Date: 2nd October 2018 at 1:22pm
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Another win for Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend over Huddersfield Town wasn’t exactly the perfect preparation for Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday that many would’ve thought from simply looking at the scoreline.

Huddersfield was our third win in a row as we climbed into fourth place in the Premier League table but it did come with a cost. Dele Alli has been ruled out of the game after a recurring hamstring problem and Jan Vertonghen and Moussa Dembele will also be assessed late on as they were substituted in the game with muscular injuries.

The starting XI for this one is difficult to call with some uncertainty over those with fitness issues, but having lost the Champions League opener against Inter Milan, plenty are happy to overhype the importance of this tie.

I’ve seen plenty of talk about it being a real test for Spurs and an opportunity to prove we can compete with the ilk of the La Liga giants and I’ve also seen plenty write the tie off and suggest it should be fringe players all the way to rest the first team group as we shouldn’t have any expectations of a result.

I know where I sit on that particular debate.

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222 Replies to “Do Spurs Treat This One As A Test Or A Dead Rubber – Barcelona Match Thread”

  • Yes Danny. Some supporters have written off this game and therefore our CL progress all together. I’ve also read and heard supporters suggest that Poch should play some fringe players….

    Yeah, as hell as like! Tell Harry he’s on the bench for this one! Tell Dele it shouldn’t matter to him that he can’t take part. Tell MP not to care!

    Tell the Wembley crowd (both sets of supporters) that we are giving up the match before kick-off because we have much bigger fish to fry!

    Now tell me this, all of you defeatist, “Spursy” types out there, Why even bother to follow football and Spurs in the first place, if this really means nothing to you or the team, at all.

    I don’t believe you!

  • Much like Watford in the LC, the risk is of course playing a strong team and losing.

    We’ve played our starters a lot and the injuries are starting to pile up. The last thing we need is more injuries, so I certainly can see a need to rotate.

    If we are going to play a strong team regardless, because we believe the occasion justifies it, I understand the reasoning too but then we need to get something from the game, as the end needs to justify the means. But therein lies the conundrum. Can we feel confident of getting a result, given the quality of the opponent?

    The best case scenario would obviously be to rest some key players and still win, but that might be a lot to ask, given Barca’s quality. If we rotate and lose, at least we can argue that resting key players and avoiding more injuries for the rest of the season were the reasons why. Nobody will like losing, but maybe that’s the smart play in the long term interests of the team, facing a long season.

    If we play our best 11 and win, at least we can say we got a result, and that might mitigate the fact that we over played some players, or even suffered more injuries. But if we play our best team and still lose, well that’s really the worst possible outcome.

    There are other factors to consider, such as players wanting to play this sort of game. As I have discussed with Guyver in the past, I certainly recognise that this is what the players live for. However, I’m sure a manager can explain that the season is long , and that this is not a must-win game yet.

    Either way, I understand why some people want us to play our strongest team, and I also understand why some fans want to see rotation. Personally, I would try to accommodate a bit of both. Players carrying a knock, or having just recovered from injuries (Lloris, Eriksen, Vertonghen) should be rested, but the players who have featured a lot but who seem fit enough (Kane, Trippier, Toby, …) should play. And hope for the best.

  • HT…well said there.

    BS…yes and no with your post.

    I believe that Spurs are turning the corner, starting the habit of winning again, the next hurdle we face the probably the worlds most successful club – Barcelona, this is a game/match pro players dream of, pitting their wits against the best, and of course there will be a few who will miss out but that’s the way it goes, for me Poch should field his strongest/fittest team, no needless rotation for the sake of it.

    Nobody really expects us to win, so we have nothing to lose, any positive result is a massive milestone.

    Go and make em av it lads, “they don’t like it up em” as a young private once said, lol. COYS

  • Go on with a strong team, the strongest we can muster, because as soon as we start to play that stupid let’s just sit back and act as if it doesn’t matter because we have already lost once and we have a few injuries, so we’ll send out the kids game, we lose all momentum and we lose mental focus, that is not what we need, we need to stay totally focused on winning every game and playing our strongest team at it’s best.
    Sending out a second string team is a loser’s mentality. This is a chance to get something back from a bad start in the C L and if we win, then that will be such a boost to the squad in every way. we need to learn how to fight for every game.
    Are you telling me that the season Manure won the treble they even considered playing a second string team at any time. Fergie was a winner with a winner’s mentality which he transferred to not just the squad, but the whole set up from the tea lady and toilet cleaner to his top players, and as such he won things. THAT is the sort of mentality we need here at Spurs, not this wishy washy it doesn’t matter thinking because with that sort of thinking we will NEVER win anything.

