Massive game for us this evening. Mainly because of what's happened recently. We are swaying like a bridge in a storm. But it's best to remember we're built of sterner stuff these days. Pretty much like a bridge. It's meant to sway, see out the storm. I have confidence the bridge won't be destroyed. It's just raining on the heavy side rather. No hurricane. Not yet.
Okay, so we could have done more at Villa (in the first half), didn't and fought back superbly well to claim a point and probably should have won it. After that game Villa fans (quite a few of them) were in agreement that we (Spurs) were in a far better place to challenge for the Top 4 than them. All off the back of that result having out played them in the second 45. Then Everton away, and although from the knee-jerking post match you'd think our season was over, we were but a spot kick away from winning this. Okay, we didn't and people discussed mental strength and tactics - which is fine, because we let the game slip from our grasp. As Martin Samuel puts it, the enemy is within. Spurs are beating Spurs. And at home to Wolves we practically gave ourselves a bloody nose, leaving ourselves slumped in a dark alley, shaking our head profusely. Confused and lost.
Stoke at home was bad enough, but the 1-0 loss against a 3rd minute winner against Wolves was just awful and pretty much unacceptable.
Around us, Villa have beaten Man Utd (away) and Sunderland and now sit 3rd in the table. Birmingham are suffering from a nosebleed of their own. The good kind. So our game against Man City tonight takes on extra significance. They are finding winning form after so many draws. Historically, they always lose to us at the Lane (and we don't do too badly up at Eastlands). It's a tricky one to predict.
What is required is a home win. A good one. A confidence boosting morale hugging victory. Swagger, clinical finishing. The chests-out look at us we are so great type of run out. We all know that in the Prem this season, you only have to register a win to 'turn your season around', as seen by the coverage Arsenal get (they lose, they're out the title race, they win, they're back in it).
Three points will leave us sitting in 5th (where we are now) but 3 points ahead of the Brummies and 4 ahead of City. Liverpool at home to Wigan, so they're not that far behind either.
But tonight is not about the points. Okay, it is, but it's more about sending out a message. Players have to focus, dig deep and rediscover some of that form that got us up in this healthy position in the first place. Won't be easy, but if we are firing on all cylinders at least we cant complain about them not giving it a go. No more wet performances please. City, no doubt, will want to prove something too. And if we lose again - at home - God help Santa. No amount of presents is going to aid the crying hearts of the Tottenham faithful.
Massive task in midfield. City are hard working in that department, so Wilson will have to perform well for us to have any time to allow Huddlestone to ping passes around. Problem is, Wilson hasn't been performing well. Is it a personal issue or simply a lack of form that hits everyone. If the latter, Harry has to resolve it quickly. I've read opinions that suggest he's a bit lost in there because Huddlestone isn't doing enough work. But then thinking back to the first 4 games, Hudd/Palacios worked like magic.
Lennon is key to success, as ever. Same with Niko. Give either of these two time on the ball and we'll craft and create. You know all too well who is up front for them, and we all know he always fancies his chances against us, so the centre-backs have to be commanding. We're going to concede tonight. So emphasis on our attack. Defoe up front with Keane. Plenty of eyes on these two. Cannot emphasis how frustrating we've been in front of goal recently. Chances created, chances fluffed. Has to change.
Battles all across the field of play, the side that wins more of them wins the war. Obviously. My point is, we two sides no better than each other. Both with strengths and weakness both possessing individual flair that can win a game in the blink of an eye. Let's hope our lot don't freeze in the cold evening air.
I doubt it, after the Wolves embarrassment. Nothing can be taken for granted now. So expect some blood and thunder tempo from our lads.
Modric? Doubt he's fit enough to start. Wouldn't make sense for him to do so. Perhaps a cheeky final 25 minutes as he continues his return to first team action. JJ has been sick, so not a clue if he's available. Which is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on where your Love/Hate arrow is pointing on the Jenas-o-meter.
Interesting footnote, and I know its the usual kidology that takes place pre-match, but our guv has been talking about the African Nations Cup and the loss of Bassong and BAE leaving us with little cover at the back thanks to Woody and Kings continued absence. No question, that regardless of where we stand come the New Year - it's not just another central midfielder required. Villa collapsed late last season. We still have to get ourselves in a similar position. We have to get ourselves in that position and then we have to be able to consolidate it. Because from the looks of it, its still up for grabs.
So. Onwards with making a statement. News of our death has been greatly exaggerated.