Sunday, 12 September 2010
Can spurs cope with the Champions League?
On Tuesday evening Tottenham will make their Champions League debut against Werder Bremen at the Weserstadion. The sides ability is not in doubt; the real question is whether they can cope with the fixture pile up which has not been aided by recent injuries to a few key players.
The squad is certainly good enough to compete on all fronts this season but Redknapp's ability to rotate his squad will be key. With Defoe out for the next couple of months much of the goal scoring responsibility will lie with Pavlyuchenko. The addition of van der Vaart will compensate for Modric's possible absence but they will need to ensure the fitness of Lennon, Bale and Kranjcar. For the next 2 months they will have 2 games a week, they will need to ensure their Premiership form does not suffer.
The Champions League draw could certainly have been more favourable for them, but if they can perform at home the crucial games will be on Tuesday and on December 7th (when they travel to Holland to play FC Twente). Redknapp traditionally prefers the 4-4-2 formation but he will need to be more flexible; the 4-5-1 formation they employed yesterday will be required more frequently without Defoe. If they can utilise Palacios and Huddlestone as holding players they should be suited to hit sides on the counter attack, especially away from home.
It is important that Spurs' progress to the knock out stages but it must not get in the way of their development in the league. Ensuring a top 4 finish again will be the biggest challenge of Redknapp's career.