Only a cynic would suggest that Hugo Lloris had taken a quick look at this weekend’s fixture list just before deciding that he could feel a twinge in his thigh but nevertheless it appears that we may be going into Saturday lunchtime’s game at Eastlands minus the closest thing we currently have to a talisman.
Hugo won’t remember last season’s encounters with Citeh very fondly. Eleven conceded in two games is enough to bring on lumbago rather than a thigh strain – the old ones are the best ones. The away game was particularly shambolic with AVB’s selection, Kaboul and Lamela were given their first Premiership starts of the season, and high line of defence being the figurative bullets loaded into the weapon before it was handed over to the home team. So this time out despite our new keeper being given his Spurs Premiership bow, it will be through necessity rather than choice, a different can of Vorms.
Another absentee may possibly be our most effective attacker of the season so far – Nacer Chadli. Now there’s a string of words that you’d have got long odds on appearing in print not long ago. Given the paucity of contributions from elsewhere Chadli’s four goals have of course been crucial, none more so than his effort at the Emirates which for twenty glorious minutes had the away section bouncing and the tourists wondering how they were going to explain this to the folks back home in Singapore, Accra and Maidstone. Given that Chadli has begun the last couple of games almost alongside Adebayor, Harry Kane would seem the natural replacement but it depends on how cautious Pochettino is feeling. Rather than like-for-like he might see this as an opportunity to strengthen the midfield, perhaps throw in Bentaleb or even Stambouli, rather than leave Mason and Capoue alone to combat whichever combination of Toure, Fernandinho, Milner and Fernando Pellegrini puts on show.
We’re injury hit at the back as well with Naughton knacked after being taken out in an unpunished challenge by Saint Bertrand. Naughton is out for a few weeks, which gives Eric Dier a chance to make a name for himself in the short term and the club an incentive to get Kyle Walker back as soon as possible. City will be looking to exploit a lack of pace down our right side. In the middle Vertonghen should continue alongside the apparently rejuvenated Kaboul.
After the disappointment of Liverpool and West Brom, performances and results have picked up. What most Spurs fans will be looking for, hoping for and expecting is a repeat of the resolve and tenacity that got us that deserved point in Woolwich. Playing City is obviously a step up from the Gooners but if we were to put on a display of defensive organisation and counter attacking that was good enough to gain a result (and remember that Stoke have already won at the Etihad this season) then Poch can be said to have achieved one of his objectives when appointed, ie to stop us being such pussycats when facing a side with a bigger budget than us.
Jonathan Moss is down to officiate. Kick off is at 12.45, hope it doesn’t spoil our weekends. COYS.
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