Spurs face a tricky away trip to the Madejski Stadium as newly-promoted side Reading try to continue AVB’s barren run. The Royals will be tough opposition for Tottenham, as they have made a decent start to the season – the results haven’t come yet, but a good performance against Chelski deserved so much more than a loss.
For a change, I’ll start with a focus on the opposition. Adam Federici seems to be in competition with Petr Cech, Pepe Reina and Heurelho Gomes for ‘best howler’ award as errors have come against both Stoke and Chelsea. Spurs will do well to try out a few long shots early on as his confidence will be slightly rocked. Up top, Reading have the big man Pavel Pogrebnyak who has shown himself to be a great poacher in his short stay in the EPL so far – like a Peter Crouch but with more than a tiny ounce of technical ability.
One thing Reading have done so far, however, is leaked goals – 5 in just 2 games – Chelsea didn’t seem to have too much trouble netting 4 against them in their midweek fixture. Spurs have struggled to get going in front of goal, having plenty of chances – particularly first half v West Brom – but failing to convert them. This could be the ideal opportunity for Messrs Adebayor, Defoe, Bale and Sigurdsson to find their goal scoring boots.
Spurs will be welcoming new signings to the team – Clint Dempsey is likely to start, and Mousa Dembele will have more of a say than in his short cameo 2 weeks ago – and hopefully the international break will have refreshed and rejuvenated them. Hugo Lloris is unlikely to play, however, with AVB announcing a show of faith in Grandad Friedel. I personally have no problem with AVB’s comments – it isn’t right that a new signing should walk into the team if someone in the same position is on top form.
Many Spurs fans will be keen to see Steven Caulker slot into the defence alongside Jan Vertonghen and I am definitely one of them. After an awesome season at Swansea, where he helped them to having the best home defensive record in the league, he so far hasn’t featured at Spurs but really ought to. He is only 20, but William Gallas is getting on a bit and his pace, or lack of it, just doesn’t fit into AVB’s High Line. Steven will find a superb central defensive partner in Jan and I’m sure that they would be an ideal partnership until Younes’ return in the winter.
In the centre of midfield, Scott Parker returns from injury. Spurs have been lacking a leader in the last 3 games and there’s no doubt that a double pivot of Scott and Mousa is a formidable pairing. AVB might prefer Sandro over Scott, though, depending on his views on Scott’s match fitness. Jake Livermore will almost certainly be placed on the bench for this game, unless he is preferred to Sigurdsson/Dempsey in a more defensive role. Ade should play up top – he should be match fit by now – and will hopefully get his name on the scoresheet.
Who knows how well Tottenham will play? They are under pressure to succeed and I am going to back Spurs (again) – ever the optimist!
By Alex Beck
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