Well if this doesn’t get your juices flowing I suggest you go and boil your head. Tottenham Hotspur vs AC Milan. It’s the sort of fixture that makes me want to don nothing more than a loin-cloth and go wrestle a bear, then save a small child – and svelte, scantily-clad brunette – from a burning building, before reducing Colonel Gadaffi to tears with a devastating best-of-five demolition in Scissors-Paper-Stone. Precisely that sort of fixture.Various Spurs fans – both of the flesh-and-blood variety and those tiny little men who live inside my computer box – wailed and gnashed their teeth when we drew this lot. By contrast, at AANP Towers the walls resounded with cheers and the fattened calf quite rightly wore a look of doom, for win, lose or – well, just win or lose really – Spurs vs Milan is the sort of glamour tie that makes the bad old days of Gross, Francis et al seem worthwhile, the sort of glamour tie that puts us back on the map of Europe’s elite. Moreover, from the moment the tie was drawn I fancied us to beat them at the Lane. I hold up my hands, clear my throat and give a sprightly, if tuneless, rendition of Mea Culpa in admission of the fact that I certainly did not anticipate the win at the San Siro, oh me of little faith. At home however, with the Lane absolutely heaving, we can beat anybody, the bigger the better.
That said, the last time we were in this sort of situation, protecting a lead in a crucial two-legged European tie, Sevilla were two goals up before the chap next to me had even found his seat, so complacency will be way down the list tonight.
The Champions League Does Funny Things To A Man
Last time, ahead of the trip to the San Siro, I was bemoaning the absence of Jermaine Jenas of all people. And today I petition my manager to allow alcohol consumption within the office, in order that I may raise a glass to the return to fitness of Corluka. I rather like the fact that Alan Hutton is essentially a winger trying to escape the shackles of the back-four, but we can darned well do without his weekly penalty-area yanking of an opponent’s shirt tonight. He may wobble rather than run, but Corluka has more of a defensive head on his shoulders, and given that we’ve conceded six goals in two games against Wolves and Blackburn, I would opt for him against AC Milan. Plus, I can’t get enough of those weighted diagonals he plays to Lennon. Weighted diagonals, I miss thee.
Other Team News
VDV and Modders will get the chance to play their own little private game of Awesomeness in the centre, while Sandro gets the AANP vote for the final midfield spot, on the basis that he more closely resembles Wilson Palacios Circa Early 2009 than Wilson Palacios currently does.
Defoe’s goals have presumably given ‘Arry food for thought, but Crouch-VDV is his preferred European axis, and with good reason given the bewilderment instilled in foreign sorts by the gangly one.
Mind you, this will all be fairly academic if Gomes and the back-four indulge in any more of those spontaneous acts of lunacy. At the moment the entire back-line is typified by BAE, who on nights like this can either produce a masterclass in full-backery, or resemble a demented, risk-happy loon with not a care in the world for the cleanliness of the Goals Against column. Please, please, please chaps – no madness at the back tonight.
Happy St Wenger’s Day
Strictly – or rather chronologically – speaking, we have already progressed further in the Champions League this season than that ‘orrible lot down the road, so happy St Wenger’s Day everybody. However, for all the gentle ribbing in the office this bright and breezy morn, it does not really count. Yet. Avoid defeat tonight though, and my goon-supporting chums won’t be able to avoid another attack of their silent foe, Ye Grin of Smugness.
Seven hours to go and I can barely contain myself, it really is that terrifically exciting. Fingers crossed one and all for the latest, Greatest Night.