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Preview Birmingham v Spurs, 16.08.03

Here is Brian Judson's preview of the game Remember the views expressed on this page are those of the author

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Full Record of Spurs -v- Birmingham City

Premier        Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home            1   1   0   0    2 - 1   3
Away            1   0   1   0    1 - 1   1
Total (Prem)    2   1   1   0    3 - 2   4
Football Lge
Home (Div 1)   28   20  4   4   63 -22  47
Away (Div 1)   28   10  4  14   31 -39  25
Total (Div 1)  56   30  8  18   94 -61  72
Football Lge
Home (Div 2)    4    1  1   2    6 - 4   3
Away (Div 2)    4    1  2   1    4 - 4   4
Total(Div 2)    8    2  3   3   10 - 8   7
Total (Prem)    2   1   1   0    3 - 2   4
Total(Div 1)   56   30  8  18   94 -61  72
Total(Div 2)    8    2  3   3   10 - 8   7
Grand Total    66   33 12  21  107 -71  83

Spurs set off on yet another journey that will provide us with a great deal of heartache over the course of the season. Due to the number of changes to the playing staff and the fact we are already picking up injuries, it is a safe bet to make that we will be happy to enjoy just another transitional season. I have argued elsewhere where the fault for that lies and will not go over old ground again.

Much will depend on how quickly new faces settle down into the team. Zamora is untested at this level and needs to acquire confidence. Postiga has not played in this country before. Keane will have to bear the brunt of the harrying and chasing until the others settle in and work up an understanding with him.

This leads me to suggest that Birmingham will probably win on Saturday. They have rebuilt their side during the summer with some astute purchases and Savage is still there. I think Birmingham will improve on last season's performance. We drew 1-1 with them last autumn as Sheringham put us ahead in the 56th minute only to see Kenna equalise 10 minutes or so later. In the return game, Keane gave us an early lead, but Devlin equalised from the penalty spot before Poyet snatched the winner with two minutes to go.

Birmingham, of course, returned to the Premiership for the first time since the mid-1980s. They had some early cheer with a famous victory over rivals Aston Villa when their goalkeeper scored a ridiculous own goal in a 3-0 defeat. And eventually they finished well above the scramble for safety, unlike others, for instance Leeds and Aston Villa.

At one time, Spurs used to look forward to playing Birmingham. They were (with Nottingham Forest) the club that Jimmy Greaves used to love scoring against. But the signs are that Steve Bruce is building a side that might surprise us all one day. Whilst Spurs lurch from one transitory season to the next, Bruce seems to have a clear road map of where he is going. They have made some shrewd transactions with David Dunn transferring from Blackburn looking a bargain. I was hoping Spurs would take an interest in this deal but there was no reaction at all. At least Birmingham have a better midfield than any we are likely to field at St Andrews.

The midfield looks very weak, particularly if Redknapp and Anderton spend much of the season on the sidelines. Poyet and Ziege are already sidelined with Richards. It will be interesting to see what sort of team Spurs select on Saturday. Poyet would have been absent anyway as he was banned following a dismissal at the end of last season. At least we will not be able to blame his absence being due to an injury.

Much is going to depend on Redknapp and Anderton, two players who seem to spend more time in the treatment room than on the park. I hope we will see more of Rohan Ricketts. He looks just the midfielder to make us forget about Hoddle. Could he make Arsenal regret their decision to release him?

I think Spurs will lose at St Andrews on Saturday. That is due to the fact we are still bedding down the newer players in the team. It will take some time before they dovetail completely. And Birmingham look the better side at the moment, anyway.



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