The next big game since the last big game…
…is on Saturday evening when we travel to Liverpool for a 5.30 ko.
The creature that Jurgen Klopp will eventually create at Anfield has barely reached its embryo stage. The players are mostly still the previous coach’s even if David Brent has disappeared from the motivation meetings and press conferences. Whilst the big signings expected to follow the new man over from Germany haven’t quite materialised (for Hummels and Gotze read Caulker and erm…) there’s no doubt been a change of culture behind the scenes, though not so big a change that the Scousers level of performance doesn’t remain unpredictable. They appeared to be coasting against Southampton in their last league game but ended up losing after conceding three times in the last half an hour. What we wouldn’t give for more of that sort of comedy defending tomorrow.
Can you hear the drums Coutinho?
To our advantage is the fact that they visit Dortmund on Thursday so there’s a small chance that they may not put their all into this game given their ropey league position and unlikeliness (?) of reaching the top six. Jürgen will want to make a good impression on his return to the choreographed sing-a-long capital of Der Bundesliga and so his side and tactics may be chosen with that game in mind, though whatever side he picks is sure to try and outpress us as firstly, that’s his general modus operandi and secondly, it’s a method that works, as proved by West Ham at Upton Park.
Daniel Sturridge has a miserable appearance record as we all know but it seems (without checking the stats) that he always manages to pick himself up off the hospital bed long enough to play against us. This time around he’s not only likely to feature but also has a few games behind him so is as close to match fit as he’s been in a long long time.
Luckily though we appear to have emerged from the international break with few injuries to speak of, only Erik Lamela’s name is being bandied around as doubtful (as I write). In fact with the possibility of Vertonghen being able to take a place on the bench at least we are in a good position to be able thwart Sturridge and his cohorts.
To press or not to press?
Pochettino will be hopeful of fielding the same side that played against Villa and Bournemouth – being knocked out of the cups should have put a stop to the rotating of the full backs. Personally I think we should adopt a more cagey approach than we’re likely too, at the start of this game at least, due to the aforementioned pressing and chasing tactics liable to be adopted by the home side. If we can keep a bit of possession and ‘draw their sting’ as the saying goes, we can then impose our game. I hope.
All aboard the good ship Wishful Thinking
Six of our last seven remaining games are against teams who we have drawn with or lost to in our previous meetings this term – only Southampton have thus far fallen to our might – which is a measure of the task ahead of us if we’re going to impact on Leicester’s advantage and keep the Gooners at bay. A win in this game would be a remarkable result and put real pressure on Leicester before their game on Sunday. A draw is more achievable but the Saints do have something to play for and so a good result for them isn’t out of the question. Next weekend we should be able to see off the confusion that is Man United whilst Jermain Defoe has promised us a result; it’s all plain sailing from there.
Jonathan Moss is tomorrow’s referee.
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