White Hart Lane

It’s another Moneybags League party at White Hart Lane on Tuesday evening as we host Inter Milan. The European Champions may be the guests of honour but the comedy goings-on at Old Trafford, the seemingly never-ending injury crisis and even the ticket office cock-ups prove that it’s the same old Spurs who’ll be handing out the twiglets and sandwiches.

The injuries are starting to define the season. Gomes, King, Huddlestone and Defoe could fairly be described as the spine of the side but knocks and suspension mean that most of these will be sat on their sofas rather than enjoying the so far most glamorous reward of their efforts of last season. If only we could say “hang on a few weeks will you, we’re not quite ready”. The news that Van der Vaart trained on Monday is a huge bonus; we’ve scored 15 goals in the competition so far so it seems strange to say it but it’s up front where we’re lacking most. His ability to find space where there is none and bring others into play will be priceless if he’s able to start.

Redknapp’s got a few decisions to make & one thing he’ll want to make sure of is a quick first fifteen minutes or so. Only once in the last nine games have we taken the lead first and a fortnight ago we were staring record numbers in the face as Inter ran rings round us directly from the off. Four goals down with ten men after half an hour we’d have clutched willingly at 4-0; to end up at 4-3 was down to them easing off and Gareth Bale. They’ve been warned with regards to the Welshman and he’ll do well to gain any space this time around, not without losing his ankles or shirt anyway. We’ll need some no-nonsense refereeing from Hungarian travel agent Viktor Kassai and his chums.

One thing in our favour is the return of Kaboul since the game in the San Siro. His performances against Everton and on Saturday have been impressive. Harry might be considering starting without Lennon. It’ll make us narrower but it means we can start with a bit more weight in midfield and allow him to come on to run at tired legs later in the match.

The above assumes that Harry agrees that attempting to outscore Inter in a free for all is not the way to go, which is obviously rash.

Crouch will probably start, either with Pav or with VdV behind him. Hoofing the ball up to the big lad as an ‘out ball’ will be sorely tempting but we’ll need to be better than that with Samuel and Lucio in their side. Modric will need to push Sneijder back, put him under pressure and try and be more penetrating than he was on Saturday when he had a lot of the ball but rarely did anything dangerous with it.

They’ve got their own injury problems with knocks to Chivu, Stankovic, Cambiasso & Cesar. Milito was on the bench at the weekend.

It’s a night to savour and a chance for our players to redeem themselves after freezing in the first half in the San Siro. We’ll need to be at our best and to take any opportunities that come our way but if we do, then another step towards the last sixteen is within our grasp.


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