Normally a summer which includes the distraction of a major international football tournament, isn’t quite as painful as those that are merely devoted to cricket and tennis.
This summer was different though. Yes, there was a World Cup on, but it was largely boring and England’s performances were frankly sickening. There is only one antedote to the anti-football that we were duty bound to watch through June and July, and it’s the chaotic, frantic, beauty of an English league season.
We kick off the entire Premier League in an early kick off against Manchester City. Normally such a start time is not welcomed, but I’ve missed White Hart Lane so much, that I just can’t wait to get back there. What’s the betting though that the kick off gets put back, due to our new electronic ticket system blowing up on its debut?
Unusually for a first game of the season, this one actually carries some real importance. One of our most vital matches last term was our away trip to Manchester City and with both teams again going head-to-head for a place in the top four, it’s an opening match with real bite.
City will want to get revenge for last season, when we beat them home and away. Come to think of it, we tend to beat them twice a season most years and I’ve got a good feeling that we will pick up three points on Saturday. Some things never change…
It’s been a frustrating summer, without the sort of glamour buy that would have whetted the appetite, but there’s a lot to be said for team continuity. Our side knows each other inside out, while City’s are still learning each others names. They’re also full of the sort of egos that makes an implosion reasonably likely this season.
They’ve had a poor pre-season, in which they only won their first game last weekend against Valencia. I don’t tend to read too much into these practice matches, but their record does point to there being a bedding in period for their new players.
We’re starting the season with a clear bill of health, save for the injured Woodgate and Pavlyuchenko. The Russian’s absence should mean a start for Defoe and Crouch, even though Keane has been in good form in pre-season.
I’d also expect Harry to start off by playing things safe, with Huddlestone and Palacios in central midfield and Modric tucked in on the left and Lennon on the right. That would mean Bale starting at left back, where I think he does the most damage.
The one surprise could be at right back. Kaboul was very good in that position at the tail end of last season and he may push Corluka for that spot. There is also a hope that Dos Santos has finally knuckled down and is ready to make an impression at the club, but I still think he’ll start on the bench.
I’m going for a 1-0 Spurs win. Let’s bloody their nose and start a crisis at City that will see them sacking their manager by Christmas. Come on You Spurs!