There will be some feeling as we travel oop north today we have far too much in common with the one legged man who entered into a bottom kicking competition.
Striker-less is an unkind phrase as midget gem and all round diminutive dynamo Jermain Defoe is ready, willing and able. As he proved the other night for England. But is he what we really need? Well, my dears …he’s what we’ve got. On an upbeat note, he’s never in his career have a better opportunity to ‘turn it on’ and really prove he’s worth his place. Nevertheless for me he’s benched.
I’d have to run with a 433 and essentially try to implement a ‘best of’ the preseason formations. This is a Premier League game of course so I’m struggling to see the benefit of Rafa as a substitute. That’s a scenario which says once Defoe’s finished bombing around like a mentalist for 65 minutes we throw on a guy who’s prepared to have a few shots from outside the 18 yard box.
Back four picks itself with Vertonghen and Kaboul standing strong front and centre. Dawson seems to lack the finesse for the Villas-Boas method, but the option to bring him in if he’s needed is a bit of a coup. Let’s hope there’s no hair brained scheme to sell him to Liverpool being considered.
Our midfield needs Sandro like a flower needs water. Despite his unavailability for the preseason the boss said of him, “He has had the best training possible in terms of playing time so you can say that he is one step ahead in terms of physical preparation.” Livermore should find Sandro inspiring company and whilst there is obviously no Modric, we are still fielding four players in advanced positions who I’d deem as intensively creative.
The deep lying front line will let van Der Vaart drift slightly forward of Bale and Gylfi who have clearly been developing an understanding. This could be dependent upon AVB’s instruction of course as close to the 433 High Line™ as we have yet seen. Despite the overuse of the phrase High Line™ the only glimpse we got of it was against Valencia went we went into ‘all hands to the pump’ mode after their second goal went in.
The last words from the boss: “It will be very difficult but we have our ambitions and strengths, which we will look to use. It will be a match fully charged with emotion but we have to be solid and stable. If we do that we can take something from the match.” This says to me he’s minded to avoid a loss, try a nick a win. He may well have got that just about right.