This should make good Reading

Reading (A)

I'm looking forward to the game. Hoping Dembele starts alongside Sandro and we get to see Clint Dempsey in midfield (if match fit) and Adebayor up front. Will also be keen to see us pass and move with urgency. We were lacklustre against Norwich and wasteful against WBA. Taking our chances early on is key. Reading haven't played a competitive match (Prem) since the 22nd August. Fresh but hardly match fit. That's not to say we've been setting the world on fire either, at times looking like we've not had much of a pre-season. This has got to be the game to ignite the spark that leads to the explosion. The spark being a convincing win against Reading today, the explosion a smashing of QPR at the Lane next week. We all know how it works. Momentum builds confidence in form and style. Perfectly illustrated by the past couple of seasons of rampant winning displays (when things were going well).

That urgency has to have traits of structure, players effective in their positions - yes Gareth, that means you. Having predicted that AVB will have a better handle on Bale we've yet to see him truly take a stranglehold on the left flank. Also, the controversial centre-pairing of Livermore and Sandro will have a few people biting their nails. Would prefer Sandro doing the Parker job of sweeping up trouble and laying the ball off to Dembele (our sort of Luka replacement in terms of creativity). Sandro can also pass the ball better than Parker so it can work. Dempsey or Sigurdsson can play further up-field behind the forward, in support and linking up play. Which will be two-fold with Adebayor being able to float into the channels.

We've yet to see the high-line implemented fully. Which tells us a lot about the patient 'rebuilding' of style rather than just asking players that haven't played it before to do so from the off (even though our fullbacks do enjoy a high line when wondering into forward positions). Talking of which Kyle Walker seems to be very positive about training and the coach. But don't shout about that, just whisper it. To yourself. As for the goal-keeper situation, only a matter of time when Lloris will settle in between the sticks. Brad knows, VB knows. We know. Lloris is a vital part of that fabled high line so it's essential. In time.

So there's a few things to look out for today. But not just formation and how it's implemented but also the attitude of the players. We would have been our way to sustaining some momentum had we buried those chances against WBA at the Lane. Such is football it can be cruel first to then be kind later. Which tells you that if you place the brain surgery of tactics aside a moment, we (the players on the pitch with ball to feet) have to be bang on their game and do the basics right in front of goal. Running around a lot still won't be enough, as witnessed the last two seasons when we run out of ideas. Villas-Boas has to pull us back towards that swagger and find a middle-ground where we strengthen mentally without letting go of the characteristics that made us such a joy to watch. It's in those games where we were not a joy to watch; it's in those games where we need to find a way through, have answers to all the questions being asked.

We seem to be stuck in that place at the moment. The inherited problems are not quite improving towards resolution and mixing in well with the new instructions meaning no immediate impact (although we've seen glimpses of it away to Newcastle and early on in our first home match). Would be easy for a new coach not to change a thing but then at what point would he be able to implement his own style? Better to struggle at first building the new and waving goodbye to the old than hang onto someone else's vision for the sake of short term pretence over longevity.

There's no need to panic, no need to struggle finding a way out. Find the door, walk through it.

Composure please Spurs. The self belief will blossom.

Whether today's convincing win does end up being a lucky one instead, the three points will be gladly celebrated regardless. The other two potential outcomes cannot be entertained. If anything because attempting to be explosive next weekend against QPR will be akin to setting off fireworks during a thunder storm.

 

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