Do not fade away, my darling Hotspur
International abyss over and out. Finally back to the bread and butter business of the Premiership. And one simple ask for the boys in Lilywhite:
Do not fade away.
We've done fine getting ourselves in the upper regions of the table, even with the almost eternal loss of Modric and one or two other hiccups, we've picked up points more so than failing to. But if our form continues to stagnate, then I can see us dropping 2/3 positions and then yo-yo'ing between 7th and 5th. Which wouldn't be too bad but considering the form of others, it would be a disappointment not to give it a more determined go and continue to hang onto 4th spot before the likes of those other pretenders, City, punch their way out of the paper bag they're in and Liverpool awaken from their coma.
Wilson, bless his wonderfully big heart, is not the player he was last season. Obviously deeply saddened by the death of his younger brother his form has been lopsided. Which is understandable. He'll rediscover his discipline soon enough and channel the anger and regret through his footballing boots. He has to. He knows it. We just need to continue to support him. I'm making an assumption that his dip is down to the loss of his brother. It's probably a mixture of different things including no Luka (it's always about the Moddle) and plenty of trips across to Honduras for internationals. Regardless, what I'm not going to accept is some of the idiot Spurs fans who are know claiming that Wilson is suddenly no better than Zokora. Honestly chaps, please do one and stop embarrassing yourselves.
Another potential problem that has caused Palacios to be a little off his game is the conundrum of who should be standing tall by his side in midfield. Things started well this season with Huddlestone paired up with him in the middle and when Jenas came into the fold one or two expected the dynamite partnership we were treated to towards the back end of last season.
Once again, we've been let down. Jenas sometimes reminds me an eskimo. Cool, ice cold and in control - a blank white canvas surrounding him with ball at feet, prepared to paint a rainbow of colours. Not sure how that's an eskimo exactly. Perhaps and eskimo with a paint brush? But suddenly, the igloo behind him melts along with all the surrounding snow and the sudden hot temperature has our man sweating, unable to withstand the heat he strips off his clothes and runs around in a daze of confusion incapable of avoiding the glare of the hot unforgiving sun whilst neighbouring penguins look on with despondency, nodding their heads and groaning as naked Jenas eskimo falls into a crack in the ice whispering for help as he drowns. When the conditions suit him, he's a triffic player. He has no fear. Think Derby at home. Or even Arsenal. Such is the impossibility of knowing when he'll show up. But when the conditions do not suit him, he's beyond average (in the wrong direction). He's the most consistent of inconsistencies is our JJ.
Huddlestone, some of us thought, would take the opportunity of JJ's early season injury and cement his position alongside the General. But as expected (by the rest of us) the well known deficiencies in his armour have been once more shown up. So we are left with the January transfer window and the possibility of a new recruit to bolster the weak link in the side. The same weak link we had at the start of the season but failed to plug thanks to a drawn-out chase of various DM's - all of which came to nothing.
I'd expect Hudd to partner Wilson on Sunday v Wigan and the comfort of a home match might allow us to attempt to dictate play and tempo. If Palacios is in good nick and bites ankles, then Huddlestone might give us a quarter-back special, which will have us drooling again for another week before he's shown up as being slower than the QE2 attempting to do a u-turn in the Sahara desert.
Would dearly love to see Niko out on the left (still no Modric) and the return of Lennon on the right. No doubt Defoe will start up front and absolutely no doubt Keane will partner him.
That's Robbie 'played very well against the French' Keane. Robbie '5 goals in 6 league games' Keane. That's Robbie 'he's got a clause in his contract and that's the reason he's playing and it's not because of his form, no sir, it's not' Keane.
Ledley at the back? If we can rest him further, then I'd happily take that. He's another who's been out of sorts recently but rather than hang my head downwards in depression and start balling my eyes out about how this is all evidence of the demise of the King, I'd rather not. It's a lull. His knee hasn't gone to the dogs just yet. Perhaps this is a game for Awesome Dawson to smile his way through and allow Ledders extra time on the sidelines resting. It's not a perfect system, I know. Our best defender, with one knee. In the long term this isn't helping anyone chopping and changing.
As for the game itself.
We need the team to give us a confident performance. That’s one that sees us play well, dominate possession and swagger it with tasty end product. One that keeps us 4th in the table.
No banana skin frolics or daft defending.
Prediction? I'm going for a home win. I know, I know. Shocker.