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Match Preview: Spurs v QPR

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THFC1882 welcome’s back Rob with a guest preview of Sundays game, keep an eye out for his match report too!

Sunday 30th October 2011, White Hart Lane. 4pm Kick off Live on Sky Sports 1HD,1 and in 3D

The mighty Lilywhites take on their West London rivals, QPR, at the Lane on Sunday a day before Halloween, hoping to continue to give Spurs fans a treat rather than trick. It will be the first time the teams have met in the league since December 1995 when a certain Teddy Sheringham secured a 1-0 victory. QPR were formed in the same year as Spurs and both clubs celebrated their centenary year with an appearance at Wembley for the 1982 FA Cup Final. Which Spurs of course won.

Queens Park Rangers fans have had to put up with a lot of bad times during their exile from the Premier League and have gone through a lot of disruption and change from the boardroom all the way through to the players. During this time they have played in both the Championship and spent two years in League 2 as well. They also went in administration in 2001 and were embroiled in various allegations and scandal in 2005. They of course got taken over by Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore in 2007 and the recovery started under the greater financial stability. This resulted in them winning the Championship last year and getting their place back amongst the elite. Tony Fernandes has since taken over in August this year and has started to make the club a happier place to be and is more in touch with the fans.

On the pitch so far this season they have been very inconsistent with their performances but still find themselves sitting in 10th place in the league after only being defeated three times. The inconsistency is probably due to the fact they are still to gel as a team since the close of the summer transfer window where they brought in quite a few new faces at the last minute. Experienced and quality players such as Joey Barton and Shaun Wright-Phillips were added to the squad as well as others who have played in the Premier League and know what the league is about, as Neil Warnock looks to build a squad capable of staying in the division. They are also coming off their best result yet after the win against Chelsea last weekend. Not that anyone has mentioned the result this week as the John Terry/Anton Ferdinand racism row has overshadowed the match. It has not only brought a very valid subject to the fore once again but it must have taken its toll on the player involved and the club, which could influence the performance on Sunday. The aforementioned players Barton and Wright-Phillips will be the ones to watch for Spurs on Sunday. Barton can deliver quality crosses and is dangerous from set pieces and Wright-Phillips seems to be enjoying his football again after escaping the Manchester City bench. Alejandro Faulin has also caught the eye so far, the holding midfielder passes the ball neatly, links up play well and isn’t afraid to get forward and shoot either. Of course we also have a player returning to Spurs this weekend in the form of Adel Tarabat. Whilst he never truly got a chance to show anything for us, it is quite obvious from his performances so far this season that we were correct in assuming he would never be a quality Premier League player for Spurs. Good luck getting a transfer to PSG or Napoli Adel! Even the outspoken Mr Barton has expressed the same view. This will be the curse of death on Sunday with him doing something against us! The rest of the team will be similar to the one that started against Chelsea last week as long as Anton Ferdinand is in the right frame of mind to play. Helder Helguson is expected to lead the line once again after scoring twice in two games.

It has been a quiet week for Spurs with no Carling Cup game and no one really talking to the media. Come on own up who has locked Harry away? The boys should be refreshed and raring to go so they can extend their 6 game unbeaten league run and last 10 outings altogether. In fact the good news continues as Harry has announced that King Ledley, Gallas and Sandro could all well be fit for the match, oh Pienaar as well! The normal big decision between Van der Vaart and JD got blown out the water last week for me and the only change I can see in the line-up from the Blackburn game is having Ledley back to marshal the troops instead of Bassong. It’s a shame for Bassong as he has shown his 2010 form whilst being in the team but the defence is always stronger with King in it and if he is fit, he plays. Although the rest of the defence is quality now too. Walker is getting better and better and in my eyes is first choice now, even when Corluka is fit. Kaboul has been immense this year and has proved me wrong and Assou-Ekotto is Mr Cool and Consistent.

My Prediction

QPR have only been beaten once in their last six games but that was a 6-0 hammering away to Fulham. Spurs are the better team, full of confidence and have the capability to deliver the same kind of result as that. Some supporters have been saying that even though we have been getting victories against the bottom half teams the performances has got to be more consistent and of a higher quality to make us into true contenders. Whilst I agree that we certainly aren’t the finished article and we fade in matches, winning these matches is showing progression and that is all we can ask for at the present time. Spurs to be back to their free flowing best on Sunday and I see pain for QPR with them going down to a 4-1 defeat. Let the fireworks begin!

