Thursday, November 29, 2007

Can Ramos stretch his run to six games unbeaten?

Enough of the free-loading off other people's cartoons (see yesterday's blog), we're back to business again today with the third group stage match in the UEFA Cup. Spurs are at home to Danish side Aalborg, or AaB for short. Although we are widely expected to win (I remember hearing that before Jol's era ended after the Getafe disaster), AaB currently lie second in their domestic league and also knocked out Sampdoria en-route to this season's group stages (although that was on away goals).

So are they any good? Well they've only played one match in the group so far, and that was a decent 1-1 home draw against Anderlecht. On their travels they've clocked up four wins in eight in the league, so I don't think their a side we should under-estimate.

As for us, I gather our new absentees are Defoe (suffering from a cold) and Kaboul (who apparently has a groin problem). I expect us to start with Robbo in goal (despite rumours about issues in his personal life), Stalteri and Lee as full-backs with Daws and Chimbonda in the middle; in midfield I'm guessing we'll have Lennon and Bale on the flanks with Jenas and Zokora in the middle, and then Berbatov and Keane upfront. I'd hope that Ramos isn't feeling too cocky or experimental... although if he decides to dabble I guess Malbranque, Bent, Huddlestone, Tainio and Cerny may all be pushing for starts.

I think it's a game we'll win, but I don't expect it will be too straight-forward - so I'm predicting a 2-1 win for our boys. After our win in Israel another three points tonight will surely be enough to book our place in the last 32 (certainly all teams with six or more points qualified last season). However, finishing third would mean facing a group winner, and perhaps more worryingly, finishing second would mean drawing a Champions League reject in the next round. Wrapping up with wins against AaB and then Anderlecht would put us in a strong position in the group, with only Getafe mathematically able to finish above us.

Come on you Spurs!

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