I should at this point be preparing myself for the trip to White Hart Lane and several swift ones in The Beehive, but instead I’m writing this preview because both Spurs and Wigan agreed to shift the match back 24 hours, due to the internationals of midweek.
It makes sense in some ways. Wilson Palacios for example, hasn’t looked himself when we’ve played him straight after a long trip back from Honduras. However, it’s a dangerous precedent to set, if you value the traditional kick off time on a Saturday afternoon. Not wanting to play on Sunday all the time was the very reason that we deliberately failed to qualify for the Europa League last season.
With tricky away fixtures against Aston Villa and Everton to come, we really can’t afford to take anything less than all 3 points here. Wigan are an erratic side, who have beaten the best and lost to the worst this season, so it will be interesting to see which version turns up at the Lane on Sunday.
In my interview with Wigan fan Dan Farrimond, he claimed that Wigan are the type of team that struggle to come back if they go a goal down. So let’s hope we put the pressure on early and put them on the back foot.
Let’s also hope that Redknapp dispenses with playing Defoe, Keane and Crouch together in the same team, as it clearly doesn’t work. We were lucky to win against Sunderland and we need to get back to fielding a 4-4-2 formation. Aaron Lennon may be available again and if he plays, he should necessitate such a change.
King and Modric aren’t match fit, but Bassong is surprisingly a possible selection, though I’d expect Redknapp to field Dawson and Woodgate, rather than to take an unnecessary chance on his fitness.
Up front is once again a conundrum. There has been talk that Keane will be left out after the exhaustion of the events of midweek, but I would have hoped that it might have got some of the old blood pumping again. If he doesn’t play, it will be a good opportunity to see how Defoe and Crouch combine, without being hampered by a change in formation to squeeze in Keane somewhere else in the team.
It will be a big game for Wilson Palacios, who will no doubt be wanting to shine against his former side and his international teammate Hendry Thomas. I’d expect Huddlestone to start alongside him, with Jenas on the bench. Somehow the latter’s lacklustre performance for England last weekend, further convinced me that he’s never going to really hit the heights for Tottenham.
It’s not just a win that’s important here but the performance. It’s a few matches since we can have claimed to have played really well and let’s face it, Wigan are a team that we should be able to dominate.
Why do I have a funny feeling that things won’t be that simple? I’m still saying 2-0 though.