Domestic bliss the European hang-over cure

Wolves this weekend. Six points. That's what they took off us last season. Third league home game for us and a win is much required. We need to shake off the sleepy lapses (energy drinks should do the trick), be clinical and not fade away in the second half. We've been a touch out of sorts. It's not quite flowed from start to finish within individual games which has birthed the same blippy form across all our games. Perhaps now our first CL group match is out of the way, having worked our way through the build up, the experience, the game, the post-match - we can start to perhaps relax and just play.

The EPL. Bread and butter. It's the priority.

Modric fit to play?

If Modric is back and fully fit, Harry has to once more shuffle. Very decent against WBA before he left the pitch injured. If he's fit, I'd have him back in the side in place of Jenas. But wouldn't be too upset to see JJ get another chance. Although he's likely to disappoint (what? I can't be doing with too much JJ positivity, the Spurs blogosphere would collapse in on its self). Jenas would mean Luka getting a softly softly return to action. Kaboul in place of Corluka at right-back. Just because Charlie hasn't got it going on at the moment.

I'd drop Lennon for Gio. Or Bentley. However, I'll hazard a guess and say Azza will start regardless of his current average form. Mainly because he might just explode into life, and Harry values that potentiality a better risk than to play the likes of Gio or Bentley from kick-off.

Crouch will start up front on his own, if that's how we opt to play again.

The bog standard 442 is now redundant if played in traditional fashion. 4411 is not negative for a home assault. Not if the midfield display relentless ruthless rogering of the opposition. Hey, it might happen. You never know.

Probable (hopeful) line-up then?

4-5-1, lined up as a 4-4-1-1 or displayed as a 4-2-2-1-1 (bite me). We played 451 away to WBA. With Bale left-back. And Roman up front. Bale left back? No thanks. And give Roman a holiday.

--------------------------------------  Cudicini  ---------------------------------------------

Kaboul --------------- Gallas ------------------ Bassong --------------------- BAE

--------------------- Modric/Jenas ------------------- Huddlestone ------------------
Lennon ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bale

----------------------------------------- vdV --------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------- Crouch ------------------------------------------------

King to be rested. But if his knee allows it, I'd start him alongside Gallas. Otherwise Bassong. Palacios to miss out again. And even though Wolves beat us last season and Wigan beat us the other week, Harry will still deem this game very winnable and therefore might not risk the Luka rush-back (UNLEASH THE JENAS) or for that matter rvD.

van der Vaart not fit to play?

So if there's no rvD (calf injury recovery), let's say he's not risked/fit. Sits on the bench.


--------------------------------------  Cudicini  ----------------------------------------------

Kaboul --------------- Gallas ------------------ Bassong --------------------- BAE

------------------------ Modric/Jenas ----------------- Huddlestone ------------------
Lennon --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bale

------------------------------- Crouch ----- Keane ----------------------------------------


I've just gone back to 442, haven't I? Ah bugger.

Robbie Keane? Am I mad? He's as pointless as West Ham I hear you shout. Well, if there's no vdV then there's no 451. So it's two up front and I'd rather give old man Keane one last chance to ignite his flagging/flagged/flaggigated Spurs career. If he's with us until Jan, then he has to play a part at some point and what with Pav resembling a Russian inanimate carbon rod on wheels, Wolves at home is surely a good candidate for Keano to try and reclaim some respect. I'd also want Kranjcar to get a game. He's been somewhat marginalised this season. Although not at the expense of Bale at left-back, but if he's Bale at left-back. So perhaps Niko should remain benched. Trying to second guess Harry. It's tricky business. Palacios can be stuck on in the latter stages if required.

No Moddle or Raf

Of course, a team without a Modric or a vdV is going to be substantially weaker than one with either of them or both of them. The problem is (re: 451) can't work if we're missing Luka or Rafael. Hence the default to 442. Or can it?

Before anyone says 'hold up Spooky, in your last article you said Harry should settle with a formation and be done with it', all I meant was: Play your best players in their best positions. And if we're going to stick with 451 (or a variant ) then it's not so difficult to stick to it and just shuffle players like for like around due to injuries/rest/etc. Sure, tactical switches to say nullify certain opposition tactics or players - well, that's just a given for certain games, but I don't believe every opposition requires special treatment.

Get the same players playing to build up momentum and consistency.

But perhaps tinkering is unavoidable if key key players are not available. I suddenly see why Harry mixes it up so much. Hang-over? I've got a headache.


For larfs and larks:

--------------------------------------  Cudicini  ---------------------------------------------

Kaboul ---------------- Gallas ------------------ Bassong ---------------------- BAE

-------------------- Palacios/Jenas ------------------- Huddlestone -------------------
Bentley ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bale

----------------------------------- Kranjcar/Modric/Gio --------------------------------------

------------------------------------------- Crouch -----------------------------------------------


No? Fair enough. I'm just getting all Football Manager with this now. I'll quit and let you lot (some of who are far more tactically astute than myself to discuss all of the above in more detail).

The main bugbear as far as application, intent and end result is that we need to put to bed (preferable with a bullet to the head) the frustrating fact we can smash up teams that attack us but struggle to break down teams that sit back and defend.

We need to seek and destroy. Carpet bomb the Wolves all the way back to the midlands.

We are struggling with goals from forwards (in the league) so the midfield have to push up and get involved in and around the box. We can craft and create until the cows come home. Modric and vdV and Huddlestone's disguised passes.

Let's hope one of the two (Luka/Raf) make it.

We need to FINISH the chances layed on. Ruthless Tottenham this Saturday please. Nothing less. Regardless of formation.

No hang-over. Hair of the dog Spurs, hair of the dog.