Most people seem to be viewing Sunday’s game against Sunderland as a formality, a chance to get the bitter taste of Foy out of our mouths by administering a routine thumping to a side struggling near the foot of the table. I hope they’re right and a straightforward win is in the offing but I’d say that you underestimate an optimism filled Martin O’Neill side at your peril.
Last week’s come from behind win against Blackburn will have both helped give the players some belief that a corner has been turned and the new manager a chance to assess where the hard work needs to be done. Asamaoh Gyan scored the two goals Sunderland scored against us last season, he’s not at the club this year though, the pull of the petrodollar proving stronger than the wages available at the Wearside club. Goals have been a problem for Sunderland since he left with Bendtner, Larsson and teenage wonderboy Conor Wickham chipping in but struggling to fully replace the combined firepower of Gyan, Bent and Wellbeck. In Brown, Bramble, Turner and O’Shea they have the makings of an O’Neill type defence, it’ll be amazing if they don’t resemble a clone of Mellberg, Walsh and Elliott (for example) in the not too distant future.
News has emerged today that that role models Lee Cattermole and Niklas Bendtner have been arrested in connection with some cars being damaged in Newcastle, whether this’ll affect O’Neill’s team selection I don’t know. Craig Gardner is apparently back in contention for a place, he’s a man who likes scoring against us.
Emmanuel Adebayor is, I believe the only current Spurs player who has ever slapped a gooner at White Hart Lane. The victim was Bendtner of course, a bit of Woolwich civil war breaking out during the 5-1 semi-final win; it’d be nice to think there’s some lasting animosity between the two, just enough to add a bit of extra venom and sharpness to the Togolese striker’s finishing.
Kaboul is suspended and King still out (probably) so it’ll be all change at the back. Bassong and Gallas will be asked to form a partnership once again, hopefully one a lot more secure than last time they played together, against PAOK at White Hart Lane.
Mike Dean is down to referee. He’s taken charge of us just once so far this season and what a happy day that was – the 2-1 victory over Arsenal at the start of October.
We’re hot favourites for this one – 7/20 with one online bookie with an away win at 15/2. We need to put last week’s events behind us and justify this status with three points. Sunderland will be up for the fight, we need to make sure we are too, right from the off. If we do this, we should get back to winning ways. COYS.
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