Man City away. This fixture last season will be remembered fondly as the game in which Mario Balotelli tried to pierce Scott Parker’s ears with a football boot. Of all things. Instead of being shown a red card, though, as most agreed would’ve been fair in light of such a dastardly act, he stayed on and scored the winner. It was a great day!
In a season reliant on the swing of minuscule events, this one was particularly agonizing. At the other end, it was dear Jermain Dizzly being a proton’s width from making it an altogether different game, as he nearly got his own studs to Bale’s low cross, which would’ve put us three-two to the good. Tiny, teeny margins.
That being then and this very much being now, Spurs head to the Eitihad this lunchtime in curious if not trailblazing form. Injury-riddled and still finding our feet, we never seem too far from the ridiculous scenario when booing a performance out of the players is some folk’s idea of a plan. The midweek besting of NK Maribor would’ve helped lift troops’ morale. Casually dusting over the fact that the opposition looked like they’d sniffed glue shortly before kick-off- really, quite terrible- you can’t underestimate the value of a good win. After the Wigan, ahem, incident it was just what the butcher ordered.
The question now, after his goal-getting joy against the Slovenians, will Villas Boas feel obliged to plonk Defoe straight in the team at the expense of the excellent, if less goal-y Emmanuel Adebayor. My instinct is that he’ll stick fast with JD but I’d be none too surprised if he started them both in an attempt to bring the game to Mancini’s often defensively suspect lot. Dempsey, you’d guess, would make way.
It’s in central midfield where things look particularly delicate. Sandro’s being the most recent case of bad stuff happening to good people. He kindly Tweeted that he was having intense treatment on his calf this week, in a bid to get himself in showroom condition. Tom Carroll’s marvellous showing couldn’t have come at a better time but even his most devoted enthusiasts wouldn’t wish Yaya Toure on the poor lad without some Sandro-shaped beef along side him. He might never recover.
Brad or Hugo
This is still a Big Issue, obviously. So, I don’t know, maybe wrestle for it?
Huge game, huge performance needed.