Tromso? Who? And so to Wikipedia… Europe’s most northerly top-flight team, beat Chelsea a few years back but were also battered by them and reached this stage of the Europa League by possibly the spawniest route ever. They first qualified through the Fair Play League and then replaced the naughty boys from Besiktas who they’d actually lost to in a qualifying round. Not sure where they are in the Fair Play League so far this season but in the Norwegian league proper they’re currently 13th out of 16. Hm.
Not much of a pedigree all in all. That defeat of Roman’s boys apart they have as much European history as Boca Juniors. So a potential banana skin? Yes, but unlikely because as we all know, as it’s said in every preview (so why would I let you down?) “AVB likes this competition” and “takes it seriously”, thus whilst it isn’t going to be the full parade of stars there’ll be more than a sprinkling amongst the Friedels and Kanes.
The Tbilisi home game was dominated by the passing and movement of Carroll and Holtby and the finishing of Defoe. Carroll’s not here of course but the other two will feature I’m sure. If fit, all of Kaboul, Naughton and Sandro will play and if you add Dawson/Vertonghen and Walker that only leaves a few outfield places to be sorted. It’d be great to see Lamela, he needs a game after all and the same may be said of Eriksen.
I’m not sure how many more of Garth Crooks’s Beatles we might see. Even given all these changes it looks on paper as though anything other than an emphatic home win would be a surprise. Tromso fans might disagree, but then a Norwegian would.
The match officials are from the Czech Republic. COYS.
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