It’s going to be all Southampton FC alum hype this week. Tomorrow it be Theo Walcott who will grab the hype for Arsenal as they battle Barcelona, again, in the Champion’s League.
Today, of course, it’s Gareth Bale….
• Tottenham Hotspur attempt to turn the lights out on AC Milan
….or is it?
As Harry Rednapp’s crew heads to the Giuseppe Meazza and the Champion’s League gets back under way, questions remains as to just who is fit for the visitors.
Ruled out earlier in the week, reports suggest Gareth Bale will make an appearance on the left flank that he alone owns during this Champ’s League campaign.
Knocks to Luka Modric and Rafael Van Der Vaart may drop both from the line-up.
Or is this just head games and will all three or a couple of the aforementioned play.
If you’ve watch the Spurs in the Champion’s League, specifically the width provided by Bale and Lennon, it’s no question that despite Milan’s form, the Londoners are going to give Allegri’s crew some problems.
Conversely, even minus maestro Andrea Pirlo in the middle and hatchet man Kevin Prince-Boateng, Milan will have the steel to go up the middle with the likes of Flamini, Seedorf and Gattuso.
Can Milan keep the pressure on in the middle of the pitch while Tottenham likely sits back and tries to catch ‘em down the flanks on the counter? Good question.
Another key match-up here? Robinho (likely to start over Pato) on the left hash going up against the sometimes clumsy Alan Hutton.
• Will Raul Schalke the Spaniards?
It’s time to call a spade a spade.
Schalke 04 just hasn’t recaptured the glory they had last year. After challenging for the title last year in the Bundesliga, the German side have bobbed up and down all year long and currently are perfectly average, 10th in the table.
Conversely, while Valencia don’t have the best record in Europe, they’re playing this one at home and have been steady as she goes in La Liga in 2011.
While the headline here will be Raul’s return to Spain, the story will likely be Valencia’s midfielder, with Juan Mata returning, controlling the game and getting lose in German defensive third.
It’s going to take a big effort here by Schalke keeper Manuel Nueur, who’s been big all year, to earn the draw. Possible, but not probable.
» Manchester City vs. Aris Salonika: The Citizens lick their wounds in Europa League action. Give us the crazy Italian! (He’s in the squad.)
» Birmingham vs. Newcastle: The Brum squad bores me. Really David Bentley and (former Bar Coder) Obafemi Martins was the best you could do in the January transfer window. A team sorely in need of a striker needs to give it team some firepower up top to avoid the continual grind. Anyway…
» Yankee Doodle Tuesday: Eddie Johnson goes for Preston North End.
» Ferrari firing up in Chicago: A little new piece missed yesterday. Former Sampdoria hopeful Gabriel Ferrari, one of the few Americans to test his wares in Serie A, is trying out for the Chicago Fire after his last club FC Wohlen didn’t sign him up. Going to try and get a TSG interview going there.