Fan Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs Hull City

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This weekend see Spurs first league outing of 2010. Since the turn of the year, without doing anything much apart from sit back and enjoy the afterglow of an unusually successful Christmas campaign for us, Harry has seen Man City suddenly become everyone’s favourite for the fourth Champions League spot (and more if you believe some of the crazy talk produced by the turning over Stoke, Wolves and Blackburn). The team that slunk away from WHL in mid-December well beaten has been rejuvenated by the appointment of a blue and white scarf with an Italian apparently surgically attached. As a consequence we’ve lost our fourth spot and are now playing catch up.

A home game against Hull City is not a bad place to start that catch up from. The Tigers are in 19th place with 18 points, the same number as Bolton and West Ham and one behind Wigan and Wolves, so it’s all very tight in the basement. City’s last win came at the end of November, since then they’ve shipped goals regularly and have had trouble scoring. Any team with Steve Hunt in it is going to leave an impression on its opponents and as such we can expect a fighting and battling performance from the away team, one that will receive no little encouragement from last year’s famous 1-0 win in the corresponding fixture thanks to Geovanni’s free-kick. Anyone who dwells on the encounter at the KC Stadium earlier this season in August will feel more pessimistic however. That day we gave one of our most flowing exhibitions of the season and won 5-1.

Martin Atkinson referees us for the first time this season. He did the 4-4 at the new Library last season so will be expecting some entertainment.

According to the Hull City website, Phil Brown will have an almost fully fit squad to pick from. This may well mean we get to see Spurs old boys, Gardner, Marney and Barmby in action. Their chief danger man Jimmy Bullard is out however. As for us, Woodgate and Assou-Ekotto are missing and obviously there’ll be doubts about Lennon given that he was due to skip the game at Anfield last weekend. Even if Lennon does miss this game, with the creativity available in Modric and Kranjcar we should be able to create enough chances to see off Hull this time around. Assuming Ledley is fit, Harry has options at centre-half with Dawson and Bassong doing exceptionally well lately. Corluka will carry on at right back thus lengthening his ever present record this season. Bale will take over at left back. It’ll be a surprise if the two Croatians in midfield aren’t flanking Huddlestone and Palacios in the middle. Up front Crouch and Defoe look to be our most consistently effective partnership and will probably start.

Man City have a tricky game at Everton, their result there will say a lot about their revival. All we can do is pick up as many points as we can of course and one would fully expect us to be three better off come five o’clock on Saturday. That should take Harry’s mind off the HMRC for a little while anyway.

Paddy Power: Tottenham to come from behind and win – 8/1

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