Tottenham Hotspur and Everton were supposed to have today off, but the August riots in Tottenham saw to it that the two clubs would have to work on this Wednesday. Nearly five months later, Spurs will finally host the Toffees at White Hart Lane with both teams very different teams than they were in August, but is the new date better or worse for Spurs than the August 13 date that the two teams were supposed to play on?
Harry Redknapp has hinted that the postponement might have benefitted Spurs, citing the troubles the team had early on and the additions to the squad that were made at the end of August.
"I felt we were struggling at the start of year – the postponement might have been a blessing," Redknapp said. "It wasn't a good time as Luka [Modric] was going [or not]. Parker and Adebayor were not here and we didn't have a great pre-season in terms of being prepared."
It's a compelling argument. There's no doubt that Spurs are better off now with Adebayor, Parker and a settled Modric, even if Parker will miss today's match with injury. Ledley King will also be out, but he would have missed that opening match too so that's a wash. Spurs on January 11 are definitely a better team than Spurs on August 13.
At the same time, Everton are also a much better team now than they were in August. Their season started with a home loss to Queens Park Rangers, they were unimpressive against Blackburn and for much of the early part of the season, they were much closer to the bottom of the table than the top half. Before their embarrassing loss to Bolton last week, Everton had gone four matches without a loss and picked up their level of play considerably. Like Spurs, the Toffees are much better today than they were on August 13.
Additionally, Spurs missed out on their first match of the season and then had to take on the Manchester teams without a Premier League match under their belt. Assume Tottenham get three points against Everton and they don't head to Old Trafford cold and backed by three points in their opener. Does that change things?
'Arry says Spurs are better off playing today than in August, but is that the case? Weigh in below, although if you're really smart and have no shame you'll wait until after the match to cast your vote.