It’s last 16 day and we’re all excited because the only two English teams in at this stage are us an Chelsea. Arguably the two form teams in league. Contractually that means we’re obliged to rescue the Premierships reputation with a fine win away at one of the most decorated clubs in European football. Piece of cake right?
Well… we’ll see. Though Serie A is no longer a hot bed of European talent, it still possesses the talents of many wiley old professionals who know how to win without breaking too much of a sweat. Milan top the league over there, we’re 4th in ours, this will be no cake walk but for me, we should be looking to take at least a draw away from this game.
Much of it is going to rest on the form of our defence. Can Gibbs show us his talent before he shows us the foetal position? Can Koscielny find an understanding with Vermaelen? Can the Belgian make the transition to centre back without sign of cobwebs? Sagna.., well, we know what to expect of the best right back in Europe.
I’m confident we have the right personnel in midfield. Song and Arteta suit the continental style of play. I also think this might be a good game for Ramsey to showcase his talents. His hard work and tenacity is reminiscent of Flamini, I’m sure he can cause problems if his final ball is up to scratch and he releases early. Up top will be interesting. I’d love to see Chamberlain unleashed on Milan’s backline and I’d love it if Theo packed his a-game (along with his game boy and multi pack of Kelloggs mini boxes)! Robin at his clinical best would be a treat as well. If he has eyes on pastures new, keeping us in the competition is absolutely essential.
I hope we go into the match tactically astute. Going all guns blazing and losing a goal after 6 minutes will do us no favours. We need to get the first 20mins out the way and feel our way into the evening. We’ll eek out chances, we just need to be patient. Having Thierry on the bench is exciting because you feel like the fairy-tale might not be over yet. Wenger has been talking about the shock of his contribution. Makes you wonder why he signed him if he didn’t think he was capable of scoring a few goals. The sad part about it is that he’s off. We’ve been to Stringfellows for the night, had 6 great dances… now it’s back to the battle-axe until we can afford another night out… for the record, the battle-axe is Chamakh. A dirty great bearded beast of a lady.
Wenger thinks we can win the whole competition… I think he’s kidding himself. If we could get to the final, maybe we could snatch the trophy in a one off but over two legs we don’t posses the quality to see off teams like Madrid and Barca.
Wenger also thinks 3rd is within our reach. He’s right, it is. I can’t believe how defeatist people are about a team who have no history of seeing things out. For all the wonderment of Harry’s lily white army, and all the disappointment of our pithy season… they’ve only managed one more goal than us. Ten more points is a bother, but if we beat them on the 26th, it’s down to 7 and they still have to play Stoke, United plus Chelsea, Everton and Sunderland away.
People forget that Spurs single focus this year was Champions League. I told you at the start of the season they were going to bomb off all other competitions and that’s what they’ve done. Their resource dictates that’s all they can do. However, if they do fulfill on that, there’s a whole heap of problems awaiting…
1. Bale and Modric won’t sign new deals.
2. Ade won’t take a 50% pay cut.
3. Will City give them players after Harry pushed for a Balottelli suspension?
4. Harry will take the England job
5. They have to fund a stadium move in a depression
I don’t wish to exonerate Arsene from putting us in a situation where we have a worse squad with £53million more in our transfer pot than them plus about £50mill additional to play with in wages, but this Spurs blip isn’t sustainable in my book.
Dennis Bergkamp had some interesting observations about the club as a whole. He thinks we lack big players who can muck in with the goals but he doesn’t think that’s the fault of the manager.
“You also need a few players who can make a difference in terms of scoring goals. I don’t feel there are enough of them.
“You look at the midfield and compare it with ours.
“We had Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires, Ray Parlour – when it wasn’t working for one of the big names, one of these could step up.
He thinks we lack that little bit of winning mentality sometimes. I can’t disagree with that, but for me, that all stems from the top. If you reward mediocrity, you’ll never fill your trophy cabinet! Interesting that he still thinks Robin would be better behind a striker.
In other news, rumour has it Jack might be back in a month… seeing is believing! Also, Mertesacker might be out for less time than originally feared!
Tonight is absolutely massive tonight, I’m not sure Peroni is the beer of choice this evening, I might elect for London Pride instead. I also might paint my face red and white and watch the game without my shirt on. That’s how serious I am about this evening.
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Enjoy it wherever you are and make sure you hang out in the comments to give your view!