COMPETITION Champions League  Group E 
DATE Wednesday 7th December 2016
VENUE Wembley




PREVIEW The Champions League campaign has been a bit of a nightmare this time around.  Whether it is a group  of players, the majority who are in the competition for the first time, whether it is the number of games, the quality of the opposition or the fact that we are playing the games at Wembley, it hasn't happened for Spurs this season.

With the chance of progressing to the knock-out stages gone, all that is left is to salvage a pop at the Europa League, with all it bring sin terms of Thursday night football and more matches.  It is useful in a way, as it does provide a route to the Champions League if you win it (which won't be easy), it does bring in some money from winning results and television coverage and most important, it gives the opportunity to blood some youngsters.

But firstly, we have to beat CSKA, who will be keen to finish with a result to salvage some pride and to do it for their manager, who is leaving after this match.  So, it won't be a push-over, meaning a performance has to be put in.  With a season of matches coming up at the national stadium, it is important to start playing there with a feeling that it is not a problem, so a win would help put that behind them. 

CSKA were poor in the first game and they got a draw against Bayer Leverkusen last time out, so it will be a task to get a win, but if Tottenham can translate the form they showed at the weekend to his competition, there is no reason why they cannot get the three points to stay in Europe a bit longer. 

Depending on the side that takes the field, it might take a while to get going, but the squad have all had a taste of European action, so should be able to produce a winning performance.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2        CSKA Moscow    0
Toby Alderweireld is back after a long tie out with his knee injury.  However, Tottenham will be missing Vincent Janssen (ankle), Ben Davies (ankle) and Erik Lamela (hip/personal reasons).

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Tottenham Hotspur  3 (2)

Champions League  Group E
Wednesday 7th December 2016
CSKA Moscow  1 (1)

Kick off 19:45
Dele  37m 56s
Kane  45m + 0m 37s
Akinfeev (o.g.)  76m 55s
Dazagoev  32m 19s


Shennikov (foul on Eriksen)  32
V. Berezutski  (foul on )  64


Crowd :   62,035 Weather :  Mild
Referee : Nicola Rizzoli (ITA) Assistant Referees :  Riccardo Di Fiore; Elenito Di Liberatore (ITA)
Fourth Official :  Alessandro Giallatini (ITA) Additional Assistant Referees :  Luca Banti; Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
UEFA Delegate :  Jean-François Crucke (BEL) UEFA Referee Observer : Christakis Skapoullis (CYP)
CSKA Moscow kicked off and played towards the West Stand in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 1 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit CSKA Moscow : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

  2  Kyle WALKER
  3  Danny ROSE

12  Victor WANYAMA  (  4  Toby ALDERWEIRELD 69)
28  Harry WINKS

  7  Heung-Min SON  (14  Georges-Kevin N'KOUDOU  62)
20  DELE Alli 
Christian ERIKSEN

10  Harry KANE    (25  Josh ONOMAH  84)

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM

27  Kevin WIMMER
19  Mousa DEMBELE 
7  Moussa SISSOKO

  35  Igor AKINFEEV 

14  Kirill NABABKIN
  6  Aleksei BEREZUTSKI
24  Vasili BEREZUTSKI     
42  Georgy SHENNIKOV     

66  Bibras NATCHO
10  Alan DZAGOEV

17  Aleksandr GOLOVIN  (63  Fedor CHALOV  46)
  8  Georgi MILANOV
Zoran TOSIC  (72  Astemir GORDYUSHENKO  45)

  9  Lacina TRAORE  (23  Carlos STRANDBERG  80)

Unused subs: 
  1  Sergei CHEPCHUGOV
  4  Sergei  IGNASHEVICH


Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Leonid Slutsky
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Rosseti
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   adidas
Match report


Proceedings didn't start all that well with a PA announcement being made after the minute's silence for the victims of the Chapeoense air crash breaking into the tribute.  That was on top of ticketing problems, with the turnstiles not recognising bar codes and then there being a lack of staff at ticket booths to reprint them, along with cold food served up once people got inside.  The Wembley experience was threatening to turn sour before it had even started.

