Thursday, September 07, 2006

Our Kid’s Man Yoo Preview

Ahhh Manchester in the 90s - Oasis, Stone Roses, Charlatans – bands that defined The Waddler’s youth! It seemed the world revolved around Manchester at the time, especially as Utd were dominating English and European football, with stars like Cantona, Giggs, Sharpe, Kanchelskis, Beckham, Scholes and Keane. In recent years though both the music scene and the lot from Old Trafford have been on a gradual decline. Liam and Noel have got old, and Sir Alex has tinkered with his tactics and formations, and crucially failed to adequately replace the stars he fell out with. Think of his midfield issues – he lets Keane get old and leave without replacing him, and resorts to playing striker Alan Smith and defender John O’Shea in midfield! Well, he eventually saw sense, too late you might say looking at Chelsea’s dominance, and splashed the Glazer dollars on our beloved Michael Carrick. Is that enough though? Especially after selling your main goal scorer to Real Madrid and not replacing him? That decision doesn’t look too clever this weekend, with Rooney suspended, Rossi on loan at Newcastle and Saha an injury doubt. That leaves Solskjaer, who is still regaining fitness after years out through injury and who else up front? Giggs maybe? Ronaldo?

So it’s a great time to play Man U then? Well, yes for any team bar Spurs who have a truly awful recent record against Utd, home and away. You have to go back to 1989 and a goal from Gary Lineker for our last league win at Old Trafford! Once you factor in the start they have had to the season (3 games, 3 wins and 10 goals scored), versus ours (3 games, 1 win and 2 goals scored) you begin think a draw is the best we can hope for. We’ve gone up there and come away with a point in each of the last two seasons, so it’s not impossible.

So is it likely? Well, if Ledley makes it, which is looking hopeful, and Berbatov makes it, which is less so, then we will have a chance. The midfield as always is the key area. Should we play a physical line up to combat the artistry of Carrick, Giggs, Ronaldo and Scholes? If so, then we will line up something like Tainio, Davids, Zokora, Jenas. Should we fight fire with fire? Then Lennon needs to play, so maybe Big Martin Jol will rest Tainio after his international commitments and go Davids, Zokora, Jenas, Lennon. Either way Spurs can’t play worse than they did against Everton, and you have to assume Zokora did his selection potential no harm by being on the bench for most of that farce. Jol doesn’t drop Davids or Jenas, so you have to assume they will feature somewhere. The Waddler’s own preference at the moment would be to see how a midfield of Tainio, Zokora, Jenas, Lennon works out. There you have nice blend of tenacity, pace, power and goal scoring threat.

Up front it’s the pick one big ‘un and one little ‘un combination, so expect to see Keane and Berbatov up front if both are fit. If Berbi doesn’t pull through then it is Mido and Keane, as Defoe would have over exerted himself playing twice in a week. A debut for Chimbonda also looks likely, so fingers crossed he’s the real deal, and not simply another full back to add to our ever growing list under Jol. Spurs go through full backs quicker than John Reid gets through cabinet positions. Our friends MANSION have Spurs at 5.35 to win and 3.50 the draw, so if you are convinced, lump on. The Waddler will be saving those used fivers for another game.

Come On You Spurs!

The Waddler.