Spurs under 23’s versus Liverpool: (match preview)
Our under 23’s started the new PL2 season with a disappointing and frankly unexpected defeat at home to West Ham on Monday evening. Wayne Burnett’s experienced side were marginally the better side during the first half, they passed the ball around well and defended competently. However, a slight lapse in concentration allowed the similarly strong Hammers side to score an equaliser on the stroke of halftime. Portuguese forward Xande Silva’s quick fire brace to secure his hat-trick shortly after the restart wrecked Spurs’ confidence, and they were unable to recover from it. Hardly creating anything of note throughout the second half Spurs were totally shutdown by the resolute West Ham defence with the likes of Reece Oxford and Ben Johnson putting in really strong defensive performances for the Hammers. Our first away game of the new season will take place at the majestic Anfield stadium on Friday evening, as Spurs take on last years division one runners up, Liverpool. This will be the third time in three consecutive seasons that our under 23’s will take on Liverpool at Anfield. The previous two encounters have ended in defeat for Spurs (2-3 and 2-4). Last seasons game was a particularly enthralling one, after an explosive start from Neil Critchley’s Liverpool side, which saw them take the lead inside the first minute. Spurs looked like a fish out of water as the reds soon doubled their advantage through Harry Wilson who netted his second on 16 minutes. Seemingly heading for a thumping Burnett’s side upped their tempo and had a brilliant 15 minute spell which saw them score two goals to draw level. They were however, unable to keep that up and they were beaten comfortably by Liverpool in the end.
Tomorrow evening Wayne Burnett’s side will be hoping end that bad run with a positive result at Anfield. However, with a thousand or so Liverpool fans cheering on their team in the world renowned stadium, under the lights on a fine summers evening, it will be a tough ask for our youngsters. Critchley’s side got their PL2 season underway with a goalless draw against Brighton last Friday. They enjoyed an impressive 64% of the possession, making an impressive 507 passes in the process. Burnett’s side will have to be alert if they are to deal with the reds explosive attacking style of football. Jürgen Klopp’s footballing philosophy has clearly been passed down through the youth ranks at the Merseyside club, with fast attacking football such a big part of how Critchley’s side operate. Whilst they won’t be able to rely on the services of their top last seasons top scorer Harry Wilson (on loan at Derby) Critchley has players such as Solanke, Pedro Chirivella and the experienced attacking midfielder Sheyi Ojo to choose from. He may also be able to field fringe first team players such as Lazar Marković and Marko Grujić. It will be really interesting to see how Burnett approaches tomorrows game, whether he will go with an offensive or defensive formation is yet to be seen. But if we can involve our quality attacking players such as Georgiou, Shashoua and Edwards into the game then we could really trouble the Liverpool defence. I’m expecting us too see a much different team to the one that lost to West Ham earlier in the week, I could see us shifting Georgiou to left wing back, with Paris Maghoma making the step up from the under 18’s to feature in the middle of the park. Goalscoring midfielder Jack Roles could also featured in the middle of the park as Spurs look to break down the Liverpool defence.
I am anticipating an enthralling game of football tomorrow evening, and one in which should provide a real test for our young lads. I will be reporting on tomorrows game from Anfield but for those of you who want to watch the game live, it is being shown on Liverpool TV. Meanwhile our under 18’s travel to South Wales for their league fixture with Swansea on Saturday morning, they thrashed the Swans 5-2 in this fixture last season. Unfortunately I won’t be able to make that game as I will be at Wembley for the Fulham game.
My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Austin, Hinds, Dinzeyi, Tanganga (c), Georgiou, Marsh, Maghoma, Edwards, Roles, S.Shashoua, Harrison.
Subs from: Freeman, Brown, Eyoma, Duncan, Tracey.
Doubtful: Connor Ogilvie (leg), Shilow Tracey (leg), Tashan Oakley-Boothe and Samuel Shashoua (back).
Injured/unavailable: Kazaiah Sterling and Jamie Reynolds.
Previous meeting: Spurs 1-0.
My score prediction: 3-3.
My one to watch: A player who was has been on the fringes of the first team squad since signing for Liverpool, from Chelsea back in the summer of 2017. Towering centre forward Dominic Solanke also featured for the reds development side on numerous occasions last season. We have been on the receiving end of some excellent performances from the centre forward since
his Chelsea days (the 2015 FA youth cup semifinal springs to mind!). A traditional centre forward in many ways, Solanke’s physical and aerial presence will cause trouble for the Spurs defenders.
Spurs under 21/23’s statistics 2018/19:
Goals scored: Samuel Shashoua – 1