Wigan Preview: The Most Important Game In Tottenham’s History!!
If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know by now I have a lot of pet hates with regards to the professional game and I always speak from the heart. Sometimes that gets me into trouble or I can’t quite articulate my true feelings on a subject but I’ll try my best this time:
- The game against Real Madrid is NOT the most important game in our history
- Until Sunday morning we shouldn’t even be discussing that game
- I’m more concerned about who’s fit to face Wigan than Real Madrid at the moment
Unfortunately with today’s press being the way they are, they will only concentrate on what’s good for them. The majority of the press are linked in some way to Sky or get a lot of their stories from Sky. No surprise that every time Sky mention Spurs they follow it with a reminder that you can watch live and uninterrupted coverage in high definition and probably in 3D of the champions league game between Real Madrid and Spurs on Tuesday, exclusively on Sky. Bloody Sky!!! I know already, but just because you’re not showing Wigan v Spurs this Saturday doesn’t mean it’s not happening!!!
Last night’s top story on Sky Sports News was our defensive crisis and how we’ve only got two available central defenders for the trip to the Bernabéu and not a mention of who’s available for tomorrow. Come Sunday morning we might only have one available defender or none. Hell, we might even have four. Personally I know which is more likely given the games everyone in football likes to play nowadays. I’d be surprised if Gallas for example didn’t rock up on Tuesday night and put in one of his better performances.
It’s fairly obvious I’m a sceptical football fan. While I may look relatively young and have managed to remain boyishly good looking I’ve got enough experience of the gamesmanship that goes on between clubs, the press and the fans, like we all have. Let’s say for example, we wanted to put out our strongest team on Tuesday and with a game 3 days previous would like to rest a couple of the key players, what’s the best way to do that without risking the wrath of fans if we were to lose the Wigan game from doing so? How about claiming players are injured but might stand a chance of playing against Madrid? That simple sentence means if we wanted players like Bale, vdV and Gallas could all take the day off tomorrow and prepare for Tuesday’s game. I’m not saying that’s what’s happening here but it wouldn’t be the first time players have been unable to play in the league but have managed to drag themselves onto the pitch for the champions league cause.
At this time we basically don’t know who’s going to play tomorrow, in what’s a must win game. Far more important actually than the Real Madrid game. Sure, it doesn’t contain the same kind of mystacism and excitement that Tuesday night holds and whatever the result it’s unlikely to remain in the memory banks for as long but it IS more important. I don’t want the Real Madrid game to stick in my memory. I don’t want to be talking about it in 10 years time (unless we batter them of course). I want it to be just another game against Europe’s elite, the type of game we play every season at this time of year. Without beating the likes of Wigan we can forget about playing the likes of Real Madrid.
The importance of everything this club does hinges on playing in this competition next season. When we discuss a lack of tickets because of a relatively small stadium or wondering why we’re not signing that world class striker or why united keep poaching all our best players it’s because we’re not in Europe’s premier competition every season. Just look at the 49% increase in revenue and turnaround in profit mostly based in the final 5 months of last year thanks to the competition.
Enjoying this season’s competition is fine but prioritising it over others, especially the league, would be short sighted. The long term objective of the club is to keep this team together, add quality where it’s needed and win the league, ideally while building a larger stadium. The way to do that is to increase the money coming into the club and if done correctly, the profit. The only way to do that is to compete in the champions league every season. So enjoy Real Madrid, enjoy it for what it is. A fantastic game, bringing back memories of past European adventures but if we were playing Schalke 04 or Shaktar Donetsk would it still be “the most important game in our history” as I’ve heard many people say?
Before anyone mentions it I understand the irony in saying we should be concentrating on the Wigan game by writing 800 words discussing Real Madrid. So onto tomorrow. It’s teams like Wigan who are the reason we’re not sitting comfortably in the top 3, knowing unless we implode we’ll be playing champions league again next season. They’re “smash and grab” victory at white hart lane was one of our poorer performances of the season and one I’m sure we’d all like to forget, but one that could easily be repeated if we’re not on our game.
Coming off the back of an international break as well as a trip to Spain on the horizon, Wigan will be thinking they’ve got a chance at being the first team to complete the double over us this season. Roberto Martinez’s men currently sit at the bottom of the league with only 6 win’s all season, 4 of them at home. The one thing going for us on paper is the fact they’ve conceded 31 goals at the DW Stadium in their 14 games so far so even with Defoe in the starting line up we should score at least one right?
I have my theory on what the best formation is for us with the players we’ve got but changing it at this stage in the season would be foolish so it’s best to stick to the 4-4-2 the players are comfortable with. If Bale doesn’t play, and it’s very unlikely with him “resting” for Tuesday I’d expect Pienaar to start on the left although I’d prefer Niko but it appears Redknapp’s given up on him even though he likes to include him in his sound-bites from time to time. It’s good to see Tommy back in training but I would presume tomorrow will be too early for him to play a big part but if he can come off the bench it’s all money in the bank as the saying goes. He could be crucial to the run-in, although with Sandro’s current form it would seem a little unfair for him to lose his place.
We all know the defence will be Corluka, Dawson, Bassong and Ekotto mainly because that’s all we’ve got and that should be enough, although if Rodallega and N’Zogbia are on form they’re exactly the type of players that will show that defence up. Putting Sandro just in front of them should help negate any positivity they have on the match and leave Modric, Lennon and Pienaar/Niko to support what I presume will be two strikers. Which two strikers is the question though.
Crouch could do with some game time really but he’s another I would expect to see play more of a role on Tuesday. Is vdV fit? He played two games for Holland so you would think so but will he be risked with his history of picking up little, niggling injuries that last 3-4 days? If he’s fit, he’s got to play but I’d like to see him stay forward, especially as we’ll be without Bale who supports at every opportunity. If he drops too deep as he did in the second half against West Ham we’ll find whoever the other striker is will be left isolated. If he’s not fit, I’d be happy with the Pav / JD partnership. It produced three goals against Wolves and for once the movement off the ball, in particular by Pav was pretty good. I thought it was a shame and a mistake that partnership was broken up for the home game against West Ham but here’s a chance to give it another go and hope it works as it did then.
I may be alone in this, and it’s fine if I am, but if we don’t beat Wigan some of the glow from playing in the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on Tuesday will be slightly diminished. The excitement will be lessoned as instead of praying we get a result I’ll resort to just enjoying the moment and wondering if my boyish good looks will have turned into distinguished older gentleman looks by the time we experience games like it again. If we beat Wigan on a weekend City entertain a tough Sunderland side we could go into Tuesdays game with new self belief that not only can we beat The Special One’s team but also take the second step on the ladder to the future.
Submitted by THFC1882
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