Friday, September 22, 2006

Alright Lah! – Its De Bezzie Pool Preview

This is going to sound a lot like the Man U preview; haven’t won up there in years, injuries, best Spurs can hope for is a draw, etc, etc. Obviously though The Waddler will write this afresh, not simply cut and paste and replace the words Man Utd with Liverpool – that would be wrong.

So, what of our opponents? Well, who knows really as Rafa Benitiez changes his team so much; you never know who is going to play. Apparently, this is the 963 game on the trot (or something) that he hasn’t fielded the same team twice in a row. It was Kuyt and Bellemy up front against Newcastle, both former Spurs targets, so that leads the average fan to suspect that it may be Crouch and Fowler up front, or Crouch and Luis Garcia even. Perhaps he has a National Lottery style machine with all the players’ squad numbers on little balls, and draws out 11 before each game; then a bit like Thunderball, 5 more for the subs, not as good as the main draw but better than nothing. The good news though is that Spurs are the third game of four that they have to play in 10 days, as they have a Champions League game on Wednesday. Hopefully then this will involve more shuffling than usual from Benitez and mean that Gerrard is left on the bench or in the stands. He is the one world class player they have, and the main difference between the two sides, apart from form of course. The unfortunate loss to Everton aside, Liverpool have started the season reasonably well, getting the results without necessarily wowing the plaudits with dazzling football.

One of the main improvements under Jol is that Spurs rarely go to places like Anfield and get spanked, we still lose but its more gallant these days, perhaps losing to a deflected goal or wonder strike. The end result is the same of course, but on occasion it means that we come away with a point, which is better than none. At Highbury and Old Trafford we did so last season, and at Anfield, OT and Stamford Bridge the season before. So can we nick a point again tomorrow in the day’s early kick off? It is possible of course, especially with our new solid looking back 5, that has just kept two clean sheets on the trot. The tough decision for Jol is whether to go all out defensive, and play one up front with five in midfield, or keep the two up front and play a couple of defensive players together in the middle. So long as he doesn’t put Keane up front on his own and Mido left midfield again, we should have a chance either way. Hopefully, someone at the club told him that wasn’t a good idea, as Jol can’t be like Nero and make crazy decisions that go unchallenged. We all know what happened to him.

There is very little chance of Spurs scoring a goal up there tomorrow, especially with the news that Berbatov is still not going to be back for a couple of weeks and without Lennon either. Spurs should look to defend and hit Liverpool on the break, so a midfield of Tainio – Huddlestone – Zokora – Jenas would do the trick in terms of people tackling, winning the ball and in the cases of Zokora and Jenas, breaking forward to join the attack. Mido and Defoe up front would be a decent combination of strength and pace, both qualities needed for a good counter attack. As to what the Big Man does though, it’s a bit like Benitez – no one knows! There is an article bigging up Murphy on his Anfield return on the official site, so maybe he’ll get another go. As mentioned on here yesterday there should be a time when Ghaly and Ziegler get a chance as there are not many midfielders playing so well their name is inked on the teamsheet. Here’s hoping, but if you’re a betting man you would be best to keep your money safe this weekend, or maybe chuck it on the Ryder Cup instead.

The Waddler.