There are three words which generally fill every Spurs fan with fear, dread and trepidation.
And those three words are “NORTH LONDON DERBY”.
No matter where it is being played – at our hallowed White Hart Lane or at the EmuRat – encounters with the oldest enemy of them all – Le Arse – are not looked forward to with much pleasure.
It is one of those fixtures which we hope for the best but fear for the worst and generallly the latter always applies.
This year, however, it seems different. No dread, no fear, just a sense of expectation that we will finally lay the curse of the NLD to rest, and all because of our amazing activity in the transfer market, and to a lesser degree the lack of action from Le Arse. I do not expect to see any of our latest three recruits starting today as it way too early for them to fit into our/their new way of playing – maybe a cameo from one or two from the bench but that would be about all.
This is no time to experiment or dabble with anything other than putting out the best possible team, and here there is a quandry. The back five virtually picks itself – the only question is whether Kaboul is fit enough to replace Dawson. I would have no problems with playing Daws there but would feel a lot safer with Beast mark 2 alongside JV.
The midfield trio is more questionnable as Capoue and Paulinho must start but who to accompany them – and again it is more a matter of full match fitness as for me Sandro should play. The original Beast gives us more protection than either Dembele or Holtby, but we would lose a little guile, but with Sandro and Capoue deployed as holding midfielders this would allow Paulinho more freedom to roam forward which may not be a bad thing.
Up front obviously the Soldier must play with Townsend and Chadli retaining their places – although there is case for using Holtby wide left even it is slightly out of position, as he would add a little more defensively as well as offering more sublety and creativity than Chadli.
However, given that once Lamela and Eriksen are settled at the club they will likely occupy these wide positions, all three will find themselves relegated to the bench.
Therefore my starting line-up would be
— Lloris —
Walker — Kaboul — Vertonghen — Rose
Sandro — Paulinho — Capoue
Townsend — Soldado — Chadli
On the bench, Friedal, Dawson, Chiriches, Holtby, Lamela, Eriksen, Defoe.
On paper more than a match for anything Ye Olde Arse Whinger can select, and with key players such as Wiltshire and Ramsey playing with possible minor injuries sustained in recent matches the three points are very much there for the taking.
In recent years there have always been goals and plenty of them, but I think it will be a lot, lot tighter this year, especially with us packing the midfield and keeping the play narrow, so I would not be surprised if we recorded our third straight 1-0 victory, just hope its not another Soldado penalty.
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