MF’s Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs Portsmouth

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It’s back to the race for the top four rather than the last four this weekend; though this Saturday’s game against Pompey obviously has FA Cup overtones given that we’re due to play the same opponents at Wembley in a few weeks time. (A weird coincidence that Chelsea are playing Villa as well, a rehearsal of the other semi-final).

The Redknapp connection means that both teams have a greater than normal selection of former players from the other side. For a change, we have injury problems at the back which means that Younes Kaboul may well get a start against his former friends and colleagues alongside Dawson. Whether any of Kranjcar, Defoe or Crouch also get a go depends on fitness and how much Harry wants to read into Gudjohnsen’s influence on the team. He’s started to show an intelligence and technique that might help bring the best out of Luka Modric if nothing else. Where to fit him in if everyone’s fit is a different question. Goal machine Pavlyuchenko will surely start if fit.

Of the Spurs old boys at Portsmouth we won’t get to see Jamie O’Hara due to the loan rules and Ricardo Rocha may well start but whether he’ll actually finish or not is another question, he’s been carried off once and sent off twice in his last five appearances. Neither Michael Brown nor KP Boateng have featured in their last two games. Given their precarious league position Avram Grant may be tempted to ‘hide’ some players from us before the cup game. Let’s hope so.

Kevin Friend is due to referee. He was in charge when we beat Sunderland earlier in the season. His biggest decision in that game was to award a penalty when Darren Bent dived over Gomes. He recently took charge of Portsmouth’s home game against the same team and sent off three players – one from Portsmouth and two from Sunderland.

Wednesday’s second half performance will have whetted everyone’s appetite for more of the same and we should get it. I’m a Spurs fan so am always sceptical about what’s round the corner but comparing the fortunes of the two teams recently, I’m prepared to take the plunge and say that this is a game we should win.

By MF

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