UEFA Champions League preview: Spurs vs Twente FC
It will be a special night for Spurs’ fans given that for the first time in almost half a century, they will be witnesses of a Uefa Champions League tie at White Hart Lane. The last European Cup game at White Hart Lane took place in 1962 when Bill Nicholson’s lads were knocked out by Eusebio’s Benfica.
Regarding tonight’s game, Spurs must win this one before the clash with defending champions Inter on October, 20th at San Siro if they want to qualify for the last 16. So far, Harry’s boys have one point thanks to a 2-2 draw in Bremen two weeks ago and they will be eager to add another tonight.
The thing with Tottenham is that they are struggling to find last season’s form, as they have only one victory in the last six games in all competitions, with two hard-to-swallow defeats against neighbors Arsenal (League Cup) and West Ham (Premier League). A win for the Dutch would be devastating for Harry’s lads, therefore they have no other option but to win this one.
According to uefa.com, Harry Redknapp insists that his players have to respect the Dutch:
It’s great for the club to be in the Champions League and important we got through the play-off round.This is a tight group, a difficult group, and every point is vital. If you win your home games you qualify so this is a massive game for us and one we need to win. There will be a great atmosphere like there was for the last game against Young Boys. That lifted us and we got the win. This is an intimidating place to come.
Against Bremen we learned we can play at this level and we’re capable of giving anyone a game. We know quite a bit about Twente: they are a good team with some very good players. You don’t win the Dutch championship unless you’re a good team.
We spoke to [Rafael] van der Vaart this morning and asked him where one or two of them might play. He knows the players and said they are a good team. They played well against Inter and if you look at their home record you see they are a fantastic home team. We will respect them.
The undefeated Dutch champions are ready for the clash
Twente offered fans a Cinderella story in the last decade as the club’s mother corporation (FC Twente ’65) was declared bankrupt in the 2002–03 season (almost leading to the end of the club’s existence), surviving thanks to the efforts of the ambitious Joop Munsterman, only to become Dutch champions last season. They lost just twice in the Eredivisie in the process, thus making former manager Steve McClaren the first Englishman to guide a Dutch team to a national title since Bobby Robson in 1992.
At the end of last season, the gaffer resigned moving to VFL Wolfsburg being replaced by Michel Preud’homme. The former Belgian international made no major changes in the style of football that guaranteed Twente a domestic title last season. So far, they have been rather impressive, as they conceded only three league goals this season and are also on an unbeaten run in all competitions, impressing even the defending European champions Inter on matchday 1.
These being said, their confidence is sky-high and they will surely be a tough nut to crack.
Team News & possible line-ups
Harry Redknapp has to come up with plan to strengthen the team’s defence as both Younes Kaboul (hamstring) and William Gallas (groin) are doubtful for this fixture. In the meantime, Ledley King is also thought to have pulled up with a problem, but could yet feature as reports point towards the player having returned to training. Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee) missed the weekend clah with West Ham due to a knee injury picked-up during the League Cup clash with Arsenal, but there are reports that he could be included in the starting XI. Both Michael Dawson (knee) and Jermain Defoe (ankle) remain sidelined.
Spurs’ Possible starting XI: Cudicini; Hutton, Corluka, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Huddlestone, Modric, Bale; Van der Vaart; Crouch.
Both Bart Buysse (ankle) and Dwight Tiendalli (leg) are out of the fixture so Preud’homme will have to line-up a first XI without their services.
Possible starting XI: Mihaylov; Rosales, Douglas, Wisgerhof, Kuiper; Brama, De Jong, Janssen; Ruiz, Janko, Chadli.
Twente will be a hard nut to crack but I believe Tottenham can win this. 2-1 for Spurs.
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