Next up it’s QPR at Loftus Rd in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off. It doesn’t take a genius to work out where the main story will be as far as the media are concerned, it’s AVB versus Harry, press whipping boy v media darling, winnification v triffic, sly exotic cunning v old school, arm round the shoulder, etc etc.
The press would be delighted, and would feel vindicated probably, by a good result for the home team, more proof that that Villas-Boas is getting away with it and who said that Harry Houdini had no tactical nous? So much happens in the hyperly hyped world of the Premier League that it’s easy to forget that it’s only the combined penalty incompetence of Messi and Robben that means Redknapp is still not in charge of us today. If either had stuck away their spot-kicks against Chelsea then our fourth place would’ve been good enough for a Moneybags League slot and it’s
very unlikely that Levy would’ve sent Harry packing then despite the bad will that had obviously grown between them. We would’ve signed Eden Hazard, maybe kept Modric (and not bought Dembélé?) and been attractive to many others who eventually found their way elsewhere.
Whether Harry would’ve managed to turn around a side that played with such a lack of verve and spirit in the last third of 2011/12 is anyone’s guess. As it is it’s still too early to tell whether AVB will be a long-term success but the signs are promising. We go into this game handily positioned as a strong candidate in the top four race and at the start of the season that’s all anyone could’ve asked for.
Adebayor eh? If he said what he said re Villas-Boas saying one thing in public and another behind the scenes then he’s a fool. His season has been the very definition of interrupted, no preseason, then an injury, then non-selection, then a suspension and now the ACN. He should be thinking that he’s close to running out of opportunities this season to justify his wages and place in the side and not be whingeing especially when he himself isn’t exactly fully committed to the Togo cause from what he was saying a few short weeks ago. The crowd are already getting on his back, this isn’t going to help.
Whether or not to play Adebayor is one of several decisions Villas-Boas will need to make. The team has been relatively stable of late with which pairing to play at centre half the only regular personnel issue, now though with Assou-Ekotto back (though obviously not yet fully fit) and Parker also available AVB has options. This might be dangerous of course and encourage some unnecessary tinkering, by now though he should have an idea of what he considers his best back four and midfield and just give them a go. It’ll be interesting to see what he decides, especially if it’s to give Naughton a run at right back and rest Walker.
Boosted by their win over Chelsea (though everyone’s winning at Stamford Bridge these days apparently) and the mad energy of the desperate, QPR will be tough opposition as we attempt to win three away league games in a row for the second time this season, they did have the better of the first half at WHL earlier in the season after all. Mackie, Taraabt & Hoilett are all capable of inflicting damage if we don’t concentrate. We should be able to get, keep and make use of the ball often enough to come out on top though.
Lee Probert is the man in the middle. COYS.
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