Either I’ve grown, or life as a striker got a lot harder while I was away…
How many times over the last few years have you heard the phrase ‘our season could be over in a week’? We’ve gone into periods in which crucial league and European games have been intermingled, and while some choose to take a positive approach on such an exciting sequence of fixtures, others attempt to douse the flames by pointing out the worst case scenario.
In a way, it was what made the defeat to Barcelona bearable. Aside from having nothing to quibble about, and the satisfaction that the side that eventually defeated us was a true footballing one with a genius on their team, we could console ourselves in the knowledge that the Premiership was still up for grabs. United’s draw at Blackburn on Sunday confirmed that one of the two sides we are chasing have dropped enough points to be caught.
Now put yourself in the shoes of a Spurs fan. Dumped out of the FA Cup in hilarious fashion at the weekend, they sit four points behind City in the race for the Champions League, with tomorrow night being their match in hand. Realistically, they need to beat us, a feat they haven’t achieved in the league since the black and white era, otherwise their season is over. It would be nice to dish that out, I’m sure you’ll agree.
The big news is the return of Robin Van Persie, after an eternity out with knee ligament damage sustained on international duty. To have our main man back when many of us (myself included) doubted whether he would feature again this season is fantastic news.
What is also particularly pleasing is how desperate he is to help us in our run-in. Consider that a setback could harm his World Cup chances, and you begin to realise how high up his list of priorities we are. A fit, sharp and committed Van Persie is the most welcome of sights.
The other man we’re desperate to see back is Alex Song, who is still a doubt for tomorrow’s game. His counterpart in the Spurs midfield, Palacios, is suspended, and it will certainly help that their players are deflated and weary from the weekend’s disappointment. But at the same time, you can be sure that Redknapp will imbue them with the importance of the match, so we cannot afford to take them lightly. It is huge for both sides, and frankly, both need to win to stand a chance of reaching their respective targets.
There is, of course, one other story floating around at the moment, and that is Lady Nina’s proclamation that her shares are up for sale. I have to admit, my first reaction when I saw this was ‘I thought they always were‘, and both Arseblog and Gunnerblog backed that up in detail. It is a bit of a non-story, and frankly, unless something significant happens, I’ll be ignoring it until the summer.
We have far more pressing concerns. Tomorrow will be the annual celebration of St. Totteringham’s Day if we defeat our neighbours, three points will lift us into second and keep us in contention for the title. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather focus on that.