After defeating PSG 4-2 on Saturday, tonight is match 2 of Tottenham’s International Champions Cup campaign, this time facing Italian outfit Roma in New Jersey.
Analysing that bizarre match against PSG is quite tricky. In one respect, we got a bit lucky with Dier’s goal and the penalty, not to mention Trapp’s red card 20 seconds into the second half. Mostly, the lads played well, asides from one or two costly defensive blunders from the younger members of the squad.
You can guarantee we’ll see a similar sort of side to the one fielded against PSG; a mix of youth, reserves and first-team footballers. A lot of folks have come out recently to defend the Tottenham transfer policy, after some considerable media pressure this week. Poch, Eriksen, Dembele, Lloris and now even Mr. Levy himself have jumped to the defence of our methodical and, dare I say it, cheap approach to signing players.
They’ve all said the same sort of things too. ‘This same team can challenge again’, ‘We’re not concerned about spending big money’, ‘We have faith in our youth to make the step up into competitive football’. All nice things, but are they all true?
See, although I strongly believe that characters like Josh Onomah, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Kyle Walker-Peters show a lot of promise, I’m not entirely confident in their abilities to play at the standard required in the Premier League next season. Carter-Vickers and Walker-Peters were at fault for PSG’s 2 first half goals, and if they hadn’t gone down to ten men, perhaps more weaknesses would have been exposed.
I don’t blame them, they’re young lads and they faced some world class talent on Saturday, but we’re likely to face teams much stronger both domestically and in Europe next season. So I certainly do think some cash needs to be spent to plug some gaps. But the nature of those gaps will probably be exposed in these next three fixtures, since our game against PSG was a bit of a let-off, thanks to Trapp’s many moments of madness.
New-look Roma will pose a very different challenge. They were the subject of a managerial change in June, with Luciano Spalletti handing the reigns over to new gaffer Eusbio Di Francesco, who’s side held PSG to a 1-1 draw on Thursday, only to narrowly lose out on penalties 5-3.
We could be set to see one or two familiar faces against Roma tonight, what with former Spur Frederico Fazio having only just confirmed his permanent transfer to the Italian side 10 days ago. Most of us fans will remember Fazio for his memorable debut match for Spurs, a 4-1 defeat to Manchester City in which the then 27 year old was sent off in the 67th minute of play.
Aleksander Kolarov is the most recent arrival at Stadio Olimpico, who signed on a 3 year deal from Manchester City just three days ago. During City’s final trip to White Hart Lane in early October last season, Kolarov opened the scoring for Spurs in the 9th minute with an awkward own goal, so we’ll be looking for more of the same tonight for sure.
Former Manchester City team-mate Edin Dzeko is also possible to feature in tonight’s match. We’ll all remember Dzeko for his infamous four goal haul in City’s comfortable 5-1 victory over us in our own back yard in 2011 during the Bosnian’s first full season in England. So we’ll be hoping for absolutely nothing of the same in that respect.
Roma, who finally waved a fond farewell to club legend Francesco Totti in May, enjoyed a similar campaign to Spurs last season, challenging eventual champions Juventus for the title, but ultimately finishing 2nd in the Serie A with a final points tally of 87, 1 point more than Spurs’ final 2016/17 tally. Edin Dzeko also finished as top goalscorer, matching Kane’s tally of 29 goals over the course of the season. So Roma are not to be sniffed at.
I anticipate a tight, tight game tonight. I feel as though Tottenham are yet to really test themselves, because I do think fortune smiled on us against PSG on Saturday, so I hope Spurs aren’t naive in their approach. Also however, things are complicated slightly by how much change is going on at Roma at the moment and I think they aren’t really in a settled place to be putting us to the sword right now.
But because this one is particularly difficult to predict, I’ll cheat and go with either a 1-1 draw or a 2-1 win for Spurs. If we do in fact draw, I think we’ll win on penalties due to the same reasons I stated last week. I have faith in the team, and now that Roma are without their pacey outlet in Mohamed Salah, I can’t see us being hit in defence the same way PSG exposed CCV and KWP.
I predict a patient, strategic encounter between these two sides, but I don’t see much reason to suppose Roma are better than us. Would you agree? What’s your prediction?
We kick off again at 1:05am UK time and the game will be televised on the same channel as last time, Premier Sports.
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