It’s a long way to Basel
A typically mildly unsatisfactory Europa League night, things could’ve been better, they could’ve been worse, but most of all, perhaps controversially, because of the domestic distractions, it felt mostly like a waste of time. This seemed to be the view of most of the folk I watched with where the talk was all about entering the Moneybags League via a top four finish (at least!) rather than by winning this competition. I think it’s fair to say that the Europa League versus Top Four debate will go on until we actually win the bloody thing.
Something good on RAI?
From a distance it looked like the Florentine (?) public voted with their feet and from the little I know of the home team the coach also let his priorities be known by selecting a below strength side. Pochettino certainly did and it’s to their credit that our eleven minus in particular Dembélé, Dier and Kane deservedly took the lead when makeshift striker Chadli converted a penalty earned when Davies was felled during one of his typical bursts into the box.
Dele lucky indeed
The midfield of Mason, Carroll and Eriksen looked lightweight on paper but were good enough on grass to provide Chadli and Alli with plenty of possession. Alli was in fine form when on the ball but was so so lucky to escape severe censure and put the whole evening in jeopardy when he aimed a not very well ‘disguised’ boot into the bread basket of a prone defender. Very very fortunate.
No 8th win in a row
To counterbalance the opportunities we were creating going forward Fiorentina too had their chances and ex-Hammer Zarate should’ve left the game with at least one goal to his name. Despite us adding more beef to the midfield in the shape of Dembélé and eventually Dier, we spent most of the second half on the back foot, maybe due to the disappearance of Carroll’s crisp passing at halftime. Fiorentina very fortunately but deservedly equalised when a hopeful poke from range looped over Vorm via skipper Mason’s foot. We responded well by continuing to look for a second goal but a draw it was.
Nicely balanced, as they say
No injuries that I know of in a tough game and a result that’ll make us favourites to go through. Fiorentina have to win or get a high scoring draw at WHL which should help make next Thursday a competitive and enjoyable evening if nothing else.
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