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Fan Focus: Spurs Slanted Opinions Ahead Of The Weekend

Kyle Walker: Pushing for an England place, but a potential weakness in the Tottenham side.
Kyle Walker: Pushing for an England place, but a potential weakness in the Tottenham side.

Welcome back one and all to Fan Focus, the feature where we put some questions to someone who writes about the opposition and gauge their opinion on the weekends game, and generally find out how they feel the season's going for their side.

This week, ahead of the game with Spurs we spoke to Kevin McCauley from our own SB Nation site, Cartilage Free Captain. Kevin's a fantastic writer who has been covering the North London side for years, so let's see how he feels about this weekend's game, and more besides...

We'll start with the big one. Harry Redknapp and the England job. I'd imagine the constant speculation has become somewhat annoying for you lot?

KM: No, not really. We just assume that he's going to take the job and leave. We don't want to lose a good manager, but our success has a lot more to do with the players than Harry Redknapp. We've been over it for a while. If he stays, great. If he doesn't, no big deal.

Would you begrudge him going, and if he did who would you like to see come in?

KM: He's an Englishman and the England job is open, of course I wouldn't begrudge him for going. Some of my favourite potential replacements are Unai Emery from Valencia, Thomas Tuchel from Mainz and David Moyes from Everton.

It's all seemed to coincide with a dip in form for Spurs, but the win against Swansea last weekend was fairly comprehensive. Everything coming back together at the right time?

KM: Yeah, the schedule didn't exactly work out in our favour. Having to play United and go away to Everton right after a derby loss was terrible, terrible timing. Everyone seemed to get their confidence back and play better football in the second half against Chelsea, and everything looks to be back to where it was before the loss to Arsenal.

There was a time when Spurs were considered title contenders this season. It seems to have proven to be premature, but would you say there's a possibility in the next year or two that the title could be heading to White Hart Lane?

KM: No, there's very little chance until the new stadium gets built. Tottenham just can't compete with the other Sky Six teams financially. Luka Modric and Gareth Bale are good enough to turn a team that is the the sixth or seventh best team in the league otherwise into a top four team, but they're not good enough to carry them to a title.

Stephane Sessegnon has been linked with Spurs this season. I pray to whatever God there is that he doesn't go, but is he the kind of player you'd want to sign?

KM: Yes, he's an excellent player. He appears to be a harder worker off the ball than Rafael Van der Vaart and he can play on the right wing if need be. If the price is right, he'd be a brilliant signing.

Do you fancy your chances of finishing above local rivals Arsenal this season?

KM: Yes, simply because their run-in is a lot tougher than ours. I don't think that Spurs are significantly better than Arsenal or vice-versa, but they still have City and Chelsea left to play. This weekend's game against Sunderland is far and away the toughest game remaining on Tottenham's schedule.

Looking ahead to the game this weekend, where do you anticipate Spurs inflicting some damage on our side?

KM: Depending on how Martin O'Neill sets up his team, Spurs should have an advantage through the center of the park, as they do against most teams in the league. Luka Modric and Scott Parker are excellent at turning on the ball and shielding the ball, so I can see Lee Cattermole getting frustrated and giving them a nice whack. Sunderland don't play negative football, but they are team that's thinking about organization and defending first, especially against top opponents. It's not unfair to say that they should look like the more defensive minded of the two teams, so Spurs will have to be patient and keep the ball well in the middle.

Conversely, is there a position where you think we could do some damage to yourselves? What weaknesses do you think could be exploited?

KM: Kyle Walker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto both have a tendency to get caught too high up the pitch. Tottenham's midfielders can get caught too high up as well. Sessegnon and the wingers should have some space to counter into, and I can see Tottenham getting burned for one on the counter.

Lastly, what's your prediction for this weekend's game? How do you see things going...

KM: A 1-1 draw, in which Tottenham has almost two-thirds of the possession but gets badly burned on one counter attack.


Many thanks to Kevin, and be sure to follow Cartilage Free Captain on Twitter @CFCaptain and visit their site, when you ever feel the urge for top Tottenham opinion.

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