Things improved once the game  got underway, as Spurs started to press form the kick off and they were finding Dele Alli running into positions that would hurt the Russian defence.  The most damage CSKA were doing to Spurs was to Jan Vertonghen's face, with Lacina Traore's elbows sharpening themselves up on the Belgian's mush.  Tottenham could have gone ahead in the eighth minute, when a sweeping move from left to right thanks to Jan's pass out to Walker opened up space for Eriksen to cross.  Dele got on the end of it, but he put a header wide from a central position only five yards out.  Harry Kane nearly got across his marker at the near post when Christian put in a low ball, but a defender won the ball and then Kane set up Son, on the left, who hit a low shot that Akinfeev kept out well.

There was a bit of a worry when Eric Dier went down and looked in a lot of pain, but he got up to carry on, as Spurs continued with their attacking intent, with the width troubling CSKA.  Walker picked out Kane and his ball to Eriksen saw a shot that the keeper got down to his right well to keep out.  A great ball from Eriksen, lifted over the back four, found Dele around 10 yards out, but it wouldn't come down for him and he got no power in an effort that was gathered effortlessly by Akinfeev.  Despite having the ball in the Russian box a lot, it was Spurs who went behind in the 34th minute.  A high ball by Natcho found Vertonghen getting caught under the ball with Tosic nodding the ball to the side of him Dzagoev ran on to shoot low past Lloris from eight yards out.  Going behind in every Champions League game at Wembley has not helped our progress and it would need a good performance to drag this back our way.

Son quickly drew another near post save from Akinfeev after a short corner routine, but three minutes after going behind, Tottenham were level.  A neat three man move involving Kane and Walker put Eriksen in with the chance to cross, which he did, first time to the far post, where Dele took the ball down as it passed over the head of Nababkin and coolly shot past the keeper from the left hand corner of the six yard box.  It was a well worked and finished move and put Spurs back in the game.

Alli had a running battle with Tosic, who obviously regards himself as something of a tough nut.  It had been going on before CSKA put the ball out to allow treatment for a Spurs player.  When play restarted, the throw went to Dele, who lobbed the ball back towards the Russian goal, with Akinfeev off his line.  It looked like the ball would go in, but cleared it be a foot or so and Tosic took against this by barging into Alli and it looked like it might kick off for a moment.  Dele doesn't help himself sometimes and a simple low slow back pass would have seen this pass off without a blink of an eye.

The goal gave Spurs an impetus and they moved forward smoothly, getting the ball into the box, but being denied by some last ditch defending, although that dissolved in added time.  Despite Milanov being pout clean through the middle of the Spurs back line, he failed to make Lloris' life difficult, as a poor shot was too close to the Spurs captain and he dived onto it to keep the score level.  Spurs were much more clinical, as Winks laid the ball off to Eriksen and from a  central position, he curled a ball left to Danny Rose and his first time ball, low across the face of goal, allowed Kane a simple tap in at the back post, with the CSKA defence having gone AWOL.

After Ledley King's half-time appearance, the second half continued in the same vein as that in which the first half finished.  CSKA appeared to have left any hope in the dressing room and Spurs stroked the ball around confidently.  A succession of corners ended with Son's volley, but hitting it into the ground took all the power off it and then Kane tried a speculative effort from long distance, but Akinfeev was right behind it.  Eriksen had set that up with a deft header to Harry and he almost picked out the striker's head with a cross on 55 minutes.  MIlanov did nearly break through after Tosic put him away beyond Walker, but as he got into shooting range, he let the ball run away from him.  Although Spurs won a lot of corners, we didn't look likely to score from them, but despite that Walker managed to give Son an opening, which he was thwarted by Natcho's block on his shot, just before he went off to be replaced by Georges-Kevin N'Koudou.

