Date: 1st November 2017 at 7:32am
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Play the Man not the shirt! ?and can we have our Dele Alli back!

In many respects this second game at Wembley against Real will be even harder than the first game as Zidane is a bit of a wounded Tiger at the moment. Real Madrid arrive with the worst start to a league season since 2012-13 – they have picked up just 20 points in 10 games and are eight behind leaders Barcelona. The last time they started this badly the team won nothing and Mourinho lost his job. Poch may have missed Harry but Real Madrid are wondering what has happened to Cristiano Ronaldo`s form. They are also missing Dani Carvajal and Keylor Navas and the out of sorts Marcelo and Karim Benzema. Apparently, Zidane had to field questions regarding the players commitment after their defeat by Girona on Sunday but rumour has it it`s the Spanish league that is failing to motivate them this season.

Real`s lack of concentration could well be an area that Spurs could benefit from. Just as we have been guilty over the last two games of sloppy play letting stupid goals in so Zidane has pointed to a lack of concentration in key moments. Zidane tried to introduce some pace against Girona in wide areas with Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez but it simply didn’t work on Sunday and the good news for Poch is that Girona played the same wing-backs system Spurs played at the Bernabeu.

However, Zidane will know our tactics and so our defence will have to show the highest levels of understanding and concentration. The stats don`t lie; Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last 30 Champions League group games (W22 D8), their last defeat was back in October 2012 away against Dortmund. Real have failed to score only once in their last 53 Champions League group games (Paris SG 0-0 Real Madrid in October 2015).

Losing to a Lukaku header would have been one thing but losing to a long ball over the top is something else. Whilst we never really ever showed much invention in front of goal we did match United in almost every department except the most vital one, scoring! And some of the issues we had against United need to be ironed out before Wednesdays match. Chances will be very rare in front of the Real goal on Wednesday night so we can`t afford missing the kind of opportunities that Dele Alli squandered on Saturday.

The plain truth is we don`t have a striker that can make things happen the way Harry does and this is something Poch has to address. Llorente has the potential but he needs a system that plays to his strengths rather than slotting into a team that is built around Kane. Although losing on Wednesday night won`t really dent our European campaign it would be 3 defeats on the trot, something Poch would not want to have happen. A win at Wembley against Real would secure us a place in the knockout stages, should Borussia Dortmund and APOEL draw in their fixture, but, I can`t see Dortmund drawing at home, however, if we draw against Real then a draw in Germany would be enough to see us through.

It is unlikely Poch will pick the same team that played in the first leg at the Bernabéu because Dele Alli is back. Although Kane looks like he will make it, if Kane can`t make it, it could be Alli supporting Llorente. It was a good formula in the first tie and it worked, just! but the concentration levels have to be every bit as high as they were in Madrid. This may be a home tie but it`s more of an even venue for both clubs than if this game was at White Hart Lane where the atmosphere would have been more intense and the ground less familiar and smaller.

There is news of Isco picking up a knock which will no doubt worry Real, who could be without Mateo Kovacic, Dani Carvajal, Keylor Navas, Raphael Varane. But with the depth of squad Real have it`s a bit like the United game where the depth of quality on the bench is far greater than ours. The fact that we are competing on the same level as Real and United is testimony to Poch`s coaching ability. We are 3 times smaller financially than United and Real but we are still able to compete and hold our own.

This game will require a mighty effort and you have to say that if we concede the first goal it will be a long evening so it`s really important to strike first. Whatever the score it`s going to be a tight game with maybe 1 goal in it. You have to say with Kane in the team we stand a chance but without him we may not have that ability to bury the odd lose ball or pick up on that one defensive mistake that can turn a game. Its small margins but, as Harry showed in the first leg, he was in the right place at the right time and created the unforced error that gave us the lead.

Eriksen and Alli only showed glimpses of what they should be able to do against United, their telepathy and movement will be required on Wednesday if we are to produce any kind of threat. Whilst Dembele could have a say in this game he is still out of nick and not really up to match sharpness. I also think he has lost a yard and the one thing we can`t afford to do is lose the ball and have our attacking moves breakdown as Ronny will be living off the shoulder of our defence, give Ronaldo just a chink of light he will kill us so we had better not switch off like we did at United!


82 Replies to “Spurs v Real Madrid – Play The Man, Not The Shirt!”

  • Good article OyVeh. I don’t think the team is built around Kane … it’s more that he fits perfectly with the formation and style Poch favours. I think our lads will also play like wounded tigers after the United game. Whatever happens I hope it’s a hard competitive game and expect the result to be Spurs 3-0 Madrid. It’s a 3:45am KO for me!

  • Assuming Kane is fit, I’d start Llorente with him again as in the 1st leg. He has a lot of experience not only in general but of Spanish football in particular, which could be vital. I’d swap Son for Sissoko and bring in Rose and Trippier as wing backs. There’s no place for Dele in that lineup but we’ve done fine so far in Europe without him. In Europe, not giving up possession cheaply is paramount. In the EPL the ball comes back quite quickly but not so in Europe, even against the lesser teams. Dele has been a long way off the pace so far this season and a lot of moves have broken down when he’s in possession. We simply cannot afford that tonight. If Dembele was fully fit I’d play him instead of Dier but he doesn’t look to be there yet. And I think a draw would be a fine result tonight, so Dier’s defensive qualities will be important. My team: Lloris, Tripper, Toby, Sanchez, Rose, Winks, Dier, Eriksen, Son, Kane and Llorente.

