Wednesday night at White Hart Lane is when we level it all out and get a true picture of just where we stand. Since the opening day of the season when the locals gave fuel to new songs for our opposing fans, we have been playing catch up.
Well no longer. After Wednesday night every team in the Premier League will be on an equal standing having all played 20 matches. Whatever happens we will still be in third place in the table (unless we were to somehow win by 14 goals) but will that be level on points with United and 8 points clear of Chelsea, or as we are now – 5 clear and 3 behind?
Now I think Everton will be able to be stubborn and any victory will be hard to come by but hopefully we will show that we are worthy of that difference in places that we hold over Everton and we will end the night in a position to exert further pressure on the two Manchester clubs.
Now I mentioned that score line that would take us second and don’t worry, I’m not going to say that we will get anywhere near that but it does highlight a difference that still exists between us and the two clubs above us. United were beaten by City 6-1 but are still a long way in front of us in terms of goals scored. We have averaged 1.89 goals a game so far whilst United have averaged 2.45 and City 2.8. That is quite a gulf and shows that to succeed you need to not just win games, you need to assert a dominance over opponents. The way this season is panning out that goal difference is worth a point to both of those sides.
This highlights one area we simply have to improve the squad before the end of the month. We play City soon and will be without Adebayor who many see as the man that has transformed the strike force. With him missing we haven’t really got the player that can step in (and to be honest we haven’t got the right partner for him either). That is my case for a striker and hopefully this will be rectified in the next couple of weeks or so.
The other factor in Goal difference is of course how many you concede. If we keep a clean sheet against the Toffees we will have conceded an average of exactly 1 goal a game. United have let in the same number whilst City have only conceded 16.
Our defence has worked wonders this season, no doubt helped by Friedel behind them and Parker in front of them, but how long can we keeps swapping the injury prone Gallas, King and Dawson around. The fact Kaboul has played so well is a help and even Bassong has done a job when called upon, but this does not hide the fact that the other priority this month simply has to be a centre back of some quality.
We have performed above everyone’s expectations to get ourselves into third place at this stage of the season and staying there with our mounting injury list is going to be very hard indeed, but I believe that both teams above us will drop points (as will we) but with a new quality Striker and Centre Back I do believe that we could just run them very close.
We do need to get that Goal difference up and what better way than to show our intent on the night we go level on games played. We’ve done well but it’s the games from here on in that will tell us how good we really are.
Spurs v Everton at White Hart Lane kicks off at 7:45. If you are going, be the twelfth man, don’t let the atmosphere go flat, get behind the team and enjoy the game.
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