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« Disappointed | Main | Spurs don't need to wing it to win it through the middle »

Want it

Writing a match preview can be a tricky most of the time because you simply look to share an opinion on team selection and tactics and then dress it all up with statistics about recent form in the league and history against the opposition then wrap it up with a concluding expectancy of how the game will (hopefully) pan out. I prefer to delve into the analysis mostly in the match review post-result and stick to a battle cry in the lead up to it. Today is no different.

We are currently uncertain of the staring first eleven that will take to the pitch against Chelsea.

No Lennon, Defoe, King, Bale, Adebayor = bare bones, backs to wall, mission improbable. Any team would struggle if you remove that many key players.

Lennon is a non-starter for certain. Defoe, rumoured to be missing too. Then we have the usual kidology and ambiguity concerning King, Bale and Adebayor. We all know it takes several days for Ledley’s knee to return to normal (as normal gets) but can’t imagine us playing him against Sunderland and thus risking him for tonight’s game. Adebayor will also play. Mainly because I refuse to believe the footballing Gods would be so cruel as to unbalance what should be a good solid tight game by depleting us and handing over advantage before the whistle is blown. As for Bale. It’s just a hunch, but I think he’ll start too.

If I’m wrong on Gareth, then the second half against Sunderland is the reminder we need to look back on as to avoid playing so narrow and allow both Luka and Rafa to drift into central positions to be effective. We need to be astute tactically with covering space left open by such marauding and push from full backs to wings. Goes without say that the industry we have to display in the middle of the park, in the war zone, has to be relentless. Parker hasn’t been completely on top form recently but then his level of performance was bound to dip ever so slightly. Sandro might have a role to play.

I wouldn’t scoff at a more traditional 442, knowing full well that this will mean van der Vaart playing alongside Adebayor which means he’ll play behind him, which then means he’ll drop deep and wander meaning it will turn back to a 4411. Discipline is what will take precedence, or at least it’s what should take precedence. Discipline and focus. We need to get at them and retain concentration at the back (Sturridge for me is key to them having any success in advanced positions).

Fact is simply this. We can’t play our trademark game if we don’t have the pace down the flanks. So we have to adapt and do so with minimal sacrifice in terms of style and more importantly ambition. We have to look to win this game. Go for their jugular.

It’s vital we get it right through the middle and overlap to mix it up a little. Width is how we damage, how we counter. If Bale plays, we retain some of that style. If he doesn’t, we have to up the work ethic and aim for fluidity as a unit (players playing for each other).

Chelsea, unbelievably, are probably the ones tagged with the underdog label. Plucky and resourceful, they’ve pulled a few results out of the bag when one or two were expecting more implosions. They still slip up (as seen at Wigan). But they have more than enough quality to hurt anyone. This being the game that it is – a derby and one that comes with a possible festive divide within the top four, there is no way of ignoring that it’s going to be defined with more than just team selection and formations.

This game is worth several points in the mental strength stakes. The three points are what matter but equally so does the statement made when acquiring them.

All eyes on Terry (if he starts). He doesn't mind this ilk of game, he tends to thrive on it such is his self-importance and arrogance. All eyes on Luka too. A chance to dictate tempo and control the game, a gentle nod towards the opposition. You can look but you can't touch. I'll only consider the irony of a Spurs win post-game and what opinion his agent might have of it.

Our record against them lot at the Lane remains impressive in recent years. Our home support is more than capable of being the 12th man (as long as Howard Webb doesn’t take that mantle at any given moment in the game).

That buzz you’re feeling, tingling in your bones. It’s the type of buzz I want to be feeling week in week out from now until the end of the season. Points ratio suggests we’ll be in amongst it and if we keep up our strong home record then we’re going to be anchored to the very top tier. This game gives us another opportunity to show that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Upright blue ones included.

Guile, tenacity and decisive quality please Tottenham. This won’t be easy. Sing your hearts out. As ever, aim high.

Love the shirt.

