Stars, stripes, gripes and Spurs – a review

Things have been quiet on the owner front recently. Could this be due to the fact that the team’s performances have kept them out of the news? Maybe it’s because one or both football’s poorest billionaires are busy with the US Election and/or trying to put their finances in order as the cold tentacles of credit crunch begin to take their grip.

I suspect it is something along these lines but George Gillett gives us a different stance on this.

“There are some things which have happened which have upset the fans and got them mad at Tom and myself. At this point, based on the media that we are seeing and an awful lot of the fan communication, I think they are at a point now where they are allowing the boys to demonstrate their skill; and also to allow Rafael Benítez, who is one of the great coaches, to do his thing. We just want to leave it that way and we will operate behind the scenes and let the club do the talking.”

Wise words and ones that should have been heeded, particularly by Tom Hicks, from the moment they took over Liverpool. However, fans also see the wider picture. The issue of restructuring their £350m loan against an increasingly stringent credit market might mean there is still mileage in rumours that the Star Spangled Duo may still be considering, or will be forced to consider, selling the club? Significantly Gillett did not confirm or deny such rumours.

“The stories feed on themselves and some are made up. With regard to what we’re doing, we would not have any comment on that – there has already been enough speculation.”

Hmm but what better way to end all this speculation by giving us comment or even the full picture, from the horses mouth as it were? Even if it’s just no news? Instead we get silence and as Robert Louis Stevenson said

“The cruelest lies are often told in silence.”

Back to more palatable business. The fixtures seem to be coming thick and fast now. It only seems like five minutes since we played Portsmouth.

I guess it’s at times like this when the squad system comes into play. After Atletico Madrid Rafa complained of tiredness amongst certain players and Sunday’s game against Chelsea, where we had to be on our mettle right until the final whistle, couldn’t have helped this? Portsmouth was a struggle but Rafa seemingly performed the balancing act by getting the result and also taking the opportunity to rest Mascherano, Keane, Riera and Agger. A trick he’s not always successfully pulled off in the past!

Today’s visit to Spurs couldn’t really come at a worse time? They must be buoyed by the Redknapp influence and the “come back” against Arsenal on Wednesday. However, as always, there are grounds for optimism. For example although it’s a credit to Spurs there must be some debate as to whether the come back was down their resilience, never say die or poor professionalism from Arsenal in failing to play percentages and see the game out? With due respect to Arsene Wenger I cannot envisage Rafa tolerating or drilling his players to produce the kind of slipshod defensive play that we saw from Arsenal towards the end of the game. Arsenal where better going forward and dominated for long periods. The fact that Spurs had no answer to this should encourage us?

Team wise it seems that Robbie Keane is fit to face his old club. What sort of reception will he get? More pertinent to us what are the odds of him breaking his premiership scoring duck against them? Although he is back in training it seems Torres won’t be risked.

Prediction? If we show a more professional, more clinical edge than Arsenal did on Wednesday then this game should not present us with any problems. However, it’s always tricky when Spurs in the mood they are in at the moment. How will they react after Wednesday, with complacency or increased/renewed determination? Regardless of this I believe a repeat of the defensive work we showed against Chelsea should see us through and I take us to win 2-0.

Enjoy the game and your weekend.

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