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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

A game of opportunities tonight

Football is a game of opportunities, not just opportunities to score on the field but opportunities off the field. Each game is an opportunity for three points, there are opportunities to put one across a local rival or a fellow contender.

The Premier League season throws up several opportunities. recently we had an opportunity to go third but didn't take it, then there are opportunities to open a gap. Tonight presents one of those opportunities.

Manchester United drew again and have been overtaken by West Ham United, Crystal Palace are not far away, but tonight gives us an opportunity to tighten the race at the top and give ourselves the comfort of a gap from those below. These are mental tests, the players are aware of an opportunity, how they handle it mentally determines how we get on. the more occasions they are put in these situations the more used to dealing with it mentally and thus performing they become. 

It is the experience Hugo Lloris was talking about. There is further pressure down the line, for now, we have to focus on each game, see the opportunity it provides and be motivated for the challenge. Remember the successful welcome challenges, the unsuccessful are fearful of them. If mentally you think you are up to the challenge you have a chance of overcoming it, if mentally you have doubt that will transfer into performance and reduce your chances of rising to the challenge. each player is different and as a coach you have to weed out those with a weaker mind as they dilute from the stronger minded.

The Premier League Table

  1. Arsenal P 20 - 42pts - GD+16
  2. Leicester City P20 - 40pts - GD+12
  3. Manchester City P20 - 39pts - GD+18
  4. Tottenham Hotspur P20 - 36pts - GD+18
  5. West Ham United P21 - 35pts - GD+9
  6. Manchester United P21 0 34pts - GD+7
  7. Crystal Palace P21 - 31pts - GD+3

The games tonight are:
Liverpool vs Arsenal
Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City
Manchester City vs Everton

Manchester City are strong at home and are having problems away. At home, they have an 8-0-2 record, 29 goals for 12 against. At home they have won their last three and four out of the last five, the other being a defeat to Liverpool.

Everton have a 3-5-1 away record which offers some hope they can grab a point. A 13-9 goalscoring record shows they keep things tight with well drilled defensive banks. 

A home win or a draw is expected. Manchester City could stay on 39 points but more likely will end the game on 40 or 42 points.

Liverpool are learning the Klopp style, just as Spurs had to learn the Pochettino style last season. At home, they have a 4-3-2 record with an 11-11 goals record.

Arsenal away from home are the second best in the country with a 6-1-3 record. They have collected 19 points while scoring 18 and conceding 12.

It all suggests a tough night for Liverpool who have shown they can rise to an occasion. Any dropping points would help so as Spurs fans we will naturally be cheering Liverpool on.

Tottenham have a 5-4-1 home record, the third best in the Premier League with an 18-7 goal record. Leicester City are the best away from home having amassed 21 points with a 6-3-1 record and a 21-12 goals record.

The game offers us the chance to build a gap of four points plus a superior goal difference so effectively five points from challengers below us. We could draw level with Manchester City, we could be a point behind Leicester City which would put them under greater pressure.

Games become tougher as the season goes on as the perception is they become more important. They play on the mind so honing players in mentally on what is important and discarding the rest takes the negativity away. The game is a challenge, an opportunity, a chance to rise to the occasion before the next challenge.

We should have beaten Leicester at their place after Dele Alli's goal and we now have an opportunity to almost bridge the gap between us. It is an opportunity we have to take.


COYS

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