Tottenham belatedly kick off their Premier League campaign tonight with a visit to champions Man United. The record books imply that this will be three points in the bag for United, and Spurs have been on the receiving end of some shocking decisions at Old Trafford in recent times.
Roy Carroll must still be wondering how that linesman didn’t allow the Pedro Mendes goal to stand, and the farcical goal Nani scored last season did appear a little harsh on Gomes, even though the unpredictable Brazilian did play his part.
Although I’ve been frustrated at times with tactical naivety and last minute deals in the transfer market, Harry and the board deserve enormous credit for is closing the gap on the teams above us and we now have a talented squad that can compete at the highest level domestically.
With United’s injuries to key defensive duo Ferdinand and Vidic, the lads have a great chance tonight and I hope we don’t suffer from the insecurity complex of seasons gone by. We’ve put an end to long-lasting records of defeat against Chelsea and Arsenal, so there’s no reason why United can’t be next.
With strong organisation and experienced required tonight, maybe Harry should consider giving Brad Friedel a Premiership debut. Last Wednesday we again saw glimpses of Gomes flapping at crosses and making the wrong decisions, and I seriously have my doubts about the goalkeeper’s state of mind in important matches. High profile errors against Real Madrid, Chelsea and United last season support this theory and surely Friedel wasn’t signed for back-up, as we already have Cudicini.
United are masters of the counter attack, wing play and fighting until the final whistle, so Spurs will need their full-backs Walker and Ekotto to concentrate at all times and not stray from their positions.
If Spurs are to win tonight all the lads must perform at 100% which is why Harry has suggested Luka Modric won’t play. Unless Harry is playing mind games, this represents a massive opportunity for either Jake Livermore, or Niko Kranjcar to partner Tom Huddlestone in central midfield.
Personally I’d love to see Niko given the chance as he was outstanding against Hearts and his loyalty deserves rewarding.
I think the end result will depend on how well United’s young defenders cope with Spurs attacks. If Bale, Lennon and Van der Vart can stretch the full backs and find gaps then who knows what will happen. The rejuvenated Jermain Defoe looked hungry against Hearts and he’ll be desperate to retain his place ahead of the possible arrival of Emanuel Adebayor.
Obviously United will have chances and Harry will hope that captain Dawson can keep order at the back and try to contain Rooney and co.
As with any visit to United we’ll need a top performance, a strong referee, and maybe a slice of luck, but we’ve never had a better chance of three points at Old Trafford so let’s hope Harry and the boys give it their all.