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Spurs Odyssey Champions League Preview - Spurs v Manchester City, 09.04.19

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Spurs' record in Europe:-
The official crest of Tottenham Hotspur
U.E.F.A Champions League
 P  W   D   L   F - A
33 15   8  10  61 - 43
European Cup
P   W   D   L   F - A
8   4   1   3  21 - 13
(Semi-Finalists 1962)
European Cup Winners Cup
P   W   D   L   F - A
33  20  5   8  65 - 34
(Winners 1963)
UEFA Cup/Europa League
 P    W   D   L   F - A
140  78  36  26  276-121 
(Winners 1972, 1984
 Finalists 1974)
The club logo of Manchester City
P    W   D   L   F - A
214 117 50  47  423-211

Bring on the 12th man!

So, here we are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the second time in four attempts. It is, of course, the third time we have reached this stage of the elite European club competition, having played in the 1961-62 European Cup when we got as far as the semi-final. On that occasion we played what was considered to be one of the most memorable European games at White Hart Lane when we beat the famous Benfica (Eusebio and all) 2-1. Unfortunately we had lost the away leg 3-1 and so went out to the eventual European Cup winners, who defeated Real Madrid in that year's final.

THE most famous European night here has to be the 1984 UEFA Cup Final, and we have now had three consecutive seasons in the Champions League. Sadly, due to the requirement to play European games at Wembley since 2016, when work had already begun on "New White Hart Lane", this is the first Champions League game at Tottenham since April 2011 when we hosted Real Madrid in the home leg of our last quarter-final. We lost 1-0 and 5-0 on aggregate to bring a sad end to that season's Blue Riband European excursions.

I think we probably all hoped for the draw that Liverpool got - Porto - but with four English teams making up the eight quarter-finalists the odds were on at least one all English tie, and we got it. Manchester City are, of course, one of the toughest opponents in the competition, but there have been times when they showed frailty and we must hope that we - and the new 12th man of Tottenham - can expose them again. That "12th man" is what we hope will be a full house, including the white Wall that is the new South Stand. May Pep's boys be defeated and by a sufficient margin to enable us and not the favourites (for this tie) to proceed to the semi-final!

The frailties I refer to include a home defeat in City's first Champions League game of the season, when they were beaten by Lyon, and consecutive domestic defeats at Christmas-time at home to Crystal Palace and away to Leicester. City also had squeaky moments in their FA Cup travels to Newport and Swansea. They are potent but not inpenetrable. Ace defensive midfielder Fernandinho (34 in May incidentally) missed both those Christmas matches I mentioned, and whenever he has not played City have generally missed him too. The Brazilian International suffered a muscular strain late in normal time in the EFL Cup Final against Chelsea, and missed the Internationl break, but did play the last 25 minutes of Saturday's FA Cup semi-final.

City have been protecting Aguero, and the ace striker has not featured in the club's last two games. I suspect we will see him tomorrow. Kyle Walker has a hamstring injury and is a major doubt.

Down the years we have met English teams several times in European competition. The first occasion was in December 1963, when we failed to defend our European Cup-Winners' Cup and lost on aggregate to Manchester United. We beat them first at home 2-0 with goals by Dave Mackay and Terry Dyson, but lost the away game 4-1. This was the occasion when Dave Mackay suffered a broken leg (for the first time) in a challenge with Noel Cantwell, soon after Herd had scored the United opener after 6 minutes. There were no substitutes in those days.

Jimmy Greaves scored our goal at Old Trafford, but David Herd and Bobby Charlton both scored twice. Greaves' goal had given us the overall lead again after Herd had put United 2-0 up in the 57th minute, but Charlton scored two in the last 10 minutes. We had beaten United in the 1962 FA Cup semi-final that put us on our way to the domestic cup win and then that famous first British win in Europe!

Other English opponents have been (famously) Wolves in the 1972 UEFA Cup Final and (unsuccessfully) Liverpool in the 1973 UEFA Cup semi-final.

It looks as if we will be missing Serge Aurier, Eric Dier and Erik Lamela tomorrow night. Dier and Lamela did not train with the rest of the squad at Hotspur Way today and Serge Aurier who still has a hamstring injury is mourning his father.

Hopefully, there will be a fantastic atmosphere for our first European game in our new home - the only Premier League ground in London hosting Champions League football this season! - and naturally I am hoping for a home win. Let's face it, even a two or three goal winning margin would not make us feel comfortable for the second leg, and I will be grateful for any win. City have now won 13 of their last 14 games, and in those games only failed to score in their 0-0 scoreline in the EFL Cup Final against Chelsea. They have not lost any game since January. The only other times they have failed to score this season have been a 2-0 league defeat at Chelsea and a goalless draw at Anfield. Bring on the 12th man! Someone has got to stop them winning everything this season!

Referee Bjorn Kuipers and most of the officials are from The Netherlands. The fourth official (William Collum) is from Scotland. Mr Kuipers is a senior UEFA and FIFA referee and had charge of four World Cup games last summer, including England's 2-0 win over Sweden in the quarter-final imn which Dele Alli scored. Mr Kuipers' only Spurs game was our Champions League away defeat to Monaco in November 2016, when Harry Kane scored a penalty. That Monaco side included Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy. Mendy started Saturday's FA Cup game, but that was his first appearance since January. VAR will operate for this game.

"It was Twenty Years ago today!" - On April 5th, 1999, Spurs had a full rehearsal for an FA Cup semi-final against Newcastle. We drew the away league game 1-1.

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