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Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United

Filed: Tuesday, 17th December 2013
By: Preview Percy

Oh dear. Preview Percy on Spurs. Let's face it he's not one to ignore the easy targets is he? It'll end in tears you know. Particularly if you happen to be an ox....

It's Christmas or thereabouts so what better time to spare a thought for those less fortunate than ourselves. In fact it's traditional to pay them a visit. So off we go to Tottenham for a League Cup Quarter Final. Kick-off is 7.45 pm and, it being midweek, it's just the usual rush hour traffic and transport to deal with. Extra time and penalties will be available to decide the tie on the night.

Now I know one shouldn't laugh but really, Spurs are taking their role as the nation's laughing stock just a wee bit too seriously at the moment. Here at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered, only the fact that Matron is a Spurs supporter has stopped us from quite literally laughing ourselves to death. She's a formidable woman and she has one of those looks that could stun an ox from 20 paces. Just a single glance is enough to quieten us down even when we've had an evening out at the Swan & Superinjunction.

Matron's ox-stunning skills have been much needed of late. A 6-0 drubbing up at Man City and a 5-0 reverse at the weekend to the scousers proved to be drubbing too far for Mr Levy and Mr Weird Beard picked up his P45 s a result and the manufacturers of incontinence wear started rubbing their hands with glee.

Now Spurs supporters have always had a reputation for not exactly being the sharpest tools in the box. You only have to look at the responses to this particular column over the years to see that basic intelligence is at something of a premium in N17. The internet doesn’t help. Before the invention of this web thing the portrayal of Spurs fans as being a bit dim could be passed off as “traditional football stereotyping”, a bit like thieving scousers and inbred Millwall supporters. However most stereotypes have at lest a small basis in truth. It has, for example, been scientifically proven that Millwall supporters come from a pretty shallow gene pool, whilst the briefcase containing the report on rates of theft in Liverpool was nicked at Lime Street station the other week. Since the internet became ubiquitous, every Spud with a computer seems to be determined to reinforce the impression that whenever they play at home 30,000 or so villages are missing their idiots.

In particular, twitter is a rich source of fun. We had the incident of Olympian Sir Chris Foy getting bombarded with twitter abuse due to the fact that his name would come next to that of referee Chris Foy in a rhyming dictionary, were said dictionary to contain proper names. The latest victim of the  “failure to own a brain let alone engage it before opening gob” syndrome that seems to affect them is somebody called “Ashley Van Buren”. “Who he/she?” I hear you ask. Well she’s a lady who lives in the colonies in New York and the more observant of you might note that she shares the same initials as the erstwhile Spurs manager. Now you or I wanting to contact someone through twitter might have a look at the twitter feed to establish that we had the right person. Not those Tottenham chappies. In they dived with such gems as “we want you out of our club” and “enjoy your last evening as Tottenham manager, faggot”.

Miss Van Buren for her part re-tweeted some of the more literate and printable efforts from the White Hart Lane intelligentsia and responded with lyrics from musical theatre (or “theater” as she insisted on spelling it); a rather brilliant response sadly wasted on that lot I’m afraid. Meanwhile, Francis Ford Coppola is getting ready to turn his twitter account off just in case Fabio Capello gets the job.

Their path to this round of the competition started in round three, them being too busy in the, like really important, right, Thursday night league to join in round 2. They defeated Villa 4-0 up in Brum before beating Hull 8-7 on penalties after a 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane. Now I must admit I was guilty of laughing at one of their players describing the “win” over Hull on twitter as a “great result”. However, in hindsight he wasn't wrong was he?

They will have a few injury/suspension issues for this one. Skipper Dawson picked up a yellow at the weekend which was in no way suspiciously-timed so that the resulting one match suspension would be served in the League Cup. Paulinho's got the night off by leaving his foot into Suarez's ribcage. “Not like Suarez to stay down” commented Graeme Souness – without any apparent irony.

There is also an injury concern over Sandro. Not quite sure what's up there as the usual injury listings just show him as having a wonderfully vague “knock”. There have been rumours of a return for Younes Kaboul in defence – he has apparently been recovering well from a hip injury, that is an injury to the hip rather than one that is merely a bit trendy at the moment. If fit he'll probably come in for Dawson.

Another change is likely to come in goal where jovial septic Brad Friedel usually comes in for midweekers. He'll have the advantage of not being quite as traumatised by recent results as the usual custodian Lloris. It was Friedel who was responsible for Spurs' greatest moment of the season, saving the penalty that got them past Hull. They'll probably name a stand after him or something.

Up front in the past they've used this competition to give Defoe a start – he's been used more sparingly in the league. That's baffled me a bit – after all whatever you think of him he is a natural goalscorer. Soldado is usually preferred in the league, despite not being overly fond of scoring from open play. Of course I'm assuming that the interim management team that includes Tim Sherwood and Les Ferdinand will continue this policy, but that's not necessarily a gimme. If Defoe does play he'll be something of a threat, well he usually is against us anyway.

Us? Well Saturday was a bit dull wasn't it. Only the rather eccentric performance of Mr Marriner gave us anything to talk about really. Since beating this lot without using strikers we haven't had the greatest of times- which just goes to show that the strikerless set-up is only ever really going to work against poor opposition. It's a shame really that we persevered with it for so long afterwards against stronger teams.

Of course League stuff goes a bit out of the window on nights like this one. The manager has already indicated that he wants to make more of a game of this match by resting those with a knock and including loads of fringe players so that should level things a bit.

Prediction? Well obviously, all things being equal this would be an away win but the cup does funny things and we do have a spot of history when it comes to inferior opponents. This being their Cup Final they'll probably be looking at a win – especially as at the moment this competition represents their best chance of qualifying for next season's, like really important, right, Thursday night league. So let's place the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered's Educate a Spud Fund (£2.50) on a 2-0 to them so that Townsend can tweet as to what a big result that was – though since we can't score with our first XI out there at the moment so it won't be the major shock it might otherwise appear.

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met At The 03 Arena – Won 3-0. Accordding to my records.

Referee: Neil Swarbrick Bit of a fusspot if I recall correctly. You know the sort, insists that a free-kick is taken from a particular blade of grass then ignores a two-footed lunge on a player's head.

Danger Man:Jermain DefoeSupposedly off to Canada to play MLS “Soccer” in January. Or anywhere.

Daft fact of the week: The Large Hadron Collider at CERN is currently out of action for maintenance. They're having to rebuild the supercomputers that analyse the results after they blew all their circuits when someone used an idle moment to key in the puzzle “rearrange the words “Tottenham Title Challenge” to make a meaningful sentence.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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