Reader Comments (50)


Dec 22, 2011 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterCatman

We can do it. COYS! We know luka will dictate and consequently our Christmases will be ruined with constant transfer talk!

Dec 22, 2011 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterMiss cusack

Soft 3 points tonight. Coys

Dec 22, 2011 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered Commenteririshspur

Soft 3 points tonight. Coys

Dec 22, 2011 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered Commenteririshspur

In 35 years of watching Tottenham, this is by a long way, the best team/squad I've seen. Yes, disappointments have been all too regular and as for keeping quiet for fear of 'jinxing' things..... Bollocks to all that, If we beat Chelski tonight that would put us firmly in control of 3rd place, I think we can get 2nd, and,,,,, beating Chelsea would see us going into a run of eminently winnable run of games before City at the end of january.... we could be right on their shirt tails and it will be a completely different team/animal that faces them, Adebayor, Parker, Modrich, Friedel.... Bring it on,,,, Eyes on the prize, remember.... "It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low. And we of Spurs have set our sights very high, so high in fact that even failure will have in it an echo of glory." BillNick

Dec 22, 2011 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered Commenterdougc

Beautifully put my fellow Yid. I must say this ones got me excited, I am however, extremely anxious about our starting 11; I'm just praying we see atleast Manu and Baler from the list of possibly maybes... With those two plus the usual suspects I think we've got the edge, without them, it's gonna take a hell of an effort both tactically and indeed for whoever is drafted in.

I still have faith in Krankie to diliver, but would not be so pleased about peanut. I also wonder whether harry would change tactics rather drastically, say, match chelski's 4-3-3 as I personally think Parker-Sandro-Moddy would boss their midfield; the attack however may lack width with a combination of manu rafa and one other...

What a time to lose (possibly) the best wingers in the league ay? Anyhow, whoever plays, lets make white hart lane an epic attack on blue ears, lets make every challenge flawless, every shot apocolyptic, lets leave them wishing they'd never turned up.


Dec 22, 2011 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterLDNYid

This isn't going to be easy, we will have to be at our very best to beat Chelsea, I think King and Bale are key to our hopes. I just hope and pray that Howard Webb has no bearing on proceedings I want us to win this fairly and I certainly don't want us losing it in the manner we lost at the Bridge last Season (2 goals that never should have been!!)

Dec 22, 2011 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterJonny

Excellent as ever Spooky. So nervous and excited about tonight. If Bale doesnt play, what then? Kranky on the left? Piennar? It feels like we dont want to shake up our winning formation too much and without Lennon who on the right?? I think Harry will have to be on the top of his game tonight as much as the players...


Dec 22, 2011 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterGoodspurs

Great post dougc. Although Adebayor won't be facing citeh as they're his parent club. COTY

Dec 22, 2011 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered Commentersim

For me Luka has to play central,so personally i'd play 4-3-3 with Bale and Rafa wide, Sandro cant be dropped and hopefully will be at Spurs for a long time, he has it all.... Desperate to beat Chelski and start Crimbo period positively.

Dec 22, 2011 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered Commentercornishyid

Lets hope the fourth official isn't in Howard Webbs ear too much. A certain mr Foy :(

Dec 22, 2011 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered Commentersimyid

Yeah the 4-3-3 would seem to be the way to go but I don't think Harry will do that as I don't beleive he knows how to set his team up that way!! If he did he would never play VDV on the Wing and Sandro would get more game time.

I think he will go with Modric wide with Sandro and Parker Central and VDV behind Adebayor. i suspect we will see a lot of Bale on the right wing.

Dec 22, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonny

Mr Foy will be officiating this game no!?

Dec 22, 2011 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlphaT

Fingers crossed Bale and King are fit, if so I can see Redknapp playing a 3-5-2 similar to the second half against stoke:
Kaboul Gallas King
Walker Parker Modric Sandro Bale

Dominate the midfield area and use Bale's and Walker's attacking threat to pin back mata and sturridge. God I hope Bale is fit!

