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.
Discuss this with me on Twitter: @ABPSpurs
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I do like that line up, Mr ABP. I would definitely have Dier in at RB over Naughton, seems a good reader of the game, defensively solid and also has the youthful stamina to make himself useful as an attacking outlet down the right hand side. Ivanovic is a natural CB but consistently does a great job for Chelsea in the RB role so I don’t see why having a specialist full back in there is absolutely essential (remember it was Kaboul playing at RB that assisted Crouch’s goal to take us to the CL that time)…
As for Bentaleb, not sure he works hard enough really, he is tidy and everything but I would love to see Lewis in there today. As the home team we should be looking to dominate QPR and I think one defensively minded CM should be enough, with that reasonably solid looking back 4. Maybe Poch would use him as an impact sub, but my preference would be for us to really hammer them in the first half and take the game away from them. Holtby’s high energy pressing, eye for a through pass and additional goal threat would improve our chances of a half time lead, and then maybe a neat and tidy Bentaleb coming on with 20-30 minutes to go to help us keep the ball away from them could be a good idea. (Also, Holtby can cover for Kane on the left side when he makes those diagonal runs towards the penalty spot…?).
On that note, I partially agree Kane deserves a start, but I am also thinking we might need more width… seems like Lamela likes/is most effective when operating inside, and furthermore I have a principal objection to a Spurs team playing at home without an out and out winger in the line up…. Townsend for me!!
Let’s go boys!
Townsend did do well when he came on last weekend. Looks like he’s not even in the squad for today’s game and Pochettino’s gone with Chadli which surprises me.
What do we know eh! Another good win but still difficult to form an opinion on the team as the abjectness of QPR yesterday made this an unfair basis for reference… much like being down to 10 against West Ham fails to give an adequate barometer.
But having said that, you can only beat what’s in front of you and there were A LOT of positives about yesterday’s performance.
Lamela’s acceleration, control, eye for a pass and faultless execution…. Chadli’s intelligent movement and composure in front of goal… Vertonghen getting back into the groove and even Danny Rose did ok.
Add to that the obvious huge bonus of Dier hitting the ground sprinting, the permanent finesse and craft of Eriksen and Capoue looking solid and assured….
But nothing beats the apparent team spirit, nay squad spirit, it looks like everyone is playing with a smile on their face and working hard for each other… hope this factor remains consistent throughout the season when individual form starts to drop and we have a couple of rough results…
I was very impressed. Match report coming soon.