Tottenham Hotspur vs Birmingham City

We've linked up with a massive Birmingham blog, Joys & Sorrows. One of their readers off their forum, Nat, wrote a great article in relation to today's game.

In recent times

At the moment, Spurs are enjoying their most productive period since the days of Terry Venables, Lineker and Gazza. They’ve certainly had had good players and good Managers since then, but in one way or another have always managed to self-destruct, be it Ardiles’ insistence on gung-ho football getting turned over every week, George Graham’s marbles going quicker than his hair, Goddle’s carelessness, Jol’s helplessness or Juande Ramos simply being rubbish.

However, it looks as if at the moment they have finally cracked it. The best English manager in the game in Harry Redknapp guiding a squad of talented players to bigger and better things. For those of you who can read (assuming your not a stray Villa fan I have doubt you’ll have trouble to be fair) you’ll have noticed I use the word ’squad’. That is because rather than have a decent first XI and little in reserve, Spurs have ensured their endurance throughout the season by having nearly as much quality on the bench as they do on the pitch. Where other teams in similar positions have tripped up by having no-one to call upon when the chips are down (i.e. the scum from the north of Brum) Spurs have made sure the same doesn’t happen to them.

Whether or not Tottenham make it to the Holy Grail of the Champion’s League this season, you can be sure that they will give it their best go possible, and the usual predictable obstacles that stop them (Daniel Levy’s itchy trigger finger, meddling Directors of Football, bewildering tactics, under-performing players and dodgy Lasagnas) will be non-existent this time. Spurs have sorted themselves out, and mean business.

The Manager

Harry Redknapp; Football’s Del-Boy Trotter if their ever was one (with the possible omission of Barry Fry). But behind the blunt, in-eloquent exterior lies a razor sharp brain with a bullish determination to match. Redknapp has worked since the early 80’s when he was at Bournemouth to get into this position, and he will see this as his one shot of glory at a truly big club. He won’t give that up without a fight.

Tactically astute, and blessed with an eye for talent. You’d think he’d have enough tools to work with as it is. However his most prized asset is his ability to man-manage. He can connect with every player who comes under his nose on a one-to-one basis, and he can gel a melting pot of personalities into a cohesive unit. You’ll never find a side led by ‘Arry being de-motivated. You’ll always see his players willing to fight for each other and for him to the last, and this is priceless if any sustainable progression is to be attained.

It is arguable that he should’ve had a big job before now. It has been hinted that he has been denied a job of Tottenham’s magnitude because of an unfounded shady reputation. However with no evidence of misdemeanours being found so far, he is now having his Indian Summer. There is no doubt that he has earnt it, and I am sure that he will take Spurs to the relative success he took Bournemouth, West Ham and Pompey to.

Key man

Euro 2008 was the catalyst for Luka Modric to be shot into stardom. A tournament where he was Croatia’s outstanding player signalled a transfer to White Hart Lane in the aftermath of Croatia’s exit. However fever pitch excitement was subdued as Tottenham became desperately cut adrift at the bottom by October, with Modric suitably struggling to adapt. However after Juande Ramos’ departure and the arrival of Redknapp, Modric started to show more and more glimpses of the quality Tottenham bought him for, and this season his development has continued.

A jinking player, his creativity and flair is a perfect compliment with the all-action dynamism of his fellow central midfielder (and one time Blues reject) Wilson Palacios. His genius and range of passing has the potential to rip any defence apart within the bat of an eyelid, but he also has the ability to finish in spectacular fashion. Perhaps one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe at this moment in time, and probably crucial to any hopes Spurs have of truly becoming a major force.

Possible line-up

Gomes

Hutton–Corluka–King–Bassong

Lennon–Palacios–Huddlestone–Modric

Keane–Defoe

Tactical comments

Spurs will look to draw Modric and Keane into deeper roaming positions to try and create spaces in our backline which the pace of Lennon and Defoe most definitely can exploit.

Blues’ best hope is to play 4-5-1 with Lee Carsley as an anchorman, because he is the most effective of our central-midfielders at breaking up opposition attacks, which we will have to face a fair few times on Saturday. Playing five in the middle could also make things congested for Spurs on what is a thin pitch at the Lane, so they made find it hard to find space.

Our best hope going forward is for Keith Fahey to be played as one of those three central midfielders so that he can constantly run at the well-bred but rather cumbersome Huddlestone in the hop of getting around him or winning free-kicks in valuable areas.

Last time out

Tottenham Hotspur 2-3 Birmingham City; 02/12/2007

Following the departure of Steve Bruce, this was Alex McLeish’s first game in charge of the boys in Royal Blue, and what a game to start with!

For his first game, Big ‘Eck strung five across the middle with Jerome playing the role of lone frontman. Blues started the match in a confident manner, as if they were almost relieved that the weeks of uncertainty after Bruce’s leaving in the midst of Carson Yeung’s first takeover attempt. However it was Spurs who had the early chances with Berbatov and Bale both hitting posts, the former getting his chance after a horrendous error by Brazilian/German/Rubbish on-loan defender Rafa Schmitz.

Blues took the lead through the much maligned Gary McSheffrey scoring a penalty on ‘24, but Tottenham continued to press, mainly along the left hand side where the hapless Schmitz was being ripped to bits, but Blues saw out half-time without conceding. However inside the first eight minutes of the second-half Spurs had scored 2 to take the lead, with both goals scored by Robbie Keane (a penalty and a chance created by a Schmitz mistake).

In response Blues took the game to Spurs, and were rewarded soon enough with a brilliant Cameron Jerome solo effort just after the hour mark. The withdrawal of the woeful Schmitz and de Ridder for Parnaby and Forssell made Blues simultaneously more solid and potent, and their cause was no doubt helped by Keane being sent-off in the 68th minute for a foul on Muamba.

From then on in, it was all Blues. Forssell shaved the bar with a header and in the second minute of added time the third substitute Olivier Kapo had a half volley tipped around the post by Paul Robinson. But from the resultant corner the ball eventually came out to Seb Larsson who from thirty yards smashed the ball past Robinson’s despairing dive, winning the game for us.

Quite probably one of the most enterprising performances I’ve seen from Blues away from home in the Premiership.

Spurs: Robinson, Chimbonda, Dawson, Kaboul (Huddlestone), Bale (Lee Young-Pyo), Lennon, Zokora, Malbranque, Keane, Berbatov, Bent (Defoe)

Blues: Taylor, Kelly, Djourou, Ridgewell, Schmitz (Parnaby), de Ridder (Forssell), Larsson, Muamba, Nafti, McSheffrey (Kapo), Jerome


Prediction

While Blues have made a Steady-Eddie start to the campaign, Tottenham have stormed to the top of the league with a 100% record. I just think their quality will be too much for us, and the only thing I can really see us getting from White Hart Lane is a thorough footballing lesson. Let’s just hope it doesn’t deflate us too much for our next league game against that lot!

Tottenham 4-0 Blues


As part of the link-up, we recommend that you exchange banter on both THBN & Joys & Sorrows.

COYS!!!

0 Response to "Tottenham Hotspur vs Birmingham City"

Post a Comment