Dec 22, 2011 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterwill

the headline says it all for me.... Do we want it sir? oooh suits us....

gawd im nervous though.... see ya'll there tonight COYS

Dec 22, 2011 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterfoxyf

This game is going to be easy for us. No problem whatsoever.

Those butterflies some of you are feeling will soon settle once we kick off. We will dominate from the first whistle till the last, and our finishing - for once - will be clinical. The blue scum will not understand what's hit them. One of them will see red, and Terry's humiliation will be so complete, he'll break down in tears on the pitch and pine for his shoplifting chav of a mother whilst scorn rains down from all around (well, probably not the West Stand).


Dec 22, 2011 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterTMWNN

One thing worry s me and you all no what that is we have bean second too this tempo except for three games Liverpool Nine men Bolton ten Men and Villa 11 normal speed men. We have got out of Jail with penalty's sending off some luck and great attacking and goals. Tonight will be no different unless we start in 6th gear before Chelsea's tempo kicks in or we will be under siege. Drogba will be gaunt moody full of running and falling at every tackle for free kicks Remires gaunt ill looking and running all over the place in attack and defence. Terry will be fired up elbowing spitting clapping his over active troops . Check mate will look like a Norman soldier with his nose mask and helmut diving at every thing that moves including the ball. The Hyper Active Boas will jumping round like a beating drum making sure his team keep there impressive tempo up and Hunger too score Goals. This is why Ady has warned his players the Sunderland Tempo will not be good enough too win this game. I warn all my fans Chelsea will have a little help from a friend and the reason i no this is because they have two players from a team i no use 6th gear tempo has part off there the high tempo way of playing. One of these players is from Spain and burnt out mentally but is still dangerous the other is from Portugal and left his former club to play with a Portugal manager . If we start with passion pride and without fear we have the bollocks and skill too beat this tempo with a little help from the Referee with there over zealous energised tackles. Last night Arsenal Utd City bagged all three points Liverpool where unlucky they had a team with has much energy and earned a -0-0 Just look at Utd shed full of injuries yet the demolished Fulham 5-0 with Bully Beefed up Rooney and skeletal 38 year old Giggs and two major injuries never stopped them. The North west Tempo is spreading lets hope we catch some tonight Chelsea have. The score i will no after five mins if Chelsea chase the ball across the pitch from the whistle we will need help from Webb.

Dec 22, 2011 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterPavsinterpretor

The gods are against us in this one--it is already written in the stars. The edge that Spurs have had this season has been built on pace. They are, when at full strength, by far the paciest team in the PL. Take away Lennon and Bale and that pace has gone. On the plus side they have unearthed a tough fighting spirit that I have never seen before in any previous Spurs side and that will certainly help them, but the FA (and we all know what those initials represent) in their infinite wisdom have weighted the on-pitch deighties against our team . I cannot believe that Foy, whose performance in his recent match with us even embarassed Pulis, has been assigned to this game, and I suspect that that is the crucial piece of the chicken's entrails that fortells a narrow but gallant defeat

Dec 22, 2011 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Key battle are on the wings. Ekotto vs sturidge and Walker vs mata. I'm a bit worried about the corner kick, I really hope Brad will help the defence there if not the blue scum will score.

Dec 22, 2011 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterRamsesV

I am never confident when it comes to spurs and if all the absentees are confirmed we will brick it.

But i so love to be wrong this time ... COYS

Dec 22, 2011 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterbelgian spur

Our boys need to play twice as hard, as we're going to be up against 'foil' as well. I really want us to win this and convincingly, if possible with the squad chopped up as it is. In any case, let's go COYS!

Dec 22, 2011 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterBim Spur

We can't afford to have a game of two halves as we had against Stoke ans to some degree against Sunderland. We have to start(no matter the make up of our squad tonight) in the way we ended the 2 games mentioned and have a full go from the off.

Dec 22, 2011 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapetownspur

Okay, what have you done with TMWNN? Bring him back damn it!

