COMPETITION Champions League   Group E
DATE Wednesday 14th September 2016
VENUE Wembley
2.  Fabio Henrique FABINHO
-.  Abdou DIALLO
5.  Jesus Nascimento JEMERSON
-.  Pierre-Daniel NGUINDA NDIFFON
7.  Nabil DIRAR
9.  Radamel FALCAO
10.  Bernardo SILVA
11.  Guido CARRILLO
12.  Danijel SUBASIC
14.  Tiemoue BAKAYOKO
16.  Morgan de SANCTIS
18.  Valere GERMAIN
19.  Djibril SIDIBE
20.  Adama TRAORE
23.  Benjamin MENDY
24.  Andrea RAGGI
25.  Kamil GLIK
26.  Gabriel BOSCHILIA
27.  Thomas LEMAR
28.  Corentin JEAN
30.  Sy SEYDOU
31.  Yhoan ANDZOUANA
38.  Alamay TOURE
47.  Kevin N'DORAM
PREVIEW Having dismissed Monaco 4-1 at home last season in the Europa League, you may be forgiven for thinking that his is a foregone conclusion.  However, things have changed since then at the French club.

Coming into this game on a good run - unbeaten in the league with a 3-1 win over PSG and having had two wins over Villarreal in the qualifying Champions League competition - they took the liberty of resting some of their players in the 4-1 win over Lille at the weekend.  Spurs didn't do that, but they were able to take some players off before the end of our 4-0 victory  against Stoke City.  While the names in the Monaco side might not be as household as other clubs in the Champions League, the Russian money behind the club has been spent on bringing younger, talented players to the club.  The club tend to have some of their better players picked off each summer, but manage to finish high enough up Ligue 1 to earn a European place with a third place finish last season.

Mbappe won't be playing at Wembley, after suffering concussion, with the club having high hopes for him to come through as the next product off the conveyor belt.  He did play against Spurs last season, but was perhaps a little inexperienced then, although still only 17 now.  Joao Moutinho almost became a Spurs player under Andre Vilas-Boas's reign, but his career took him to Monaco and while he may be a wealthy man, his light does not shine as brightly as it did when he was with Sporting Lisbon and FC Porto, but he was a part of the victorious Euro 2016 winning Portugal side. 

One player we won't have to worry about is Lacina Traore, the 6' 8" striker, who has played against us a couple of times for different clubs in the Europa League and had an unsuccessful loan spell at Everton, but has now gone on loan to CSKA Moscow.  We might be seeing him later in the competition though !!

Some of the other players played at the Lane and in the Louis II stadium last season, but few came out of the game at Tottenham with much credit.  Radamel Falcao, we know from his loan spells at Manchester United and Chelsea, where he failed to show how he gained a fearsome reputation as a goal-scorer, but he can be unplayable on his day.  Let's hope Wednesday isn't his day.

Spurs will be confident after an unbeaten run in the league so far and with Mousa Dembele coming back into the squad, he strengthens our midfield options.  With goals from midfield on Saturday, Spurs are developing a tempo that suits them and makes it difficult for the opponents. Monaco might have learned form their experience against Spurs last season, but the width available on a big pitch might allow more space for Tottenham to work the ball to Kane and punish the French side.

They will be up for it, getting to play at Wembley as well as in the Champions League, so it will need a lot of running to pull them around, but Spurs are capable of that and I expect them to come out of the opening game with a hard-earned win.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2         AS Monaco    0
Danny Rose (hamstring) will be ruled out, but Tottenham have Mousa Dembele back in the squad for the match.
Radamel Falcao returns in the forward line, but defender Benjamin Mendy (thigh) is sidelined, along with Kylian Mbappe (concussion).

