|DATE||Sunday 23rd February 2014|
Trading the ploughed field of a pitch in Ukraine for a neatly kept
farmer’s field in Norfiolk, Tottenham’s players who made the long
journey in between have to shake the stiffness out of their legs to
face a Norwich City side who are in the hunt for points to pull
themselves away from the bottom of the table.
While Spurs lost out in Dnipropetrovsk, it was a sound enough performance, only lacking a goal to make it a good trip. The fact that Emmanuel
Adebayor, Aaron Lennon, Kyle Walker, Hugo Lloris and Younes Kaboul all stayed at home indicates that Tim Sherwood took a calculated gamble in the Europa League, with half an eye on the Premier League games ahead. With Adebayor said to be carrying a leg injury, he might have needed the rest to be fit for Norwich, while the others were spared the long flight there and back. They can all be expected to start, with Capoue, Dawson, Townsend and Friedel all dropping to the bench, along with the unfortunate Roberto Soldado, who lack one vital ingredient on Thursday, which was a bit of luck. Mousa Dembele should also return, with Christian Eriksen also available to start, meaning a tough decision for Tim as to who makes way.
Tottenham are bound to play the match in an attacking style, with Norwich good at home, but finding goals hard to come by.
Gary Hooper was a schoolboy at Spurs, but they did not take him on into the youth system, but he flourished at Wolves and then Celtic, so his signing made sense in terms of goals being scored and he has done well, but five goals in 18 league matches is not perhaps the return that Chris Hughton was looking for.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel is a
likely starter, as the home team have limited options in attack. The
Dutchman is tall and mobile and a danger at set pieces. He scored a
lot of goals in his home country and also in Portugal, but has had
no joy in the Premier League. The other player signed to play up
front, Johan Elmander, has not set the league alight on his return
to the Premiership, but then he didn’t when he played for Bolton
Wanderers either. Big and strong, with a habit of running offside,
he can score goals though, so Tottenham cannot take too many
There are two enforcers in the Norwich midfield and we might see both of them played, as they seek to stop Tottenham playing their passing game through this part of the pitch. Alexander Tettey and Leroy Fer. Tettey is more of a holding midfielder, while Fer prefers to get forward and is known as "The Bouncer" for his size and physical approach to the game. Bradley Johnson and Anthony Pilkington are other choices that the manager can make, with the former a "hard man" in midfield, with not a lot of other attributes to his game, while Pilkington is a wide midfielder, who is a decent crosser of the ball.
The City defence has another ex-Spur in their ranks, with Sebastien Bassong being centre-half and a leader, sometimes captain. The Cameroon defender is a tough tackler, good in the air and likes to bring the ball out of defence. He will need to be closed down quickly, as this will leave the ball having to be pumped forward, rather than played through their midfield. Russell Martin, Martin Olsson and Steven Whitaker are all dependable full backs, who have pace to get forward, but with the speed in the Tottenham breakaways, this may open up space in behind them. Ryan Bennett is out injured, limiting the options at the back for Hughton, but veteran former Everton central defender Joseph Yobo has been brought in to steady the ship, but his better days are behind him and his lack of pace might give Spurs opportunities to get past him.
Behind them, England hopeful
John Ruddy has had a torrid time between the sticks, making some
errors and generally producing the sort of performances to forget.
He had a good season last year and now, when he is needed to keep
clean sheets, the pressure is perhaps telling on him. If
Tottenham can get more of their shot son target, they might find
Norwich have done well at
home with their 0-0 draw with Manchester City their best result,
along with a draw against Everton and a 1-0 win over Southampton,
but I hope Spurs will go on to gain a narrow victory, but an early
goal might open the game up to win by a bigger margin. I hope
it doesn't signal the end for Chrissie at Carrow Road, but our need
for points is just as keen as we push to keep the pressure on at the
|PREDICTION||Norwich City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs welcome back the players rested from the midweek game, so Emmanuel Adebayor, despite having a leg injury, Mousa Dembele, Kyle Walker, Hugo Lloris, Aaron Lennon and Younes Kaboul are all up for selection. Erik Lamela and Vlad Chiriches both have back injuries and Sandro faces a late test on his shin problem, while Gylfi Sigurdsson should shake off a hamstring pull to make the bench.
NORWICH CITY TEAM NEWS :
Ryan Bennett will be absent with a hip injury, along with Jonas Guttierez (shin), Michael Turner (hamstring) and Elliott Bennett (knee) joinign him on the sidelines. Johnny Howson hopes to overcome a back injury with a late fitness test, but apart from them, Chris Hughton has a full squad to choose from.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
City 1 (0) Tottenham Hotspur
Sunday 23rd February 2014 Kick off 16:00
Ruddy (time-wasting) 90+2
Dembele (dissent) 32
Vertonghen (foul on Hooper) 75
Dawson (foul on Hooper) 88
|Crowd : 26,834||Weather : Dry, chilly|
|Referee : Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. S. Ledger; Mr. D. Bryan|
|Fourth Official : Jon Moss||-|
|Norwich City kicked off and played towards the Barclay Stand end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 4 minutes.|
|Norwich City :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
9 9 Ricky van WOLFSWINKEL (11 Gary HOOPER 72)
10 Emmanuel ADEBAYOR
|Manager : Chris Hughton||Manager : Tim Sherwood|
|Sponsor : Aviva||Shirt sponsor : Hewlett Packard|
|Kit Supplier : errea||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
John Lacy's Love Child
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|What you thought|
|Benny The Ball||
What is the point of resting players when you play the ones who
played on Thursday in Sunday's match ? Our record after Europa
League games is particularly weak this season and surely, Sherwood
must have worked it out why that was ?
Perhaps not. Perhaps his naivety has come home to roost. Not after one loss, but the performances against the top clubs has been a worry and there are still three big ones to come, however easy our run=in might look on paper. This one looked as straightforward too and look what happened today.
I don't want to under-estimate what Tim has done so far, but we are heading into familiar water, with a good season up to a point and then we start to unravel against sides we should beat and those we should have only an outside chance against. I thought we were past all that, but it appears we might be saying at the end of the season "We've Got Our Tottenham Back".
|Other scores during this week :|
|Cardiff City||0||Hull City||4||Saturday|
|Crystal Palace||0||Manchester United||2||Saturday|
|Manchester City||1||Stoke City||0||Saturday|
|West Bromwich Albion||1||Fulham||1||Saturday|
|West Ham United||3||Southampton||1||Saturday|
|Newcastle United||1||Aston Villa||0||Sunday|
|10||West Ham United||27||8||7||12||31||34||31||-3|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||27||4||13||10||31||39||25||-8|
Position before match :
Position after match : 5th
Position after the weekend : 5th
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