The international break is finally over and we are ready for the football again. What better way to get in the groove again by getting into the mind of a Tottenham supporter ahead of the match on sunday? The future is bright in North London, but the present might be bleak.
The Liverpool Offside: That new stadium of yours was supposed to be open by the time the reverse fixture of this match happened, but as it is with construction delays happen. But it’s open now and Tottenham will indeed get to play in it this season. How’s this whole limbo process been, and what sort of toll has it taken on the team?
Cartilage Free Captain: I think the aura of playing at Wembley wore off pretty quickly for the supporters and the players. When the delays started to kick in, everyone was getting restless and it showed.
Thankfully, it’s almost over. Wembley is officially in the rear view mirror and the stadium opens next week. I’d recommend going on Twitter and checking out the account @NewSpursStadium for so many pictures. That twitter account has been a beacon of hope for everyone as a reminder that the saga is almost complete.
TLO: Now that the new stadium is open, does this look like a new era for Tottenham? Might Daniel Levy let Mauricio Pochettino buy a player or two now, or will Tottenham have to sell off it’s current crop of players to finance new transfers? Why is Llorente still in the 18 seemingly every week?
CFC: Levy has said there’s money, so we’ll take it at face value. We have some ideas of what happened last summer but nothing confirmed while January was never going to be big.
Spurs have to buy players this summer, especially since a few are going to be offloaded. We know Toby Alderweireld will move on. We fully expect one or both right fullbacks to be gone. It’s entirely possible that Danny Rose is sold. Christian Eriksen’s saga is nothing short of a migraine that won’t go away, but we’ll let that one play out as Zinedine Zidane seems like he wants to spend the GNP of a small nation in the span of a few weeks.
As for Llorente being in the 18....well, there’s nobody else. Look at our bench lately and you’ll understand: Lucas, Lamela (<3), Nando, Wanyama, Skipp, insert fullback here, Gazzaniga.
To be fair, Big Nando has stepped in and scored some pretty key goals in his limited time. He’ll be moving on a free this summer so the look for a backup striker will be something to watch for as well.
TLO: Friends of mine that are Spurs fans are eternally pessimistic. What’s up with that?
CFC: A full season of Tottenham Hotspur football can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to full years off of someone’s life. You want to remain positive and upbeat, but something always seems to happen that crushes the hopes and dreams in a season. The season where Leicester won the title is a perfect example. Of all the seasons, it was a perfect storm. Chelsea, Liverpool, United, Arsenal, City...all down years. It was right there. And not only did Leicester pip Spurs for the title, but Spurs managed to finish third.
That should be the best summary I can give.
TLO: I think the whole “Spursy” thing is a bit mean. Tottenham have consistently been a good team for about a decade. Things like injuries and stuff always seem to derail the season when things are going well (like this season!) But, top 4 is still very much alive for you. Can Poch rally his troops for the run in, or will Spurs be “Spursy” and find a way to be on the outside looking in?
CFC: There was an opinion piece I read not long ago that did a good job about how Spurs don’t get any kind of credit, even though they have played some attractive and successful football the last few years. It does get a bit tiring, but this is nothing new.
If you look at what this club has dealt with this season, it’s pretty remarkable: The stadium delays. No signings. The injury crisis in January/February. Add that all up and this team is still in the Top Four race and in the final eight of the Champions League. It’s not silverware, but it’s a testament to Pochettino’s work.
TLO: Tottenham were the team I least wanted to Liverpool to draw in the last eight of the Champions League and on the reserve, the team I wanted City to draw the most. I got my wish! How do you see Tottenham faring in these fixtures? Can you at least promise me to run City ragged when you play them seemingly 14 times in 2 weeks in April?
CFC: Remember that pessimism you talked about earlier? Yeah, here it is front and center: We can make a match of it at the new stadium because it will be electric and the team will be energized. As for the matches at the Etihad, if this were a couple of years ago when Pep was still trying to figure his own team out then I’d be more hopeful. Crazier things have happened, but the Etihad has not been kind to Spurs and I do not look forward to watching Leroy Sane or Gabriel Jesus destroy whoever is at right fullback for Spurs.
TLO: I really like Son Heung-min. Is he more important to Tottenham than Harry Kane or Christian Eriksen?
CFC: We all love Sonny. He might be the most pure man in football and he’s just adorable. He can also be absolutely lethal when he’s on form. Just ask Dortmund about him!
I don’t know if he’s more important than either Kane or Eriksen. I know that he can certainly provide some rest for Kane up top as a striker but he cannot play Eriksen’s role. Let’s say that he’s a vital cog in the attack and when he’s on, Spurs are incredibly dangerous to face.
TLO: Would you rather see Liverpool or City win the title?
CFC: I’ll let David Squires answer this one for me:
Full disclosure, I do not live in the UK so I’ll watch the fallout safely on the news.
TLO: Is every Tottenham player dead? What’s the lineup going to be for Sunday?
CFC: Let’s go down the infirmary list quick:
Eric Dier took a knock in England’s first international pointless match, but seemed to be fine. He’ll be a match day decision I’d bet.
Serge Aurier was subbed out with what looked like a hamstring injury in his equally pointless international match. He’s out.
Kieran Trippier is...fine, I guess. He was on the bench for England but a cardboard cutout of him on a slide hockey table might be just as effective in defending Sadio Mane.
Everyone else is as healthy as they’re going to get. Spurs should have a fully functional DESK attack up top.
(4-2-3-1): Lloris (C); Rose, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Trippier (kill me now); Sissoko, Winks; Son, Eriksen, Dele; Kane
Don’t be surprised if Pochettino tries three in the back. If that happens, add Davinson Sanchez and remove Winks.
CFC: Pain. 3-1 Liverpool and I run up one hell of a bar tab.