Friendly: Spurs v Ipswich Town Saturday 22th August 3pm.
I don’t usually do previews of friendlies because those sort of games can be a pain in the arse. Any amount of subs, changes within a wink of an eye, players not pushing it because they don’t want to get injured etc. So, sticking to tradition, I haven’t written one in this case either, however, through the kind scribblings of a friend – who we shall call “Mockingbird” – has kindly donated a preview of the Spurs/ Ipswich friendly for this Saturday at 3pm at the Tottenham Stadium to this blog.
So, through my own kindness, I have decided to donate 90% of what I usually earn from my blog, which is 100% of nothing, so 90% of nothing is nothing. However, when I next see him at the Enchanted Palace, I shall buy him and his beautiful wife a nice glass of whatever they fancy. Or I even might be even more generous than that and even splash out to a bottle. Who knows what a mad fool does when he has been unleashed onto his friends (after five months of lockdown).
Preview by Mockingbird: Spurs take on Ipswich Town in our first pre-season friendly, this Saturday, 3pm in the New Lane. Ipswich finished mid-table in League One, their worst finish since the early days of Alf Ramsey’s time as manager back in the mid-50s. (Alf did ok, securing promotions to the second tier, winning it as Champions, and then winning the top league in Town’s first-ever attempt, in 1962…).
On paper, then, this isn’t a tough challenge for Spurs (though anyone who suffered our Carabao Cup exit at League 2’s Colchester might raise an eyebrow). Ipswich have been back in training for almost 4 weeks, and beat the aforementioned Colchester in their first run-out on Tuesday evening. There, they played 2 x 75-minute matches, with 2 x different starting XIs, running out 4-0 and 1-0 winners.
Ipswich tend to play 4-5-1, though both full-backs are encouraged to get forward, leaving them exposed to pace wingers. Their loan striker tends to struggle to get into the game, unless the midfield find plenty of space to operate in (unlikely, if the likes of Holbjerg turn out for Spurs). Ipswich’s defensive midfield does not always provide adequate protection for their back four. That’s largely why they were relegated bottom of the Championship in 2018/19, and why they fell back to mid-table in League One last year.
I won’t do a run-through of Ipswich’s whole squad, but will pick out some players worth looking out for.
If he plays, (he’s had an injury) you’ll see that Czech goalkeeper Tomas Holy is an absolute giant, 6 ft 9ins, with the longest kick you are ever likely to see. He could probably hit the cockerel statue if he really tried.
At right back, Kane Vincent-Young was a revelation in his first season last year, until injury brought it to a very early close. He signed from Colchester, but was originally in the Spurs Academy – he is a more attacking version of Kyle Walker-Peters. At central defence, veteran Luke Chambers is unlikely to beat Son or Bergwijn in a sprint, youngster Luke Woolfenden is interesting several Premier League clubs (and has a haircut to match his “new young thing” status), whilst Toto Nsiala is the nearest I have seen to both the best and worst of Anthony Gardner – often in the same passage of play. In midfield, the anchor man is another veteran, Cole Skuse (ex-Bristol City); if he doesn’t play, the midfield tends towards shapeless. Another midfielder to note is West Ham fan but Ipswich Academy graduate Flynn Downes, a dynamic bundle of energy with a slightly iffy disciplinary record (in pre-season at Cambridge a year ago, he was red-carded for perhaps the best head-butt ever seen on a football field, in retaliation – to be fair – for a pretty horrible foul tackle). Downes is also being watched closely by many top-level scouts. At the attacking end of midfield, Alan Judge is finding form after a career-threating injury a few years ago – he’s busy and talented. Jack Lankester (right wing) is another classy Academy product, but is sadly a Gooner whose no 14 shirt might reflect his admiration of a certain cheating Frenchman. Idris El Mizouni is another talented youngster, who was much admired in a loan spell at Cambridge United last year. Armando Dobra is yet another talented, young player who loves playing with the ball at his feet. Both El Mizouni and Dobra are likely to feature at some stage.
Honestly, if Spurs turn up, it should be a bit of a canter. But Ipswich were sharp and effective in midweek, so we can’t afford to sleepwalk our way through this one.
Best Regards, Glenn & Mockingbird.