Unless you’re Everton, it seems that any Premier League club worth their salt are away on a pre-season tour of some faraway land and Tottenham Hotspur are the latest team to head off to the other side of the globe in search of money, er, sorry, I mean fitness.
Whatever the motives, Andre Villas-Boas will really begin to crank up the preparations for the big August kick-off as Spurs’ new manager takes his troops to America for a three-match tour, which includes a fixture against Premier League rivals Liverpool.
Villas-Boas, no doubt desperate to prove that his calamity at Chelsea last year, where he was sacked after just nine months, was a blip and not that his stint at Porto, where he won a treble in his only full season, was a fluke, has made a reasonable start to life in North London.
Even if his comments that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich ‘quit’ on him were perhaps ill advised, as were his Gerard Houllier-esque quotes taking credit for the Blues’ subsequent Champions League win, AVB has seemed a bit more humble than last year and so far – two games, two clean sheets – the football has gone pretty well.
He is dealing with Luka Modric’s inevitable transfer in the right manner and with some good early business already done (plus Gareth Bale signing a contract extension), the Tottenham camp seems a happy one.
Of course, things unravelled rather quickly after the summer for AVB at Chelsea so let’s reserve judgement, but his claims that Spurs can win the title under his guidance will please chairman Daniel Levy.
Next for Tottenham is a match against perhaps the most talked about American soccerball team, LA Galaxy, home to the guy who never got picked for the Team GB Olympic team and Robbie Keane, the former Spurs striker who last played well in 2008.
It will provide a stern test for Tottenham, perhaps sterner then the odds suggest. The White Hart Lane outfit are 3/4 favourites to kick off their tour with a win, with the Galaxy a 3/1 chance and the draw at 5/2.
Los Angeles are in the midst of their season, hoping to retain the MLS crown they won last year. They are currently outside the automatic places to go into the end-of-season play-offs, although a good run of form for Bruce Arena’s men has seen them take ten points from the last four games and I wouldn’t make Spurs such strong favourites to win this one.
Galaxy will have one eye on their next MLS match, but will want to raise their game against glamorous opposition and will definitely have the fitness edge. Tottenham only have one senior striker on their books in Jermain Defoe and Galaxy will provide a good test in AVB’s fledgling reign.
As such, the 2/1 on LA Galaxy in the draw no bet market (stake returned if the match is a draw) is the advice here, as fitness, not results, are the name of the game for Tottenham at this stage.
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