|DATE||Saturday 3rd November 2012|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
With both sides being knocked out of the League Cup in mid-week,
they will both be looking to bounce back to winning ways.
Wigan's defeat was perhaps the more surprising, playing at home to League Two Bradford City, but the Bantams were supposedly well worth their win. Spurs, on the other hand, strolled through their game at Carrow Road and with a 1-0 lead went to sleep at a couple of set-pieces and ended up being knocked out.
Keeper Ali Al-Habsi usually has a good game against us, but his positioning can leave him exposed sometimes and as usual at home, it will be vital to test him as often as possible with shots on target. He is not bad on crosses, but his angles and handling of shots can be suspect.
The back four leave opposition opportunities as they are not as tight a unit as Roberto Martinez might hope for. Emmerson Boyce has made more of a name for himself in the opposition's penalty area than his own this season and while he is an athletic full back, he lacks the awareness and pace to keep wingers at bay. Maynor Figueroa is a little slow on the turn and if Spurs play at pace, they might catch him out with sharp passing, with Ivan Ramis good in the air, but similarly dodgy on the floor. Gary Caldwell is a veteran centre-half, who is also a little prone to mis-timing tackles against nippy players, so two up front might be the order of the day with the mixture of Defoe and Adebayor causing more than enough trouble for the Latics back line.
In midfield, James McCarthy is a rising star, watched by a number of clubs, with his good passing ability and also the willingness to break forward into attack. Team-mate and almost name-sake James McArthur is another who likes to get forward from midfield and he got a goal for Wigan at the Lane last season. Having lost Victor Moses, Jean Beausejour has taken the tricky winger role, but he is not the most experienced at Premier league level, having played last season with Birmingham City. He can put a good cross in, but with Athletic likely to play just one up front, it will have to be an accurate one. Former Celtic and Aston Villa attacking midfielder Shaun Maloney has been enjoying his time at the North-West club and can provide and finish chances, but there are few defensive midfielders in the set up and that may cause Wigan issued with Tottenham's ability to break away at pace and in numbers.
Franco di Santo is likely to lead the line for Wigan, with the other option Arune Kone, but the former Chelsea man is more experienced and perhaps more physically suited to a lone striker role.
It is quite likely that Spurs will enjoy a lot of possession as Wigan might sit back with numbers behind the ball, leaving the crowd frustrated, but it will need patience to break them down and a great deal of concentration to make sure Spurs don't get hit with a sucker punch, as they have been lately.
While it might not be the greatest game, it could be an important one, as Spurs must learn ways to break through against teams set up not to lose.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 3 Wigan Athletic 1|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Emmanuel Adebayor is fit again after shaking off a stomach bug and Jake Livermore took a kick on Wednesday at Norwich and hopes to be able to feature. Scott Parker (Achilles) and knee injury victims, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul are still ruled out.
|WIGAN ATHLETIC TEAM NEWS :|
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
0 (0) Wigan Athletic 1 (0)
Saturday 3rd November 2012 Kick off 15:00
White Hart Lane
Dempsey (not retreating 10 yards) 46
Figueroa (persistent fouling) 49
|Crowd : 35,534||Weather : Chilly, dry|
|Referee : Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. M. McDonough (Newcastle); Mr. S. Child (-)|
|Fourth Official : Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Wigan Athletic :||kit|
Kyle WALKER (46
Tom CARROLL 79)
18 Jermain DEFOE (10 Emmanuel ADEBAYOR 57)
Ali AL HABSI
|Manager : Andre Villas-Boas||Manager : Roberto Martinez|
|Sponsor : Aurasma||Shirt sponsor : 12Bet.com|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : Mi-Fit|
Boos accompanied the Spurs team off the pitch at half time, when Andre Villas-Boas replaced Jermain Defoe with Emmanuel Adebayor and when the side went off at the end of this 0-1 home defeat to a Wigan Athletic team, who were well worth their win.
While I am sure that most Spurs fans want them to win every game (although the way some of them "support" I am not always so sure), sometimes you just have to say that we didn't play well and the other side's plan to stop us worked a treat and frankly, we could easily have been three down by half-time against a hard-working Wigan team that stopped us playing the game we wanted to play.
Their closing down was perhaps made a bit easier by the Tottenham players lacking the urgency and accuracy in their passing and the lack of options open to lay the ball off, as we were lacking movement to stretch Wigan to any extent. The use of the ball wide was restricted and this lead to Lennon and Bale coming inside more often, cluttering up the central areas and making it harder for the likes of Huddlestone to try and pick out a pass. Tom didn't have a great game today, but then, it is not all that easy trying to find a pass when players are not moving into positions to receive one.
Spurs had started with a much changed side from Wednesday's League Cup tie at Norwich and this may also be a factor in the team struggling to find rhythm, with the familiarity of a regular starting line-up not forthcoming, but there was a pace about their game that echoes the words on the club website from Jermain Defoe indicating they may be looking for a quick start. And things went OK until Sandro picked up a calf injury 23 minutes into the match.
Spurs had a shot from Dempsey in the first couple of minutes, when he got through on the right, but pushed it a little too far wide. Positions were made for crosses into the box, but mostly they failed to find their targets or were cut out, as were our corners - mainly at the near post. When a corner did get through to the penalty area, it was headed out to the edge of the box and from a position just a little further out than Gary Cahill last week, Jan Vertonghen met it on the volley, with it fizzing along the turf and Al Habsi got down to it well to make the save and to hang onto the ball.
