From the sublime to the Reebok. It’s another early kick-off this Saturday as Gareth Bale takes on Bolton Wanderers in their own backyard. Single-handedly like, because Spurs are now officially a one man team, or that’s the impression you’d get if you just read and believed the papers. Those of us who were there on Tuesday evening were lucky to witness not only the star of the show but also some top performances from a few of his fellow cast members. Huddlestone’s discipline and mature shepherding of the ball, Kaboul’s strength, Assou-Ekotto’s confidence in possession, Luka Modric’s skipping runs and Van der Vaart’s barrel chested opportunism helped build the stage on which the Welshman dished out the torment to Maicon et al. At 4-0 in the San Siro who’d have guessed that we would score six of the remaining seven goals left in the ‘tie’ and that Sneijder would end up being the one who collapsed in crushed disappointment at the end of the game at White Hart Lane?

Anyway, enough of that. Bolton lie three points behind us in the league. Last weekend Liverpool inflicted their first home defeat of the season on the Trotters, they’d previously won one and drawn the other three of their Horwich games. They’ve scored six goals and also conceded six in those five matches. And they’ve got Kevin Davies. Oh no! Davies’s power and elbows are well known to the Spurs defence and no doubt his England cap will have added a few extra gulps of air to that already puffed chest.

Owen Coyle is slowly carving a new identity for Bolton, one that’s based less on physical application and more on good football. Petrov, Holden and Lee are all skilful midfielders and Elmander is finally finding the net regularly after his big money move of a couple of years ago. So as ever the challenge from Bolton will be one to take seriously, it just won’t come in the usual form.

Another regular facet to a trip to the Reebok is the poor turnout from the home crowd. A chance though to witness the team that’s just turned over the European Champions (does that mean we own the trophy now?) will probably put a few on the gate and there should be nearly double the 13,596 who turned up for the Valentine’s Day FA Cup game between us last season. What side we’ll put out is hard to predict. With a three day gap between fixtures you’d hope that the players have had enough time to recover from the hard game on Tuesday, there is though the midweek match next week against Sunderland to consider. With no-one back from injury Redknapp’s selection may just depend on who is fit and ready but the temptation to give Van der Vaart’s hamstring a rest and play around with the strikers and midfield will be large.

On the other hand, Harry knows that the points we’ve dropped already this season, (three losses and three draws) mean that it’s imperative we win where we can and we can win at Bolton.

Chris Foy is the referee, he took charge at Stoke when we won 2-1 so he’s already seen some of the best of Bale this season. The Premier League defenders are doing a much better job of closing down Gareth than the Champions League ones at the moment and Gretar Steinsson is a useful right back. He is though sponsored by Dave T’s House of Tattoos.

It’ll be a very different game to Tuesday. However confidence and ambition are high. We need to shake off the CL hangover and get going at a good tempo. Defeat would be disappointing, a draw understandable but a win would give notice of our serious intentions with regards to getting back into the top four. COYS.


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