The visit of Asteras Tripolis tonight could, in many ways, have hardly been worse timed. Given that we’ve just come off a bad loss and have problems with injuries, form and suspension, I’m sure Pochettino would’ve much rather spent the week with his A team planning for the visit of Newcastle at the weekend rather than his B team preparing for this low key (and potentially lowly attended) group C game.
One of the problems is that the lines of distinction between the Possibles and Probables have become blurred. Chiriches, Davies, Lennon, Townsend, Dembele, Vorm, Fazio and Stambouli are definitely in the former group and will make up the bulk of the side tonight. Which leaves a right back, an attacking midfielder and a striker to be found. A lack of options means that Eric Dier will probably do his best at full back. Against Besiktas Soldado and Kane filled the other two roles with Harry having probably his best game for the club. Whether they get the chance as a pair to reprise their performance depends on the manager’s feelings about who will lead the line on Sunday. If Adebayor was left out at Middle Eastlands due to jet rather than quality lag then the selection is clear, if however Pochettino is starting to tire at Ade’s lack of end product and is considering a more permanent promotion for Soldado then that’s a different kettle of penalty missers. The more toothless we become, the closer we’re moving to the day that Kane gets a long run as our number one number 9 pick. Even the Football Focus pundits have spotted that we ‘carry no goal threat’ such are our limitations.
Asteras Tripolis? I know nothing. Apart from that their results in the group so far show that they’re clearly not a side to be taken lightly, which by playing our lesser lights is exactly what we’re doing of course. They currently, like us, sit mid table in their domestic league. Parra, Mazza and Barrales look to be their main danger men, I personally hope the superbly named Badibanga gets an outing though.
I think it’s going to be a tough day at the office. This is arguably one of the biggest games in their history, certainly in their short European history. We need a good start, a good tempo and to take our chances. Hmm.
The officials are from Slovakia. COYS.
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