Champion’s League: AC Milan vs. Tottenham Going Live

Can the drama of Tuesday’s Barca-fest be captured here on Wednesday.

First, in what today can be considered a junior competition, Everton faces of with Birmingham in the Barclays Premiership. Birmingham is steaming having dropped only one game since they got thrashed by Manchester United, 5-0, back in late January.

A tough challenge here at Goodison for the Toffees as captain Phil Neville is out, as are central middies Tim Cahill and Fellaini (out for the rest of the campaign). Jack Rodwell will need to step and play big for Tim Howard’s friends to hold serve at home.

Champion’s League:

In the undercard–as we sit–it’s Schalke vs. Valencia in Bavaria. Unfortunately, the story here is still the cliched Raul vs. the Spanish as the graying forward has been putting it together for the up-and-down Schalke side.

Meanwhile, Valencia has been rocketing through La Liga play with a recent 1-0 loss to Barca the only blemish on their record over the last three weeks.

With Schalke tenuously clinging to a slight away goal advantage in a 1-1 draw a few weeks ago in Spain, and Valencia welcoming back both David Albelda and Joaquin, the Germans are going to have to muster every bit of collective pride to take down Valencia even though they’re home.

Do they care to not see their coach Felix McGrath in the papers for the wrong reason Thursday?

And the marquee match-up: Milan vs. Tottenham.

Oh what festivities await. Easy to argue that both Gareth Bale and Spurs have been better–and perhaps the most entertaining team not from Catalan–in the Champion’s League.

A slug-it-out, drag-it-down affair last time, saw Mathieu Flamini two-foot Vedran Corluka putting him out of commission for a short lunar cycle (and draw the ire of The Shin Guardian).

An odd strategy by Milan, trying to make it an ugly match at home, and it didn’t work as the San Siro saw Spurs leave as victors. Since then, the Rossoneri have been surging and they’ll need to fire on the road to move on.

Lennon is the walrus...

As for the Londoners, they’ll likely continue with the same game plan albeit with different pieces. Last time out, Tottenham played through Aaron Lennon who, like a boxer repeatedly shooting jabs at the side of his opponent, continually flummoxed of Luca Antonini on the Spurs’ right flank. Lennon’s play pushed Milan back and ultimately decided the game.

This time, the Spurs add visionary Rafael Van Der Vaart to the attack and, if Bale’s back healthy, you have to like the home sides chances of spreading the field even further and finding their way through, despite a sub-standard striking ability. (Yes, Jermain Defoe had two goals against Wolverhampton this past weekend, but he missed a few sitters that could have earned the victory away.)

It will be interesting to see how Milan counter in the absence of Gennaro Guttuso, suspended quite frankly for being an idiot, and needing to attack. You’ll likely see Pato introduced as he and Robinho try to catch the Spurs on a counter when they give up possession on the flanks.

The one to watch, even though TSG expects Spurs to prevail.

By the way, Spurs fans, why isn’t Roman Pavlyuchenko either a star or more favored by Harry Rednapp? He’s got the game “just missed” complex, as the rest of the Spurs’ strikers, but his first touch to open up his shooting foot might be the best, or near the best, in the Premiership.

16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by John on 2011/03/09 at 12:00 PM

    Bale on the Bench.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/09 at 12:04 PM

      Yup – just saw that.


      • Posted by John on 2011/03/09 at 12:08 PM

        Worth noting to all who want him on their team next year…. chronic back problems don’t just “disappear” …. so you know… just think about that.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/09 at 12:10 PM

          Was going to make the same comment actually. Extremely young and doesn’t really play a high impact position. (Not striker and not middle of field).


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/03/09 at 12:23 PM

          He is Welsh, what do you expect?!


          • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/09 at 12:27 PM

            Ha! A man as young and in demand as him, it’s a wonder he’s not Alex Cole already. :>


        • Posted by John on 2011/03/09 at 12:25 PM

          Strange languages and an elf like appearance?


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/03/09 at 12:30 PM

          Sheep + Velcro Gloves = Welsh hobbies!
          Sorry TSG, cannot miss an opportunity to have a go at the Welsh…


  2. Posted by EFG on 2011/03/09 at 12:17 PM

    Milan really going for it with Ibra, Pato, Robinho, and Seedorf all starting – especially without the cover that Van Bommel or Gattusso are able to provide. I would say Allegri has the formation all wrong but based on the players he has available to him, and the circumstances, he doesn’t have much other choice. I fear we see the second Italian club knocked out today.


  3. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/03/09 at 12:28 PM

    Lennon will directly cause a red card, and/or penalty. You know Harry’s told Spurs to give Lennon the ball and for him to run at straight at them. Got a pint riding on this prediction!


    • Posted by John on 2011/03/09 at 12:29 PM

      Isn’t that Harry’s technical advice in every game?

      “Get the ball, run at them, score”


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/09 at 12:30 PM

      I’ll bet you a pint. Yellow, yes. Red? Not so sure.

      Ah, Lennon, reliving the glory of 20 minutes of 2006 World Cup fame. If he could only cross the damn ball.

      Just giving you a hard time George.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/03/09 at 12:37 PM

        I tried for that, but my mate wasn’t having any of it. A yellow is too realistic. The problem with this private bet**, is that I’ll be screaming at anything to be a red card / penalty.

        Don’t you remember the England-Croatia WCQ at Wembley?

        **Back when I was a poor student, we’d place $2 bets on the number of corners, say 0-10 and 11+. We’d be the only people in the pub getting disproportionately animated about seemingly innocuous decisions…


      • Maybe those racing stripes in his hair are his body art denoting the number of successful crosses he’s made as a pro. What’s he up to now, three?


  4. Posted by John on 2011/03/09 at 12:41 PM

    Wow, nice travelling support at Tottenham.


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