Our under 23’s will play their first Premier League 2 game in over two weeks on Friday (the game starts at 12pm) when Wayne Burnett’s unbeaten side face Derby County at Hotspur Way. Always a tough team to play, Derby County have started this season well, and they currently sit at the top of the Premier League 2 division One table (they have played two games more than us). A good and well organised side who do play good attacking football, Derby have scored an impressive total of 16 goals from their opening seven league games of this season. I actually watched Derby’s under 23’s play Southampton in a league game recently, and they once again showed good organisation within the team, as well as moving the ball around well, and using the flanks to good effect. Two older players, Jordan Ibe (24) and Krystian Bielik (22) played in that game and the latter actually played Derby’s last under 23 game as well, so there could be a chance that he may again play against Spurs on Friday, as he continues his return from injury. While both of those players impressed in that game in what was a fine performance from the team, I was also very impressed with some of Derby’s younger players. 19 year old former Republic of Ireland under 18 international Louie Watson had a really fine and strong performance, operating in the hole as a number ten. The former West Ham academy player took up some really intelligent forward positions and he was always looking to pass the ball forward. The two Derby central defenders, Callum Minkley (20) and Harrison Solomon (18) had really strong games, and they were commanding in their defending.
19 year old right back Kornell MacDonald got forward well on a number of occasions and he scored a goal against Southampton in that game. And finally winger Morgan Whittaker (19) who had strong games against Spurs in both Premier League 2 encounters last season, is a very quick player who has an eye for goal, while 19 year old Derby centre forward Jack Stretton has seven goals from seven league games for Derby’s under 23’s so far this season. There is no doubting that this will be another tough game and one that will test them at both ends of the pitch, yet with quite a bit of experience in the Spurs side, with players such as Anthony Georgiou and George Marsh (the 21 year old returns from a three game suspension), I think that we’ve got a good chance of returning to winning ways. Spurs drew their last game at this level 0-0 away to Everton in what sounded like a very competitive game of under 23’s football. Spurs should be providing half-time and full-time score updates on their official Twitter account, while I will also be tweeting score updates as they come through online, as games continue to be played behind closed doors. I would like to wish the team all the very best of luck for the game.
My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Whiteman, Ferguson, Okedina (c), Lyons-Foster, Lavinier, Marsh, Thorpe, Markanday, Richards, Georgiou, Etete.
Subs from: De Bie, Omole, Bennett, Pochettino, Mukendi.
Doubtful: Malachi Fagan-Walcott.
Previous meeting: 2-2.
My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.
My one to watch: Louie Watson (19) operates primarily as a CAM and in the recent 3-2 Derby win over Southampton, he impressed me a lot. Scoring one goal from three league games this season, Watson dropped into some really good pockets of space in that Southampton game and he was always playing the game in front of him, and looking to play the ball forward at all times. He seems like a very technically gifted young player who could cause Spurs problems tomorrow afternoon.