  • I expect a different line up and approach to suck RM in, keep them guessing. I wouldn’t play Llorente in this one, he has not improved and the team are not playing to his strengths. I would get him on the pitch towards the end if we need a goal or need some defending from corners and may be his time will come in the FA cup.

    However, we nustn’t risk kane but I think he will start.

    I am not fussed about starting Dele, he has not been on form and he needs to earn his place but I think he will start. I would go for Dembele Winks and Dier in the middle with two wing backs and kane and Dele/Son but what do I know

  • It’sME, you know as much as the rest of us. I’m fairly certain Poch will start Dele tonight anyway. Poch has been talking about Dele’s slow start to the season and he has partly attributed it to his lack of motivation on missing out in the Champions league campaign so far, which is a poor indictment of Dele’s attitude really, given that he was solely to blame. But he’s young and still learning (hopefully) and he’ll be back tonight.

  • Nice one Oyveh.

    Personally, I would start with Llorente and Kane and bring Sonny on midway through 2nd half. Similarly, I’d stick with Winks over Dembele (for more fluidity) and the latter to come on 2nd half to close out the game….if needed. Of course ‘naughty’ Dele will start, but I don’t wanna see him DeleDallying in the final 3rd as if we lose the ball, they will hurt us with counter. Eriksen better bring his ‘A’ game. Back 3 of Toby, Sanchez and Jan. WB’s is an area that I suspect Poch may tinker. Trippier v Aurier and Davies v Rose. I’d like Aurier and Rose. This a showcase game for the world. A record full stadium and all eyes on this game, a spectacle it will be. COYS!

    Oh, I’d be happy with a draw as minimum.

  • I still think Poch ought to mix it up to keep RM guessing but it’s so hard, what I would really like is to see Lamela on the bench and get last 15mins – the lad needs it, and what a game to come back in and hopefully give him the mental stregth to push on and put his injury nightmares behind him. I personally think a fit and on form Lamela before injury where he was getting getter although still frustrating at times means a better squad for us.

    i also think if Lamela gets back to his best and continues to improve he will push Eriksen and Dele and I also think so will Barkley who once fit and on form and under Poch will be a great addition to this squad. For me no brainer Barkley or Sissoko.

    I wouldn’t mind Dembele from Celtic either, but can’t see us getting him because he will want first team footy. Tonight I seriously have no idea who will start. Does Rose deserve a start over Davies who has done litle wrong and missed out in first game. Is Aurier any better than Trippier at the moment?. Does Winks start due to his performance against them in the first game, if so who drops out? Dembele is brilliant on his day, but can he warrant a start over the inform maturing Winks and the stability and versitility of Dier? Some people moan at Dier when he makes mistakes, but lets not forget, he is a fit young man who is asked to play different roles, how many players can do that, play different roles and remain steady, bound to make odd mistakes.


    Is Sanchez ready to come back in or is he a little rusty after not playing in thelast couple of games?.

    Questions, questions questions – I don’t have the answers but I have one preference, if kane is fit and not a risk I like him to play. My 2nd preference is not to over complicate it and fit players in, but play players in their naturla position but keep them guessing. My heart says we can win this or at least get a draw, but my head is telling me ‘be aware’, RM don’t usually mess up when the pressure is on. They will want to make ammends for the first game and the last game they played, and now they know us better they will be better equipped – so it’s going to be harder imo. However, we shouldn’t be scared of them, my final preference or should I say ‘desire’ is for Eriksen to dictate this game, turn up because if he fails to do so then we need to address this next season. We need better for such games because quite frankly, although I love Eriksen, this area has not imporved, he doesn’t turn up in big games, he doesn’t dictate the game and he doesn’t control the games enough against big teams and if he can’t do that then we need someone who can because it’s his position and style that win games for us, the creator.

  • I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kane on the bench and given only 30 minutes or so. Poch tends to bench players fresh off an injury and ease them back in, obviously Kane could prove an exception, but maybe not because it is so important that he stays 100% fit

  • I wasn’t far off from getting the selection right for the 1st game. So, my line-up would be: Hugo, Aurier, Toby, Sanchez, Jan, Rose, Dier, Winks, Dele, Eriksen and Kane. Rose would be handy for pace and then Dele can concentrate on his AM role. If Rose doesn’t start, imo, he’s as good as gone. My bench doesn’t look too shabby with Vorm, Sissoko, Davies, Tripp, Son + Llorente.

  • When I attempt to pick the team I end up with 3 more players that I want to be in it but I’ve already got eleven. I guess that means our squad is pretty good.

  • Happens to me all the time Geof, end up with a team of 12 or 13 and my personal dislike for a player kicks in and they get thrown on the scrap heap….I mean the bench! So, Sissoko didn’t make it for me!

  • Time seems to be going so slow – youths are doing alright I see. Really excited about tonight, really hope we beta them or at least get a draw, with a good performance. Don’t like Linkekar and Benzema spit, it will only fuel Benzema to prove a point.

    COYS whoever plays

  • Poch got it right in the first leg.I trust him far more than any suggestions I could make.I just hope it is the great contest it was before.This is the tie the world will be watching & I’m so proud of my team to have got to this level.COYS.

  • Well done youngsters with that 3-2 win now lets do the same senior players.

    I was watching Edwards closely in that 2nd half and he is lightweight and I agree with Poch he needs to work harder but he did ok as they all did. I thought our defenders were very good.

  • Slower wing backs selected. So looking to defend 1st and look to break. Considering this being a home time, thought he may have gone with the two pacey options instead.

  • It’s 3:15 am and I’m feeling nervous. Should get the team selection any minute. Looking forward to that! Enjoy the game people. COYS!

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