Spurs’ stop/start season gets going again this weekend after yet another international break. Well it’s not even this weekend really, the Gods of TV have decreed that we have to wait until next week before we get a chance to see what has happened to the momentum gained during our recent run of seven wins out of eight games played.
Whilst we’ve been away Kyle Walker and Scott Parker have played prominent roles in England’s Wembley wins of course and that’s all very well but at a more parochial level it’s injuries (or lack of more specifically) we’re concerned with. That I know of, only Van der Vaart was at all seriously hurt whilst away on duty, one of his delicate hamstrings pinging again. Given his scoring record against Villa last season, the loss of the Dutchman would be a severe blow so in that context the shifting of the kick off to Monday evening is a blessing in disguise given that it gives him extra time to recover.
Villa have a curious looking away record so far this campaign with only one defeat (at Middle Eastlands) but no wins. Their home results have been better and help explain why they’re sitting comfortably in the top half. Gabby Agbonlahor and our old chum Darren Bent have been providing the majority of the goals but, in an echo of Alex McLeish’s time at Birmingham, there haven’t been a huge amount. At the back the signing of the excellent Shay Given has to be balanced against the acquisition from us of Alan Hutton. If I was Gareth Bale I’d be looking forward to my Monday night but I’d stick on an extra thick pair of shin pads. Elsewhere the recent(ish) losses of Barry, Milner, Young and Downing have led to youth being given its head with Delph, Clark, Bannan and Albrighton making regular starts with the experience of Warnock, Dunne and Petrov on hand to keep the young pups under control.
As for us, we’ll in all likelihood start the same team as at Fulham unless injuries dictate otherwise.
Mark Halsey is the ref, this is the first time he’s taken us this season.
All in all it seems to me that we’re set for an intriguing and tight encounter with the first goal, as ever, all-important. We can expect the lion’s share of possession, but they’ve plenty of potential to hit us on the break. Should be a good game. COYS.
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