MF’s Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs Everton

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This Sunday lunchtime Spurs take on Everton, the form team of the moment, in a lunchtime kick off at White Hart Lane. In the past few weeks the Toffees have deservedly beaten Chelski, Man City and Man United and had the better of a draw at the filthy gooners. A season that appeared to be lost in stories of injuries and playing kids too early has almost been turned around. They’ve lost only one league game since our 2-2 draw at Goodison in December, a game we should have won of course.

We’ve had a good week in general but Roman Pavlyuchenko has had a great week in particular. His cool finishing against Wigan and Bolton mean that Harry has apparently been referring to him as ‘SuperPav’ & muttering phrases implying that he’ll start his first league game of the season at the weekend. The fact that Crouch and Defoe are both struggling with injuries will also have something to do with it. The absence of Lennon and the emergence of Bale and Pavlyuchenko mean that the side has a very different look and feel to that which started the season. Bale’s recent impressions of a young Ryan Giggs mean that much of our attacking verve comes down the left side now, an area of the pitch pretty much unused until recently due to Modric spending as much time in the middle as on the touchline. Bale will more than likely be up against Phil Neville on Sunday, so his shin pads should get a good working over.

The return of Assou-Ekotto means that Redknapp might be mulling over the thought of moving Bale to the left of midfield. Modric’s form has been patchy after his injury but he did play well when coming off the bench last week at Wigan. Palacios and Huddlestone have little competition for places in the middle so should start and whilst Bentley is no Lennon, he’s been steady enough to carry on on the right. In December when they were both behaving like naughty schoolboys who’d have guessed that Bentley and Pavlyuchenko would key parts of the first team by the end of Feb? King’s injury at Wigan probably means that Bassong and Dawson will continue in defence with Corluka returning on the right.

Steve Bennett is down to ref us for only the second time this season, the first occasion was at Craven Cottage in December.

Everton’s habit of playing only one up front and flooding the midfield means that our four across the middle are going to have to work extra hard to gain and keep possession and that’s where the key to the game will lie. We used to regularly pummel Everton but they’ve won on their last three visits to WHL so despite the battering they received from Sporting Lisbon on Thursday they’ll be confident. We need to up the quality of our passing from Wednesday night and if we do and can get the ball quickly wide to Bale and Bentley we should be able to create chances & cap a good week with another win.

By MF

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