Dec 22, 2011 at 12:54 PM | Registered Commenterspooky

Lots of smoke and mirrors going around. Chances are Bale, Adebayor and King are fit but Spurs are playing it down. If all bar Lennon are fit the team picks itself.

Walker King Kaboul BAE
Parker Sandro
Modric VdV Bale

Get at them early, the Chelsea defence isn't what it once was. Biggest job will be containing Mata and Sturridge, if we can do that it should be a relatively comfortable win.

Season defining game, hope that 'Arry can actually get them fired up at the start similar to the Liverpool game.

Dec 22, 2011 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterE4_Yidd

If king plays we will not lose. Beat the war cry COYMFS!!!

Dec 22, 2011 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe glory boys

Sorry to be negative, but I think this one is going to be a draw.

Dec 22, 2011 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterDeadly

Not repeating what everyone else has said but if we have a high tempo from the start and keep plenty of possession we’ll be grand. The aging legs of Terry, Drog and Lamp wont be able to keep up with Walker, BAE, Sandro, Bale etc so hit them hard and early. Get an early goal to settle the nerves and take it from there. Rafa in the 2nd half was superb for us against Stoke so im expecting plenty of reverse passes, slicing through balls and one or two shots from outside the area, Ade im looking for a big performance! COYS!!

Dec 22, 2011 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterColbot

High tempo will do me just fine. Moddle recycling possession, Rafa running into space...quick, sharp passing.

Could get sexy if the crowd pump the emotion to the heavens.

Dec 22, 2011 at 1:41 PM | Registered Commenterspooky

Wigan 1 Chelsea 1 should tell you they can be stopped mind you they also stopped Liverpool's penalty and all 17 shots on target .So the moral too this tale is start of in top gear or be left in the blocks Wigan had enough energy. to stop Chelsea and Liverpool hammering them.This Tempo is all the rage in my area we are more in danger of losing points past the Watford Gap even our Postman runs when he delivers letters, well he does play amateur Rugby and his team gets there energy off two Chelsea's players old teams ?. I cant tell you who for legal reasons but Chelsea will be flying tonight we need too clip there wings with the help of Webb if our fans don't call Foy or Sargent Webb who is wired for sound like Foy was with Kabouls classes yellow and he will tell him to give Chelsea everything. Remember Utd 0 Spurs 2 and he give Utd A penalty after half time and energised Utd came back and we lost 5-2. He owes us a bloody good win and Everton fan Foy Spurs 3 -1

Dec 22, 2011 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterdavspurs scientist

Sometimes injuries can have a good affect if a new face comes in and takes his chance to show the Manager how good he is.The last time it was Rose against Arsenal could this be the Time for Benny (King) Townsend to show our fans he has the X factor talent to move into our Squad by winning this big game in our exciting season.

Dec 22, 2011 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterdavspurs

@Pavsinterpreter, probably best if we don't start the game in 6th'll make for a very slow start. Seriously, get in your car and try to pull away in 6th...

Big game...big performance needed. We have the quailty, we just need to set the team up right and hope our boys play as they can. Don't worry about Chavskis game, let them worry about ours! COYS!!!!

Dec 22, 2011 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohnnyB

JD confirmed out.

Dec 22, 2011 at 3:11 PM | Registered Commenterspooky

enter the pav?

Dec 22, 2011 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohnhalloween

Agree fully, and "Our home support is more than capable of being the 12th man" - this is the key tonight we all know the lane is rocking the oppo don't like it, especially Chelscum. COYS!

Dec 22, 2011 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered Commenternicospur

Adebayor fit to play.

I'm still confident Bale is too.

Dec 22, 2011 at 5:17 PM | Registered Commenterspooky

absolutely bricking it now - I really hope we can stuff it to them and Modric doesnt choke.

Dec 22, 2011 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterbelgian spur

King, Adebayor and Bale all in according to people at the Lane/journos.

Fingers crossed.