  • I’d definitely like us to give a proper go as per RM. After all, this is what we worked so hard for last season so that we can compete with the best in Europe. Let’s give them an RM treatment. May be, just may be, Barca may become complacent seeing we have injury issues and haven’t really lit up the world this season…so far. Then it would also be great that we can progress to the knock out stage and play the latter rounds at HOME.

    Not to concerned about their tippy tappy to be honest. Some of the lower teams in La Liga have already shown that Barca are not a purring machine of yesteryears.

    A draw will be Ok for me, a win would be phenomenal. Having messed up the 1st game, hope the lads are well up for this. Not sure about a 3-0 Geof, 1-0 will do. COYS!

  • DW…thanks again for another great article.

    chrishove 123…very well put, couldn’t agree more.

    To all the “happy clappers” if you hadn’t guessed we are playing Barca tomorrow, can’t wait, am so jealous of those attending. COYS

  • PY – “for me Poch should field his strongest/fittest team, no needless rotation for the sake of it.”

    There’s a potential contradiction in that statement. MP’s fittest team may not necessarily be his strongest. Eriksen, even at 80%, could be risked and would probably influence the game a lot more than Sissoko. What do you do then?

    There is no question in my mind that we’d be stronger with Vertonghen’s experience in the team, Lloris’ talent, Eriksen’s vision, and Dembele’s presence. They can influence games more than their replacements could, even if they’re not at 100%.

    Yet all 4 may not be fully fit, and all 4 risk re-injuring themselves. Do you play them?

  • BS….maybe its my age but for the hell of me I cannot see a potential contradiction, I said “Poch should field his strongest/fittest team” meaning that’s in his eye’s from what he see’s in training, simple as that, also maybe we just do not think the same, regards Eriksen I would play him even at 80%, again this is down to Poch, but not for the whole 90mins of course but a good percentage of it, this will go a long way to getting him fully match fit.

    Have I contradicted myself again, lol! COYS

  • I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Pochettino is being very shrewd and sussed when it comes to this match.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Dembele, Jan, Hugo and Eriksen are all fit and prepared for it. Up for it and ready to go….

    But, please BS, only quote me if I’m proved right on this…. LOL

  • I am reluctant to risk Eriksen, and see him re injure himself just because we played him too soon after his injury. He would undoubtedly make our team better but he isn’t fully fit and the risk of injury is bigger than the potential reward of beating Barca, for me.

    All I was saying is that in this case, playing our strongest team (with the best players) is different than playing our fittest team (with inferior players but who are 100% fit). This is the choice MP has. Given that some of our best players are not fully fit, the 2 seem mutually exclusive at the moment.

  • HT – right on cue…

    This from the Spurs website:

    “Hugo Lloris has returned to training and is available for selection ahead of Wednesday night’s mouth-watering Champions League clash with Barcelona.

    The goalkeeper has been sidelined with a thigh problem in recent weeks and last appeared for the team in the 3-0 win at Manchester United at the end of August.

    Fellow goalkeeper Michel Vorm (knee) is expected to return to training later this week.

    Ruled out are Dele Alli (hamstring), Serge Aurier (thigh), Mousa Dembele (thigh), Christian Eriksen (abdomen) and Jan Vertonghen (hamstring).

    The quintet will not be available before the international break.”

  • I’m happy that MP is playing it safe and not risking players too early. Eriksen returned to training yesterday and could/would probably play if our season depended on it, but MP is being cautious.

  • BS …. ‘Much like Watford in the LC, the risk is of course playing a strong team and losing.’ What the hell does that mean?

    We could play a weak team and there would be no risk of winning!! Doesn’t seem much point in that, imo.

  • BS….beat me to it, age you see lol! I just read the same regards the player’s you mentioned. Also read Barca are missing 3no.

    So could we have –
    Trippier Toby Sanchez Davies
    Winks Dier
    Son Lamella Moura

    Not bad for a second string lol. COYS

  • Sky are saying that Lloris is fit, but that Aurier, Verts, Eriksen, Ali, Dembele, Winks are all missing. This highlights how short of top quality we are, what tonights bench will look like heaven only knows. We really need something from this home tie having flogged our first tie from a winning position.

  • I’m still up for the match PY and I genuinely feel hat we can win it without those guys…

    I will just quietly remind everyone that when we beat Real last year, we managed it with Winks on the pitch and Sissoko too, when Toby went off at 0-0. No Rose and no Dembele. Yes, we had Eriksen and Dele. But, no Lamela and no Moura…

    Swings n roundabouts!

  • Sorry, Dembele went on as a sub for Winks. But, there was no Wanyama and tomorrow there will be… Son was also on the bench but didn’t play…

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