Once again, we had the pleasure of speaking with Kevin McCauley. This time he took to the hotseat for this weeks Fan Focus feature, to discuss his beloved Tottenham in the run up to this weekends match. Kevin's already helped us out with some articles when we first started up, and you can see more of his work as a writer for SB Nation, World Soccer Reader (where I also have a column) and also on his brilliant Spurs site - Cartilage Free Captain. Here's what he had to say...
Your beloved Tottenham Hotspur having a decent season so far in both the league and Europe, how far do you think can you go in both competitions?
Kevin: In the league, I feel like fourth place is the ceiling. It would be very surprising to see more than one of the teams above us slip up. The Spurs fan in me expects fifth place, since we’re kind of conditioned to expect disappointment. As far as Champions League, I think it depends on the draw. I give us an average chance to defeat AC Milan and after that, it’s simply luck of the draw.
I notice from PhysioRoom.com a few injuries listed for Spurs; Van Der Vaart, Modric & Bale in particular, but all scheduled to return around the time of our game on Saturday. Do you think they’ll all be in action this weekend?
Kevin: I expect Luka Modric to remain out and return for the match against AC Milan. I think that Rafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale will both start the match on the bench so they can both be 100% fit for the match against Milan.
How did you feel about Harry Redknapp trying to buy every striker in Spain as the transfer window neared a close? Also do you think there are any key positions Harry failed to address in the window?
Kevin: Striker would be the position he failed to address, so I’m happy that he at least tried. I’m comfortable with every other spot on the roster. I expect us to shell out some serious cash for a true No. 9 with pace and skill in the summer.
Speaking of Harry, it’s only a matter of time before he becomes England manager isn’t it? Would he leave with your blessing, and do you think he could perform a similar resurrection on our pathetic national team?
Kevin: I think that England’s problem over the years has been a combination of over-reliance on 4-4-2 and playing players in that system that don’t make sense, like a Lampard-Gerrard midfield pairing. If Harry Redknapp is going to do something like play Jack Wilshere as the attacking most midfielder of a midfield three that includes Tom Huddlestone and a box to boxer, much like he’s currently doing at Spurs, England would be great. I feel like Harry might sink back into his old tendencies, though. And he would have my blessing if he was offered the job.
On to the game, have you seen much of our team? And who are you expecting from Sunderland to be a problem for Spurs?
Kevin: I have seen quite a bit of Sunderland, and I thought that everything but their set piece defending was impressive against Stoke last weekend. I really like Stephane Sessegnon and I like him to give our fullbacks problems. He was an absolute coup for Sunderland and I’ve been a major proponent of him moving from PSG to one of the big three leagues for a couple of years. I also think that Asamoah Gyan gives anyone problems.
Who do you think from the Spurs team is the weakest link, who we could look to exploit on Saturday evening?
Kevin: Whoever we play at striker is probably the weakest link, if we play 4-4-1-1 with Van Der Vaart in the hole. If we play 4-4-2, then Sunderland can probably counter attack through the middle very effectively. That’s how Bolton scored their goal on us last weekend. Because of the injuries and what Roman Pavlyuchenko and Niko Kranjcar did off the bench last week, it’s very difficult to predict Spurs’ lineup.
And finally, what’s your prediction for the game?
Kevin: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Sunderland
Thanks very much, and I look forward to catching up after the game!