White Hart Lane

Matchday 2 in the Moneybags League sees FC Twente Enschede come to White Hart Lane on Wednesday evening for our first home game in the competition proper.

If only we had a team availble to take them on. About the only positive to come out of Saturday’s fiasco in East London was that we don’t seem to have lost any more players to the treatment table. How many we’ll get back for this game may have a big influence on how optimistic we feel about our chances of qualifying when we head to the San Siro in a few weeks time. The possible restoration of King, Kaboul or Assou-Ekotto to the back line plus maybe even the sight of Gomes on the bench would add some welcome familiarity to the defence.

Twente have started their league season solidly, they lie in fourth place, unbeaten after seven games. The Dutch side have conceded only three times and there have been four draws, the latest of which was at home to Big Martin Jol’s Ajax at the weekend. A quick search on Youtube reveals footage of the 2-2 encounter with Ajax taking the lead after some dodgy keeping from the Twente goalie. The home side went 2-1 up before Ajax equalised with an absolute rocket of a shot from outside the area. BMJ celebrated in classic clenched fist and everything else style, looking for all the world like he was pushing out a square one.

The Tukkers (honest!) have injury problems at the back as well, though their casualties would barely fill an ambulance compared to our ward full. The main threat looks to be the left foot of Theo Janssen, scorer of a cracker of a free-kick against Inter on ‘Matchday 1’ and two more at the weekend.

We’ve played eleven games now this season and yet it still doesn’t feel like the players have totally forgotten the beach and got down to business. Dodgy results, indifferent form, new faces and injuries are to blame. It is though a big week for the club what with this game and Haringey making a decision on the new ground on Thursday. Should things go wrong it won’t be quite time for metaphors about dreams being lost like sand slipping through fingers but you can’t help but feel nervous about what the rest of the season holds should we fail to win what on paper anyway, is the most straightforward game in the group.

There’s no reason to contemplate that quite yet though. They’ll be shit scared of Crouchy, Bale can’t possibly be as quiet as Saturday and in VdV and Luka we have two players getting closer to match fitness who both have enough inventiveness to unlock any defence. A win for us here plus one for Inter against Werder will see us head to Italy in a good position. We’ll have to raise our game from ‘bovvered?’ level but as long as we do that we’ll be ok.


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