Our 2018/19 champions league campaign resumes tonight and it’s not news that it’s all turned a bit smelly.
Mistakes and misfortune during the closing stages of the games in Milan and Eindhoven mean that by the end of this evening, should we not win, we could be out of the big boys cup and looking at Europa League qualification as a ‘compensation’ of sorts.
Barcelona have nine points, Inter six and PSV and ourselves just the one. It’s not a given, but we should assume that Inter and Barca will both beat PSV when they play meaning they will have 9 and 12 points respectively. We have only one route to a better total than 9 – to win all of our remaining games, that’s at home to Inter and PSV and then in the Nou Camp.
One step at a time though. We had much the better of the game in Eindhoven a fortnight ago but didn’t press home our advantage when we should have. In fact we did just the opposite. First of all Toby lost possession to Mexican winger Lozano who, despite Alderweireld’s best efforts at a Ledley like recovery, put the home side into an undeserved lead. Once Lucas and Harry had put things right, Eriksen and Hugo decided to undo all the good work and thus here we are, staring down the barrel.
Lloris is absent tonight due to his red card (Gazzaniga please). Other absentees include Dembele, Dier, Rose and Vertonghen. Sigh. So, Harry Winks, a 22-year old with 43 games behind him is liable to be our senior central midfield player in this latest must win game. Alongside him the possibilities are Sissoko, Wanyama, Dele or Eriksen. The most exciting option is to field the Dane but then we lack a physical presence in a very key area of the field. My guess would be that Poch will plump for Sissoko with Eriksen further forward; it is a guess though.
So, in all likelihood, Vorm, Trippier, Davies, Sanchez, Toby, Winks, Sissoko, Lucas, Eriksen, Lamela and Kane with Dele and Son on the bench. Total guess though.
We need a win and for Barcelona to win or draw in Milan. Those two things happen, and we’re still clinging on and ready for a show down with Inter in a few weeks time.
The match officials on the Wembley potato field tonight are from Slovakia.
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