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« Love Story | Main | The Five Stages »

Another Twente quid on Spurs to win

So do we accept qualification and all it will bring regardless of finishing top of the group or second by fielding a side that's not the strongest available or do we seize the day and focus on getting into the knock-out stage as winners, thus avoiding football rape at the Camp Nou? Decisions, decisions. Why would we even contemplate not fielding our strongest side?

Oh yeah. Chelsea this weekend.

Okay, so it's not (blue scum) exactly the fixture of old which we'd brush aside and concede goals and points even before the kick-off. We've enjoyed success at the Lane against them recently and they're a pale shadow of the side that began the season with such relentless decimation of their opponents. Not that I'm naïve enough to think we'll walk all over them. Although I'd very much like us to do just that. It's a massive game that. Might put their gaffer under extraordinary early season pressure if we beat them. And the obvious upwards elevation/momentum/confidence booster - priceless.

But there's the small matter of Twente to deal with first. Irony not lost that I'm even entertaining league as a priority over Champions League. Hasn’t it mostly worked the other way?

The Dutch champions are seeking revenge. I can imagine they're come out at a pulsating tempo. No slow-build up play here. Home crowd behind them, up and at 'em attitude. If we've switched off already and the concentration isn't there then hello to complacency and second in the group.

I don't have a clue how we plan to line-up. I've seen plenty of discussion that has the side patched up (Bale rested, Keane starting etc) but will be content as long as the spine of the side isn't tampered with too much.

It's simple really. After this game is done and dusted, we're into the realm of two-legged cup football. I know this is an adventure for us and for the travelling away fans and our players it's what it's all about in terms of enjoying and building on the learning curve this top tier football is giving us. And savouring every second of it. But who wants to face the might of Madrid or Barca from the off when perhaps we could get through to the following round and then face them (or perhaps muddle through to the round after that and then face them).

We are hardly going to win this competition based on paper and on experience. But it would be foolish to suggest that we (traditionally a cup side that can turn it on and beat anyone on our day) don't stand a chance of progressing balls deep into the latter stages. Which is why finishing top (matching Inters result thank you please) will be delightful.

Finish top and we'll face Schalke/Lyon, Valencia, Copenhagen, Roma, Marseille or AC Milan. Not that any of these clubs don't have the capabilities to knock us out - but I'd fancy our chances to do just that to them.

Schalke/Lyon, Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Real Madrid. If we're second.

All this is based on how it stands currently. I think. Correct me if I've got anything wrong.

If the likes of Porto and Liverpool (when they won it, care to remember how 'great' they actually were?) are proof you don't have to be the best side to go all the way. You do need to believe and you do need to remain committed and focus. Both clubs had tacticians at their helm masterminding their run and granted, getting lucky once or twice along the way.

I'd be over the moon with each additional game we get and would love to get far enough to play another English club. Run around Tottenham, a lot, and kick it in the net. That should do the trick.

We've made a name for ourselves this season. Would be wasteful if we didn't strive to guarantee our survival for a little bit longer. If it doesn't work out and we end up away at the Santiago Bernabeu or worse…oh well, so be it. It beats getting giddy about the Carling Cup.

To dare is to swagger and hit the barn door.



Reader Comments (22)

Twente are decent but I think we are over rating them some what. We'll out score them. It's Europe. Crouch will score.

Dec 7, 2010 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterPLY

Afternoon ladies.

They will be difficult to break down and they have nothing to lose. We've got plenty of time to recover for the Chelsea game. Play best team possible. Win the game, win the group.

Dec 7, 2010 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterHazard

Agree with the sentiments, we can't win it but let's have a right old go at getting as far as possible because anything on the night can happen. Have to aim for top spot in the group.

Dec 7, 2010 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeneral Brickhouse

Twente are def thru to Europa and have a tricky away tie to Heerenveen on Sunday, so wouldn't expect them to risk injuries. Pity Cheatski don't need a result to qualify 1st. But agree, play best team and hope to bring off players if we are winning. *pinches arm*

Dec 7, 2010 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterLemonadeMoney

Don't forget if we come second there is a good chance of Shaktar Donesk being alongside the 4 teams you mentioned...Schalke/Lyon, Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Real Madrid so it is not the end of the world but if we do finish top then we don't have to rely on the luck of the draw. COYS

Dec 7, 2010 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy

Chelsea game is 5 days away, play our best team, if they are tired for Sunday they probably shouldn't be professional athletes!

Can anyone remember the last time we played well in the league (off subject i know), hang on, and even bigger test of your memories, can anyone remember when we played well for 90 minutes in the league?????

Dec 7, 2010 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterOssie

Good point Ossie but I'm wracking my brain trying to think of any team that's played well for 90 minutes in the league in the last month or so.
Maybe Blackpool :)

Dec 7, 2010 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered Commenternycyid

Twente is without their best player Ruiz who is injured and other key players are tired , they have a good team and a very good coach , Chadli is a good player but will maybe get the evening of because of tiredness ...

