Date: 5th December 2017 at 2:23pm
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We need a win, not for qualification, but simply to get a win under our belt and to lift the fog that is beginning to pervade so much of the good that has been done and achieved so far. Some might say winning this doesn’t mean much; but winning is a great habit to have and a few of the players on show here, will have something to prove.

You will know as well as I how well we’ve played to be in the happy position of this game effectively being a waste of time; but our front line troops are all in need of both physical and mental rest.

Domestically we’ve had a rough time recently and Poch’s team selections have alarmed and confused as much as it’s inspired, tactically we now seem very one-dimensional, as Vert alluded to; we’ve been found out. We’re in desperate need of a plan B and some plan B players that can make a difference. They have a chance to show up and impress Poch as I fully expect a liberal smattering of newer faces who may not normally start.

N’koudou and Sterling have genuine pace; play well here and they may well be part of a genuine, pacey Plan ‘b’ at some point in the season.

We are of course the Group H winners, but with probably as many 7-8 players rested for this game, it is a real guess how we will line up and even more of the same for how we will play.

But let’s be clear APOEL shouldn’t be in the competition; if they played in England they’d be lucky to be in Division 2, of course that doesn’t mean that they are well organised and a pain in the posterior to break down. They haven’t won any of their last 13 ties in this competition, and have only scored in 4 of them. As we saw in the first leg, they do know how to play on the break and managed to give a good couple of scares before we took control.

But they do have something to play for and being at Wembley will once again be a huge incentive for a visiting side, but win this and they’ll likely finish third – a huge result for them, but they’ll have to throw away the form book (even if we are playing poorly) to win this as they have never won away from home.

We finally wore them down at their place and won, some would say flatteringly 3-0, and with a scratch team likely to be picked by Poch, the margin of winning this time is unlikely to be greater.

It seems Delli will play, and speaking at the press conference had this to say about his form to Football.London ‘

‘We`re disappointed with the results in recent games. All clubs have a dip in form. We`ll bounce back and show our character. It`s very easy. [to keep focus] No easy game in the Champions League. We want to be in this competition and taking on the best in Europe. We want to win every game ‘.

he went on

‘It`s not unusual for a team to have a dip in form. We have a great team, great manager and staff and we`ll bounce back.

There`s always positives and negatives. I`d always like to be at my best in every match and training session. I`ve learned a lot from this season. I`m my own biggest critic. I know if it`s not going well for me. I work hard every session. It`s important that we keep pushing to always be better’

We won’t be seeing Marcus Edwards as he’s still not ready – which makes you wonder if we ever will now if not in a game like this – Nkoudou is going to start and there will be many hoping that he can put in a real performance and create a pressure wave that will see him as a real alternative for the Premier League, Sterling and Amos look like starting too, beyond that I suspect it will be a blend that will have all worked hard on the training pitch to make our shape and application look right.

This is a massive game for N’koudou, that is if we have any hope of him playing any part this season and Poch proving that he isn’t another doomed to be sent back to France or loaned out in January.

We could start like this, but to be honest, your guess may well be better than mine:

Gazzaniga, Aurier, Foyth, Vert, Walker Peters, Winks, Amos, Sissoko, N’Koudou, Sterling, Llorente


72 Replies to “Tottenham v APOEL Champions league Match Preview”

  • Just winning and at Wembley are good enough reasons to put in a good performance… Fairly sure both Foyth and KWP will get a game, may be Gazza too though I think Vorm is due an appearance.

  • I personally don’t care what the result is, as long as we rotate heavily. I will lose it if Eriksen and Kane get anywhere near the pitch. Of course, MP will play his best 11.

  • interesting press conference. Poch was clear GK had improved in recent weeks and shown he now understands what he needs to do to make it in the first team and he clearly said he is a good guy, right attitude. From that I deduce it was a matter of GK not reallu undertstanding what levels he has to work at on the training pitch and off it to be considered ready – if he has took it on board and worked his way into Poch plans them good on him and lets hope he takes his chance, because we need more players who can push our starting 11.

    Regarding Edwards, well it seems Poch still considers him not ready ‘it’s about performance’ and he wasn’t going to talk about his behaviour. There still seems to be some reservations in Poch mind! but on the other hand it could be the ‘whip’ Poch is applying to get him to realise his potential ‘tough love’ so to speak. With Sterling and Amos in the squad this clearly sends a message out to edwards you need to push more, I guess with the others as well, but it also sends a ‘carrot’ out showing the youngsters opportunites will arise. For these two youngsters playing at wenbley if they get game time in CL is massive and it’w the dangling carrot that hopefully pushes them on.

    It will be good to see Llorente play, try and get some fitness and see if the players can play to his strengths, build his confidence, but another shocker could knock him further back. Poch seems confident he will contribute and is happy with him so we have to trust Poch even if what we have seen of lorente hasn’t impressed many us much!.

    I think Dier needs a rest and I hope he gets it, and I expect Foyth to be given a chance. He is here and we need back up in the Pl with Sanchez and Toby out so may be Foyth can do enough to warrant selection in the PL next 3 games at least! Big game for him if he gets the nod.

    I am looking forward to this game and some new faces. Rest eriksen as well and may be we will see Winks, I expect so. I expect Rose and Aurier to start, Aurier isn’t doing as much as I thought and wonder whether its just lack of fitness, or whether its adapting to the new environment, and Rose need game time.

    Shame Lamela cannot play as he isn’t registered, but expect new GK to start if Vorm is still unfit.

    A win would help with confidence and some good performances will help with competition for places. I expect a win tomorrow but cannot predict anything until I see the team sheet.

