Match: Thursday 7th November 2013. Kick off: 8:05pm.
A big game and a 100% must win. If we win on Thursday, we are through to the knockout rounds of the Europa League, and continue our 100% record in the tournament, we need to get through as early as possible so we can rest our players in the final two remaining games against Tromsø and Anzhi Makhachkala, but obviously, securing a place in the knockout round is something we want to do, so the motivation to win is big. Our inability to score goals and play free attacking football has been highly documented, we registered a 0-0 draw with Everon at the weekend in which our attacking performance disappointed once again, we as fans are waiting for it to click, and I’m sure it will, but it needs to happen soon! While our attacking play is lacking, our defensive performances have been sublime, not conceding a single goal in the Europa League so far, hopefully this continues against Sheriff! Last time out against Sheriff, we won 2-0 away from home, far from a convincing win; they surprised us with their fast attacking football, but their finishing was appalling, and ours was quite clinical, so we won the game with a seeming comfortably score line.
FC Sheriff are a tough side, who attack with purpose and pace, they can cause problems for teams, especially teams who like to attack like ourselves. It’ll be a very difficult, but it’s one we should win, at home, we’ll be confident of getting a result. They sit top of the Moldovan league, with 35 points from 14 games, 7 points ahead of their nearest rivals Costuleni, having a very impressive goal difference of 33, they like scoring goals! Isa is their biggest threat, he plays up top for the Moldovan champions and he showed in our game with them that he has pace and the ability to hold up the ball and get midfielders into the game. We’ve got to keep him quiet. Other players to look out for are Jhulliam, Cadû and Ricardinho; all Brazilian!
I expect changes to the team, but still a very strong one. The players need to go out and show their attacking prowess, and get a big win at the Lane, for the fans more than anyone else, we want to get this game done and dusted early, and book our place in the knockout stages. Chances for a lot of so called ‘fringe’ players to make a mark, and show their worth to the squad, the most noteworthy being our record signing, Erik Lamela, he hasn’t particularly taken North London by storm like some Spurs fans wanted, but he’s slowly improving and put in a good performance in his last game against Hull in the Capital One Cup, showing glimpses of his undoubted quality. He’s settling into a new environment, but we want to see some good performances, and get his confidence up, so he has the chance against Sheriff. Jermain Defoe is expected to lead the line, our top scorer in the Europa League, always pops up with a goal in these games, with the service he could receive from Eriksen, Lamela and Sigurdsson, he’s in good hands. Etienne Capoue is back! He is in contention for a place in the line up, and it’s a great pleasure to have him back in the squad, an important player, with great quality, looking forward to seeing him back in action after his lengthy injury. The team news is that Danny Rose, Sandro, Zeki Fryers and Emmanuel Adebayor are all out of the game through injury, while Kyle Naughton and Etienne Capoue come back into the frame. Hugo Lloris is also fit and available for selection after his heavy blow to the head, but Brad Friedel is expected to start.
Should be a fast paced and exciting game! It is being shown live on ITV 4, with coverage starting at 7:45pm on Thursday 7th November, kick off at 8:05pm. Let’s hope we can show our offensive ability, as well as our defensive stability and light up White Hart Lane once again. COYS!!
My preferred team to face FC Sheriff at White Hart Lane:
Walker – Dawson – Kaboul – Naughton
Capoue – Dembele
Lamela – Eriksen – Sigurdsson
AVB’s press conference pre Sheriff: