So the scum lost 3-1. To those of a certain age, that’s a scoreline with a familiar and heart-warming ring to it. Personally I find it hard to take pleasure in watching any competition that the gooners still have a chance of success in but even though Wenger’s bitching and whinging is still ringing in the ears, my enjoyment of what remains of the Moneybags League is disturbed by thoughts of how much more of its bastard offspring, the Europa League, there is for us to endure because even though the end of the competition is still nowhere in sight, it’s stamina rather talent that appears to be the quality most needed especially given our current rate of player attrition.
I don’t know much about Benfica but I can use the internet. They were finalists in this competition last season; they’re leading the Portuguese league by a distance having lost only one game this campaign. They have conceded only one goal in their last eleven games (!), they dropped into the EL after finishing third in their CL group behind PSG and Olympiakos and among their most feted players are Markovic, Cardozo, Rodrigo Lima and Rodrigo Macheda.
They’re clearly a formidable outfit and we have a tough night to look forward to. On the other hand though, if Olympiakos got the better of them, perhaps there’s no need to prepare the ‘it’s only half-time’ type clichés yet. So much depends on which of our injured players can return, are really fit and how Sherwood chooses to deploy them of course. If, by some miracle, Kaboul is actually able to start (if not finish) two games in a row then Tim will breathe a huge sigh of relief as to say that we’re struggling at centre back is as much of an understatement as saying that members of the RMT will be sad to see that Bob Crow will be missing from future negotiating tables.
Further forward we could really do with Eriksen being fit, Townsend regaining some form, Soldado getting on the end of things and keeping his shots down and Adebayor’s knee not giving out. If all those things occur and Sandro, Dembele and Lennon all have good nights then we could be in for a proper White Hart Lane Glory Glory Night which is what this evening deserves given the place our only other encounter with Benfica in European competition has in our history. Souvenirs from that game are on display in the Bill Nicholson suite at the ground, maybe the players should be shown them before the game just in case there was any doubt in their minds about the European heritage of the club they represent.
The officials are from Sweden. COYS.
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