Sunday sees the first Spurs home game of the new season, with Queens Park Rangers the visitors. It also marks the return to White Hart Lane of several “old friends”, former manager Harry Redknapp chief amongst them.
Can Spurs build on last weeks satisfying victory over West Ham?
This is QPR’s first season back in the top flight after a year in the Championship. They only managed a fourth place finish last term but won promotion through the playoffs. Last week they marked their return to the Premier League with a disappointing 1-0 loss at home to Hull.
Sunday’s game won’t only see a return for Harry. Spurs legend Glenn Hoddle has joined Redknapp’s coaching team. Let’s hope none of his magic has rubbed off on the QPR squad. Former players, Caulker, Zamora and Jenas also now represent the West London club.
Redknapp, not known for his sophisticated tactics, sprang a surprise last weekend, playing a back three against Hull as part of a 3-5-2. Last season his team normally set up in a 4-2-3-1, although he did use his old favourite 4-4-2 on occasion.
Joey Barton runs the team in midfield. He led the squad in tackles, passes and key passes last year. Charlie Austin was by far the most prolific striker with 19 goals. It will be interesting to see whether he can reproduce this form at the highest level.
Loic Remy’s return from loan at Newcastle gives QPR some quality going forward, although he has been linked with a move away all summer, with Spurs a rumoured possible destination. The Tottenham defence will have to be sharper than they were at West Ham, if they are to contain the gifted striker.
A back three containing veteran centre backs, Dunne and Ferdinand, should be vulnerable to a mobile, pacey passing attack. Pochettino’s lone striker, backed by a trio of fast, interchanging midfield players should match up well.
Spurs are strong favourites at 1.5, a QPR victory is out at 8.0, while the draw is 4.6
The biggest selection problem for Tottenham is at right back. Kyle Naughton is suspended after his sending off against West Ham. With the continuing absence of Kyle Walker, it looks like Eric Dier may have to move across from centre back.
QPR have no major injury concerns and new signings Mauricio Isla and Leroy Fer could feature.
Pochettino showed again in midweek that he can see make substitutions that change games, as Spurs came back from a goal down in Cyprus. This time Erik Lamela made the difference, assisting both goals.
Kane has continued the run he began at the end of last season, creating the winner at West Ham and scoring a fantastic goal against Limassol. He deserves to start.
Soldado also scored in Cyprus. After Adebayor’s anonymous performance at West Ham, the Spaniard could be in line for a place in the starting line-up. The striker seems to link up well with Lamela – it was the Argentine who fed him the ball for his goal on Thursday night.
Last week, Adebayor looked to be suffering from the effects of his disrupted pre-season and I’m still unconvinced that he fits the Pochettino system.
Here’s my team:
Prediction: Spurs 2, QPR 1
Let me know what you think of my team in the comments below.
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