Leicester & West Brom draw, UCL tonight – Spurs away to Real Madrid

I said in yesterday’s blog that I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch Leicester vs West Brom last night. As it turned out, I wasn’t doing anything else and watched it. Just to get this out of the way – the first half was awful. I don’t have much to say about it. I don’t have much to say about the second half either in truth, but if I’m being honest I actually enjoyed it. It wasn’t the most end to end or the most technical game you’ll ever see, but there was a bit to enjoy about it. I did a search on it on Twitter, and the reactions to it were mixed. Some said it was the worst game of football they’ve seen, which I don’t agree with. Others said it was brilliant, which I don’t agree with either. There was a bit to enjoy about it without being amazing.

West Brom did their usual West Brom stuff, and tried to keep it tight. They took the lead through a wonderful Nacer Chadli free-kick from 25 yards. They were content to sit deep and defend after (and before) that. Leicester got an equalizer through Riyad Mahrez, who missed a sitter earlier in the game. He blazed over the bar from about 10 yards when it was easier to score. It’s a bit odd watching him play, he always looks like he’ll do something special when he picks the ball up, but a lot of what he does doesn’t come off. Leicester battered the Baggies for the last few minutes, but couldn’t find the winner they desperately wanted.

Speaking after the game, Craig Shakespeare said:

When you have as much possession as we did and then go a goal down you are always worried how it affects the players.

But we showed the spirit we have and the resilience and we deserved a goal.

Tony Pulis said:

Our quality is better than what we showed at times, but you can’t fault their effort, commitment and the way they defend by putting their bodies in the way.

We’re disappointed, obviously, but every game is a tough game in this league.

West Brom move into 10th, but you’d have to worry about Leicester, who sit in 18th, and have only picked up three points from their last six matches. They haven’t won in their last six either, and the last time Leicester went six without a win they sacked Claudio Raneiri. You’d have to think Shakespeare is under a bit of pressure now, especially as Leicester spent quite a bit of money in the summer. We’ll see what happens, but he needs to get his side winning.

There are three English sides playing in the Champions League tonight, and the big one sees Spurs travel to Spain to take on Real Madrid. It’s a huge game for them, and their fans and players will be really looking forward to it. It’s one of those games you just want your side to show up in and play well – I doubt they’ll be shocked if they were beaten – but giving a side like Real Madrid a good game would be amazing for them. It’s definitely not too big of an ask for them, they have shown how good they can be, but at the same time they have to be cautious because Real can really put sides to the sword. The last thing they want is a hammering, as it would really hurt their confidence for the league and the remaining Champions League games.

Dele Alli serves the last of his three game ban, while Danny Rose will be on the bench. Rose hasn’t played for Spurs since January, but Mauricio Pochettino thinks he is fit enough to make a contribution if needed. Dele Alli has traveled with the squad, as has Mousa Dembele, but it sounds as though Dembele has just traveled but isn’t included. Erik Lamela and Victor Wanyama have stayed at home.

There won’t be a Spurs reunion with Gareth Bale tonight, as the Welsh midfielder is out because of a calf injury. Real Madrid should have ‘keeper Keylor Navas back from injury.

It should be a decent game, and I’ll try to watch it, but not sure if I’ll be able to.

Liverpool travel to Maribor for a game you would think they should win comfortably, but they’ve been far from convincing lately so they may not.

Man City welcome Napoli to the Etihad. Napoli are top of the Serie A table, so could cause City problems tonight. They’re a good side, so City may only score four against them. It might not end up like that, but I don’t think anyone would be surprised if they gave them a hammering tonight. They’ve been frightening lately.

Finally, the World Cup play-off draw takes place today. I obviously have an interest in that as Ireland are involved. We will be drawn against one of Italy, Croatia, Denmark or Switzerland. I read somewhere yesterday that the best we could hope for would probably be Croatia. They may not have had the best qualifying campaign, but of we get Croatia I’d really fear for us. Personally, I think Denmark would be the side I’d choose if I could. They’re undoubtedly a good side with some good players, but I’d take them over the rest. We’ll see later anyway. Most of you probably don’t care and are sick of the internationals so I’ll stop.

That’s all for now, news throughout the day over on Twitter, where you’ll also find tonight’s Champions League line-ups when they’re out. I’m going to try add a Twitter bar to the side of the site, because I think it would be a good way of getting the latest news up on the site since I don’t always have time to write up every story here.

I’ll be back in the morning with reaction to tonight’s games and build-up to tomorrow’s. I hope Tuesday goes well for you. Enjoy the games tonight.

 

 

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