Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Carling Cup Preview

Carling Cup Semi-Final (2nd leg)

January, 2007  Arsenal v Tottenham

At 2 - 0 in the 1st leg, Spurs had a chance but now they’ve got it all to do. The draw probably means that the Arsenal youngsters will be entrusted with reaching the Final, although I’m sure there’ll be a number in reserve to help out if required.

At least Spurs go into the game knowing exactly what they have to do. With the away goals against them I really can’t see Spurs getting through with a draw – so quite simply Spurs need to become the first away team to win at the Emirates Stadium. It is possible and Spurs showed in the home game that they can cause havoc in the Arsenal defence and were able to deal with the Arsenal attack through the first half. It was only when Spurs played deeper after half-time that they allowed Arsenal to take control.

To win Spurs need to:
· show the level of commitment that was experienced in the early part of last Wednesday’s game and maintain it throughout. They have managed that on a number of occasions against Arsenal in the past few seasons – all of the last three home games and at Highbury last April – and Arsenal didn’t like it. Spurs must sustain it for the full game – not just the first half or for the first hour but for the full ninety minutes plus.

· ensure that their own mistakes aren’t the cause of their downfall. Against the top teams Spurs have let individual errors spoil the team performance and those mistakes have been punished. Every player needs to be in control and concentrate throughout the match to eliminate such problems. It will be difficult enough to win without presenting them with gift wrapped opportunities.

· take whatever goal scoring chances that are created – a ruthless spirit to clinically finish off a team and give them no second chances. The loss of Berbatov affected the course of the first game but Defoe and Keane are capable of scoring against anyone – now is their chance to prove it.

· be inspired and believe that they can win whatever happens during the game – not to be put off by a decision that goes against them or an early setback. This needs leadership from someone on the team – Spurs need a ‘hero.’ It’s a long time since Gazza inspired Spurs to the FA Cup win in 1991, another ten years to Ricky Villa’s inspired goals in the FA Cup semi-final and Final, another ten to Martin Chivers’ goals in the League and UEFA Cups but Spurs need someone to step forward and lead by example so as to inspire those around him and lift everyone to a better performance. Who could be the inspiration? Anyone – even the most unlikely of candidates could do it -Ronnie Rosenthal did it against all odds with his hat-trick against Southampton in 1995.

Situation vacant – become a Spurs hero, a Spurs ‘legend’ inspire the team to victory at the Emirates Stadium and take Tottenham Hotspur to the Carling Cup Final.



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