Any club can have an injury-blighted season; these days most clubs have them most seasons. What effect it has on your campaign depends on which players ‘feel a slight twinge’ and when, what your cover is and who you’re up against when you’re depleted. In case no-one’s noticed, our first crock-related crisis of the season has arrived.
We’ve an important game against NK Maribor at White Hart Lane on Thursday evening but with visits to Man City and Woolwich up next in the Premier League and only a skeletal midfield available (have you seen the size of Tom Carroll?) Villas-Boas will be keeping a ginger fringed ear cocked for noises from the ‘state of the art’ physio room at Bull’s Cross before he thinks about naming his side for this Group J Europa League encounter.
Our run in recent European home ties fits in with our general record in north London this season in that it’s a bit shoddy. We’ve won only two of our last seven games; we’ve also lost two. We can’t afford any slip-ups in this game though, oh no. Three draws from three games mean that winning our two remaining home ties is essential if we plan to continue ‘taking the competition seriously’ after Christmas.
As per Norwich last week AVB will be keen to play a strong side – one that’s beefy enough to win the game anyway – whilst also keeping players back for the weekend. Following on from last week then it’s logical to think that Lloris, Dawson, Naughton, Falque and Carroll at least will get run outs. Adebayor has looked rustier than an old fence nail in his two recent sub appearances so should start. Some random combination of Dempsey, Siggy, Tommy, Verty, Baley, Kyley and Lennon will make up the eleven, though apparently Ryan Mason is in with a shout. He, together with Carroll and Falque, have real opportunities to make some sort of breakthrough if they can show they’ve got something about them in terms of touch and movement in the final third, things that the ‘first’ team has been missing, or not showing enough of anyway.
The referee and officials are from Finland. The man with the whistle, Antti Munukka, is a tad inexperienced. A slightly bitter contributor has added the following to his Wikipedia entry – “He is most famous for his decision to allow a blatant offside goal scored in the Europa League game between FC Copenhagen and Molde FK in 2012. ” which doesn’t bode well.
Early goal and we’ll be fine. COYS.
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