Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What can we expect from the next fortnight?

After what has seemed like a never-ending run of two games a week, Tottenham fans only have three matches in the next two weeks. But blimey - what three games they are!

Following our trouncing of Derby on Saturday (that's a joke by the way), attention can now turn to cup competitions. But before doing so, a word or two on this weekend's match. I thought the first half was the most boring 45 minutes I've ever seen. I'm not saying Darren Bent isn't a good player, and I appreciate he needs games to regain his match fitness, but I thought he was brought back too soon as he was completely anonymous. Fortunately the second half was better, especially when O'Hara and Berba came on, and once Robbie scored it was only ever going to be three points.

I expected Paul Jewell to spend time after the match moaning about how the score-line flattered Spurs, how it may well have been different if they'd taken their chances before we'd scored, how Ramos' substitutions really changed the game and so on. But no, he went onto a post match rant about the fact that John Alexander, the Tottenham club secretary, handed in the team sheet and not any of the senior coaching staff and therefore how disrespectful we are of referees. Whatever. Ramos' response was short but sweet, "That's how we do things." Perhaps if Jewell had focused more on his team and on football he'd be able to boast a better return than three points from a possible 36.

Anyway, enough of the league as we're now embarking on some massively significant cup games. We've got two UEFA Cup matches against Slavia Prague followed by the Carling Cup final against Chelski. Despite a distance of over 600 miles between London and Prague, Slavia Prague is a team we're actually pretty familiar with. We beat them home and away last season in the same competition (1-0 the score-line on both occasions), Cerny and Pekhart both used to play for them, from Ramos' perspective he's already beaten them earlier this season in the Champions League, and from Levy's perspective ENIC owns a third of them. So not that much of an unknown then.

From a footballing perspective I think they're a fair side. Being one of only two half decent Czech teams they are regulars in European competition. As well as playing Sevilla earlier this season they also played Ar5ena1 - getting thrashed 7-0 at the Emirates and then getting a plucky 0-0 draw in the return game.

All being well we should beat them. But with the Carling Cup final just around the corner, I think our challenge is to get a good enough result in this week's away leg to enable us to perhaps rest a player or two next week. Now that our defence is looking tighter I see no reason why we can't put in a solid performance this week, score a goal or two up the other end and come back to the UK with an encouraging advantage. Although Slavia Prague currently lead the Czech league, their last competitive fixture was two months ago today (due to the winter break), so they won't be as match fit as a Tottenham side that have played 16 games in that period.

Assuming we get the right result on Thursday, some of the pressure could be lifted next week. It's vital for us to beat Slavia Prague over the two legs as progressing in any European competition has to be an important objective for a side like Spurs. However, due to the sheer number of games from the 'round of 32' which we are now in through to winning the final (i.e. 9 matches) our best chance of qualifying for next season's tournament is to beat Chelski at Wembley. We may not be the favourites, but it is just one game over 90 minutes. We played them four times last season, winning won, drawing one and losing two. I know anything could happen, but I have a sneaky feeling we can beat them this month... and remember the last time Spurs and Chelski met in the Legaue Cup (we thrashed them 5-1).

There is certainly plenty going on at the moment and despite Ar5ena1 moving five points clear of ManUre in the league, I think it's an exciting and interesting time to be a Tottenham fan. COYS!

3 comments:

Steve the Midlands Yiddo said...

I think that we need to ensure that focus on the UEFA games as if we have an eye on the Cup Final we will get knocked out of both in the space of just 2 weeks.

We need to go over to Prague and achieve a comprehensive defensive display and maybe win 1v0 and then but the tie to bed in the first half of the 2nd leg so we can then rest the likes of Keane, Berba and Jenas ready for Chelski on the Sunday.

When it comes to Sunday, I agree that either team can win on the day, but if we go into the game having come away comprehensive winners against Prague will have much more of a chance.

Ramos is a cup genius and I'm sure he won't let our minds wander!

Anonymous said...

We need to win by 2 away so that the bench is full of resting players for the return, only to be used if needed. That way wecan be fresher for chelski.
COYS

AUSSIEROO said...

IF WE GO AWAY AND STEAL A RESULT THEN IT IS IN OUR OWN HANDS, AND RAMOS CAN DECIDE WHAT HIS OPTIONS AT HOME MIGHT BE I.E PEKHART AND OTHERS.A GOOD RESULT AWAY COULD RELIEVE THE PRESSURE ON REGULARS SO THAT THEY CAN APPEAR AGAINST CHEL5K1!.....IT CAN HAPPEN COME ON YOU SPURS.