Saturday, December 5, 2009

Everton vs. Spurs Preview: Redknapp Pushes For The Top Four

Spurs travel to an injury ravaged Everton for a match that will go very in determining each teams season. For Tottenham, it will be a game they are expected to win, while Everton need the points to avoid being sucked into the relegation zone...

Following their win in the Europa Cup midweek, Everton should go into the game against Spurs without any of their first team centre halves. Heitinga is suspended, Distin and Yobo have hamstring injuries, and Jagielka is still on the treatment table.

Their defensive injury problems have even seen David Moyes joke that he might have to dust off his old boots!

Tony Hibbert will probably move inside to combat Crouch's height, while Yobo and Distin will undergo late fitness tests.

Everton's midfield is not in much better shape, and when you count all their injury problems you realise that David Moyes is without 11 first team players at the moment. Eight of which would be definite starters, so Liverpool's "injury crisis" is immediately put in perspective.

Spurs also have their fair share of injury problems as we head into this game, but these should be easily absorbed by Harry Redknapp's impressive squad.

Both Ledley King and Johnathan Woodgate will miss the game, so Michael Dawson looks set to increase his excellent recent run.

The Spurs midfield should go unchanged as all players are raring to go, while Danny Rose is moving closer to making his first appearance this season.

Crouch and Defoe look set to start up front. They have been brilliant together over the last couple of weeks while Robbie Keane has not finished any of his seven games. The Irishman is in poor form at the moment but it would take a lapse of biblical proportions by Keane to get Pavlyuchenko back in the match squad.

Following their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa last week, many pundits have claimed that Spurs should challenge for a place in the top four, and Harry Redknapp has revealed that that is his aim.
"The top four is a target, a difficult target to achieve but it's where we want to be and where we want to aim for," Redknapp said.
"We've got to believe we can get there and we will keep trying as hard as possible. We'll give it everything we've got and there is no reason why we can't achieve it with the squad we've got. I think we can do it."

Despite Everton's troubles this season, and Spurs' hoodoo over the Toffee's, Redknapp believes that Tottenham's opponents are not to be underestimated.
"They have had more than their share of injuries but they have a good squad, whoever David puts out will work hard, like they did in Greece this week," said Redknapp. "They were also unlucky against Liverpool.
"They have good front players in Yakubu, (Louis) Saha and Jo. (Tim) Cahill is a goal threat, there is (Marouane) Fellaini and (Steven) Pienaar is back. They are missing key players but so are we.
"You never get an easy game there, David has done a great job, but we're playing well. We played very well at Villa and need to do the same on Sunday."

Spurs are expected to bring in a few new faces in January, and Brazilian U-20 captain Sandro's signing is all but confirmed, as Harry looks to strengthen his squad.

"The chairman has been speaking to the people there (Internacional)," Redknapp said. "It's something we're interested in doing and the chairman is well down the road with that one.
"We're also looking around for a goalkeeper but I haven't got anyone near to bringing in."
Redknapp also insists Giovani dos Santos will stay at the club now he has recovered from an ankle injury.
"Giovani is okay," he said. "He's trained but is short on match-practice. He's getting fitter but needs a game, 90 minutes in the reserves.
"I'm looking forward to getting him back fit, he's a good young player and was in great form before he got injured. It was a big blow for us to lose him at that time.
"I want him to stay and there is no chance he'll be leaving. I want him to do what we hope he can do - be a big player for Tottenham."

The Spurs boss also confirmed that Luka Modric is now only weeks away from returning from a broken leg, so if all goes as planned in January, Spurs could have a real chance of breaking into those Champions League places.