That was how I ended my last article and so it turned out to be.
But the most important thing was that it was a victory and an acceptable one with all the “fringe” players getting a good run out. I do love using that word to refer to the likes of Kaboul, Chiriches, Sandro, Holtby, Lamela, Chadli and Defoe. These are hardly “fringe” players, At virtually any other Premiership club they would be regular starters – yet they are now desperately trying to force their way into the main weekend starting line up. Did they do enough last night? Regrettably, not really.
Dembele, one of only two outfield players to retain his place from Saturday, ran the show and is at last beginning to show the form that he had at Fulham and persuaded us to buy him in the first place. He was able to hold the ball up well and was always available in support of other players. I have for weeks been campaigning for Dembele to be dropped from the weekend line up and replaced by Sandro – on yesterday´s performances I might be wrong. Sandro, unusually, was caught in possession and had too many wayward passes. Against stronger opposition he may have been punished.
Then there was Lewis Holtby, here, there and everywhere as usual. He had a major role in both goals, teeing up Defoe superbly and then laying the ball through to Walker for his low cross met by Chadli. If Dembele was the heartbeat of the team, Holtby was its brain. The problem is how to fit them – and the likes of Eriksen and Siggy – into the starting line up on a regular basis.
With Lamela failing to produce anything like the form he should be capable of – he has shown glimpses of skill but nothing more – he is not ready for the Premiership just yet. Can we afford to drop Townsend who hasn´t really done anything wrong – apart from trying to score every time he gets within 30 yards of goal, although he did actually temper that trait last weekend.
Of the others, perhaps only Chiriches is showing us what he is capable of and with Kaboul still struggling to shrug off his injury problems he may well be in line for a Premiership start alongside Vertonghen very soon.
Taking the team that started against Chelski, who could/should be dropped and who could/should replace them against WetSpam?
Chiriches in for Dawson? Rose (if fit) in for Naughton? Holtby in for Townsend? Defoe in for Soldado?
The first two are definites – if Rose is fit. Eventually Holtby will take his place but this weekend? At least Defoe is scoring goals but will he get the nod over Soldado? I don´t think so.
We all know what WetSpam will present us with this Sunday. They will run around a lot, give 100% and try to play good football. I would be very surprised if they parked the coach but they may have no option as our high pressing game will force them back.
My prediction for this week. A hard fought but entertaining encounter, nailbiting almost to the end as we cling onto a 1-0 lead only to score two late goals and secure a famous 3-0 win.
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