Not long to wait now – in a little over twenty four hours we’ll have the Premier League fixture list for the 2013-14 season. The list will be released at 9.00am tomorrow, Wednesday, 19th June. Who do you want Tottenham’s first opponents to be on Saturday, 17th August or whenever the television companies decree that the match has to be played.There are 6 teams in the Premier League next season who Spurs have never played on the opening day of the season – Fulham, Crystal Palace and the four Cities of Swansea, Hull, Stoke and Norwich. The Premier League computer goes to great lengths to produce a balanced and fair fixture list for every team but here’s HotspurHQ’s not very scientific approach to selecting Tottenham’s opponents for the first day of the season. I always want the opening fixture to be at White Hart Lane. A home game to, hopefully, get the season off to a good start.
No London Derbies!
London derbies are too high pressured with local rivalries and expectations – so that rules out a game against Arsenal, Chelsea, West Ham United, Fulham and newly promoted, Crystal Palace.
Avoid Last Season’s ‘Top-4′
We’ll give them a miss and leave those battles for later in the season when the team is more settled and new players have established themselves in the team and become accustomed to the Premier League. So we can now set aside – Manchester United and City plus Chelsea and Arsenal (again).
Teams Under New Managers
Any team starting the season with a new manager always tries to get their season off to a good start. There’ll be that extra energy and commitment right through the team as the players fight to impress the new boss and ensure their place in the team. So surprisingly that again rules out United, City and Chelsea as well as Everton and Stoke City.
Promoted Teams – We’ll give them a miss!
Like teams under new managers, the promoted sides always look to start their season well. Blackpool took Wigan by storm in August, 2010 to win their opening game 4 – 0 before other teams found them out and they returned to the Championship after only a season in the Premier League. Cardiff City, Hull City and Crystal Palace can wait until later in the season when they have lost some of their early season enthusiasm.
No To Former Players, Managers and Coaches
Spurs have always had this ‘thing’ about former players and managers. They often seem incapable of defeating a team which includes a former player or is in the charge of a former manager. Take the performances of Steven Pienaar at Everton, Sebastien Bassong with Norwich and Dimitar Berbatov for Fulham last season. Pienaar scored the 90th minute equaliser at Goodison Park, Bassong was outstanding and Berbatov scored for Fulham as they won at White Hart Lane for a victory for Martin Jol’s team. Chris Hughton’s most inspirational team talks last season appear to have been reserved for the matches against Spurs who managed only a draw in three games. So at the moment that eliminates – Fulham, Norwich City, Everton, Stoke City, Manchester United and Aston Villa.
The Favoured 6:
The list of possible opponents for Tottenham has now been reduced to 6:
Liverpool, Newcastle United, Southampton, Sunderland, Swansea and West Bromwich Albion.
A little more in depth research showed that in August, 2012 the two teams who made the poorest start to the season were QPR and Norwich who were defeated heavily in their first game. Norwich lost 5 – 0 at Fulham while Swansea defeated QPR at Loftus Road with a similar scoreline. The connection between those two results is that both losing clubs were starting their second successive season in the Premier League and there had been a change of manager since they won promotion. Swansea were the third team promoted in 2011 and were also under new management but they responded as detailed in the previous point.
Considering the teams left as possible opponents for Spurs on 17th August that points to Southampton who survived their first season in the top flight but changed their manager in last January.
HotspurHQ’s Selection: Southampton
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