Tempus doesn’t half fugit when things are going swimmingly. It barely seem five minutes ago that we pitched up to the Lane for the first time this season, to offer Steven Gerrard some legal advice (“Self-defence, you’re having a laugh”) and salute BAE’s frankly mental long-range effort. Eight months on and who would have predicted that the top four we would be ours to throw away? Harking back through the yellowed pages of AANP’s archives I note that top-six was the target around these parts last August. Not that that will soften the blow should we mess things up from here…Seeing off Bolton will hardly be a straightforward task – Kevin Davies in particular has taken rather a liking to our onion bag – but there are no excuses. Three points today (and next Sunday) are essential.
No Ledley. Not Today
If Ledley goes trotting onto the pitch at 2.55 I think I’ll personally march out there and slap a chloroformed handkerchief across his face just to prevent his participation. I fancy us to beat Bolton with Bassong and Daws bringing up the rear; vastly more important that Ledley’s knees are tickety-boo ahead of the clash with Tevez, Adebayor et al on Wednesday. The only sighting of Ledley ought to be encased from head to toe in a cocoon of cotton wool, as the players amble around for the end-of-season lap of honour at full-time.
A similar argument might also be made in favour of restricting Aaron Lennon to a cameo, with one eye on Wednesday night. Whether or not he starts, it seems likely that at some point at least we will be treated to the sight of Bale on one flank and Lennon on t’other, which would serve as a delightful end of season gift.
Elsewhere on the Pitch
It’s been debated ad infinitum, but to be honest the central midfield combo ought not to be as critical an issue today as against Man Utd. Impose our game upon the other lot and it won’t matter whether or not Sergeant Wilson is patrolling the centre-circle, or Modders starting out left. (Of course, should the players themselves adopt an attitude of complacency similar to that at AANP Towers our top four dream could be in tatters come the final whistle.)
Corluka is still out, so Kaboul/BAE/Walker will be tasked with doing the honourable thing on the right. (AANP would opt for Kaboul, to lend a hand in case of any aerial assault from our guests today). Bentley was a little isolated on the right wing last week, so a slightly more generous attitude from today’s chosen right-back would go down well.
Win-draw-win will do the trick – but when did our lot ever do things the straightforward way?
Gary Mabbutt will be signing copies of AANP book Spurs’ Cult Heroes for the masses at Waterstones Walthamstow – Saturday 8 May, 1pm