I've been off-line for a couple of days, returning to find the usual assortment of tabloid delights and a Made in Tottenham gem that will have your head shaking despondently.
Villa. Away. It's a biggie. Not just because we smashed Wigan 9-1 last week but also because a win would put us cushion-clear of MON's men and considering their impressive home record, would no doubt go a long way towards cementing our ambitions to remain Top 4 into the new year. Which isn't proving too tricky a task at the moment, even with the odd blip we manage to make room for. All eyes on Harry. With one single request from myself (and possibly all other Lilywhites):
Keep the same line-up.
That's right. Robbie, keep the bench warm son, you did a great job there last time out. No point messing with confidence and consistency. Right? We'll see. It wouldn't shock me if Harry did change it, because it's Villa and because it's away. Redknappology works in mysterious ways. But I'm going to wager he keeps it as it was (even if he's suggesting otherwise). Fuck it. I have no idea what he does, but no doubt if he changes it and we win, he's a genius, if he doesn't then cue tactical heartache and waving fists via message boards and blogs.
Rumours suggest (thanks to Archie over at SO) that BAE will play his last game for a while as he shoots off to France for treatment on a nagging stomach/groin issue. Which means we may be on the verge of the return of Gareth Bale to first team action, on a more semi-permanent basis (rather than the odd cameo). I rate Bale and unfortunately for the lad a mixture of the usual mis-management and shit form of his team mates + injuries was the catalyst for some pretty devastating confidence evaporation that was so bad at one point, he was linked with a move to Birmingham every other week (it's still happening). With us doing okay at the moment, I think a fully fit Bale can do a job for us if asked to slot into the left back position (if BAE is - as cited - going to be sidelined for a few games). If he's going to be a long term solution to the LB position then we need him to play Prem games consistently to find out if he does have true potential, rather than not. So this might work out to be a necessary experiment. We paid a lot of money for Gareth, there's something there. Let's not Blondel him into oblivion. Of course, same say he's better used as a LW. But we'll leave that for another time.
As for the game, pressure is on. Players talking about competing for the Top 4 once again on the back of that game against Wigan (you know the one), so best to avoid egg on face and swagger it all across the pitch once more with intent and end product. Although I don't actually care too much about performance. Yes, would love to see us play the sexy football and trounce Villa, but I'll happily see us battle, spill guts and blood and win with a deflected goal off a Villa defenders backside. 1-0. Three points. That will do me. Anything more and the club might start releasing a DVD every weekend.
Rumours also (keep those fingers and toes crossed for this one) that a certain little Croatian is fully fit and ready for a return although from the bench rather than a starting position. That's from the ITK's. Harry is a little more misty with return dates suggesting that he'll back soon rather than 8 weeks from now (as reported recently). It will be like having a brand spanking new £14M signing coming into the side, one that already knows how to dictate tempo and one that will galvanise all around him.
This is massive for us. Hold on for a sec...removing my heart from my chest and placing it on my sleeve. We could change gear and move up a level - which on current Prem form would suggest monopoly-destroying jigs for the WHL faithful (I'll regret this over the weekend, no doubt when we all start talking post-match about how the Europa League isn't too bad a second option). Move northwards, Tottenham, to avoid the temple of doom.
Elsewhere, we've signed (according to The Sun) another defender from Glasgow Rangers. Yeah, of course we have. Richards also re-linked. Has he been any good since he was...good?
And the club have done it again, this time with a 'I was there' framed collectable. Baby Jesus is not just weeping, he's having one. Toys and myrrh out of pram, the lot. I understand that people involved in the clubs merchandising department are thinking first with their money-heads and second as Spurs fans because it's their job to come up with as many ways to take the fans money as possible. And I also think that if people are going to easily part with their money for such products they deserve to have their wallet lightened as often as possible because no doubt their world would fall apart if they didn't spend all their cash at the Spurs Shop. And if they're in there, they're nowhere near me. But for the love of God, there is no class or dare I say understatement about selling silliness on the back of what was a heavy win in our favour against...Wigan.
Yes, if you're aged 3-9 years then it's fine because kids don't know any better and it's a nice thing for them to associate the begining of their love affair with Spurs (which will no doubt see their youth ravaged in no time at all). Yes, freak result, and possibly the only recent occasion where a DVD of the game is 'okay' to make but this item is just a little bit sickly for my tastes.
If Paul Barber is reading this, I'm just stating opinion. It's not derogatory to the club (just in case I get a an email telling me it's in my terms and conditions to behave myself and promote nothing but goodness). Oh and Paul - good luck chief with your move across to the MLS. Big move. Big money. Don't go introducing unwanted colour streaks in their kits though, not for a couple of years at least. You know, get some good in before the bad.
FA Cup draw on Sunday. Expect us to get a Sky Sports Elite Top 4 side away.