We had a chance to sit down with Bryan A., editor for the fantastic SBN Spurs blog Cartilage Free Captain. He was even kind enough to answer a couple of asinine questions for us!
Coming Home Newcastle: You guys are sitting in Mike Ashley's Perfect Position - as far up the table as possible as while still not in Europe. This seems to be greeted with hand-wringing and consternation by Spurs fans. We haven't won a match since February. Wanna trade?
Cartilage Free Captain: I can't tell you how tempted I am to agree to this trade. Mostly because, unless Aston Villa or Reading manage to win the FA Cup, we're still going to be playing in Europa next season. Except we'll be in like the third qualifying round which begins in July. I think the general feeling of consternation from Spurs fans stems from the fact that in December and January we were playing some truly brilliant football. Then a loss to Chelsea and a defeat to Fiorentina later we were in a massive tailspin and playing like we had no idea just what we were doing.
Regardless, no. I'm not trading places.
CHN: What is the prevailing feeling regarding Mauricio Pochettino at this point?
CFC: Feelings are....mixed. I think a lot of people understood that this would be a transitional season, I just thought we'd see more of a transition to Pochettino's style as opposed to a transition back to Andre Villas-Boas' style. Personally, I find Pochettino maddening. He imposed his style of play very quickly on a pretty obviously inferior Southampton squad, but given an entire pre-season and a deep squad to work with, he's managed to do pretty much nothing. Pochettino makes weird squad decisions, ignores players that would obviously help this team (See Lamela, Erik; Dembele, Mousa; and Stambouli, Benjamin) and persists with starting players either in weird positions or players that just aren't that good.
Most on our site are willing to chalk this season up to Spurs having an awful midfield. That's definitely a problem, but I'm not sure how easily it can or will be fixed. I think, in general, the jury is still out on Pochettino. If results and performances are still like this next fall, then I can see fan opinion souring pretty quickly.
CHN: How many goals would we have to spot Harry Kane for you guys to just not play him this weekend?
CFC: 3. That would put Kane at 30 on the season.
CHN: Our players have developed a propensity for scheduling their own late-season vacations through red cards or spitting at people. Based on your impressions of Newcastle United, which player would you select and how would you go about convincing another player to schedule their own vacation?
CFC: Well, I can't decide who I'd pick. I'd probably want your best player, Moussa Sissoko to take a long break. I'd probably just tell him that I'd set up a meeting between him and Arsene Wenger or Laurent Blanc in some far away location.
Other than that, I'd be inclined to pick Sammi Ameobi. But he would only need to go on vacation for the first 5 minutes of either half. That seems to be when he causes us problems.
CHN: If you had to choose, tactically speaking, between John Carver and a block of moldy cheese as manager of your club which would you choose?
CFC: Having just been beaten by our former block of moldy cheese last weekend, I think I might go with the cheese. In fairness to Carver, he did get a hug from Jose Mourinho. Pochettino barely even got a handshake. So, he has that going for him.
CHN: How do Spurs fans like the idea of traveling to Denver for the MLS All-Star Game?
CFC: I've been to Denver in July. You think Colorado is all cold and snowy all the time, but it's not. Denver in the summer is miserable. I'm not going. Other than that, it's a weird decision because Pochettino was very clear that Spurs won't be going on tour this summer, so instead we're just playing this one off game in America, with a possible Europa qualifier the following weekend. American fans are probably excited though. It's always nice when your team comes to you.
CHN: What are your personal/Spurs fans' feelings on the #BoycottSpurs movement?
Meh. I mean, I get it. I'm not unsympathetic to Newcastle's plight, but it barely registers as a blip for most Spurs fans. If I thought the boycott would actually accomplish something, then maybe I'd be more enthusiastic or supportive.
CHN: How do you see this match playing out and what is your score prediction?
The way these two teams are playing, this match has bore 0-0 draw written all over it. There will be defensive mistakes, poor finishing, even worse passing, and in the end everyone will be completely and utterly dissatisfied.