The match with Citeh wasn't a complete gaffe, as after those abysmal first 5 minutes the NUFC side seemed to really have it's stuff together. But, it's hard to dig out of a 2-0 hole, and it takes a bit of good fortune that just never seemed to come the Magpies way. Cut off those first five minutes and have our lads play that same game against Spurs, and I'd like our chances.
We do know that Defoe had a red card, so he won't be available, which is good news, but we'll still have to find a way to deal with Rafael van der Vaart, and since the side has not been great aerially we can probably expect to see that silly looking lank Peter Crouch (please don't hear me saying that I have any good reason not to like Crouch, I just think he's the silliest looking thing on the pitch, like a baby giraffe...), if only to mark Andy Carroll on set pieces. And the offense will have Gareth Bale to deal with, won't they?
On our side we'll see Kevin Nolan in plain clothes, as he serves a suspension for his fifth yellow and Alan Pardew says that Tim Krul is still the starter. I expected a change after that howler that gifted Citeh the first goal on Sunday, but I can respect that Pards doesn't want to be rash about it either.
Reasons we win:
A rub of green wouldn't hurt. It seemed that there were so many chances on Sunday that were just that close to having us make a game of it. And don't get me started on that last goal off of poor Coloccini's back side.... If our lads can keep that kind of pressure and have just a small bit of good fortune they can put some goals in, and I think we'll need to against this Tottenham side.
I'm still looking for Jonas Gutierrez to get his stuff back together. He played a much better game sunday in that he wasn't making constant mistakes, but all tolled he was more of a nuetral factor. He must be a positive influence on this offense for it to function correctly, especially with Kevin Nolan suspended.
We'll need to score early and score often to come out on top. I think the Spurs could very well win this game 2-0, but if we win, I think the score line will read 3-2 or 4-3. We'll need to keep up with the offensive pace of the game to have a chance at winning late, I don't think that we'll be sitting on a lead, but snatching the last goal to win could be in hte cards.
Reasons we lose:
Gifting goals is one of this teams main flaws, and we saw it rear its ugly head on Sunday. Pardew seems to be on top of it; in an interview he as much as said that the howlers have to stop or heads will roll. I still blame the problem on spending a year in the Championship, but the amount of leniency I'm willing to give based on that is dwindling.
Even without the gifting we should be focused on limiting chances. Spurs are a side that rely on an accuracy by volume approach that makes for very attractive, and in their case, very effective football. The approach can be innefective if quality players are a squad's issue, but Spurs aren't hurting there, especially on the offensive side.
Playing for the tie, or sitting on the lead will cost us this game. I don't expect we'll play for a tie, I haven't seen that attitude out of this squad at all this season, but if we end up with, say, a half time lead and attempt to hold it, I think that's the right way for a smack bottom. If we let them get back on balance and back behind the ball, you can expect them to start peppering the goal, and then it's only a matter of time....
Prediction: NUFC 3-2 THFC, the last time I said both teams would be scoring we tied Fullham 0-0, so keep that in mind before you lay any bets based on my figuring.