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Tottenham - Opposition Views 2


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Lifelong Tottenham fan Muchaho, from OffTheCrossbar was kind enough to answer a few questions about the up-coming Premier League game between Chelsea and Tottenham

How long have you supported Tottenham?
All my life, or for as long as I can remember at least, so about 20 years now. It was a toss-up between Spurs and Wimbledon when I was very young, actually. Something to do with the Wombles, I imagine.
You've had a good campaign this season. Do you think Spurs have radically improved under AVB?
I wouldn't say we've radically improved, but I think we've shown the signs that we could do over the next couple of years. There's been a few times this season when I've really thought we've felt like a 'different' Spurs team, although obviously there's no escaping our traditional spectacular end-of-season collapse just yet. It's very refreshing to have a manager like AVB, after four long years of Redknapp (who I liked about as much as I gather you lot like Benitez). It makes a nice change to have a manager who I actually learn things from in press conferences and interviews, as opposed to Harry's incessant self-serving soundbites/pally banter with his journo mates. And isn't Andre handsome?
Is it safe to assume that Bale is Tottenham's player of the season? Pick another player who has been consistently good this season.
Yeah, Bale's been literally unbelievable at times. I've been his biggest critic over the past couple of years but he's stepped up so many levels this season - again, an awful lot of that seems to be down to AVB. Bale aside, Lloris has been massively important - a huge improvement on Friedel - and on the whole Vertonghen's been the definition of dependable. Sandro was also fantastic up until his injury halfway through the season… losing him really hurt us. He's in a completely different league to Parker and (lol) Livermore.
What is your view on the notion that Spurs are a 'one-man team'?
I think it's largely a self-fulfilling prophecy; I think at times we worry too much about trying to get Bale the ball, to the extent that it clouds the other players' judgement and they start ignoring/not noticing better options. Which is fine if Bale's on top form, but can become a real problem when he's on the pitch but having an off-day. In saying that, the label's certainly unfair - the three players I mentioned before, Lloris, Vertonghen and Sandro, are all very talented and wouldn't look out of place in any squad in the world IMO. The thing is that they're all defensive players, while I'd say Bale's our only top class attacking player (especially since we still haven't really replaced Modric or Van der Vaart). Obviously that makes him stand out more.
What did you make of the reverse fixture back in October?
It was a very open game wasn't it? From memory we played very well for about 15 minutes after half time, but apart from that we were poor and you deserved the win. Mata was excellent and Gallas was woeful. The main thing I remember about that game was having to play Huddlestone instead of Bale at the last minute, because Bale's girlfriend had decided that five minutes before kick-off would be the ideal time to go into labour. I'll be honest. I wasn't impressed.
Chelsea have had a hectic schedule playing 2 games every week since January. Do you think Tottenham have an advantage in that way?
Possibly, but Chelsea are used to having long seasons, playing lots of games in various competitions right up until May, so I'm sure they've learnt how to handle a fixture pile-up. This is obviously a massive game, as well - not just because of the rivalry, but because of what's at stake - so I wouldn't be surprised if fatigue went out the window and both teams just ran on adrenaline for 90 minutes.
If you could have one Chelsea player, who would it be and why?
Ooh, Mata please. Everything about him oozes class. He's one of those things that I dread as a Spurs fan - a Chelsea player who it's virtually impossible to dislike. To be honest, we need a striker much more desperately than we need another attacking midfielder… I'll let you hold on to Nando, though.
What lineup and formation do you expect AVB to put out?
Hmm, hard to tell. Sounds like Dembele's out injured, with Lennon and Parker both touch-and-go.
Walker - Dawson - Vertonghen - Assou-Ekotto
Parker - Huddlestone - Holtby
Lennon - Adebayor - Bale
…although that midfield certainly wouldn't fill me with confidence. I'd rather see Tom Carroll in there than Hudd. Hopefully Sigurdsson, rather than Dempsey, to take Lennon's place if he doesn't make it.
Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 22 home league meetings with Tottenham (W15, D7), plus three cup matches (W1, D2). Do you think Spurs can topple Chelsea at the Bridge?
Haha. Thanks for reminding me! This is the last 'hoodoo' we've got left now, after ending our 23-year drought at Old Trafford earlier this season. And I'm sure Andre would love to be the man to bring an end to this one too. I won't pretend I'm expecting much though; if I had to predict a score I'd guess 3-1 to you.
Finally, your prediction on the top 4 spots?
I think it'll be you and Arsenal, unfortunately. Spurs do at least have it in our hands at the moment, but I'd be very surprised if we won all our last three games and I can't see much less than that being enough for us. As I saw someone point out the other day though, us three are 1st, 2nd and 4th in the form table - so whoever does miss out, it'll be hard to argue that they've bottled it.
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