Tottenham Hotspur vs. Wigan Athletic.
Sitting 15th in the league, a usual relegation struggle looks likely for Roberto Martinez and his team, however, I am yet again highly entertained by the way they play their football and also how Martinez manages to sign quality players for next to nothing, as he looks to maintain Wigan's position in the division. Though Wigan are hardly looking like world-beaters, you have to admire the work Martinez has done to date, and I wonder whether the likes of Liverpool, Villa and perhaps even Spurs wonder if they should have looked more seriously at the Spaniard who seems to have been overlooked for so many 'bigger' jobs for others, who perhaps haven't achieved as much domestically as he has.
For all my praise of Martinez, I still believe this is a game for Spurs to lose, not Wigan to win. However after recent disappointments and regular making hard work off what should be comfortable games, you still feel that Spurs have to up their game and play with 90 minute consistency to maintain their supposed good start. At the moment, this season reminds me a little of 2005/06, when we received the plaudits for playing great football, but to me, were often grinding our results as opposed to beating teams with wonderful football or clever tactics. Do we blame, the players for not performing, a manager for getting his tactics and selections wrong or a Chairman for nor buying the right players? You can take your pick, but when we look at the table and see us in 4th, I suppose, we don't have too much to complain about.
What will again be interesting is who AVB selects tomorrow. Friedel or Lloris? Defoe or Adebayor? Sigurdsson or Dempsey? Perhaps we could also offer the merits of Iago Falque for either of the last two, such was his impression in mid-week at Carrow Road? Though it is claimed he will play, will we see Steven Caulker following his possible charges in Serbia? There are several questions for us to consider and debate between now and the teams being announced, which again, I suppose is a positive, that we have options in so many areas.
Frustratingly, we will again be without Moussa Dembele, who may even require surgery, if we believe certain media. Benoit Assou-Ekotto still doesn't appear to be ready to play, and Jake Livermore is a doubt, which to some might be a good thing, such is the criticism he sadly receives, but with Dembele and Parker potentially both out for some time, we are quite short of physical presence and bite in the middle of the park and I suppose we have to pray that we keep Sandro fit and in form for a few more weeks at least.
I don't think Villas-Boas will make too many changes from the side that tried their best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against Southampton last week, and rightly or wrongly I expect to see Friedel, Gallas and Defoe back in the starting line up, with Lloris and Adebayor on the bench and Vertonghen again at left back, should Caulker be okay. Perhaps it wouldn't be my pick, as I would start with Lloris, Adebayor and Naughton at LB and Vertonghen alongside Caulker, but I think we will go with, Friedel; Walker, Gallas, Caulker, Vertonghen; Huddlestone, Sandro; Lennon, Dempsey, Bale; Defoe. Either way, my main wish is to see Tottenham play to a consistently high level over 90 mins and I don't care of it ends 9-1 or 1-0, just as long as we can see us play as we know we can, but to date, we have only seen stop/start displays and that is my biggest frustration so far...