorted elbows, long throw-ins and whatnot. This time however there are bigger fish to fry, and by golly our heroes need to be at the ready with chef’s hats tipped just so.

The curious goings-on of Wednesday night leave some food for thought. In defence there was the tale of two full-backs, with Benny again believing his own hype, repeatedly attempting moments of trickery closer to ridiculous than sublime and consequently getting himself and the team into pickle after pickle, a performance that had AANP murmuring that he needed to be taken out the back and shot (the common means of dealing with transgressions here at AANP Towers). On t’other flank by contrast, young Master Walker looked suspiciously like a whippersnapper who had stumped scientist types the world over by growing a third lung. The lad looked unstoppable whenever he bombed forward, and if Lennon is below par again today his interventions will be jolly useful.

Glory be, Dembele is reportedly back to fitness for today’s encounter, for the Parker-Hudd combo was painfully lacking in verve. Understandably so, for they are third and fourth choice, but no less galling for that. Hudd’s passing range swung bizarrely between scrumptious and plain awful, while Parker simply no longer looks good enough for games against the country’s finest. He might fare well enough against Stoke however.

And as for attack, head-scratching all round. Bale did his best to shake off the ‘One-Man Team’ tag on behalf of his team-mates (credit to Chelski for the shackling job, but AVB might hav countered this by moving him into the centre). Meanwhile, the suspicion grew that Adebayor is a 5 year-old trapped in a set of limbs too long for his control. As with AANP’s pre-school nephews, when things went well for him his spirits rose and he became amazing; when things go less well he dons the invisibility cloak. Fingers crossed then that he scores or assists approximately every 15 minutes today, as that would probably be enough to maintain an unplayable performance level throughout (as well as providing us with six goals).

Traditionally a point away to Stoke would be acceptable enough for our heroes, but anything less than victory today would almost certainly blow things for the season. No pressure then chaps.

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3 replies on “Stoke – Spurs Preview: Lessons From Last Time Out”

As I write, we’re already a goal down, and our CL hopes seem just about finished (but if we end up winning, I’ll be happy to be proved the total twat many already believe me to be). So what’s the worst outcome for the season now? Finishing 5th, and thus being stuck with ANOTHER season-destroying EL campaign (unless AVB really has learnt his lesson from this year’s run, which has cost us the points which would have easily guaranteed CL qualification), and keeping Bale, who has absolutely outgrown us, and will never be worth more than he is right now. 4th plus Bale? Great, but without CL we won’t attract players anywhere near his class, but with £50 million to spend on improving the post-Bale squad, we might actually progress, rather than staying the one-man band which we certainly are today.

They produced enough controversy, bad blood and, yes, barbed comments to make Benitez’s mission an almost impossible one even before he has walked through the door.

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