Dec 22, 2011 at 5:53 PM | Registered Commenterspooky

Thanks Spooky for the update. The lose of JD is not that significant as the lose of Bale will be. We need Bale and King badly for this match.

Dec 22, 2011 at 5:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterIaG

Can't stand all the optimism on here...nailed-on Chelsea win for me.....there, that should do it. COYS!!

Dec 22, 2011 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveK

Ledley tends to bring calm to the back line. Bale will give us pace and an outlet via the flank.


Dec 22, 2011 at 6:09 PM | Registered Commenterspooky

Friedel; Walker, Gallas, King, Assou-Ekotto; Modric, Parker, Sandro, Bale; Van der Vaart, Adebayor.

SUBS: Gomes, Bassong, Kaboul, Rose, Kranjcar, Livermore, Pavlyuchenko.
Interesting bench. Gomes instead of Cudicini.

Dec 22, 2011 at 7:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterIaG

Well we could have snatched it at the end but i warned you Chelsea would be full of red faces and running and i was right they where on the desperate Tempo and i will except a draw. One word of warning Norwich have scored 11 goals from headers Friedek needs too learn to punch. Also they are the hardest workers in the opta states another top up tempo we will need all our big guns for that one. Why did Harry leave Ekotto on when he let Sturridge run past him and kept giving the ball away Kaboul should have come on.

Dec 22, 2011 at 10:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterdavspurs

We definately wanted it. We was up in they grill like Sandro's gum shield. COYS

Dec 22, 2011 at 11:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterBlup Blup

Sandro is the man. Absolutely without question. We are going to need him for the Christmas games. Ekotto is 'heart attack' material. We need a back-up left back. Happy with a point.

Dec 23, 2011 at 12:24 AM | Unregistered Commentercookiebun

Just my two cents worth from what I watched on the tube:

Harry got it WRONG this time out bringing on Pav for VDV. Thought Kranjcar should've at least been given a run out as a like-for-like replacement in the attacking midfield role.

If anything, this game totally and irrefutably proves that Pav HAS to go come January. Even Zamora would be an upgrade over him.

Too bad for us Howard "Inconsistent" Webb had to officiate this 6 pointer. Quick to point out handball when Parker did a Cole but let Cole's offense slide for their equaliser.

Based on what I've seen from Ade thus far, still not convinced that he's the all-rounded forward that we need up front. Take nothing away from his opener though, but I still warrant that he should have tucked away that priceless opportunity at the end.

Still, a point is a point and we're still strongly in third with a game in hand.....

Merry Christmas everyone from Malaysia! COYS!

Dec 23, 2011 at 2:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterchangchinseong

For me, the game confirmed two things for me, Adebayor is not good enough , his first touch is terrible and we lose posession with him on the ball, and, we need a better centre half, we were badly exposed on a number of occasions. The two defensive mid fielders played too deep and gave away the midefield battle.

So, we still need a center half and a centre forward of world calss experience.

Nothing has changed, unless we get two players in, we will struggle to keep in touch with the top 2.

Dec 23, 2011 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered Commenterhotspurs

..and, we also need a goalkeeper very quickly......

He needs to buy in 3 positions and quick!!

As for Harry, poor performance with selection!!

Modric is not a wide player, for Gods sake how many more games will Harry need to see before he gets it!! Sandro is better than Parker, so pick him over Parker.

Dec 23, 2011 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered Commenterhotspurs

How can we get it so right for 20 minutes and so wrong for the rest of the game?
This ball retention and quick passing seems to have knocked 'em cold
so let's see how they like this long ball and slower pace'
We never recovered from a really dozy equaliser.
Still, third at Xmas

Dec 23, 2011 at 9:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmyG2

Soz for lack of blog activity today. Busy.

Have written up a match report and additional article. Will publish tomorrow.

Dec 24, 2011 at 12:05 AM | Registered Commenterspooky

@hotspurs.... on the button mate!!

Merry Christmas everyone.

Dec 24, 2011 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterTonyBlue

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