Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Crunch Time For Spurs......

Yes the Champions league returns for the Quarter Final stage this evening with the first of the English contingent in the shape of Tottenham travelling to Spain to take on Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid side.
The 'Special One' saw his own personal nine year unbeaten home record taken away from him at the weekend against minnows Sporting Gijon leaving his side eight points adrift of the mighty Barcelona at the top of their domestic league, and no doubt leaving the 'Galactico's' looking for a result here to heighten the spirits and push them towards a major piece of silverware this season.
Spurs on the other hand also lost ground in their domestic league with a drab performance against lowly Wigan at the weekend. Harry will definitely be looking for a result to also raise the pulse in this mouth-watering fixture as Spur's continue their fairytale first season in Europe's elite competition.
So many factors will be important tonight and indeed in the second leg at White Hart Lane, none more than the performance of one Peter Crouch.

Maybe a tad surprising to see that name up there amongst the talent on show in the forms of Bale, Van Der Vart, Lennon, Ronaldo, Alonso, Ozil etc to name but a few, but in my opinion that man, all 6ft 7" of him, will be crucial IF Tottenham are to progress. Why I here you ask?? Well, although he is not prolific in the air, he will cause the Real back four extreme trouble with just dealing with the threat of him, a huge target man, superb with his feet, great finisher, and very intelligent in bringing others into play, he will be the difference, mark my words.
Foreign teams do not come up against players like Crouch on a month or yearly basis, let alone two games in quick succession. Players that automatically cause problems for defenders not matter how involved they are, just the shear threat is enough to have the desired effect.
Crouch got the winner in the last round, away against A C Milan, and put in a lone striking performance that ranked very high on the list as far as big man up front goes. A similar showing this evening will help no-end in getting Spurs a result they can build on in the second leg and for me ultimately go through past Madrid.
This being the first season in the competition, Tottenham have had the 'unknown' factor thus far and it has helped them greatly, against Madrid on the other hand they will see many familiar faces, not only Mourinho, but obviously the much loved Ronaldo, Alonso, Carvalho all spent time in the English league and will know a bit more about what Tottenham are in regards to the setup and execution, and that is where Harry needs to pull his strings.

It can't be hidden the impact Harry has on his current squad of players, with his undoubted man management skills, I'm sure he will have the blue prints in his mind.
Keep Ozil quiet will be high on the list here, as the front players come alive as soon as he gets on the ball, Benzema, who will be missing is the most noticeable one for this but with Higuain likely to step into his shoes the threat is by no means less. Ronaldo speaks for himself but in the big games he generally is either unstoppable or just plain frustrating, Spurs will be hoping for the later.
I think Tottenham will give a good account of themselves, I think they'll play it tight for twenty Min's or so then try to impose themselves on the men in white.
My prediction for this one is a 2-1 victory for Madrid, this may look bad news for Spurs but as they showed in Milan, the away goal is CRUCIAL, and if they do get one, then the second leg down at the Lane will be very very interesting indeed......

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