Opposition View – Spurs

Here’s this week’s opposition view courtesy of My eyes have seen the glory

How long have you supported Spurs and what was your first game?
My memory just about stretches back to 1969 when Spurs beat West Ham United at White Hart Lane 1-0 with Jimmy Greaves scoring through the legs of Peter Grotier in front of me at the Paxton Road end.  For those of my tender years, it was a match in which Greaves and Bobby Moore linked arms and did a jig in the middle of the pitch while play was going on.  You wouldn’t get that these days !!

Best and worst games in your time as a fan?
Best would be our 3-1 demolition of Inter Milan at the Lane in the Champions League.  I never thought I would see Spurs in the premier European competition in my supporting life-time.  It is the one thing I am thankful to Harry Redknapp for.

Worst … a harder choice, as it is a much wider field to pick from.  Notts County away in the League Cup in 1994 – losing 0-3 – is up there.  Away cup defeats at Port Vale, Bradford City and Swansea City at the Lane in 1978 come close.

Favourite manager and player in your time as a fan and why?
Favourite player is a tough one.  Lots of top stars who have played for the club come under consideration and the likes of Greaves, Hoddle, Ginola, Gilzean, Perryman and Ardiles are all thereabouts, but my first favourite was a defender named Phil Beal.  Partnering Mike England in defence during the successful early 1970s, he was street-wise enough to know when to mix it, but looked so calm and composed on the ball that he would have been a regular for England if Bobby Moore hadn’t been around at the same time.

How’s your start to the season been?
It could have gone better at Old Trafford on opening day, where we lost 0-1 with Kyle Walker scoring an own goal.  After that we had a home draw snatched out of what looked like a win against Stoke, a draw up at Leicester that looked a good result at the time, holding Everton 0-0 at home and then finally, a 1-0 triumph over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.  This was followed by a home win in the Europa League and a surprising 1-0 home win against Crystal Palace after the European match .  Losing to Arsenal in the League Cup with a weakened team upset a lot of Spurs fans, being a local derby (North London against South London) but beating Manchester City 4-1 after that dismissed it to the dark recesses of the memory.  How we fare after drawing in the EL at Monaco on Thursday, we will see.

So, a steady progression, without being spectacular, but the City victory will give the side a lot of confidence, especially after going 0-1 behind.

Are you happy with the business you did in the transfer market ?
As a fan, you always want more, but there was some shrewd business, mostly from player sales rather than those coming in.  £4 million for Kaboul, £9 million for Paulinho, £5.7 million for Capoue, £4.5 million for Chiriches, £6 million for Stambouli, £4.6 million for Holtby and getting Adebayor off the books all look like good deals and that is where Daniel Levy comes into his own.  Some grumbles were heard about his failure to bring in another forward with a reluctance to pay big money for West Bromwich Albion’s Berahino, but Heung-Min Son looks a good signing so far and it will be a shame (for us) that he is out injured for Sunday’s match .

However, the incoming Dele Alli is the media’s favourite at the moment, having gained an international call-up this week.  He is an athletic and skilful midfielder, who is brimming with confidence.  Kevin Wimmer and Kieran Trippier are having to wait for their opportunities to play in defence, while Toby Alderweireld is establishing himself alongside countryman Jan Vertonghen in a central defensive partnership that has great potential.
The other signing was Clinton N’Jie, who looks like one for the future, with great pace and hopefully, he will be a forward who will contribute to the goal tally on a regular basis.

What are your expectations this term?
Mine tend to be quite conservative.  Avoid relegation with 40 points is first, a good cup run, some progress in the pattern the team play and the development of the players, then a Champions League place !  The last would be nice, but not sure it will happen quite yet.  Top six should be achievable, although that depends on how other teams do, as much as what Tottenham do

How are out former players Ben Davies and Michel Vorm getting on? 
Ben has stepped into the left back slot to be first choice this season ahead of Danny Rose and he is making a fine job of it.  Last season was a little in and out for Davies, getting injured to finish his season after a dodgy performance at Southampton, but he has come back strong and is showing the sort of form you might be familiar with.

Michel Vorm is a different proposition.  He is a definite number two keeper at White Hart Lane and Hugo Lloris doesn’t miss many games, so the Cup games or cover for injury are the only look-ins he gets.  A decent keeper, I am starting to wonder if the lack of regular competitive games is affecting him ,as he has made a few errors when he has been called into the first team.

What do you make of Swansea and which players if any do you fear?
I have been impressed by the way they have quietly progressed under the management of Garry Monk.  I didn’t think it would be a good appointment after the way they had built through Martinez, Sousa, Rodgers and Laudrup, but he has taken the team on and achieved good results.  I am acutely aware that those good results have not been against Spurs, but Spurs have a nasty (for us) habit of turning these runs around.

The recruitment of players is good, finding and securing new additions who fit the team pattern and the onus on attacking is still there.  It has been combined with a steely determination in defence, with only Southampton managing to get through to score three times in the last league match .  Williams is a much admired defender, while Ayew has been impressive and Gomis is carrying on his goal-scoring from last season. Montero looks a tricky winger, although disappointed when I saw him at Spurs last season and we know all about Naughton and Sigurdsson.

Predict the score and where both teams will finish…
2-1 to Spurs. Tom Carroll’s inside information might give us a slight edge, but Gylfi will score.
Spurs should finish top six, but it could depend on injuries to key players.

Swansea might just finish outside, despite the good start.  But the Premier is a weird league this season, so anything could happen.