STEVENAGE, ENGLAND - JULY 18: Jake Livermore of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the Pre Season Friendly match between Stevenage and Tottenham Hotspur at The Lamex Stadium on July 18, 2012 in Stevenage, England. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)
No one's watching preseason games for results. Whether Tottenham Hotspur wins, loses or draws on Tuesday night isn't terribly relevant (though they should beat a diminished LA Galaxy team). What we're watching for is individual performances, how players work together, and how different combinations of players operate. Now that everyone's been in training for a while and Andre Villas-Boas has more players at his disposal, expect to see something that resembles real Tottenham Hotspur more than the Stevenage game.
Here's a list of things I'd like to see tonight:
- The back four of Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Jan Vertonghen, Younes Kaboul and Kyle Walker getting a run together, as a unit. I love Michael Dawson, but you're kidding yourself if you think he's going to be a better player for Spurs than Vertonghen and Kaboul going forward. I think this is going to be the first choice back four for most of the year, and I want to see them together.
- Harry Kane hitting the target. Obviously I wasn't able to watch the Stevenage game, but the limited highlights and commentary from people in attendance indicated that his finishing was very poor. As much as the results don't matter in the preseason, surely it'll do something for his confidence to actually score in a game situation.
- Gylfi Sigurdsson and Rafael Van der Vaart on the pitch together. I don't think that Tottenham's first choice XI will feature both players in the same team at any point this season, but injuries will hit. There will be a point in the season where Spurs' best fit XI features both Sigurdsson and Van der Vaart in the same team. It's inevitable. I don't know if that would feature one of them in a deeper role or one of them on the wing, but they need to learn how to play on the same pitch and not occupy the same spaces. I don't want to see this happen for the first time in September or October.
- Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore spending some time together. Luka Modric is probably going to be sold or pull some further shenanigans. Scott Parker just had surgery. Sandro is at the Olympics and will probably need a rest at the start of the season. If Modric is sold, someone else will be brought in, but they might not be ready to start in the first game of the year. It's very likely that Huddlestone and Livermore are going to have to play together at some point in August, so let's get them playing together right now, since Huddlestone didn't play with Livermore (or anyone else) at all last season.
- Some guys taking chances. It's preseason, so take a risk with the tough through ball, the give-and-go, the stepover, etc. I don't want to see guys passing in circles, playing to keep the ball.
Hopeful Tottenham Hotspur Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Brad Friedel; Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Jan Vertonghen, Younes Kaboul, Kyle Walker; Jake Livermore, Tom Huddlestone; Aaron Lennon, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Rafael Van der Vaart; Harry Kane.
As a reminder, kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. local time, 10:30 p.m. ET and 3:30 a.m. in the UK. You can catch the game on ESPN3 in the USA, ESPN TV in the UK, and on Spurs TV on the internet in the UK if you purchased a membership. The game thread will go up 30-45 minutes before kickoff with lineups.