Dec 7, 2010 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterbelgian spur

It annoys me when people focus on us beating the big four at all other expense. Does the fact it's chelsea next make a difference? really, is it the end of the season if we fail to take maximum points from them? before you jump down my throat look, back in the 2009-10 season the points taken from the points available for us and man utd the winners of that year were as followed:
against the bottom half, us 40%, utd 97%
against the second tier, us 57%, utd 75%
against the big four, us 42%, utd 28% (the fact that utd are one of the big four is figured into the percentage)

so from this, how to win the league: beat the bottom half home and away, beat the top half at home and draw away (as per tactics in europe) and screw the top four, treat them as exhibition matches the kids might just steal a point from, it seems to work for fergie, so rather than chasing rainbows trying to beat chelsea, lets concentrate on consistently beating the wigans and west hams etc. Just an idea

Dec 7, 2010 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterbonse

^2008-09 season rather, spreadsheets all look like after a while :(

Dec 7, 2010 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterbonse

how come there is only 4 possible teams if we finish 1st or 2nd? I thought the only restriction was you cant play vs a team in your country or your group... : The UEFA Champions League draw will pit the winners of one group against the runners-up of another, with the runners-up playing the first leg at home. Winners and runners-up from the same group cannot be drawn together. Clubs from the same association cannot meet either.

Dec 7, 2010 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarrow Hotspur

Sunday's game is the important one, it would be nice to top the group but realistically how far can we really go in CL; quarters at best for me. We must beat Chelski on Sunday if we are to keep pace with the top four. I'd rest Bale tonight and bring Niko in, rest Luka if possible and give Charlie a run out at right back. I reckon tonight will be 2-1, but I wouldn't predict to whom...let's just hope Werder are stung into action against a poorly perfomring Inter side.

Dec 7, 2010 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterspurs61

The good news is that Twente are missing their best player in Ruiz. They still have the Austrian guy up front and the free-kick specialist Dutchman (I cant be arsed remembering their names - Janker and Janson I think), so will casue problems, but Ruiz is the star man. We've been fortunate in that regard in the CL - Werder were missing Pizaro in both games against us, and Inter missed that tasty little Argie forward (yet another name escaping me). Even so I dont see us winning.

However, fear not. Inter wont beat Werder. Werder have hit some form (2 games unbeaten!), have some players back, and will want to show their fans something. Inter are poor away from home. I actually predect we'll both lose!

spurs61 - stop being hysterical about one off games. The league consists of 38 matches. It is not true that we 'MUST beat Chelsea to keep pace with the top 4'. Its perfectly feasible that we'll lose to Chelsea but still finish in the top 4. People seem to think every match is the most important of the season right now! Really - we could pick up 5 points from the next 5 games and see out of it, only to win the next 5 and be right back in it. This is how seasons develop, not just for us, but for all teams. Over a season the exact importance of each and every game, leaving aside grudges and derby isues, is precisely 1/38th of the total

Dec 7, 2010 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul F

It's not a matter about prioritising one game over the other, what Harry will be doing will be trying to win both games and sending teams out that he thinks can win both games. Clearly resting a few players tonight will give us a better opportunity to beat Chelsea, but equally clearly, playing our best team tonight will give us the best chance of beating Twente. The question is whether Harry believes that we can afford to rest some players tonight and still win the game. If he does then he will rest some players, if not then it will be the strongest possible lineup. Given that this is a completely dead rubber for Twente I suspect that they won't send out their strongest team, and my opinion therefore is that we can probably afford to leave out one or two of our usual starters and still have a very good chance of winning the game. Harry knows by now how players recover from midweek European exertions and which players, if any, are in need of a rest, so I'm going to trust in him to select the right team. Harry will do whatever gives us the greatest chance of winning both games. That is what football management is all about.

Dec 7, 2010 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterYidtastic

Spurs should do the double, reckon I should put Twente on this....

Dec 7, 2010 at 6:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterBimspur

In any event, VDV's supposed to return for the Chelsea game, so that's one guy rested for the weekend...and then Modi's sick apparently, so no play for him today which means if he's good by the weekend, we have two very important players ready to play.

Dec 7, 2010 at 6:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBimspur

Lennon rested also due to knock.

Dec 7, 2010 at 7:34 PM | Registered Commenterspooky

Gomes, Corluka, Gallas, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Kranjcar, Jenas, Palacios, Bale, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe.

Subs: Cudicini, Hutton, Lennon, Keane, Crouch, Giovani, Dawson.

Not a bad side. Spooky, Azza is on the bench.

Dec 7, 2010 at 7:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterKilljoy

Top of the group.

Dec 7, 2010 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterKilljoy

strange game , Twente looked a bit more motivated , nice goal from my fellow countryman Chadli from FK. But good to see palacios regaining some form and Defoe doing what he does best ... scoring goals

Unlucky JJ however , who was pretty decent in possesion before limping off

Dec 7, 2010 at 9:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterbelgian spur

No need to over extend. Did enough and if we had to go there and win I reckon we'd have done it. Crazy game crazy idiotic ref.

Top of the group. Meant to have been outclassed, shown up and yet there we are. Top.

Dec 7, 2010 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Machine

Those who said we would be an embarrasment to English football were correct.
To think we had such an easy group and yet we got spanked in every game.
We are really, really sorry, but clearly not ready for CL football.
Please forgive us.

Dec 7, 2010 at 10:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

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