It’ll be a surprise if Dynamo Tbilisi are faced with anything other than a majorly under strength Spurs side when they take to the pitch on Thursday night. That’s not rocket science I know but you do get so much ‘AVB loves this competition, he always takes it seriously. He won it with Porto you know?’ type bluster when the Europa League is mentioned that you almost start to believe it and wouldn’t be totally amazed if Paulinho, Soldado, Vertonghen and Lloris were all there at the kick off despite the 5-goal start and the big game on Sunday afternoon.
Back in the real world it’s more likely of course that we’ll be treated to a mixture of the young (Fryers, Carroll and Kane), the old (Friedel and Defoe), those with bench splinters in their bums (Kaboul and Naughton), those recovering from a knock (Holtby and Sandro) and a smattering of first teamers (anyone’s guess).
One of the features of the EL home games in the last couple of years has been the spectacular away support. Whether there are enough exiled Georgians in London with access to flares and a casual attitude towards men in hi-vis jackets to put on a display this time I’ve no idea. Surely not many will journey all the way from Tbilisi? Though I suppose they will have a year to save up before their next European trip.
There’ll be a decent home crowd despite the first leg scoreline as the first two home cup games of the season are included in the price of a season ticket.
It’ll be good to see Holtby, Sandro, Carroll et all if they play and it’ll be great to get a distraction from the Bale transfer fee random number generator that the internet has turned into, the truth is though that we need to just come out the other side with everyone intact. The gooners paid the price for putting out a stronger than required team on Tuesday night, they’re minus Podolski for a few weeks and have doubts about a couple of others for the weekend.
The draw for the group stages is on Fri, the match officials are from Italy.
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