Writer: Lord Shepherd
Date:Saturday December 27 2008
28 December 2008
So Christmas week ends with the visit of Harry Redknapp's expensively assembled Spurs team on the back the Baggies away defeat to super rich London club, Chelsea.
It has been seven days since that morale boosting victory against the Billionaires of Manchester City and the optimism that followed that game has quickly disappeared from the Baggies fans that witnessed the surrender at Stamford Bridge. It wasn't so much that the team gave up hope of winning but more that the Manager had conceded defeat before the game had started by consigning the stars of the defeat of the Citizens, Luke Moore and Roman Bednar, to the bench for the game against Chelsea. The West Brom Manager preferred to keep his strike duo fresh for the visit of Tottenham with the view that the White Hart Lane outfit will be easier to wrestle three points from.
I seem to recall this happening in the days of the Great Surrender (2005/2006 season) under Bryan Robson. That time saw the Baggies go down 4-0 at Chelsea and then lose 3-2 at home to Birmingham City. The gamble had failed miserably and saw Albion sink without a fight. Will this time be different?
Well for a start Robson changed half the team, not just the centre forwards and this Albion squad is far better than the one that tasted relegation that season. With the money that has been spent on this Spurs team it should be three points to the away team but the Baggies did beat Manchester City and Tottenham have underperformed and continue to underperform this season.
If the Baggies can move the ball forward quickly like they did against City then Luke Moore's pace could prove to be too much for a Spurs defence that has been breached too often for their fans liking this season.
The biggest worry for West Brom fans will be how they will cope defensively. Too many times this season individual errors have been the Baggies' downfall. However, the defence will be much changed for this game, the solid performers of Meite and Robinson are both out. Meite has a hamstring injury that could keep him out for several weeks and Robinson is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card against City. Leon Barnett is sure to deputise for Meite and Marek Cech is expected to make his first home start at left back. Whether that combination will prove to be more robust than the one that turned out against Chelsea remains to be seen but the man that has committed most errors this season, Gianni Zuiverloon, looks set to remain.
Luke Moore to add to his first goal.
For Spurs Ledley King is missing, again! Woodgate returns and Tom Huddlestone remains a doubt.
Darren Bent's extra pace could unlock the Baggies untried defence.
3-1 to the Baggies
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Date:Saturday December 27 2008
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