The man pictured above is Gareth Bale, better known as Welsh Jesus. At the end of last season and at the start of this season, he started to lose the Welsh Jesus tag. The fact that the man won the PFA Player of the Year based on two performances in the winter in the Champions League and a goal against Stoke City is pretty absurd, to be frank. But the Weezus has redeemed himself in recent weeks, putting in some excellent performances.
On Monday, when Tottenham Hotspur face Aston Villa, Bale will be up against Alan Hutton. In his time at Spurs, Hutton was an absolute joke of a defender. We screamed at him every single game and we were thrilled when was sold. From my conversations with the editors at 7500 to Holte, I have deduced that Hutton is up to his old tricks at Villa Park. They're angry and they want us to take him back. I quote an unnamed 20th century philosopher when I say: Finders keepers, losers weepers.
If Bale doesn't run over Villa at White Hart Lane, I am going to be disappointed. Hell, a poor performance in this game might be reason enough to strip him of the Weezus tag. It's Alan Hutton, for god's sake. A man we were all desperate to get rid of for free. He caused us so much pain. Now, it's payback time.
This is probably the most important matchup in this game, but believe it or not, there are others!
Gabriel Agbonlahor is injured and is unlikely to start. News on his status isn't exactly easy to find, and when we find it, it's wishy-washy. In any event, we will not see a 100 percent fit Agbonlahor tonight, so I like Tottenham's chances of keeping Villa off the scoreboard, or at least putting up enough goals that it doesn't matter. Darren Bent is a very good player, but he is not Wayne Rooney, Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez or Mario Gomez. He is a man who cleans up messes in the box and runs onto excellent through balls. He doesn't create a ton of scoring opportunities for himself and he's not a man known for 30-yard wonder strikes. Gabby is a massive part of what makes him so productive.
What do Villa do without him? More likely than not, move Emile Heskey up top. With Heskey and Bent at striker, Villa's best approach is Twellman Ball. Standard-issue 4-4-2, get the ball wide to your correct-footed wingers, and swing crosses into the box. Currently, the best personnel Villa has for this setup is Charles N'Zogbia on the left wing and Marc Albrighton on the right wing. It's pretty solid personnel.
Rafael van der Vaart's status is also up in the air and it also seems likely that he will not start. Don't expect to see Luka Modric brought up the pitch or Giovani dos Santos brought into the team; Harry Redknapp will bring in Jermain Defoe and play with a matching 4-4-2. Scott Parker will, once again, be massive for Spurs. He picked up a slight knock on England duty, but by all indications is okay. Sandro in the middle shouldn't be a massive downgrade and will still offer more quality (and ball-winning ability) than any of Villa's central midfielders.
I'm feeling optimistic, y'all. I probably shouldn't be after the abomination that was the Fulham match, but I really don't like Alex McLeish. I feel like we can beat him every time.
Projected Tottenham Hotspur lineup (4-4-2): Friedel; Assou-Ekotto, King, Kaboul, Walker; Bale, Modric, Parker, Lennon; Defoe, Adebayor
Projected Aston Villa lineup (4-4-2): Given; Warnock, Dunne, Collins, Hutton; N'Zogbia, Petrov, Bannan, Albrighton; Heskey, Bent
Prediction: 1-0 Spurs
Kickoff is at 3:00 pm ET, 8:00 pm GMT. You can catch the game on ESPN Deportes and ESPN3 in the USA, Sky Sports 1 in the UK, and Sportsnet World in Canada.