W.B.A. v Spurs Preview
International break over. And we have around 14 weeks worth of injury layouts as a direct result. But don't fret. Engerland are back baby!
Dawson. Defoe. Not available. Michael for eight weeks. Jermain for six. No point theorising whether JD should have just gone with the surgery pre-England games, as the injury keeping him out is a new one.
Bare bones? Pushing it a little with that sound bite. We have depth, supposedly. Well not supposedly because we proved we had it last season when we were written off a few times. Our neighbours have their own plight to contend with too, so there's no point in what ifs and wtf's. But there's three points in WBA away. At least there better be. Hopefully. Chin up.
We've been dicked a few times in this fixture when Albion have been EPL present. It's tiresome. So regardless of whether Harry opts to try 4-5-1 with van der Vaart behind Pav/Keane/Crouch (pick one) or if he opts for the more traditional 4-4-2 and possibly starts with Keane and Crouch - we need to win this. Obviously. Champions League next week, games coming in thick and fast, this is what we worked so hard for last season to achieve and be part of. So, it's down to pre-match preparation, mental strength and desire. Then the application on the pitch. Professional and confident application. Not sure I can handle another Stokesque away win. We also need to get the Wigan defeat out of our system.
I feel for Daws and JD, what with some peach CL games up ahead. But usually, it's at these pivotal moments when expectancy remains high, but we remain a touch nervous. Could do with some rejuvenating magic from somewhere to re-kick start the season.
Harry has to get it spot on with formation and players. It's quite possible that some of our players will be rested/kept safe (King, vdV, the Croats) for the Germany trip. Also interesting to see who starts in goal for us. But let's just say we look to play a strong side rather than patching up the first team with current bench players.
4-4-2: Would have to be the usual Lennon/Palacios/Huddlestone/Modric line-up. Then it's either Keane/Pav and Crouch up front or one of three up front with vdV (in the hole). Bale left-back. So, sort of 442, but playing out as a 451 if the Dutchman starts.
4-5-1: (or whatever bastardised version it appears as) would have Palacios possibly sitting deeper as part of the five with an actual middle four just ahead of him consisting of Lennon, Hudd, Modric and vdV. Bale left-back again. One man up front. Whether its Moddle or vdV on the left, that's up for discussion.
I'm undecided who would work best as a lone forward (which is why I asked you to pick one earlier).
As for the usual forward conundrum, one or two Spurs fans predicting (wishing) a renaissance from the Orish forward. Others willing that Pav is given the chance. On the subject of a lone man up front...
Pav's movement and hold up play concerns me at times, but he strikes me as a player who might just score a few. Crouch has the intelligence to do a good job up there, but he's not as instinctive as Defoe in and around the box and has always been a better partner rather than the man leading from the front. Although I reckon he'll continue to prove me wrong in Europe.
Which leaves Keane. Who might, just might work if he remains more forward rather than spend time dropping deep to collect the ball. Although, perhaps with our new progressive Dutch maestro, we might see a more fluid style of play that sees our midfielders attacking the box more than in previous tactical set-ups. In my head, I can see how it works. Depends on how cautious Harry is and how much of his mind is on the CL rather than the EPL (I hope it's a one game at a time strategy).
Gallas also likely to debut.
I guess I'm quite undecided on this. Which is fine, because I'm just a fan and not the one that matters. I doubt Harry will be chalk boarding the night away. Down to trust now. What excites me is that there is a multitude of options available to us. Very adaptable players we possess. Got to get it right and play our best formation, home/away/in Europe - and stick with it. People wondered what the point of flirting with Joe Cole was, knowing his presence would perhaps cause middle field selection headaches. He wasn't signed. van der Vaart was. Wondering to continue until 3pm Saturday.
WBA haven't lost at home for a while. They are organised and it will be a good three points if we earn them.