Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Tuesday December 15 2009
Vital Spurs top man OxfordSpur takes the chair before tomorrow night's mouthwatering clash at White Hart Lane and become our latest Deadly Sinner...
1. 6th placed with a game in hand, City head south to London and a 5th placed Tottenham side who are running virtually neck and neck with The Blues in the bid to take apart the 'Big Four' monopoly. Spurs have been sensational at times this season, but since that amazing 9-1 win over Wigan have failed to win a game in 4 run outs concluding with a 0-1 home defeat to lowly Wolves. What's the mood at the Lane, how's the season been for you so far and what's stalled the progress this past fortnight?
Let's be honest, can we really be upset after spending almost the whole season in or around the top four? Recent results have been frustrating and we should have buried Wolves at the weekend, but are away draws at Villa and Everton that bad, especially when we were by far the better team in both. I don't think our problems have been that other sides have out-played us, but we have played a very deep line which has blunted our attack and showed that we perhaps don't have the guile or killer instinct in the final third that our goal stats indicate.
'If we add the Carling Cup game at Old Trafford into the mix, again we dominated for the first 30 minutes or so, but missed around ten chances. United had two attempts in the first half, but went in 2-0 up. Poor defending, maybe, but the fact was that they took their chances and we didn't, that has been the story of recent games. I have a feeling that Spurs will actually prefer facing you tomorrow as you will come to play and win, which in turn could give us more time and space to do the same.'
2. What are your hopes and aspirations for this season?
'I would be happy with 6th and visible progress to be honest, anything else would be a fantastic bonus. A top four place is still clearly an option, but I'm not going to worry too much about it if we miss out, as long as I can see that we are heading in the right direction. My main question this season is how do we guage our improvement, when all of the sides in the top four historically have either dropped in quality or are pretty much on the same level. City have clearly improved, but aside from yourselves, who else can honestly say they are better than last season??'
'3. Where's the best place for a pint and a balti pie before the match on Wednesday night?'
'Have to say that it's been a long time since I had a beer before a game as I take my 9 year old and he doesn't quite pass for being old enough to get served. Personally I stick with tradition with food and drink, both going to and at the ground. Mess with this and you are in trouble. My boy insisted on having toffee's instead of the usual fruit pastilles for the Stoke game and we all know what happened there...'
'4. 'Shot by both sides:' The Dangermen. Who should City and in turn Spurs, be paying close attention to at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night?'
'I quite fancy facing Toure and Lescott and am guessing our strikers will relish the less claustrophobic atmosphere of recent games. Similarly, I hope that Lennon and Kranjcar enjoy the same luxury and if they get enough ball they will create chances for themselves and the strikers.
As for you guys, I think you will be thinking exactly the same thing. Both sides are better in attack than defence and it could be a goal fest. Adebayor always gives us trouble and scores, whilst the likes of Robinho and Tevez can run anyone ragged. Although I see strikers getting the headlines, I can see the midfield being the place where the game is won or lost and I think you may just have the edge here.'
'5. Everyone at Manchester City from pitch to state of the art turnstile are very publicly aiming to take on and destabilise the seemingly endless, increasingly boring procession of 'The Big Four' - Can it be done? For example, City 's record against the Big Four to date this season is that scandalous odd goal defeat at the swamp, a draw at Liverpool, the stuffing of Arsenal and a classy win over Chelsea. Can the likes of City, Spurs and Villa upset the status quo?'
'Of course it can be done and you have to be the favourites to do it. Let's be honest, Liverpool look a shadow of their side of last season, Arsenal continue to be flat track bullies, United have declined, but remain a good but more workmanlike side and Chelsea are perhaps only better organised than last season, but what will the ACN do to them.
'I see United, Chelsea and Arsenal as all nailed on for the top four, but Liverpool have real problems. It wouldn't surprise me to see you push Arsenal, if you can turn draws into wins and get a run together, whilst in truth I think Spurs and Villa are still a little short to do anything than nick forth, but probably are still just a little short overall.'
'6. Are The Citizens guilty of 'ruining football,' one of the more hysterical charges levelled at the club throughout 2009?'
'I have to say I am not a fan of clubs who have bottomless pits of money, but it has always been this way but the numbers were a little smaller. Football will never be a level playing field and there isn't any rule change that will make it so. I would like to see clubs having to live within their means, but what is there to stop clubs bending the rules to get around any restrictions? I can imagine your owners sponsoring the tea trolley for 200m a season or paying Messi 10 grand a week, but giving him an oil field as payment for some 'commercial work' as long as he signs for City. Probably all within the rules, but clearly a way round wage capping etc.
'Interestingly it isn't all about how much you have, or who you buy. Real Madrid have proved that in recent years and any spend, spend, spend policy also has to have a core of stability, with management otherwise it is usually going to end in tears.'
'7. And so to battle. Your match prediction?
'I can see goals and potentially a very good and open game. Spurs have not looked comfortable against teams who outnumber us in midfield and I assume you will play a 4-2-3-1 formation, which could cause us problems, although I can see us exploiting your own defensive weakness's. I am going with 2-3 to City.'
8. The Bulging Sack Bonus: What do you want for Christmas?!
'World Peace.... Actually come to think of it, I want the X-Factor song to miss out on number one, snow and to end Christmas the same weight as I started it. Perhaps it is more important to wish Harry Redknapp and Daniel Levy everything they wish for in the transfer window...'
Many thanks and respect to OxfordSpur and the Vital Spurs team for a top drawer, great read interview!
Deadly Sinners so far this season:
Blackburn Rovers: Mikey D
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Akela
Arsenal: Paul Mustchin
Manchester united: Nobby Allcock
West Ham: Rossy
Aston Villa: The Fear
Wigan Athetic: Worbo
Fulham: Andrew Joyce
Scunthorpe: Luke Thornhill
Liverpool: Chubby Alonso
Hull City: Matt Wilson
Bolton Wanderers: Richard McC
Tottenham Hotspur: OxfordSpur
MATCHDAY THREAD: Spurs v Man City - Wed. December 16 - 8:00pm KO UK Time
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Date:Tuesday December 15 2009
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