Thursday, December 06, 2007

Good result but a tough game to come?

Rather than spending a lot of money travelling to a wet Brussels, I like many Spurs fans watched tonight's draw with Anderlecht on Five in the comfort of my own living room. And for the first time in days I'm not angry!

OK a draw means there is a very high probability that we'll face one of the Champions League drop-outs in the next round, but there were a number of encouraging signs tonight.

Berbatov played with real intelligence when he came on and was super cool to convert the penalty. A makeshift defence stood up fairly well with a higher level of concentration and fewer mistakes than usual. Obviously it would be ridiculous to expect us to make no howlers, and sure enough we conceded following a real mix-up between Daws and Lee. However, I thought we witnessed a real team performance with everyone working hard, closing down their men, and trying to move things around quickly. Robbo too played well and pulled off a couple of great saves. He might have looked a little shaky at times, but I believe that was down to the wet and slippy conditions rather than a lack of confidence or unforced errors.

All in all it was a good night. I'm not going to jump up and down with delight though, as I think it means we'll suffer when the draw is made on 21st December. Had we been a little more ambitious then we would have the group all but wrapped up by now. Still, there's no reason why we can't beat a Champions League team and who knows, if Anderlecht can hold Getafe to a draw in Spain then that will be enough for us to win the group (which would lead to an easier draw).

So who is likely to finish third in the Champions League groups this season? Benfica, Sporting and Slavia Prague have definitely all finished as third placed teams. And from Group A it looks like it will be Liverpool (who I don't think we could be drawn against since they're also an English team) or Marseille - but possibly even Porto or Besiktas. From the remaining groups I'm guessing it'll be Schalke or Rosenborg, Werder Bremen or Olympiakos, Lyon and PSV. No easy games in that list, but we did beat both Slavia Prague and Besiktas en-route to last season's quarter final place.

Still we're in the next round and that's the main thing. We need to switch our focus to the league for the next few weeks now and try and get into the top half of the table as soon as possible. Unfortunately to achieve that by the midway stage (i.e. after 19 games) looks very tough, but let's put trust in Ramos to deliver the goods.

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