Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Time to deliver lads!

Today's the day. An opportunity to end the jinx. The chance to book ourselves a trip to the new Wembley. A great shot at finally defeating ARSEnal at the 22nd attempt.

Since Ramos took over in late October, Tottenham have won 11 of his 20 matches at the helm and only lost four. Not bad stats and it shows an improvement from our start to the season. But where Ramos is supposedly at his sharpest is when it comes to cup games. He hadn't lost a cup game with Sevilla for ages, and has now won five and drawn three with us. Jenas claims Ramos has made the players mentally tougher. Well tonight's the night for him and the rest of the side to prove it.

At 1-1 from the first leg the tie is perfectly poised. With the away goal rule, a high scoring draw would favour the Gooners tonight. We need to take the game by the scruff of the neck and attack. Whether Wenger picks a bunch of kids or blends a mix of youth with experience, we need to focus on our game and take the match to them. Holding out for a 0-0 draw will only backfire on us. We need to start like we did at home last year (going 2-0 up within 20 minutes), but show our new strength and fortitude not to concede soft goals and throw the match away like we did in that same game.

With Malbranque now back in the reckoning after being suspended at the weekend, Ramos has options available to him. I would expect him to start with Steed, JJ, O'Hara and Lennon in midfield. That may be harsh on Huddlestone, but O'Hara has done well against the gimps from N5 in his two matches so far.

After our lucky escape against Sunderland we need to look closely at the defence. Although Huddlestone played well on Saturday, I think we'll revert to Ledders and Daws tonight. Our full-backs were awful against Sunderland, so I'd expect Pascal to come back at right-back and Lee to have been given a rocket up his proverbial (since Gunter is cup-tied). Cerny earned the right to start after his second-half heroics.

Who knows what might happen up-front. Now that Ramos and Defoe have had their big love fest there is going to be tears from someone! I see no reason why Berba and Keane won't be given the nod (and rightly so), but that will be a tough pill for JD to swallow.

I am so excited about tonight's game and do generally believe we can beat the ARSEnal (finally) and get to a cup final. George Graham and Glen Hoddle both made it to the League Cup final in their first seasons in charge at Spurs.

I'm not sure who the ref is tonight but I hope whoever it is takes a back seat and doesn't ruin the game. Similarly I hope we'll see no injuries that will change the face of the match (remember how last season's home leg changed when Berba went off injured). Tonight is about football and I believe that we can finally get one over on the ARSEnal and book our passage to Wembley.

For those of you at the game tonight let's make sure we make plenty of noise and create a superb atmosphere. COYS!

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