Champions League: Spurs To Upset The Italians?
Written by Viorel Mesca
Tonight’s game at White Hart Lane marks Rafael Benitez’s return to England. The former Liverpool manager is aware that Redknapp’s boys will be buoyed by their fantastic comeback a fortnight ago. Despite leading 4-0 at half-time, Inter barely survived in the second half and won 4-3. Thanks to the win at San Siro, the defending European champions are leaders of Group A with 7 points and Benitez knows that a win in tonight’s game should provide a qualification for the next round.
Benitez will have to manage without Milito, Cambiasso, Julio Cesar and Stankovic, all injured but will welcome the comeback of Romanian international, Cristian Chivu.
The fact that Rafael Benitez failed to win at White Hart Lane since Redknapp took over, it could prove a psychological advantage for Harry, as Spurs’ manager hopes to extend this record. For now, the London-based club is second in the group with 4 points and will have the home-soil advantage, added to the cornucopia of goals scored in the first three matches (9 – more than Barcelona or Real Madrid).
Unfortunately, Harry’s lads are not in the best of form, losing to Inter, drawing at home with Everton and losing at Old Trafford in the weekend. Harry has several other headaches: a list of injuries (Dawson, Ledley King, Corluka, Defoe), the suspension of goalkeeper Gomes. Van der Vaart looked doubtful for tonight’s game, but he now seems to have recovered.
Both the managers gave interviews to uefa.com regarding tonight’s game.
”We’ve got a massive game, a great game to look forward to.It’s fantastic for Tottenham to be playing the holders in the Champions League at White Hart Lane. Of course [I’d settle for a 1-0 win] – the points are very important. It’s still a tight group so we need to get something. With Werder Bremen playing Twente, if one of those teams win then we need to make sure we get some points.
We’re playing a team where the goalkeeper [Júlio César] was voted the best in the Champions League last season, Maicon was voted the best defender, [Wesley] Sneijder the best midfielder and [Diego] Milito the best forward, so they’ve got real quality. They are the champions of Italy and the Champions League holders so it is a very tough game but I fancy us at home with the crowd and great atmosphere. We’ve got to set a high tempo, play the way we want to play, and I think it will be a great night’s football.”
We have 21 players with us and all are available for selection – all teams have injuries.Inter are a very good team and that is why we are where we are at the moment. It is not because I am a Champions League specialist. In the past, the team found it difficult to get through the group stage. If we win, we are through and can relax and prepare more for league games.
I would like to see a game under our control but it depends on them. Watching their game against Manchester United, it looked like they were concentrating on this. I think this was their priority – that was my feeling. After good times at Liverpool, I was really pleased to be there and now I’m really pleased to be in Italy. It’s a different style of football and league but we will try to do well.
Should Spurs lose, they will have a mountain to climb and Harry knows that. My guess: 1-1.
Dear readers, can Spurs upset the Italian giants tonight?
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