Tottenham Hotspur travel to Norwich on the back of a frustrating draw against fellow title challengers Chelsea. (title challengers I know it still sounds too good to be true). And although both sets of fans, Spurs and Chelsea alike would probably argue their team might have edged it.( Tis true the goal line clearance by John Terry still with rankles me|). A draw was a fair result.
Enough though of yesterday, let’s take a look at how we aim to take advantage of Chelsea (1-1) Liverpool (1-1) and Man City (0-0) only managing draws today. A positive result at Carrow Road could see us edge a four point gap between ourselves and the blue flag flyers from South London.
Harry Redknapp says he’s hopeful of Rafa van der Vaart featuring at Norwich tomorrow night (Tuesday, December 27).
The Dutch forward was forced off at half-time of Thursday’s draw against Chelsea with a hamstring problem but has been back in training at Spurs Lodge.
Meanwhile, Harry reported that Ledley King came through the Chelsea match okay but he wouldn’t have enough time to recover to feature at Carrow Road.
Harry also ruled Jermain Defoe out with his hamstring injury and that he’d ‘wait and see’ on Younes Kaboul’s hamstring problem.
Speaking after training on Boxing Day, Harry said: “We’re hoping Rafa will be fit and it looks like there’s a chance he’ll be okay.
“Jermain isn’t fit though, Ledley was okay after the Chelsea game but this one has come around too quickly for him. He’s not fit.
“We’re not sure on Younes yet, we’ll have to see how he is.”
Michael Dawson is on the road to full recovery from his Achilles injury while Tom Huddlestone (ankle) remains sidelined.
ADEBAYORS RUTHLESS STREAK:
With Defoe again being absent, it seems likely that Harry will continue with the tried and trusted front pairing of Adebayor playing off Rafa.
“If you want to be in the top four those are the types of games that you have to win home or away. We have to do what it takes to win those games. Otherwise, forget it.”
Adebayor, on a year’s loan from Manchester City, scored in last Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea and said Spurs should take heart from drawing with a title rival.
”Five or six years ago we know what would have happened [against Chelsea], which means, the club is going forward and we are improving,” he said.
A more perplexing issue will be whether Harry continues with the same midfield that started against Chelsea with Sandro Parker Bale and Modric or will he opt for a little more pace and go for the young lad Townsend or perhaps Pienaar?
Pienaar will always give you that extra work rate. Something that cannot be underestimated on away days. Whereas Townsend will in my opinion offer more speed and directness, something we cannot have enough of.
Another tester for Harry will be the centre of defence with Kaboul (hamstring) King (swelling to knee) and Dawson (achilles) all missing the game. (though Kaboul does have an outside chance). This leaves us with Gallas and Bassong. The former performing admirably in his last appearance though the latter has a lack of game time so far this season.
SOME GAME STATISTICS:
Spurs make 120 more passes per game than Norwich and complete 11% more. Spurs also run with the ball three times more often and Norwich have been dribbled past 146 times. With Kyle Naughton ineligible against his parent club, the questionable Richie de Laet may deputize at right back. Norwich have made a total of nine defensive errors with de Laet making two in just five appearances. If Gareth Bale is fit, the Welshman will relish running at the Manchester United loanee. Bale created four chances against Chelsea, including the assist for Adebayor’s opener.
Eight of the 18 goal assists made by Norwich so far this season have come from set pieces. Spurs have also made nearly 50 more shots than Norwich despite playing a game fewer. They have scored the sixth highest number of goals and Grant Holt is in the top ten goal scorers in the league. Grant Holt scores at better than a goal every two games for Norwich. He also has committed more fouls than any other player in the division, despite making only eight starts.
Norwich have a simple style of football. It’s predictable, but it’s hard to stop. They are aware of their limitations and so tend to sit back and defend until they get their chance. They love to use width (making 23 crosses every week) and they create 10 chances per game. Spurs press the ball when they are out of possession. They make more challenges per game (98 to 87 despite Spurs much higher possession average) and less tackles. Because Tottenham try to close the ball down all over the pitch, they have won the ball nearly twice as often in the final third (54 to 28).
Statitional credit to (SAMROOKE89) English Premier League Index. Many thanks.