We haven't done one of these in a while! Bored and feeling like I only had negative or outrageous things to write about tomorrow's game between Tottenham Hotspur and West Brom, I decided to send an instant message to Ryan. The ensuing conversation is your (much more balanced than it would have been) preview of tomorrow's game. Additionally, we discuss soul-crushing losses, Manchester City, and unorthodox formations.
Kevin McCauley: After a thrilling North London Derby in which Spurs came from 3-1 down to grab a point against Arsenal, the emotional crash is inevitable. This is Tottenham Hotspur, after all. They couldn't possibly keep up their momentum with a decent performance against West Brom.
Ryan Rosenblatt: No, this weekend is in the bag. Spurs will grab three points and continue to push for that fourth place spot. It's far too early in the year for the team to ruin their chances with a rubbish match. Give it another week or two.
KM: That's true. If we're going by history here, it's a bit too early for the trademark Spurs collapse. They generally shatter our dreams in May. However, at the same time, following up a solid performance against a big team with a poor performance against an average or poor team has been our M.O. this year. The unstoppable force meets the immovable object.
RR: A quick gander at the schedule tells us where the Spurs collapse is coming though and it will play out just how history tells us it's supposed to. Spurs will beat West Brom and then beat Chelsea away, while City drop points this weekend at Blackburn. That will leave us even on points with all eyes on our trip to Eastlands. Oh yeah, we have to play Blackpool before that though, where we drop points and it eventually ruins the run to fourth.
KM: That actually makes sense, mostly because West Brom isn't a crap team right now. They didn't play that well in their loss to Chelsea last week, but before that, they put in four consecutive impressive performances against Birmingham, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Sunderland. You're totally right, Blackpool is the bogey team of destiny. West Brom aren't shit enough.
RR: Exactly, so don't get your panties in a bunch looking at this week. Just remember that when we make our move and get level on points with City, Blackpool awaits with dream crushing mallets in hand.
KM: Now, we do have to take into account that Manchester City are really good at crushing the dreams of their supporters as well. Of course, no one parallels Newcastle when it comes to choking, but if I had to pick a second and third worst in that department in English football, Spurs and City are probably No. 2 and No. 3, in that order. A West Ham win at Eastlands on May 1st would be typical City.
RR: Yes, but this is a new City. This is a city that ruins things by getting draws so while they are getting draws that should be wins, we will be getting losses and one point is more than zero.
KM: Let's go back to Saturday's game and how we should set up the team. Except, only in my twisted head and not in reality, because reality sucks. I've been really bored today, so I started thinking about crazy tactics that Harry Redknapp would never dream of using because he's not as cool as I am. I want to try a 4-3-3/4-6-0 hybrid with VDV as a false nine, Bale on the right, Lennon on the left, Modric as the advanced playmaker, Sandro as a box to box midfielder, and Huddlestone as a deep lying playmaker. Thoughts?
RR: I think you're a stealer because that is the idea I came up with prior to our visit to Madrid. Moving beyond your thieving ways, I would love to see us try it. If our strikers aren't going to score, why exactly would we play them? We're better off getting more good players on the field and for anyone concerned about our lack of attack without a striker, imagine what a defense would be like trying to mark five guys running at them from deep? It would be complete confusion and when you look at the quality of guys we would be running from deep in the formation you stole, it would be a nightmare for defenses.
KM: Snap back to reality (oh, there goes gravity). God, I just made an "8 Mile" reference, I need to take a shower. Anyway, West Brom are looking super "English" these days under Roy Hodgson. Does Harry see this as an excuse to go 4-4-2 with wingers without getting burned, or does he take the opportunity to dominate the midfield and win the game by keeping possession and patiently breaking down the opposition?
RR: I actually think he goes 4-4-1-1 with Rafa under Crouch, but if he goes 4-4-2, I hope he's smarter than he was on Wednesday. If you're going to play 4-4-2 with Rafa on the right then you need to start Defoe because he can actually run and take defenders up or outside with him to create space for Rafa. It didn't hurt us on Wednesday because Arsenal can't defend, but if Rafa is on the right, starting Pav and Crouch up top is stupid.
KM: Finally, a prediction? I'm going 2-1 to Spurs, with the winner coming via a Pavlyuchenko tap-in following a 50 yard run and cross by Aaron Lennon in the 85th minute.
RR: I'll also go with 2-1 with Dawson scoring two, one on his own net to level and then one on the other side to win it on a set piece.
KM: Thank god this game is at 10 am ET. I'm going to go drink a bottle of gin.