Struggling Spurs are the visitors this weekend to the Bridge in a game us fans look forward to all season. It’s a chance to face our fierce rivals on our own turf, an opportunity to enjoy a boisterous atmosphere, and of course, a guaranteed three points! In truth, a win may come that much easier if the projected transfer of Nicolas “Le Sulk” Anelka is completed in time, however, Tottenham have their own stroppy striker in Dimitar Berbatov, who will either shrug his way around the pitch or add a few millions to his own transfer value with a performance to send us all home unhappy.
It could be the difference between the two sides’ strikers which settles the game, but with battles all over the pitch, an interesting game is certainly on the cards.Avram Grant may not be able to call upon a few aces in his pack, but the depleted squad showed character and quality on Tuesday night to edge past Everton in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final, and the stand-ins will be looking to prove themselves again on Saturday. John Obi Mikel, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Michael Essien are Africa-bound while Frank Lampard and John Terry are still out through injury. Petr Cech is set to return to training but there are still doubts over Claude Makelele and Andriy Shevchenko.
With both sides involved in mid-week action, squad depth will no doubt be key, and Juande Ramos also has more than his fair share of absentees to contend with. Defensive pair Gareth Bale and Benoit Assou-Ekotto are long-term injury problems, while the game may come too soon for fellow defenders Ricardo Rocha and Anthony Gardner. There are also question marks over Younes Kaboul and striker Darren Bent, while Tom Huddlestone is serving a suspension. Jermaine Defoe meanwhile has been told in no uncertain terms that he is free to leave Spurs, and Paul Robinson’s future is about as safe as he is at crosses, with the former England ‘keeper dropped for the game against Arsenal and reportedly on the brink of a White Hart Lane exit.
Last season’s corresponding fixture saw a Robinson error contribute to a 1-0 win for Chelsea. In his defence though he was probably as surprised as the rest of us when Ricardo Carvalho steamed forward and hit a 30 yard daisy-cutter which bounced over the Spurs ‘keeper and into the back of the net. Last year also saw the tremendous cup tie at Stamford Bridge which had to be seen to be believed. With Spurs 3-1 up and coasting at half-time following some truly incompetent Blues defending, a resilient second-half display saw Lampard and Kalou level the tie in a real display of free-flowing football.
With Spurs’ defence about as secure as Martin Jol’s job was at the start of the season, and the prospect of Anelka lining-up against them on Saturday, we could be in for a goal or two. Tottenham have conceded ten goals in their last five games while we have bagged 11 in our previous five, which can mean only one result on Saturday. A drab 0-0, surely!
Prediction: Hopefully not goalless! Anelka or no Anelka we should still be too strong for Spurs who have been disappointing all season. I’m going for a 2-0 win, not quite free-flowing, but a win nonetheless. Unless they park the bus that is…