COYS

Rob (Follow Rob on Twitter @essexlad13 )

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Barcodes Test of Credentials

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There’s so much going on at the moment with regards to the new stadium, political spin left, right and centre. Even Pele’s talking about it. This afternoon Daniel Levy wrote an open letter on the official site which unless you’re blind confirms the boards first choice is moving to Stratford. Instead of writing something else related to the Olympic Stadium wouldn’t it be nice to concentrate on the football? Yes? Then here we go.

Tomorrow brings a tough trip up to Newcastle. I can’t bring myself to say Sportsdirect.com @ St James’ Park. I was planning on making the trip before the season started but looking at the date when the fixtures came out I assumed it would be snowing and called off so didn’t bother buying a ticket. Anyway, we don’t have the best of records up there, in fact we don’t have the best of records outside London but four league defeats on the bounce symbolises a pretty poor return.

The return game went by without too much incident. That’s if you ignore Kaboul being sent off, Tiote flying in all over the place and being lucky not to be sent off, Andy Carroll putting his weight about, Joey Barton being Joey Barton and two fantastic strikes by Lennon and Bale to win us the game. Tiote’s suspended tomorrow which is excellent news. Not only has he been one of their best players but I doubt some of our players have forgotten him over the last 4 weeks and could’ve been looking for a little retribution.

We’ve got a couple of injury concerns that will probably mean a first team start for Steven Pienaar. I have a feeling that sentence might be repeated for some time to come with Mr Versatile in the squad. Depending on who’s injured though will depend on where he plays and we could get a sneak preview of the future. I’m going to do something I rarely do and that’s play the “What team will Harry pick” game. I don’t normally play it because I don’t like losing and I always do.

For the purposes of this I’m going to assume both Ekotto and Palacios aren’t making the trip. We all know we lack cover at left back which means either Bassong or Bale will play there. I would presume it’ll be Bale as that’s what Redknapp has done a couple of times already this season. I think it’s fair to say that in the future, left back is a position Bale could play because of the extra space he’ll get to run into but for it to work he needs to improve his defending and more importantly we need to have the right players to cover him when he’s forward. At the moment we don’t have those players so it’s not something I can see being employed regularly right now. For tomorrow’s purposes though it can work as long as we choose the right player to replace Palacios.

That player isn’t Pienaar, who would naturally sit on the left wing as Bale’s replacement. I would choose Kaboul. I’m forgetting Jenas just because we’ve seen how well he does in that position away from home against a tough side recently. Kaboul would not only be naturally able to cover Bale when he pushed forward but also give us a little bit of bite centrally. He offers a decent presence going forward too, as he did against Newcastle for the Lennon goal. So here it is:

Gomes

Hutton     Dawson     Gallas     Bale

Lennon     Kaboul     Modric     Pienaar

van der Vaart

Defoe (or me)

As I said, that team won’t get chosen and I’d expect someone like Jenas to play instead of Kaboul which would leave us very open and prone to counter attacks, especially if Lennon and Hutton start pushing forward too. Harry might pull a surprise and stick Bassong at left back, keep Bale in midfield and put Pienaar centrally but I’m assuming as young Seb can’t get a game in central defence he isn’t going to at left back.

Big game? Massive game? For once I don’t really feel it is. Of course I don’t want to lose and keeping the pressure on those above us is of paramount importance but we’re going to lose touch eventually anyway aren’t we? NO!!! I hear you cry. Maybe you’re right. Ok then, this is another massive game. A must win. Go for it, pick the team that’ll give you the best chance of winning (that’s the one above) and score one more than them. Keep Nolan and Barton quiet. If Lovenkrands, Best or Ameobi have a good game against us then it’s just bad luck. Let’s be honest, it’s not like that’s going to happen every week.

They say the new stadium is vital to our future success, and while it’s important, it’s what we do on the football pitch that has always taken this club forward, so get it right there, keep pushing the top 4 and get Champions League football again next season. No disrespect to Newcastle but if that’s what we want we’ve got to start winning these games.

COYFS