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Blackburn – Spurs Preview: Fighting The Good Fight Against Anti-Football

We at AANP Towers are generally peace-loving folk, but amongst the few things that have us stomping our feet in apoplexy is the brand of anti-football purveyed by Sam Allardyce.History is littered with epic confrontations – Good against Evil; Beauty against the Beast (not sure that was a fight actually); Bruce Willis against Hans Grüber and his henchmen. As Spurs’ Beautiful Game is today pitted against Allardyce’s Anti-Football, our glorious heroes can look in particular to Kranjcar and Lennon to lead the charge. Lots of good honest man-love has been flung Niko Kranjcar’s way in recent weeks, and rightly so for the chap is in blistering form. The very presence of Kranjcar – as well as Lennon and his wondrous new, improved crossing ability – gladdens the heart. No Modders today apparently, but what a compliment to Kranjcar to be able to say that we have adequate cover.

I should stipulate at this juncture that I have no particular gripe with Blackburn themselves – as with most other sides I neither like nor dislike them, and on any other weekend I’ll wish them luck. Allardyce however, makes my blood boil. Countless times with his Bolton side, and then last season against us, I seem to recall, at Ewood Park, he drilled his charges into the art (has there been a more spectacular misnomer?) of pumping the ball into orbit and sharpening elbows in readiness for the ensuing melee. There’s no grass in the sky, Mr Allardyce.

On a cheery note, any such approach ought to provide Michael Dawson with another opportunity to thrust out his chest and do what glorious leaders do. The man has been immense in recent weeks, performances against Villa and Man City in particular doing much to dispel the notion that he still needs a calming influence to play Yoda to his Luke and shepherd him through games. While I’m not about to go the full hog and start banging the international drum, on current form it’s entirely uncontroversial at least to mention his name in the same breath as Lescott, Upson, Jagielka and Cahill.

Daws is one of the few leaders in our ranks; another, apparently, is Robbie Keane. Many have complimented him on his attitude in midweek, in shaking the hands and geeing the spirits of his team-mates when they strode out for the second half against City, while he prepared to return to the bench. Personally I missed that moment (as it happens I only saw him shake hands and share a joke with opposition ‘keeper Shay Given during the half-time break), but the notion that Keane is a big, vocal influence in the Tottenham camp had credence long before he organised the merry festive japes in Dublin last week. While his on-pitch form has been unconvincing, as a boisterous member of what generally seems a painfully timid bunch it seems he does play a significant role. That said, I see no reason for him to return to the starting line-up today.

Naturally enough, there has been lots of excited chatter after the Man City win. The howls of rage and despair that greeted defeat to Wolves just four days earlier seem to have been forgotten in the blink of a 3-0 win. I even noted Hansen on MoTD drawling that the City game was our “Best performance of the season,” and that we were “Brilliant from start to finish.” To each their own I guess, but from this vantage point it seemed we started (and indeed ended) a little shakily against City. However, although results have not reflected it, our football over the last month or so has been impressive, which gives grounds for optimism ahead of today’s game. Adopt the mentality of recent away days – Everton, Villa, Man Utd – by seizing the initiative from the off, and Blackburn won’t be able to live with us (until we start panicking in the final 15 mins).


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