Tag Archives: Wolves

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Tottenham Hotspur: Preview

9 Sep

Barclays Premier League
Date: 10 September 2011 Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: Molineaux (Wolverhampton)

Look at that… a 3 o-clock kick-off, on a Saturday! The traditional kick-off time, so rare it seems for a Spurs game, is back! Unfortunately it’s not at White Hart Lane, for that we still have to wait until we meet Bolton on 3 December (that’s right, nearly 3 months away).

If any of you have read my blog more than once you may know I live with a guy called Alex and you may also know that he’s a Newcastle fan, which means he has a decent outside perspective on our club. He read both my preview of the City game and my subsequent review and said that I was both optimistic in the former and generous towards Spurs in the latter. He had only seen the second half of the City game (in which we were worse than awful) and accepted that every fan is optimistic pre-match, but I took his opinions graciously. He was wrong, but it’s ok; he’s had to watch Newcastle’s decline over the past 10-15 years. Of course I am going to be optimistic, apart from anything I don’t want to spend my life bitching about what is actually a good Spurs side, but…

The season hasn’t gone to plan so far, either on, or off the pitch and it seems Harry has been struck with the same curse that prevents any Spurs manager making it to three full seasons without drama. In fact it prevents most of them completing three full seasons at the club, full stop. I don’t really need to go over the things that have gone wrong, we all know, whether it’s the Modrić issue, the lack of any palpable transfer strategy or the poor showings against the two Manchester clubs, things are not rosy in the blue and white garden.

In reality they are both phenomenal teams, City especially with one of the most expensively assembled sides in history, but that doesn’t excuse our performances, particularly when playing at home. Things are getting serious now, so unfortunately, you won’t find much to laugh about in this pre-view.

Banker or Banana-skin?

Wolves and our matches against them sum up both Spurs’ progress and our flaws in recent seasons. In fact it is our matches against clubs like Wolves that define our Premier League existence since the whole circus began in ’91. Sometimes we turn up, we look like world-beaters and we win by a sometimes huge margin. However, all too often we get turned over, and last season it was our draws and losses against teams well into the lower half of the table which destroyed our hopes of a top 4 finish.

Most notably lacking in our first two games, in comparison with last season, was the fight that conceding seemed to instil in the side. We regularly went a goal down and like a wounded cat struck back, sometimes sealing victory in the closing stages of matches. Maybe it’s the quality of the opposition, maybe it was fielding a midfield far too fragile either to dominate in attack, or break up the play, but at no stage did a fight-back appear a genuine proposition after the first goal was conceded. That has to change, because unless we stop conceding entirely, we’re really going to be in trouble.

Mentality

It is our mentality which is the most important factor now. There is no doubt we have an exceptionally talented side and although they weren’t necessarily the players we were pining for, in Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor we have two players who have filled problem positions in our last two matches.

The good thing, from a mentality point of view, is that with two comprehensive defeats to our name (will ‘0 points from 2 matches’ become a Harry catchphrase? I think not!) we will hopefully not make the mistake of thinking this match is already won, a problem William Gallas confirmed towards the end of last season.

The bad thing is that 2 capitulations in the league so far means confidence may be fragile; Wolves scoring first could be disastrous.

It is time for Harry to prove that he really is the man manager his reputation suggests he is.

This game is the most important of the season… so far

If we don’t win this one, I honestly can’t see Harry making it to the end of the season as Spurs’ manager. I can’t envisage him being sacked this week, either way, but a loss would not only prove that a rot has set in, but it would serve to perpetuate any issues which may be affecting the club.

We may have played one fewer game than everyone else and the two best teams in the league, but a bad start is far more damaging to confidence than a bad spell during the season and, to my mind, harder to recover from. With this in mind there will be no better time than now to get 3 points on the board and make a solid move off the bottom of the table.

Unfortunately I think much (too much) will depend on if Luka Modrić turns up, both physically and mentally. He didn’t get his move, he’s definitely here until January, hopefully he will knuckle down, if only to prove to his prospective suitors (clubs who may value him highly, but evidently not as highly as his current employers; Luka, take note!) that he is both the man and the player people like Harry say he is.

Stuff I think about Wolves

There is very little to say about the midlands club. They have started the season very well, but there is no doubt in the minds of most football followers that they will be one of the teams battling relegation come May next year.

My general views…

  • Aren’t their kits all bright and shiny!

Spurs’ Team News

The club and the BBC, my usual sources for this stuff have yet to put up any information on player availability, perhaps I am just earlier than usual (it’s not often I beat others to the punch!) so I have taken our injury list from physioroom.com, probably the best source anyway!

Injuries: Rafael van der Vaart, Aaron Lennon, Ledley King, Steven Pienaar, Sandro, William Gallas, Danny Rose.

Wolves’ Team News

Injuries: Matt Jarvis, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Adlène Guedioura,  David Edwards, Steven Mouyokolo.

Prediction

I’ve been optimistic in my last two predictions and plumped for a draw on both occasions. I have to say, despite our appalling showing against Wolves this season, I want to give us the benefit of the doubt. Adebayor did really well when he got to Man City and with any luck Parker will stiffen the midfield, protecting Dawson and Kaboul whilst feeding Modrić and the wide men with simple balls. I’m going to give in to optimism once again and suggest 2-1 is not out of our reach.

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