And so from Wigan to what is, rather recklessly, being touted in some quarters as the â€˜biggest game in Spursâ€™ historyâ€™. Itâ€™s the Bernabeu and Real Madrid on Tuesday evening.
Very little has gone right for us lately as form and injuries seem fated to play a far bigger part in deciding this tie than we would perhaps hope. The occasional glimpses of good news amongst the bad have normally surrounded injury news from Mourinhoâ€™s men and this weekend we had reports of Madridâ€™s first home defeat of the season. Theyâ€™d won all of their previous 22 games at the Bernabeu keeping clean sheets in 15 of them.
Playing, as they do of course, in the same league as Barcelona they are constantly going to suffer comparisons to Messiâ€™s merry men and come out badly. Take them on their own though and their impressive home statistics are not the only thing that should make us think twice before making any bold predictions when it comes to our chance of progress. Though both teams have scored 19 goals in the comp so far, Madrid have had more shots on target and won more corners than any other team left in the last eight. In contrast we have had the fewest in both categories. Ronaldo has scored an extraordinary 40 goals in 46 games, Benzema has notched 8 in his last 5. Madrid havenâ€™t reached the last 16 since 2003 but this is the 27th (!) time they have done so.
Add Mourinhoâ€™s experience and record in Europe plus the fact that he has beaten Redknapp every time theyâ€™ve met and itâ€™s fair to say that we truly are underdogs. Itâ€™s also right to say though that it is whilst in that role that we have produced our best performances in the competition so far.
For all of the goal scoring feats that have gone before I suspect it will be a tight game. So much depends on who we have fit and how much composure and poise they can show on the night esepecially in defence. Crouch is our main weapon in attack. He was pivotal in the San Siro against AC but anonymous at home. Itâ€™s vital that heâ€™s able to make his mark on Tuesday as we are bound to be under pressure for most of the game and will need someone reliable to allow us a breather.
Ronaldo, Higuain, Alonso, Ramos, Ozil, Marcelo and Benzema. Some will be fit and some not but those who are will provide a formidable threat. In response we need big performances from our players. Bale, Lennon, Van der Vaart and Modric, all players capable of turning in match winning performances. If these names are at the top of their game and Gomes, Dawson, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto & Sandro also come off the pitch at the end feeling proud of themselves then the probability is that weâ€™ll have given ourselves the chance to spring another surprise.
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