It has been so much fun watching l’Arse fall apart at the seams over the last few days that I had almost forgotten we have our latest Biggest Game In Recent Memory tonight. Victory tonight would guarantee qualification to the knock-out stage of all things, and another chance for ‘Arry to shoehorn a mention of “Two-Points-Eight-Games” into his post-match press rounds. Of course in theory if things go awry on the pitch tonight – and off-pitch in the coming months – it could actually be White Hart Lane’s last ever Champions League night, which is a slightly gloomy thought. That really is a worst-case scenario however, for it seems far likelier that one way or t’other we will be reconvening in the spring for more of this floodlit revelry.These continue to be heady times for the Band-Aid manufacturers of N17, as Bale, VDV and Kranjcar are the latest injury doubts. In fact the curse of wearing a Spurs shirt and promptly collapsing in a bloodied, mangled heap has even reached AANP Towers (broken foot in Monday’s 5-a-side, since you ask). As it happens, on paper at least our team retains a look of some adequacy, for 12 months ago we would have fancied our chances with Lennon – Jenas – Palacios – Modric lining up across the midfeld. Moreover Defoe is back, looking sharp and sprightly, and now having added Aerial Bohemoth to his list of attributes, judging by his performance on Saturday. This being the Champions League, and they being foreign opposition, tonight ought also to see the transformation once again of Peter Crouch from gangly halfwit whose only value is in assisting defensively at set-pieces, to unplayable goalscoring machine who leaves opposition defenders gibbering in awe, unable to fathom which limb they should approach first.
Apparently Bremen’s recent form has been of the variety to leave their fans rushing for the nearest high ledge off which to hurl themselves, but if they are in the Champions League they can pack a punch, and in the second half in Germany they made us all sweat. No doubt they will come armed with some sort of stifling, hard-working game-plan, and if we really are minus both Bale and VDV, as well as Hudd, our attacking prowess might be a little more laboured than that to which we are accustomed.
Nevertheless, Champions League nights at the Lane have so far tended to result in goals a-plenty, at least one dodgy penalty and a handsome victory, so I anticipate that it will be a cheery mob crowding the White Hart Lane train platform come 10pm tonight.