by guest blogger Chrisman
I’m going to lay it on the line here – The F.A. Cup QF against Fulham will be a cracker. It might not have loads of goals, and we might not get either of the results that we want, but it will be good. It will be a rarity – a game between two PL teams desperately wanting to win. And two teams quite reasonably believing they can win.
Roy Hodgson is a manager that I love listening to. He is almost the polar opposite of Harry in his handling of the media. Hodgson will openly, and often quite savagely ridicule the interviewer and his questions. ‘Roy, surely this is a must win game?’ he will be asked. His reply will be something along the lines of ‘Well, what happens if we don’t win? Does the season end? Will Fulham FC automatically self-destruct? Of course we want to win, but no, it’s not a must win’. You can tell he absolutely hates the cliché driven style of football in the British media, and he won’t even play lip service to it. Harry, on the other hand, revels in it.
Both men are actually very similar. The difference in their personas is directly due to the fact that Hodgson has spent the best part of 30 years in management outside England. To a total foreigner coming here, the way the ‘media circus’ exists will be a source of amusement, bafflement and eventual indifference. But because Hodgson is English, and he understands it a bit more, he’s visibly disgusted by it. He doesn’t even make an effort to conceal his total contempt for it. Old Harry, however, doesn’t have that luxury. He has had to play the game over the last 20 years, and he’s played it pretty well. He is so well versed in cliché speak that it’s actually very difficult to tell what he is thinking, about anything, ever. But one thing is certain, and it’s one thing that Harry’s cliché speak and Hodgson’s cynicism cannot overpower – The F.A Cup is a trophy both of these men are still desperate to win.
There won’t be any resting players, no saving it for the league – with 3 of the traditional big 4 already out, this is probably the best chance either team has had of winning the trophy for quite a while. It’s the business end of the tournament, and it’s 2 men at the business end of their careers. Expect both teams to give everything on behalf of the managers and fans.
Pavlyuchenko remains the key man for Spurs. If he plays as well as he has done, we have a great chance. With Defoe probably out, you feel Pav has to score if we are to get a result. And with Huddlestone out, a huge amount of responsibility falls on Modric, and to a lesser extent Kranjcar. Playing against a Fulham midfield that is likely to include Murphy, Gera, Davies and maybe Greening could be a blessing. They have a lot of ball players and not a lot of horsepower in their midfield, which should suit us if we are to play Modric in the middle. Conversely, the battering ram approach of Zamora should suit Dawson’s style. Gomes is going to have to have another good game if we are going to get a result. More of his heroics from the league visit to Craven Cottage are pretty essential.
It’s also to be expected that Smalling and Hangeland won’t have too much trouble dealing with a ‘direct’ approach. What we need is Pav coming deep and linking up with Modric and Kranjcar. If the 3 of them hit it off, we could, against all odds, win the game. If we were to do that, without Defoe and Huddlestone in the team, I think that will give the lads a pretty significant confidence boost for the rest of the season. What’s more likely is a hard fought score draw, then back to the lane for another classic night of mayhem.
Excitement building already. With the battle for the top 4 taking all our attention, this has almost approach unnoticed. But it’s here, an F.A. Cup Quarter Final, and a London Derby to boot. Sexual Chocolate.