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Heart of Midlothian vs Tottenham Hotspur: Preview

18 Aug

Europa League LogoEuropa League Playoff – 1st Leg
Date: 18 August 2011 Kick-off: 19:45
Venue: Tynecastle (Edinburgh)

Since I’ve had this thing for a little while now, it’s about time I did something constructive and write a preview of this game. I tried to write a season preview, but it was after the season had started (for everyone else) and I didn’t really have a great deal to say that I hadn’t already read. I am quite keen not to just regurgitate other people’s crap. I will also apologise now for only writing this about 3 or 4 hours before kick-off, it’s only just struck me that I have something to say!

With all that in mind, there are 101 different places you can find out who is injured or how many games Hearts have won this season compared with us. So I won’t bother with all that, because quite frankly I can’t be bothered to research it all and if I do it from memory I’ll only end up getting it wrong.

On that note, actually, if someone wants to get into writing a regular preview, or match reports for this blog, with proper stats and maybe some fancy boxes where you can compare top scorers or how many players on each team wear Nike football boots then that’d be really cool. Just because I’m not very good at finding the time to do all that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for such a thing.

In the meantime, since I am mostly all about opinions and bleating on about rubbish I’ll stick with that tried and tested formula. The most important bit (and best way of judging me and my opinions) is my prediction, which you’ll find at the bottom. Feel free to scroll past the following 600 words of crap to find the good stuff!

We should win this game

I held this opinion before we played Young Boys last season and although it took as two goes, eventually we did. This time around we’re playing a team from a similar (shitter) league and we don’t have to play on a stupid plastic pitch. Nor do we have the psychological pressure of trying to reach the Champions League. So, there really is no excuses for not winning here, except the fact we haven’t played as much football as everyone else.

I’m sure if we do lose, Mr Redknapp will find an excuse, I know already that it’s not his fault, so don’t even think about trying to blame him. (I’m warning you, the bloke has skin like kevlar).

I don’t really care about the Europa League

Now many of you may know this, but for the benefit of the yoof; back in the day there were 3 European competitions. The League Champions all went into the European Cup, Cup Winners into the Cup Winners Cup (funny, that!) and the best of the rest into the UEFA Cup. This inevitably ment that in any given season you would find Barcelona and Real Madrid split up between competitions, Manchester United, Liverpool Arsenal and Tottenham the same and so on throughout Europe. That meant winning any of those trophies really meant something. It meant that you had to get past some of the best teams in Europe regardless. Being in Europe meant everything, to paraphrase our greatest ever manager. Today being in the Champions League means everything. Money has meant that broadcasters and their audiences want to see the biggest teams fight it out. With it the other competitions diminished in stature and were re-branded in a vain attempt to restore them to prominence. Sadly now, we’re left with a competition with a ridiculous number of games in order to win a trophy no-one really cares about. It’s all gone a bit wrong.

In the end then, my main excitement here is finally watching a competitive game of football involving my beloved team and maybe one or two of our younger players getting a chance to shine. Unfortunately there are still no new faces to salivate over, but that’s a whinge for another day.

Spurs’ Team News

Sod it, I’ve changed my mind, I’ve just had a look at the Spurs website and to save any of you who have actually bothered to read through this doing the same, you can have a bit of info.

Injuries: William Gallas, Ledley King, Tom Huddlestone, Luka Modric (apparently), Jermaine Jenas, Steven Pienaar, Wilson Palacios and Sandro. (Basically every central midfielder, then. Start as you mean to go on and all that!)

The BBC says Alan Hutton is also injured although the official website hasn’t even bothered to mention him.

Normally I’d hope to list the squad of players Harry will be picking from here, but it seems that information just isn’t out there (at least none of the places I trust/bother to look at) so it’ll be a happy surprise for everyone when we see the line-up.

Hearts’ Team News

A cursory check of the BBC tells me that Medhi Taouil is out for Hearts. I have no idea how much that will affect them, because I’ve never heard of the bloke, but I am reliably informed he is a midfielder. They are also missing stikers Kevin Kyle and Calum Elliot, which may or may not be absolutely devastating for Hearts’ chances of scoring ‘an goals’.

Prediction

I have to say I’d love to see us score a hat-full and really get my juices flowing. Experience, both of Spurs in general and the pre-season specifically suggests that this is unlikely. We’ll probably have the run of play overall, have a few wobbles, go a goal down in the first half and at best, come back to win 3-1. For my prediction though I am going to go with an unconvincing 2-1 win.

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