The Spurs finishing could have been a lot better tonight, with getting headers on target a particular problem.  Walker found Kane's head, but he put it a foot over the bar, when it should have been on target and although the forward hit the goal from a  free-kick, struck through the defensive wall, it did not cause Akinfeev a lot of trouble.   GK tried a shot from a very narrow angle after being pout in by Kane, but it was well off target, then Toby Alderweireld made his return for the last 20 minutes, coming on for Wanyama, who had put in a good shift.  Chance after chance were created.  Rose's low cross was put over the bar by Dele Alli and Eriksen's free-kick brought a diving stop from the keeper with Vertonghen doing enough to divert Shennikov's effort wide of the Spurs goal.  Even though Spurs were in the ascendancy, it was still only 2-1 and not a foregone conclusion. 

The Eriksen-Kane link up worked again, as Christian's clipped pass was hit on the slide by Kane, who saw Akinfeev react well to block the ball and keep Tottenham out again.  Again, CSKA had an opportunity, but the lanky Traore failed to take substitute Gordyushenko's cross down and it bounced off him to Lloris.  it was a costly miss, as in the 77th minute, spurs put the game put of the Russian side's reach.  Harry Kane put in a fine cross from the right and it left Dele in loads of space running onto the ball around the penalty spot.  He really should have scored with his header, but hit the keeper and as Akinfeev fell, he only managed in kick it back towards his own goal for a farcical oggie.   The goal helped spurs see out the remainder of the game without too much incident. 

N'koudou crossed for Alderweireld to head at goal, but it was just too high and he did the same from a Christian Eriksen corner a few minutes later. 

There were ironic choruses of "Is there a fire drill" and "We can see you sneaking out" from the Spurs fans to their own as the stands emptied, but the last ten minutes were an embarrassment to the competition to tell the truth.  CSKA had long given up the ghost and Spurs were happy just to keep possession, with time and space to knock it around.  The final whistle was a relief for a number of reasons.  Firstly, the Wembley hoodoo has gone ... if there ever was one.  The win gave us a semblance of pride from the Champions League campaign, although it does demonstrate how far we have to go.  Secondly, the team played at a decent tempo for periods and used the width at the stadium to expose CSKA, coming from behind to win comfortably and thirdly, going through to the Europa League.  It means we stay in Europe, which will help with finances, youth development and if we do happen to go all the way and win it, another route into the Champions League.

It was a good enough performance to gain the win and give the team more opportunities to play at Wembley ahead of the season of league games to come.

United on Sunday will be a bigger test and one that Spurs need to come through to keep their position in the top five. 

Paddy Kingston





CSKA Moscow were named from a hand of Scrabble.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this round of games :
Paris St. Germain (FRA) 2 Ludogrets Razgad (BUL) 2 Tuesday
Basel (SWI) 1 Arsenal 4 Tuesday
Benfica (POR) 1 Napoli (ITA) 2 Tuesday
Dynamo KIEV (UKR) 6 Besiktas (TUR) 0 Tuesday
Manchester City 1 Glasgow Celtic 1 Tuesday
Barcelona (SPA) 4 Borussia Monchengladbach (GER) 0 Tuesday
PSV Eindhoven (HOL) 0 Rostov (RUS) 0 Tuesday
Bayern Munich (GER) 1 Atletico Madrid (SPA) 0 Tuesday
Bayer 04 Leverkusen (GER) 3 AS Monaco (FRA) 0 Wednesday
Real Madrid (SPA) 2 Borussia Dortmund (GER) 2 Wednesday
Legia Warsaw (POL) 1 Sporting Lisbon (POR) 0 Wednesday
FC Porto (POR) 5 Leicester City 0 Wednesday
Club Brugge (BEL) 0 FC Copenhagen (DEN) 2 Wednesday
Juventus (ITA) 2 Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 0 Wednesday
Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) 0 Sevilla (SPA) 0 Wednesday




Group E Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 AS Monaco 6 3 2 1 9 7 11 +2
2 Bayer Leverkusen 6 2 4 0 8 4 10 +4
3 Tottenham Hotspur 6 2 1 3 6 6 7 0
4 CSKA Moscow 6 0 3 3 4 10 3 -6


Position before match :  3rd
Position after match :  3rd


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.


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