Match Preview: Spurs vs Olympiacos FC

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Greek double winners Olympiacos FC come to White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon for the final dress rehearsal before the curtain goes up on the show proper next weekend. A home fixture against glamorous foreign opposition the week before the season starts is a recent institution, obviously designed to get a bit more dosh off an ever eager public and to end the pre-season schedule on an upbeat note. It certainly worked last season as a full house saw us demolish AS Roma 5-0 in a game that was a personal triumph for David Bentley. What happened the following weekend at Middlesbrough and to Bentley for the next 12 months means that any attempt to draw conclusions based on tomorrow’s performance and result should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Olympiacos’s season is already underway, a 2-0 victory over Slovan Bratislava on Wednesday night gave them a 4-0 aggregate win in the 3rd Qualifying Round of the Champions League. They’ll be using our game as a warm up for their games against Moldova’s FC Sheriff in the next round as the Greek League season doesn’t kick off for another fortnight. There might be a couple of familiarish faces in their line up. Enzo Maresca is an Italian who actually made his professional debut as a West Brom player a few years ago. Matt Derbyshire was highly thought of at Blackburn Rovers only a season or two back but after spending the end of last season on loan has now signed permanently for the Greek side. Derbyshire was a hero in last season’s Greek Cup Final, he scored twice in a 4-4 draw including an equaliser in the 6th minute of injury time at the end of normal time. Olympiacos finished extra time with nine men and won the penalty shoot-out 15-14 with the goalie slotting home the winning pen. Blimey.

As for us, Kyle Naughton and Peter Crouch should be given their home ‘debuts’, the latter a mere 11 years after first signing for us. Harry’s choices at centre back will give a huge clue as to his thinking as to how he’s going to stop Gerrard and Torres next week. The Spaniard in particular would expect to test the turning circles of Corluka and Huddlestone but these are the two that appear to have been performing best together in the absence of Woodgate, Dawson and King. He’ll only be there to give the fans a wave tomorrow but Sebastien Bassong is saying all the right things and looks very pleased with himself at having escaped the mess at Newcastle. I’ve no idea how good is to be honest, but a player widely lauded for his consistency in a relegated shambles of a team hopefully has something about him. His immediate future is entirely in his own hands (feet?). A regular first team place is there for him if he’s prepared to grasp it. Redknapp will be desperate to find someone he can depend on in the centre and it will be to the cost of the injury-hit big three if he comes in and looks the part straight away especially if he is capable of providing a leadership role – something we do seem to be lacking in.

Apart from welcoming the new signings there’s not a whole lot else in the game I’d suggest. The team for the big kick off almost picks itself. I guess there may be a doubt in Harry’s mind about Gomes or Cudicini and Hutton or Naughton and he’s also got to decide how best to deploy Defoe, Keane and Crouch so all of those will be wanting to make an impression but otherwise hopefully the afternoon will provide a sun-drenched goalfest good enough to whet the appetite for the real thing next week.

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1 COMMENT

  1. i think the match will be a one all draw.But i will like to aske about the future of roman pavlyuchenko his name seems not to be mention in any important pre season starting line up and the question now is is he going. If so harry sorry dont dream of any title or major competition next year. ithink that is the next pichichi in england this year.bye

  2. hi its jamie from enfield my view of the story is to bring on crouch and bassong againt lyon because they are very good players and they could score good goals for the team. if tottenham can put bassong and crouch in the first premier league game against liverpool they would probably be able to score one or two goals. i just want to say COME ON YOU SPURS because if we try to win loads of games WE CAN FINISH IN THE TOP FOUR IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE. this year i think tottenham can improve becuase we have a better squad. so bring on bassong and crouch and lets quick lyons butt in the friendly. thanks for listening to my view,

  3. If only we were playing lyon i’m sure we could beat them..this whole article is about olympiacos! :-S come on the spurs..think it will be a good start to the season..give bentley a run out..given a chance he will come good this year!

  4. think crouch could be a real gem for us this year and can really make the difference for us bring players into game. Agree that bentley shouldn’t be written off yet and deserves the chance to prove his worth he aint become a bad player over night. Looking forward to moderic this season think he will shine. And have big hopes for defoe to have his best season yet think he’l score loads and with the world cup coming next summer will fancy his chances off getting england place- as will crouch.. Best chance yet i think off overtaking the scum this year, we aint got europe so can kick on 100% with the league. Top 5 i predict.

  5. Jamie – I think you might be 10 so I wont criticise your comments…but with bassong suspended vs liverpool I do fear for our defense because although Huddlestone can pick a pass, he is sooo slow and very clumsy, and playing centre half vs torres, he’ll be licking his lips. Also Pavlyuchenko is not going to move us forward in any way, his touch isnt at all great, for a big lad he doesnt win any headers, hes slow and a decent finisher, but crouchy and defoe will be the partnership this year! And Naughton looks class..lets hope him and lennon can create a nice little partnership down our right hand side.

  6. keep roman for gods sake ship keane out he`s bloody useless, give him away if we have to!!!
    how about signing upson as hes not banned for first two games. harry find us a decent left winger and a decnt holding midfield dog as palacios is not the answer. best outcome sell keane to man city they will pay 35 millon no probs, as mark hughes hasnt a clue

  7. how can you palacios is not the answer
    you mug !!! he is the best DM we have had for donkeys years
    the real problem is captain pansy jermaine jenas
    truly a shockingly bad player and he is the reason we seem to always get dominated in midfield
    palacios has brought some steel and balls to our midfield and you say he is not the answer ???? what a doughnut you truly are
    and as for keane … over 100 goals in a spurs shirt and you bust his balls …get over it , he left us for a top 4 club then came back home , every player offered the chance would leave (plus he gave us 6 seasons before he did unlike berbacock!)
    your either a gooner or a teletext fan , stay away from the lane cos you aint got a clue

  8. Sorry mark im staying so is pal hes the best thing in midfield since sliced soda bread so feck of back to bin ladin stadium ya unwashed gooner inbred moron no offence

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