Can video wall offer Tottenham home advantage against Manchester United?
There have been a multitude of innovations trialled to compensate for the lack of fans in stadiums. Some have worked to a greater degree than others. The Bundesliga has been rather intuitive by pumping audio input into grounds, but the South Korean League was widely castigated for using sex dolls to put bums on seats, even though officials were at pains to point out that they were "premium mannequins".
Of the most sensible measures that have been tested, Danish Superliga side AGF Aarhus set up a virtual Zoom grandstand to make it a more interactive and immersive experience for fans on matchdays.
Similarly, Tottenham are following suit and they are going to install a live video wall for their game against Manchester United at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Friday evening. Spurs have set up a competition on their official website and they want the fans to be fully kitted out and react to flashpoints during the game. A select number of season ticket holders and executive members will be allowed the opportunity to participate.
Although it is unclear how many games Spurs will utilise the video wall for, it helps fill the void and it provides a distraction from listening to the eerie shouts of the players on the pitch inside a soulless stadium.
Yet there is a real white elephant in the room and that pertains to the notion of home advantage. Can having a video wall make a difference and raise the performance levels of the players?
Before the coronavirus pandemic set in, Spurs had been in a wretched run of form and they have a serious amount of work to do if they are going to qualify for next season's Champions League.
With nine games left to go, Spurs have an inviting fixture list. They still have to entertain United and Arsenal at home, but they need to put a sequence of results together sooner rather than later if they are going to secure a place in Europe's elite competition.
Spurs' new ground was supposed to provide a new lease of life for a club that harbour top-four ambitions, but it hasn't worked that way.
The stadium has, for the most part, acted as a burden and the disillusion that has been felt by the fans has transpired onto the pitch as the players have looked very shaky. While Jose Mourinho's tactics have been routinely called into question, the ground has struggled for the most part to recreate the special atmosphere of White Hart Lane.
But with the fans now not able to stifle the players in a cacophony of boos, it could enable Mourinho's troops to light up, express themselves more freely on the pitch and they can make home advantage count.
The video wall will be a fascinating experiment and if it works against United, then it could be worth sticking with at least until the government gives the green light for fans to return to the stadium.
Written by Charles Perrin
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