Why Spurs MUST Beat Blackpool Tonight

By on February 22, 2011

The big games just keep rolling in and tonight’s is no different.  Most soccer betting sites have Spurs down as favorites and this rearranged fixture at Blackpool could see us propel ourselves into the top 3 and pile the pressure on Manchester City and especially Chelsea who would find themselves 5 points behind us with a game in hand which I believe is against United so it’s no gimme. As this match was original scheduled for December I’ve already written a match preview once so if you want to read that and see the thoughts of a Blackpool fan follow this link. I doubt very much has changed since then anyway.

The major omission for us is van der Vaart and Bale is still out injured but as Modric is back it shouldn’t make too much difference to our formation and quite possibly it could mean the team is better equipped to beat Blackpool. For starters we’ll play 4-4-2 which has worked brilliantly in the last few league games and without vdV it’ll mean Lennon can stay in his favoured right sided position. Whether it’s Pienaar or Niko on the left is anyone’s guess and I would expect Redknapp to plump for the Croatian but personally, like the Milan match I’d like to see Pienaar start.

The one thing Blackpool do really well is get people forward and especially into wide areas, playing the majority of their forward passes into the wide channels which means our full backs will be kept busy. The more cover they can have the better and Pienaar will offer Ekotto that if he pushes forward. As for the other side, the continued disappearance of Alan Hutton has baffled everyone on the internet. Did he allegedly get into a fight after the Fulham game? Has he slept with Sandro Redknapp or Louise? Is he just drunk and fuelled up on the white stuff in some bar in west London? Who knows, but it doesn’t appear he’ll be making an appearance which leaves us with Gallas at right back. That seems to be the preferred replacement and I can only hope Redknapp doesn’t decide to play Palacios there as he has done in the past.

The other option is a back three but as I’ve said Blackpool do get people forward and like to play it wide so I don’t think that would be very productive. Whether it’s Palacios or Sandro that gets the nod to play alongside Luka they’ll play a big part in the outcome of the match. Charlie Adam wouldn’t have played in the original match so if our luck is the same as it appears to have been in the past, expect him to make a massive impression. While they’re not a one man team by any means if we can keep Adam quiet we’re half way to winning.

Now, onto why it’s such an important game to win. We’re 12 games away from what could be a momentous season climax. Finishing in the top 4 this season would be bigger than last. The adventure we’ve been on in this season Champions League has been fun but in both transfer windows we’ve struggled to attract the type of player that could take us to the next level, whether that’s because of finances, players not being sure whether it was a fluke or as I suspect a little bit of both if we could do it again this season, I would expect to see a massive summer for the club and one that could see us competing for the title next season. Can you imagine doing that with a 36k stadium in a run down area of north London? Incredible. ;)

Having looked at our remaining fixtures as well as City’s and Chelsea’s it’s clear to see that unless one of those teams have a major downturn in form it’s going to go right down to the wire and final positions could even be decided by goal difference. While not having to go through the qualification stages for the champions league again would be nice I’m sure we’d all settle for finishing 4th on goal difference. With it being so close we can’t afford to drop points in any game and no disrespect to Blackpool, who have not only entertained but have played football the right way, we need to be beating the teams in the lower half of the table. In our next 4 games we play 4 of the bottom 5 teams in the league. At this stage of the season that can sometimes be a disadvantage but it’s up to us to make sure it isn’t. As we showed at the beginning of the season we have a tendency to believe we’ll win and then failing miserably. If we had managed to beat Wolves, Wigan and West Ham instead of only gaining 3 points we’d be joint second right now.

Before we’re due to play City for example on 16th April, Chelsea have got to play United and City. As crazy as this might sound if we could get 10 points from those four games against the leagues struggling teams and both Manchester teams beat Chelsea we could find ourselves 9 points in front of 5th position having played one game extra. With only 8 games remaining the pressure on a Chelsea side who have never been in the position of struggling to get Champions League football before could be too much. It would also allow us the misfortune of losing a few games, including the game at Stamford Bridge.

I’m always either a little optimistic or pessimistic when trying to gauge how many points we or other teams would end up with. By guessing the results I had us finishing on 71 points, two points behind City in 3rd and one point ahead of Chelsea in 5th. That wasn’t using the pray to God method of us winning the next 4 games and Chelsea winning only one of their next three though.

