A deathly hush from Spurs this week. No brash pronouncements, or injury scares, player protests. As quiet as the contemplation room at the Department of Children, Schools and Families. A whole lot of nothing going on and all the better for it. It’s just what we need as we build up to the most momentous 9 days in the club’s history since, oh, at least 2 weeks ago.
It’s the perfect preparation. If I listen very carefully, I can hear the sounds of aching and weary limbs gradually healing and becoming stronger, although sadly that does not include Ledley’s knee. Luka, Daws, Thud and JD all require endless massage, physio and a sprinkling of magic dust, just to make sure. A quiet and peaceful week is just what the doctor ordered.
As a kid I had a couple of model planes. Pre-remote control, the method of propulsion was a propellor attached to a thick brown rubber band that ran the length of the fluselage. If you wound it too weakly, it unwound in a trice and nothing much occurred. Too tight and the whole aircraft began to contort as if in pain. Get it just right, and I’m damned if the bloody thing didn’t glide through the air for a hundred yards or so, a long way for soemthing so small and technologically crude.
For some reason it comes to mind as, like many fans, the tension has gradually mounted. As the days pass, I’m becoming as taut as that rubber band, waiting and wanting to get on it with, for it to be Saturday, for us to find out our fate. I guess the players feel some of that too. Get that tension just right, channel it and it will see us through. Mostly it went for about ten yards before crashing into the ground. Sometimes the effect of the impact meant the wings came off and bounced to a height greater than any acheived by the plane itself. But that doesn’t fit the metaphor, so forget it.
Many supporters have released the pressure by venting their feelings over the furore about the Manchester City goalkeeper. I can’t be bothered. I’m not fussed about what our opponents are up to.The rules seem to have been followed, and if they are the same for everyone, then that’s fair enough. We could have used these same rules if Gomes had been injured (and what a nightmareish thought that is, given his brilliance over the past few months). It may explain the apparently strange decision to keep Alnwick as our number two and not sign anyone during the last window. Having said this, it is a slightly odd rule. Bringing in another keeper as cover if a club is short I can understand, but allowing them to parachute in someone who is clearly superior to their existing players, rather than be back-up on the bench, I’m not so sure about.
My sole concern is for Spurs – this thing is in our hands. Seven points are enough and if we play to somewhere close to our best, we will get them, regardless of anything else. If the others slip up, that’s a bonus.
So to Bolton. Owen Coyle’s prowess as a manager has been amply demonstrated in the manner in which he has altered their playing style. They will pass and work hard for each other, one up front and five in the middle. However, they will not stretch us as United did last Saturday and will not keep Bale quiet for 90 minutes. Whilst they will be hard to break down, we will surely make chances as the game progresses.
I’d start with Hud and Luka in the middle, Bale at left mid with BAE behind him. Kaboul at right back- his strength will be useful, especially at set pieces. Apparently Bolton have scored more goals this season from throw-ins, 6, than Stoke. Lennon starts if fit. Ledley rests if fit or not. If he can play one game between now and the end of the season, that has to be City.
Back to those chances – we may make them but there’s a niggling doubt about whether or not we will take them. JD has not looked sharp since he came back into the team and has seldom looked dangerous. On a few occasions he has let slip his frustration as he tries those long shots, way out and with half the defence directly in front of him. However, his form is hard to judge properly because he’s not had the service. We’ve not been sliding balls into channels for him to run on to nor have we put in those teasing crosses across the 6 yard box. Pav too has looked unsure in front of goal.
Whatever these minor doubts, this is a game to be won. We are the better team and with mental strength plus a bit of patience if things don’t go all our own way early on, we should see this one through. It’s so long since he played, I’ve forgotten what an effect Lennon has on our balance and ability to break through. Almost forgotten, that is. Bale on one flank, Lenny on the other. A mouthwatering prospect. What a time this is to be a Spurs fan.