Tottenham will be hoping to put their last home game behind them as they face the third of this season’s promoted teams at White Hart Lane. Hull have started well and are currently 10th in the Premier League with 11 points from 8 matches. They have lost three of their away games, 2 – 0 at Chelsea and Manchester City in August and last weekend they lost 2 – 1 at Everton. The high spot of their season while on their travels was a 3 – 2 win over Newcastle United where they showed great character to recover from being a goal down at half-time with two second half goals to win 3 – 2. They have conceded only 9 goals in the league this season but have scored only 7. Hull’s leading goalscorer is midfielder, Robbie Brady who has scored 4 goals in all competitions.
Manager, Steve Bruce has used only 17 players this season, the fewest of any club in the Premier League. He will, however, have to make at least three changes to the team which started the match against Everton. He will bring in the experienced former Newcastle goalkeeper, Steve Harper, as his first choice Allan McGregor is out for a number of weeks with injury. Harper has played in the Capital One Cup games and will not let the side down. Another player out with injury is striker Danny Graham who is on loan from Sunderland while Jake Livermore will be absent from the midfield as he is on loan from Tottenham and is ineligible. There are doubts over the fitness of two other regulars – Sone Aluko and Brady.
Hair-cut for Tom?
Tom Huddlestone who signed for Hull during the summer will want to impress on his return to White Hart Lane. It would be of added significance for him if he could end his goal drought against his former club – it would seem an appropriate place to do it but only as long as Spurs take the three points. He could then make an appointment for the barber’s on Monday morning. His pledge has raised a five-figure sum for Cancer Research.
Tom made 188 appearances for Tottenham, scoring 15 goals but his last goal was in April, 2011 against Arsenal in a 3 – 3 draw at White Hart Lane. He hopes to bring that run to an end within the next five days at Tottenham. Huddlestone scored against another former club, Derby County, and his comments on a possible goal against Spurs were reported in the Daily Mail,
I will try not to celebrate. When I went back to Pride Park I tried not to, but with it being my first career goal things got the better of me.
On paper, just as against West Ham, it would appear that Spurs should ease to a comfortable win but Hull’s displays this season and their recent record at White Hart Lane suggest otherwise. Tottenham have failed to score against Hull in the two Premier League games at home and have only scored one goal in the past four home matches. In the last two meetings at Tottenham, Hull have arrived with a well-organised defensive plan and denied Tottenham – winning 1 – 0 in October, 2008 their only win at the ground. They earned a point in a scoreless draw the following season with goalkeeper Boaz Myhill, giving an outstanding performance.
The previous match was in 1978 and it took a controversial late goal from captain Steve Perryman to secure the points in Spurs’ final home match of the season as they staggered over the line to gain promotion after one season in the 2nd Division. Go back to April, 1949 and it was another scoreless draw as the Spurs ‘Push and Run’ team of Bill Nicholson, Ron Burgess, Eddie Baily and Len Duquemin which was about to win promotion as Champions failed to score against Hull.
Andre Villas-Boas has his regular squad available with only Danny Rose and Younes Kaboul out with injury. His starting line-up will probably consist of the team which won at Aston Villa last Sunday with consideration given to the inclusion of Aaron Lennon who has recovered from injury and whether Mousa Dembele should return in midfield. AVB will be looking to his players to be more purposeful going forward when faced with a well-organised team. Spurs need an early breakthrough to unsettle the visitors who will be looking to defend in numbers and catch Tottenham on the break.
Spurs need three points to once again catch-up on all the teams who played in the Saturday matches. They can not afford another slip-up as against West Ham and the Europa League excuse will not be acceptable as so few of the expected starting eleven actually played in Moldova in Thursday evening.