At Home to The No Witches


With the latest round of internationals firmly out of the way and – thankfully – no major injuries to report (Siggy had a dead leg but has been able to train) we can begin to get back on track and into a run of two games a week until the middle of October which includes one CapOneCup game, two Europas and four Premierships, culminating in home fixtures against Chelski and WetSpam. By the time we get to those, all our new signings should be fully integrated into our system but before we get ahead of ourselves we can look no further than this Saturday´s game.

And yes I did say those words – SATURDAY GAME. First one this season – make the most if it as they will be few and far between.

So “The No Witches” – a team who somehow managed to take points off us last season (two draws) and even knocked us out of the CapOneCup. In the 12 previous Premier League encounters we have won 6, drawn 4 and lost 2 – both at home – so we have to be wary.

This is one of those teams that we need to roll over week in week out if we are to have any chance of getting into the top four, let alone challenge for anything remotely serious.

They have undergone a major change in personnel – nowhere near as big as ours – with their previous talisman Grant Holt being replaced by former Hoops star Gary Hooper and someone they are calling the Wolf – mainly because they cannot say, let alone spell, Ricky Van Wolfswinkel (hope that is correct). And in emerging talent Nathan Redmond they have a young English player who looks destined to play for the national team before too long. They have also brought in Leroy Fer from FC Twente, Martin Olsson from Blackburn and Javier Garrido from Lazio, spending a total of 24M in the process. Despite their spending it has to be remembered that we have two players who each cost more than that!

So who will we put out against them?

That, I suppose, depends on how well our two south Americans are after getting back from the other side of the Atlantic having played in games early on Wednesday morning (our time). Paulinho and Lamela both featured for Brazil and Argentina and would have then had a ten hour flight before reporting for training – if at all – so may not be considered recovered enough to take part.

With the rest of the squad – Capoue & Lennon apart – all available for selection, this still creates a selection dilemma for AVB, but with the number of games coming up rotation is going to be key to success this year.

Despite having played for their countries I cannot see any reason to drastically alter the back five, the only question being whether Kaboul is fit enough to replace Dawson or should Chiriches be given his first start. Either way, the players left out should then feature against Tromso in midweek.

If Paulinho is too weary and with Capoue ruled out, the midfield defensive duo from the start of last season – Sandro and Dembele – can resume their partnership. An attacking three of Townsend, Eriksen and Chadli should then give us more than enough to enable Soldado to fire us to victory.

My team would therefore line up –

— Lloris —
Walker — Kaboul — Vertonghen — Rose
— Sandro — Dembele —
Townsend — Eriksen — Chadli
— Soldado —

With Friedel, Chiriches, Dawson, Paulinho, Holtby, Defoe and Lamela all on the bench we have a squad more than capable of winning at a canter. But this is not one of those games where I am looking for an impressive display, or even an impressive scoreline. All that can come later. What we need is a win and those vital three points. I go for Spurs to win 2-0.


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