With Sandro's departure, Gylfi Sigurdsson was brought on in his place. Hardly a like for like substitution, but then we didn't have Livermore or Parker or Dembele available on the bench, so the Icelander did his best in the role, but found himself thrown forward in the second half, rather than play as a holding midfielder. In the 29th minute, Sandro's absence was felt, as he had been picking off passes on the edge of the box, but Kone played a give and go with Maloney to work the ball around and through the middle of the Spurs back four. Through on Friedel, the Ivory Coast striker panicked and hit the ball straight at the American keeper as he closed him down and the very good chance to open the scoring had vanished.
With the Spurs back four being given no time to play the ball out of defence and with their tem-mates not making it easy for them, the ball kept coming back and the next time saw Kone return the favour to Maloney, who found himself through and onside, but with only Friedel to beat, he smashed the ball too close to the goalie, who stuck out an arm that the ball hit before being cleared away. And while Tottenham were struggling to create any clear cut chances, Wigan's third good opportunity saw Maloney step over a low ball in from the right by Kone and Watson powered a side-foot over the angle, when he really should have hit the target. This had come a minute after he reached the Park Lane Upper with a previous shot.
Half-time saw Ledley out to welcome Camp Bastion in Afghanistan to the Spurs Supporters Club family and then a mucky girl got proposed to at pitch-side. The cries of "Don't do it, He will bring you to more games like this" failed to dissuade her form saying "Yes."
The second half started with the same line-ups and Spurs struggled to make Al Habsi work, with the Wigan defence doing their best to block everything thrown at goal. A seemingly innocuous corner from Maloney curled under the bar and Brad flapped at it to keep it out, but knocked it back into play, where Watson fired in a shot on the volley that the keeper tried to beat out, but Martin Atkinson said it had crossed the lien (but then doesn't he always ?).
The moans rang out at the goal and then again as Adebayor replaced Defoe and Spurs went in search of the equaliser. Vertonghen had a shot bound for goal blocked, Bale had one beaten away by the goalie and then, in the 68th minute, Bale's corner to the far post was headed back by Steven Caulker, who saw it headed off the line by James McCarthy. The Spurs centre-half had gone closest in the first half with a header that missed the post by inches.
Three minutes from time and three minutes into injury time, Gareth Bale had openings to score. The first was from a delicate ball played through by Huddlestone, but the Welshman ran out of room and was challenged as he shot straight at Al Habsi and then he had a free-kick 25 yards out that he could not quite get on target, with the ball going a yard wide of the post.
The final whistle saw the players showered with boos and they couldn't quite believe what had happened. There may be an issue with Spurs handing the initiative to the opposition with only one striker being played at home, but once they had lined up like that, it would not have been in AVB's thinking to change the formation, only the personnel. Some players didn't do too much to impress, with Dempsey, Sigurdsson and Huddlestone all making little impact on the game, while some of the players looked worries to do anything, for fear of getting a backlash form the stands. With people around me muttering about not coming again, we can only hope that they are men of their word, as there is a lack of "support" in the supporters, with only one half-hearted rendition of "When The Spurs" to be heard. Perhaps visiting fans have got something when they refer to the Lane as "the Library" now.
It should also be noted that there were boos for both referee Martin Atkinson and the Wigan players. Both contributed to a huge amount of time being wasted. The opposition players by taking an eternity to take goal-kicks, free-kicks and throw-ins, while kicking the ball away at a number of incidents, while Atkinson allowed this to continue from an early stage without taking any action. The nearest he came to it was when Boyce took over a minute to take a throw and the official put his whistle to his lips and as Boyce threw the ball at that moment, he failed to take action on the inordinate amount of time that had elapsed in doing so.
But Wigan hadn't needed to do that and their passing had been more snappy and telling than Spurs', which was sloppy and left them unable to gain the ground in important areas.
The next two teams are, without respect, much better than Wigan and may prove more of a test for Tottenham on their travels over the next two weekends.
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|What you thought|
Very little to say - just AVB out by Christmas with any luck!
Been supporting Spurs 51 years - this guy is poor in my opinion.
Owen Linard (listening to Wigan game on 94.9 via internet)
|Is ABV Santini in disguise? Is it just me or is he just to cautious? Spurs just don't seem to be really pushing for goals, esp. with Adey on the bench! Four Four Two anyone (at least at home)? The shambles in the week v Norwich + three draws in Europa league.|
|Marco van Hip||
Supporting Spurs for 44 years - give AVB a chance.
Spurs haven't had much success in how to beat teams who swamp the midfield and close us down.
We're missing Dembele and there is no magic wand to give us the results that we all think we should get.
Maybe the result at Man U has blinded us to the fact that this team is still learning how to play under the new boss.
My only concern is the apparent lack of a Plan B to change things when they are not going our way for when we are chasing the game.
Harry didn't have a particularly effective alternative and it might take AVB a while to put one into place.
|Benny the Ball||Very few fireworks, but I can think of a few Spurs players who need a rocket.|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Norwich City||1||Stoke City||0||Saturday|
|West Ham United||0||Manchester City||0||Saturday|
|Queens Park Rangers||1||Reading||1||Sunday|
|West Bromwich Albion||2||Southampton||0||Monday|
|5||West Bromwich Albion||10||5||2||3||15||11||17||+4|
|9||West Ham United||10||4||3||3||13||11||15||+2|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||10||0||4||6||8||19||4||-11|
Position before match :
Position after match : 5th
Position after the weekend : 6th
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