Date:Monday October 1 2007
White Hart Lane
125 years ago someone unfortunately formed Tottenham Hotspur. They have since then, been largely disappointing. Aston Villa travel to London on the back of a Carling Cup disaster exit, looking to make amends.
Tottenham's deathly looking Striker Dimitar Berbatov believes that if Spurs continue to work hard on the training ground, things will come good on the pitch.
Berbatov has scored just once this season, compared to his 23 goals last year and Spurs fans must be starting to wonder if he was a one-season player: ''I'll just keep working harder, keep pushing and pushing to get back among the goals. We stay after training to do extra shooting and the gaffer is working with us.
'If the team is winning though, it is good for me as well. You play your game through in your head and think over what you must do better.'
Spuds boss Martin Jol, who has had more replacements lined up for him than Avram Grant doesn't believe even 'The Special One' could do a better job at Spurs: 'I have to come up with the goods, that is what I have done,' said Jol, whose team are 18th in the Premier League.
'No one could've done better, I firmly believe that. Not even Mourinho.'
Sorry Martin but I think if we're all honest here, he probably could.
Meanwhile, at the Villa Park camp, where the players should have by now wiped the puzzled look off their faces following the Carling Cup exit, Martin O'Neill is looking to go back to basics in his quest for 3 points:
Speaking to avfc.co.uk O'Neill said: 'Spurs will be very difficult to beat and this will be a hard game for us. They have got a lot of quality players and they're capable of winning games - as they have proved.
'I think they have variety all over the place and once they get everybody fit they're as capable as any side outside the top-four. Obviously their ambition is to try and break into that. Who's to say they're not capable of doing that this season?'
Moving away from the David O'Leary school of praising the opposition however, he went on to add: 'We have to focus on the positive League form rather than last week's defeat against Leicester. Obviously that was disappointing, but we go back to our League form now.
'That's the lifeblood of the football club and we want to try and do well. We take the positives that we've won three out of four in the League and we should go into tonight's game with plenty of confidence.'
Noisy Nigel Reo-Coker believes confidence is higher than ever, proved by the fact that Olof Mellberg is now allowed to make fun of others.
The permission for the Swedish International to take the proverbial out of team-mates obviously becoming some kind of 'morale benchmark:'
Now even the quiet youngsters who are coming through, like Isaiah [Osbourne], they’re becoming more lively and everyone’s getting stuck in.
I’ve been letting Olof take the p*** out of me and the banter has risen up all around the training ground. It’s friendly and spicy and it’s what you need, a certain attitude, if you’re going to be a successful team.”
The Beeb are reporting that Jermaine Jenas will be fit for the 125th anniversary special, overcoming his abdominal strain.
Centre-back rock Ledley King is still out of action as he lives a life of grapes-a-plenty following his knee surgery earlier this year.
It is rumoured that Doug Ellis refused to sign Keane from Coventry City once upon a time because the Sky Blues wanted Ellis to buy the first round or they wanted an extra £500,000, something like that.
Expect him to come back to haunt us, again.
John Carew is the obvious injury woe for Villa and this is likely to mean that Gabriel Agbonlahor will start upfront, his preferred position.
Great news for Gabby who has looked pretty awful at times when out wide, even making me wonder once if Petrov should return to that role!
If theres one thing he can perhaps learn from Formula 1 champion-to-be Lewis Hamilton it is that being young, British and fast as **** (as the Holte End Would say it) is rather useless if you don't have the brain to go with it. Think on Gabby!
Shaun Maloney is a slight doubt following an ankle injury he picked up against Leicester (bless him.)
Wilfred Bouma should return after someone trod on his foot in our last league escapade against Everton.
Spurs are a team fairly similar to us in places with plenty of young, rapid players.
It's time for Nigel Reo-Coker to step up, and ensure that they can't play their own game, allowing Barry to break through and terrorise Spurs, like he seems to do often.
Date:Monday October 1 2007
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