To make it fairer and possibly give us a better idea of how it could finish I thought I’d look at points per game for each side. So far this season we’ve averaged 1.81 per game, as have City with Chelsea on 1.73. However, with 7 of their remaining games to be played at Stamford Bridge I decided to use the points per game from home and away games and make my conclusions from there. Strangely enough, at least I thought so, Spurs have the better away record with 1.62ppg away from White Hart Lane. Chelsea have got the best home record with 2.17ppg compared to our 2 ppg.

So if you use the points per game so far this season figure to work out how many points each team will end up with it’s probably a more reliable result:

  • Man City – 69 points
  • Spurs – 69 points
  • Chelsea – 67 points

That’s too close to call in my opinion. The odd win here, own goal there or refereeing decision going against you could spell the end of the top 4 dream for another season. What we’ve got to be aware of though is football isn’t played on paper. It’s not played on stats, averages and points per game. The majority of the time it’s played in the head. This spurs team has nothing to lose. There’s no pressure on them, or shouldn’t be. Only a few games ago we looked dead and buried and now we could find ourselves in the driving seat come Wednesday morning.

Manchester City and Chelsea, no matter what they may say about wanting the FA Cup or Champions League, if either of them finish outside of the top 4 this season it’ll mean major upheaval and disappointment. Personally I believe it’s between us and Chelsea and if United and City can do us a favour by taking 9 points off last season’s double winners we could be looking at dream land once again, but to do so we MUST beat Blackpool. A Top 4 side would do exactly that.

COYS

Submitted by THFC1882

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10 Comments

  1. The Pope

    February 22, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Good article ! I’m a City fan and agree with pretty much everything. Its going to be close…

  2. tublu

    February 22, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    made me chuckle thfc1882. that’s the sort of desperate reasoning and rational I use and it hardly ever works ( well , ok, never works) out as you think. I’m a city fan and my own predictor has us finishing 5th. Who knows Ar5ena1 may implode after barca and birmingham batter them and they might finish 5th ;¬)

  3. Nick

    February 22, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    ho ho ho! ha ha ha!

  4. gcb

    February 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    sorry thfc1882 – it’s 3-0 to blackpool, so all the agonizing must go on, but we’ll all lose matches we think we should win and then confound the fans by winning the unwinnable. I’m a city fan and really pleased that you’ve lost tonight, but I’m under no illusion that the boot will be on the other foot in a week or a months time. I think the crunch will be when you come to Eastlands in April – I just hope that we are enough points ahead by that time that it will not matter whether we win or draw – I hope that it is not like last year! I fancy that we may well be distracted at some point by the cups that we are in.

  5. Jem

    February 22, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Your goal difference is crap, you will have to get more points then us cos if you finish level on points you will be under us which I think will be fifth. By the way what happens to the 4th C.L. spot if Chelsea finish 5th in the league but win the C.L. Could be a sting in the tail for one of us. (City Fan)

  6. Martin Grayfield

    February 23, 2011 at 8:54 am

    The sting in the tail as Jem rightly identifies here is if either you or Chelsea win the CL. They are then passported in to the competition and 4th spot means nothing. So third is the aim to guarantee the entry into it for next year – speaking as a City fan as clearly we don’t have the winning it option.
    I think you will finish top 4 as Chelsea don’t seem to have it together. Was quite pleased you didn’t win last night though. I doubt you can rely on goal difference as you as the poorest of the top 5.
    The runs are so close, but it helps us that the English teams are still in the CL. The top 2 are pretty much a done deal and then any perm of the next 3 is stating the obvious i know but we all have to play each other and Chelsea have a hard task playing united twice. At least being knocked out of the FA Cup they can now get that game out of the way.
    Personally i hope it’s Arsenal, Man U, Us, You and to rub salt in Chelsea’s wounds you get to the final, can’t bring myself to say i hope you win it !!!
    Very good article btw and unlike most Man Utd’s one’s no invective or pointless idiocy – Cheers

  7. Blue

    February 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Hahahahahahahahaha 3-1

  8. mick, belfast

    February 24, 2011 at 1:22 am

    gonna be very close but i see the table finishing 1st-arsenal
    2nd-scum
    3rd-city
    4th-spurs

    don’t think its relevant the new ruling that the team who wins the champions league can defend it because its almost certainly gonna be barca or real………………..

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