  • Not sure KWP will get a game because I suspect Aurier needs game time and so does Rose for fitness, so KWP may miss out again. I also don’t see why Sanchez can’t play, he ought to as he will miss the next 3 PL games so he gets his rest then, besides it’s better to play as soon as you can after making a mistake of getting a red card, you just want to out it behind you so he should play with Foyth and I expect Verts if we play a 3 at back.

    Will Sterling start may be but may be not, may be we will have Amos and Winks in the middle and see GK, Son and Dele behind Llorente! Or will Dembele start in the middle to improve his fitness with Winks and Amos come on later just as Sterling may come on later for Son. We don’t want to play too mnay new faces and youngsters and have a bad start, but we do need to rest players and it looks like Kane, Eriksen and Dier, lloris are being rested. Hopefully whoever plays we put in a good performance I will go for Vorm, Aurier, Foyth, Sanchez, Verts and Rose, Winks, Amos, GK, Son and Dele and Llorente. I then expect two things to happen. if we are doing alright winning, then Son will be replaced by Sterling in 2nd half and if we need to tighten up in midfield then I expect demeble to come in for Amos in the 2nd half and at some point depending on how the game is going we may switch to a back 4 and take Verts off to give him a bit of a rest, or we may stick with back 3 and we may give KWP a run out in 2nd half for Rose or Aurier for last 20mins. I am concerned about Verts, he hasn’t had a rest, but he seems fit even though he is one of the oldest so may be he will be fine but we cannot afford to lose him over the coming weeks so n ot resting him is a little worrying. We may actually rest him and play Davies as a 3 at the back or we may play a back 4 with Samchez and Foyth although that may be a bit risky, although it could be countered by playing 3 infront of them in midfield. Can’t call it but we need to be careful with verts our best defender available for the busy period. I guess playing twice a week means Sanchez 3 games will go in about a week, Stoke, Brighten and unfortunately City. Boy are we running thin at the back.

  • This game is a good chance for Poch to try a plan B… shape of 433 will give experience to young players and show senior squad watching from the bench / stands what can be done. Remember Chelsea played 3 at the back, poch followed, and it worked… M City play 433 and are top of league.. poch has to try this….As i am going to the 3rd CL game ticket package, a 3-0 win and Lorente scoring his 1st goal for Spurs will do nicely… my game views will be posted on here…COYS

  • Llorento needs a hat trick at least. N’Koudou needs to beat a man. Hopefully the youngsters will play and show some enthusiasm and skill.

  • A good result is definitely required; worst spell of Poch’s reign methinks….. I’d go for Foyth and Sanchez due to injury and suspension concerns….. Hopefully, N’Koudou can grab the game by the scruff and be a good threat…. Aurier and Rose at full/wing back need to have good games to get match sharpness…. Pity about Lamela not being in CL squad, but thankfully it’s a ‘free’ game to play….. The team needs to put in a performance and let’s hope we don’t go down to an early goal, which seems to be our kryptonite….. Up the Spurs!

  • What I would really like to see is the team actually playing to Llorente’s strengths, give him the crosses he can score goals off. If we aren’t going to do that why did we sign him ?

  • What can I say for a match that we don’t actually need to win? It’s a rare luxury….. I still expect us to play with the complete and utter attitude of winners. But, If there are wholesale changes from Pochettino (which seems likely), then it may not be as clear cut as we would like it or maybe expect it to be. On the other hand, the pressure to perform well should be a lot less on the players than is usual. And, whoever starts the match, I’m more concerned about them putting in a good performance than I am about the final result. I expect them to win but I don’t think it will have as much bearing on our PL form as some have alluded to. Especially if most of our first team regulars are not playing.

    Anyhow, here’s another throwaway and probably completely wrong and rubbish score prediction:

    Tottenham Hotspur 5, The other lot zero!

  • Sorry Ossie! Still, I’d prefer it if you all blamed me when it all goes tits up, rather than seeing all these OTT knee jerk reactions when we hit a dip in form.

  • I think players know no matter how well they play tonight they will still be on the bench, back to 442 and see what happens.

  • 123spurs. I agree with you. One good match against Apoel really shouldn’t be quite enough for a player to impress the manager and influence him that much anyway. Still, it will always be so much better than if they play badly.

  • It’s a dead rubber of a game. Don’t know where Apoel are in their league and what their priorities might be. They could potentially try and make an occasion of this, pitting their wits v a team that has seen off RM. They are not that shabby as they did give both RM and BM a good game. I’d like a win against these ‘minnows’ and may be, just may be, discover a gem amongst our peripheral/academy players. We are overdue for find a new Harry of the either mould. 3-1 Spurs. COYS!

  • Apoel are currently 3rd in the Cypriot 1st division, 6 points from top but with 2 games in hand…….. They were thrashed at home 6-0 by Real but recently beat Olympiakos Nicosia 6-1 at home. So, I’ve changed my mind and now my prediction is to be: 6-0! With 16 year old Maurizio Pochettino, (Mauricio’s THFC academy playing son), scoring all 6. Maybe not the ‘new’ Harry CS, but the new Poch!….. Watch out N’Koudou, MP’s son is a winger!

  • They are 3rd in the league, 6 points behind the leaders, but with 2 games in hand. I can’t imagine they would prioritise CL at this stage.

  • I’m concerned about the soft goals we are letting in, also from set pieces, but we get so many and can’t score from them.

  • I don’t think we’ve had a penalty given to us so far this season. I reckon we’ve had enough shouts that should’ve gone our way, to at least have had Harry scored a few more goals.

  • Belgian, They can still make EL. Of course they’ll want CL next season, so their home league might be their priority. They did get 2 x 1-1 draws v BM.

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