Tottenham are through to the Champions League quarter-final after beating Borussia Dortmund 1-0 at the Westfalenstadion last night. Harry Kane scored after 49 minutes to ensure Spurs put the tie to bed, having already led 3-0 from the first leg. Not too many teams would be feeling nervous about going somewhere with a 3-0 lead under their belts, but Spurs are different. They could be ‘Spursy’ and could Spurs it up. But they didn’t. They held their nerve and defended well. And now they’re through.
Tottenham have to be praised for what they’re doing. They may not be in the title race anymore, but once again, they’re having an incredible season when you consider everything. This is a team that hasn’t been massively invested in and a team that is desperate for a couple of signings. They didn’t sign anybody to help this season and lost Mousa Dembele, who was one of their most important players last season. But Mauricio Pochettino has continued to show that he’s right up there with the best managers in the world and continues to get the very best out of his players.
Spurs have had a rocky patch lately, but Saturday’s draw against Arsenal and last night’s result could see them turn a corner. The draw with Arsenal on Saturday could be a turning point for them. They didn’t deserve anything from the game, but they managed to nick a point, and it could make a difference. They’ll now be hoping that they’re back on track. They’ll be hoping to go on a good run of form and ensure they finish in the top four while continuing to fight in the Champions League.
It’ll obviously be very difficult for them to win the Champions League but they have to dream. You just never know. They’re good enough to get a result against anybody on their day, as they showed in the games against Borussia Dortmund and the group-stage draw against Barcelona at the Nou Camp. Nobody in this year’s Champions League has looked amazing and they can’t be ruled out completely.
Manchester United go to PSG tonight for what looks a very difficult game. They’re 2-0 down from the first leg and without the suspended Paul Pogba, who was sent off in that game. Alexis Sanchez could be out for up to six weeks, while United are also without Phil Jones, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic and Matteo Darmian for tonight’s game. It means their squad will contain plenty of young players tonight.
It’s obviously going to be very difficult for the Red Devils to turn this tie around, but they can’t be ruled out completely. It’s only two goals. While they want to go for every game they play in and attack the opposition, they’re going to have to sit back a bit tonight. If they go all-out-attack, they could easily be torn apart by the Ligue 1 champions. Obviously, they can’t completely park the bus either, but playing on the counter-attack could be the way to go. And they must score first.
If they do manage to score first, there’s a possibility. The longer it stays 0-0, the more of a chance they’ll have. But they absolutely have to be clinical. They’re not going to have 10 great chances tonight. They might have a couple and they need to take them when they come their way. Romelu Lukaku scored two goals against Southampton on Saturday and he has to be in that kind of form tonight. He hasn’t always convinced and hasn’t always been confident in front of goal, but he absolutely has to be tonight.
They can’t go over there and think they’re beaten already. United can take some inspiration from last night’s game between Ajax and Real Madrid. Ajax weren’t given much hope of turning around a 2-1 deficit from the first leg. But then they went to the Bernabeu and won 4-1. It was an incredible result and it shows that nothing is impossible.
United know it’ll be difficult and it’s quite unlikely that they’re going to turn it around. But they have to go there and give absolutely everything they have.
Just a word on last night’s game at the Bernabeu before I go. Ajax were incredible. It was an unbelievable win for them. Who goes to the Bernabeu and wins 4-1? Real Madrid are a complete mess at the moment. Their season seems to be over now as they’re out of the Champions League and out of the Copa del Rey. They also trail Barcelona in the league by 12 points. They haven’t recovered from Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane leaving the club in the summer. A big overhaul is needed there.
But fair play to Ajax. It’s good to see such a famous club with so much history back at the top again. They’re likely going to lose their top players in the summer and won’t be able to continue reaching the latter rounds of European competition, though. And that’s a pity. But it’s also how it goes for a lot of clubs. Monaco are an example of that. From Ligue 1 champions to relegation battlers in just a couple of years; it’s sad to see. Monaco look like they may be OK and stay away from relegation now but it’s still sad.
Anyway, that’s it from me for today. Sorry I haven’t been around here much lately but I’ve been quite busy recently. I’m going to continue being busy and I won’t be here every day, but I hope to get back on track with the in-depth articles soon. They won’t be every week like they used to, but I’m hopeful that I can put more out than I have been.
See you later, I hope you enjoy tonight’s football!