I'm not sure of the team that will face Newcastle what with talk regarding one or two potential sidelined key players (and Harry hasn't used the Batphone to dial into Sky Sports News as far as I know to share ITK). Ade probably shouldn't be risked. Sandro might be missing. Not at full strength then?
I welcome it.
Ideally would prefer not to be weaker in any department but its going to happen at some point in the season so what better place to see how we cope than against unbeaten Newcastle United. Not just any old away game is it?
We hardly win at St James Park. At times we've hardly turned up. But we've evolved and discovered a gritty backbone to the once upon a time wastelands known as 'away days'. Best part of the 90s were spent accumulating enough points for mid-table mediocrity at the Lane and the odd one or two shock wins (celebrated like Cup games) on our travels. These days we bully and battle and even at times out-class the opposition. Most of us (no longer nervous and dejected) can look ahead at the fixture list and lick our lips with a fanciful 'we'll 'ave 'em for the three points'.
This is still Tottenham which means none of us ignore the caveat attached below all the plaudits and smiles. You know the one. The one that reminds us that we are sometimes guilty of switching off. Individually and as a unit which can then lead to an unequivocal collapse, a calamitous capitulation. The other manner in which smiles can turn to tears is more draining, slow brooding to a similar result but with an agonising story-arc as we give it our all without giving it much. Lots of possession, too much over-play and a deathly lack of cutting edge.
In conclusion we are prone to the odd off day.
Guess what? Everyone is. The fact you could probably name and shame the results in recent seasons of when we've failed to show up is evidence that it doesn't happen that often. We win plenty and it's shown in our league form. Granted we have been out classed on occasions ourselves (still a couple of places we've yet to get a handle on). But expectations are usually met and we are disappointed when they are not because of the target we aim for in these hedonistic days of lofty ambitions.
We are made of sterner stuff. You hear that 1990s? You can stick your flux-capacitor, we ain't coming back.
So what of St James Park? A place of knowing torment accompanied always by a pre-match 'we never win up here' sound bite. There's been the odd (I remember two recent wins) happy moment. But we usually get smashed about.
So what of St James Park, 2011? Hand on heart? I could not care less for the past. Sick of the caveats. We have a strong squad of players. Our midfield is the Ryan Gosling of the Premier League, beautiful in looks and beastly in body, tinged with elegance and craft. A sexy beast. Okay, so we might be missing a player or two, but so what? I'm not going to grab hold of such obvious excuses. Won't be looking to grab hold of Ryan Gosling either (I appreciate but won't participate) but I am looking to witness this Spurs side grab the game by the scruff then place it in back pocket.
Dominate the midfield with busy Parker leg work, to allow us to play to our strengths, allowing Modric to conduct and look to release Bale in marauding fashion. Be clinical up front when presented with opportunities, meaning clever inter-play between Rafa and the forward rather than hugging the last defender and looking to break the offside.
Robust. Resolute. Ready? We're only good enough if we believe we're good enough and if we don't then it doesn't matter the result on Sunday because we'll stagnate if we don't accept our responsibilities. That being simply to live up to what we know we are capable of. I'm talking generally here rather than just this particular game. The three R's must equote to the one M (momentum).
Time to break Geordie hearts. Might be a false position they're in. Might be punching above their weight. Plucky, lucky. It doesn't matter. They deserve their praise and are hardly lacking in confidence. Although this is not do or die or a must win game it will look good to make it five on the trot and further consolidate our good run of victories and push on up the table.
Professionalism please Tottenham, needed in abundance. Three points would truly make the 2-1 win over the enemy even sweeter. You have got to be able to follow up on key results with ones equally key.
That marker we failed to lay down for top four through out the entirety of last season? Put it to good use. Just aim a little higher though. Always aim higher.
Play with a smile, be it one that bites.
Love the shirt.