One of the highlights of Wednesday night was seeing the verbal onslought that Joe Jordan dished out to Rafa when the Liverpool manager was whinging about the challenge Bale had made on his player. I had been concerned for some time. Joe appears such a mild mannered individual nothing like the fearsome centre forward who got stuck into defenders during his playing days with Leeds, Manchester United and Scotland.
He has more teeth off the pitch and the hair is shorter but it is reassuring to know that the terminator instinct remains behind the spectacles. Having said that , why did they play so lamely when he might be waiting in the dressing room to savage them at half time? That’s one thing about Spurs we’ll never understand.
Whilst tomorrow represents an opportunity to put right the wrongs of the last two games it also offers a banana skin to any of our players who are not ready for the fight ahead. A number of sides have now demonstrated that if we are not allowed to play we cannot overcome the shackles and are capable of capitulation. Leeds will come with only one thought in mind. Don’t let them play and we’ll see what happens.
They took that to Old Trafford and with the organisation and commitment that they demonstrated came out comfortable winners. How did they do this when so many sides go there and fail? Well Leeds suffer the reverse every week. For their opponent it is always a cup final. Old Trafford was one for Leeds. And they came through with flying colours. They know all about being pressed and how to withstand an onslaught from both players and baying crowd. Against Manchester they revelled in the extra space and played sensibly for all 90 minutes.
If we let them they will do it again. I read a piece on Tottenham On My Mind in which it was suggested that next time we are presented with a deep defending team we have to take charge. I could not agree more. We need to have a two dimensional midfield that offers pace as well as flair. If that means Kranjcar moves inside or to the right to accommodate Rose so be it and I think Jenas should sit out allowing Modric to continue.
I liked Alan Hutton’s work the other night. Had his shot curled in it would have been a tremendous goal. Everyone suggests he will leave the club but I think he should stay. He started well until his injury and whilst Corluka might be a better defender he is a useful option when Lennon is unavailable getting down the line and trying to put a ball into the centre. Gareth Bale has also impressed to the point where I question whether Benoit will walk back into the team.
Hopefully Bassong will remember his shorts tomorrow and Daws will keep his footing as they really should have started together at Anfield. We need Wilson to win us the ball and I still believe that Defoe and Keane should start with Crouch on the bench. We need to be forced to keep it on the deck use our width and keep a good tempo to put Leeds on the back foot.
We also need help from the officials. Knowing the rules will be sufficient and from there it is up to us.
This is a cup we can win. We just need to show that we want to win to prove it to ourselves.
Prediction: I’m hopeful of a 2-0 victory with an early goal to settle the nerves.