Dnipro at home on Thursday night and a much bigger game for Tim Sherwood than he would’ve wished to be the case this time last week. Two 1-0 defeats have wounded our chances of both progress in the Europa League and qualification for next year’s Moneybags League. The latter was a big ask anyway given the form of the top four and it’s unlikely that that particular patient will be revived. The former though is a different case, a victory by two goals tonight and we’re laughing all the way to Benfica and a 1962 nostalgiafest.
As the clock ticked down at St James’s Park a couple of weeks ago scoring goals appeared as easy as knocking up dodgy wee-taking graphics in Photoshop, since then though, nothing. It’s not as if we haven’t had opportunities, even in last Sunday’s mockery of a travesty of a shambles of a display we had moments where a cool head and a clean contact would’ve reaped reward, and whilst two games won’t have the tabloid writers reaching for their drought puns and similes, given our lack of fully functioning firepower, you do wonder how we’re going to get the brace we need tonight and keep a clean sheet at the same time.
This would normally be a perfect situation for Defoe of course, Europe is his playground, but a hamstring injury means he won’t be entering the fray competitively unfortunately. Adebayor must start, he’s the only one currently anywhere near form in front of goal. If he doesn’t we’re in trouble. We’re also in trouble if he starts but is as isolated as he was on Sunday. Soldado, Paulinho, Eriksen, Kane – the options are there, which one Tim chooses depends on how brave he feels, I’m hoping that it’s very brave, it’ll create a spectacle if nothing else. I think we’re all fed up of five across the middle and a tortoiselike tempo whilst waiting for goals to magically appear.
Injuries mean that the back four picks itself. Dnipro’s speed on the break means that Brad, presumably, is unlikely to be in for a quiet night. Konoplyanka is the man to watch of course; whoever plays at right back is in for an interesting evening.
The officials are from France. COYS.
Have something to tell us about this article?