Spurs preview

Spurs – Blackpool Preview: Dawson’s Lies, & the Fifth Place Quandary

Big loveable One Michael Dawson popped up on Spurs TV this week to spout the line that he and everyone else pattering away with bibs and cones within the confines of Spurs Lodge are dead confident, honest, of making the Top Four this season. I suspect that anyone viewing the footage particularly closely would be struck by the sight of his nose growing longer and longer with each diphthong uttered, but bless him, who amongst us has not had to tow the company line from time to time?Alas, that Top Four spot is now but a fast-disappearing speck on a money-laden, sky blue horizon. All of which leaves us lilywhites with something of a quandary. Our glorious leader has made little secret of the fact that he would rather avoid the wretched Europa League, and I have to confess I am in agreement on this one. Something like two dozen games against European also-rans with barely a vowel in their name does not really get the juices flowing, just a month after we watched Kaka step off the bench to replace Ronaldo at the Lane. Fourth or sixth please, but nothing in between.

But in practical terms, we can hardly urge our heroes to lose. I will still obediently amble over to the Lane and work myself into a fit of ire if we look like doing anything but canter to victory. And indeed, fourth is still possible, just, if we pick up two wins in the next few days, and…  well, you know the mathematics. It could still happen.

Team News

BAE is amongst the absentees apparently, which might mean Corluka putting in another shift at left-back. Personally I would rather young master Bale shuffles back into defence – always rather enjoyed watching him take a running start at opposition right-backs, from inside his own half, and such a manoeuvre also makes it rather more difficult for opponents to double-mark him. Moreover, Bale at left-back might also allow for a little Kranjcar in our lives. Seems unlikely though.

Elsewhere it’s the standard wish-list for a home game really – turn that dominance into goals, and a nice, low-key game from Gomes too please, free from the Cheekbones of Guilt that inevitably come a-popping aside his face after each egregious error.

We seem to have spent the last few months diligently perfecting the art of throwing away points against teams we ought to be annihilating, so this could be another excruciating 90 minutes. Still, fingers crossed. Even if it does mean we end up in fifth.

Spurs match reports

Blackpool – Spurs Preview: Nail-Biting Victory Would Suffice Tonight

Spurs fans born yesterday – or at least since around 2009 – may disagree, but following up victory at the San Siro with defeat at Blackpool would not be the most unlikely turn of events at for the heroes of N17. Mercifully the current vintage seem just as capable of digging out tricky away wins to lower-table scrappers as they are of churning out a never-to-be-forgotten glory night in one of Europe’s premier arenas – which ought to prove jolly handy tonight, as our walking wounded leave a blood-stained trail from N17 to Blackpool pier.It’s three consecutive league wins for our mob, wins that are strangely all the more gratifying for being so unglamorous and low-profile. A fourth tonight would have Man City spluttering into their corn flakes tomorrow morning at the realisation that third spot has been sneakily half-inched from their grubby mitts, at least on a temporary basis. Fingers crossed it all works out swimmingly tonight then, or if not swimmingly than at least according to our fairly well-established routine of nail-gnawingly tense late winners.

Team News

“Don’t you forget about me,” warbled eighties Scottish beat combo Simple Minds, a couple of years before we all forgot about them. Anyone loitering outside the Spurs training ground would be familiar with the song, it being plaintively repeated ad infinitum by Niko Kranjcar as he stays behind each day to hone further his already darned-near immaculate shooting technique. Tonight however, he may yet have good reason to whoop “woo-ha” or the nearest Croatian equivalent. Gareth Bale remains out of action, and while Pienaar was preferred on the left last week at Milan, on account of his defensive qualities, Kranjcar’s recent form could well earn him the nod tonight.

Elsewhere in midfield ‘Arry is unlikely to opt for the safety-first option of Sergeant Wilson and Sandro, given that Jenas and Modders are available once more. VDV, Corluka and are the principal casualties from last week, while Woodgate is also back in his natural habitat of the treatment room.

Some tinkering will therefore be necessary – Gallas at right-back, a rare start for Bassong, two in attack – but nevertheless, the remaining personnel capable of walking unaided ought to have sufficient quality to garner three more points. Any fewer would frankly be a massive disappointment.