The Europa League is an annoying beast, it just gets in the way. This week it’s especially irritating as not only do we have a shorter than usual recovery time after the weekend’s league game but we also have to get ready for the biggest match of the season thus far just a few days after it. And what makes it worse, should we want to progress in the competition we need to make sure of a good result. Sleepwalking through tonight’s game against Anderlecht isn’t an option.
Add in injuries, players already being overused, Townsend being dropped as a disciplinary measure and a squad higher in quality but lower in quantity than we’ve been used to and despite the carrot of the Moneybags League as a prize you’ve got to wonder whether it’s all worth it.
In an ideal world Njie, Wimmer, Fazio, Townsend, Carroll, Pritchard, Vorm, Trippier, Chadli, Bentaleb and Onomah – at the very least – would make up the bulk of the side while the regular first teamers kick back either at home or on the bench, but only a few of those will start such is the trustworthiness or fitness level of that bunch.
Mason and apparently Son will be used to get their match fitness up and Lloris, Trippier and Davies will make up three of the back four. The rest is hard to predict. Vertonghen, Fazio, Dier, Dembélé, Kane, & Onomah? Just a guess.
Anderlecht appear to be in form. A win at the weekend put them second in the league – they’ve lost just one all season suggesting that they won’t be rolled over easily unfortunately. I don’t know much more about them apart from the fact that in Acheampong they’ve got a winger who Kieran Trippier won’t look forward to meeting again.
In third place our future in the comp is not in our hands, which is why a win is important given that there are two tough games to go. It’s our own fault though, the inability to finish off Monaco and the lacklustre performance in Brussels are to blame.
Given the way the Premier League is shaping up I’m sure I’m not the only one harbouring thoughts about an early exit being to our advantage. Are we more likely to finish above West Ham, Leicester, Chelsea and Liverpool or win the Europa League? Sod it, let’s have both.
The officials are from Israel.
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