Not the least unimpressive aspect of our good start to the season has been the fact that weâ€™ve never been able to field a full strength side but weâ€™ve still gathered points. This weekend though our resources will be well and truly tested as injuries and suspension leave us light of players as we take the short trip to that hated little piece of South London down the road. Itâ€™s a 12:45 kick off on Saturday.
Already without Defoe as he serves the last match of his ban we have injuries to all of Lennon, Crouch, Woodgate, King, Modric and Jenas to worry about. A few of those will play most likely, none though are fully fit. The loss of both Defoe and Lennon is particularly annoying as it deprives us of so much pace up front. Robbieâ€™s recent performances have proved that heâ€™s not got the speed of foot he once had and whilst Bentley and Bale gave good accounts of themselves on Tuesday night neither reminds you of that winning dog you backed at Walthamstow the other year. Bentley may well have done enough to earn himself a start, depending on what mood Harry is in. If heâ€™s feeling cautious then Redknapp may be tempted to play Jenas on the right, perhaps sacrificing the chance of a repetition of last wonder yearâ€™s goal for something more reliable. He hopes.
For his size Niko Kranjcar doesnâ€™t put himself about much. Given the assistance he provides Assou-Ekotto, Gareth Bale is in with a chance of starting on the left Iâ€™d have thought. Teams recently have made attempts to target Corluka due to the size of his turning circle but even though they have had some success, heâ€™s still a better bet than Hutton at right back.
Weâ€™ve conceded three goals in two of our games against the â€˜big fourâ€™ this season and given the record of the home team thus far in this campaign, (17 goals scored in 4 matches), thereâ€™s no doubt that weâ€™re going to spend periods of this game on the defensive in this oneÂ well. On the flip side though theyâ€™ve conceded 13 goals in their 9 Premier League games so far thus Crouch and Keane will fancy their chances to get on the scoresheet. If these two do take their chances, Wilson imposes himself in midfield without getting on the wrong side of referee Clattenburg, and the back five play with patience and composure then weâ€™ve a chance. Itâ€™s a tough game but the players will want to prove that thereâ€™s substance beneath the top four bluster thatâ€™s been appearing from time to time. We are more than capable of sending the tourists back to their coaches hoping that their next sightseeing visit is more rewarding.
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