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Tottenham Hotspur  1 (1)                                                                       
Champions League  Group E
Wednesday 14th September 2016
AS Monaco  2 (2)

Kick off 19:45
Alderweireld  45m + 0m 12s Bernando Silva  15m 20s
Lemar  31m 52s
Kane (foul on Fabinho)  35 

Glik  (foul on Alli)  50
Fabinho  (foul on Alli)  55  


Crowd :   85,011 Weather :  Very warm, dry
Referee :  Gianluca Rocchi (ITA) Assistant Referees :  Gianluca Cariollato (ITA); Filippo Meli (ITA)
Fourth Official :  Mauro Tonolini (ITA) Additional Assistants :  Daniele Doveri (ITA); Davide Massa (ITA)
AS Monaco kicked off and played towards the West Stand in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + ? minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit AS Monaco : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

  2  Kyle WALKER
33  Ben DAVIES

15  Eric DIER  (17  Moussa SISSOKO  81)
20  DELE Alli

11  Erik LAMELA  (  9  Vincent JANSSEN  71)
23  Christian ERIKSEN
  7  Heung-Min SON  (19  Mousa DEMBELE  46)

10  Harry KANE      

Unused subs: 
12  Michel VORM

16  Kieran TRIPPIER
12  Victor WANYAMA


  12  Danijel SUBASIC

24  Andrea RAGGI
  Jesus Nascimento JEMERSON
25  Kamal GLIK      
19  Djibril SIDIBE

  2  Fabio Henrique FABINHO      
14  Tiemoue BAKAYOKO

10  Bernardo SILVA 
  8  Joao MOUTINHO
  7  Nabil DIRAR (27  Thomas LEMAR  5  )

  9  Radamel FALCAO  (c)  (18  Valare GERMAIN  81)

Unused subs: 
16  Morgan de SANCTIS
20  Adama TRAORE
28  Corentin JEAN
34  Abdou DIALLO
38  Alamay TOURE

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Leonardo Jardim
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Fedcom
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

With the prospect of a record club and national crowd for a club match, Spurs failed to reach the heights of the weekend's performance against Stoke and with AS Monaco being more adept at being ruthless, they took their two first half chances to record a 2-1 away win.  The disappointment was palpable and the players trooped off with heads hung low, so Pochettino will need to pick them up for Sunday's visit of Sunderland back at the Lane.

The French league leaders arrived to a Wembley that was 97% Spurs supporting.  The scene was set for a big European night as the Champions League anthem blared out across the national stadium and a roar of expectancy spread as the first whistle sounded.  Tottenham started brightly with Dele Alli alongside Dier, with Lamela, Eriksen and Son just behind Kane.  Ben Davies slotted in for the injured Danny Rose.  An early corner was won and from it, a clearance from Nabil Dirar saw him needing treatment and his Wembley dream was over within four minutes of the start, as Lemar came on for him.

In the ninth minute, Spurs should have gone ahead.  Harry Kane curled a ball across the edge of the six yard box from the right wing.   It was missed by Christian Eriksen in the middle and ran through to Son beyond the far post.  He controlled the ball and slid it past Subasic, but there wasn't enough on his shot to take it past Raggi, who cleared in front of goal.  A goal might have put a very different complexion on the game at that time, but the old adage of not taking your chances soon came back to bite Tottenham.

Lamela had a pass picked off in the centre circle and it was fed to Bernardo Silva, who came away from Davies with the ball, cut inside Vertonghen and fired a left foot shot past Lloris from 18 yards out to put the visitors ahead after a quarter of an hour.  There was a sudden silence over the Wembley turf, as sloppy play allowed Monaco the chance to score.  But the Spurs crowd got their voices back as the two teams lined up for the restart.

Erik Lamela was putting in his usual energetic display, but he was not to be rewarded with a goal in the 17th minute, as his curling shot from the right was pushed aside at full stretch by the keeper, after Eriksen has set him up.  From the corner, Silva broke away and when he got into the area took a swan-dive.  Shamefully, the referee didn't book him for trying to con him.  Spurs were looking for the decisive final ball in the box, but Monaco were getting a foot in at the vital times, which helped them break forward quickly.  Half an hour gone and the score became 2-0 to the visitors, after a throw-in on their left wing that wasn't dealt with by Spurs and Sidibe was given too much time to cross the ball into the Spurs box.  Jan and Ben went up for it with Falcao and Lemar and the ball dropped kindly for the latter to smash it past Lloris from close range just left of the post high into the net.  A bit of good fortune for the French side helped, but our failure to prevent the cross getting the ball into a dangerous area was also sloppy.

Five minutes later, Monaco went close again, as Moutinho's free-kick swung in and Glik got a back-header on it and the ball drifted only just wide of Lloris' goal to his left.  Just as it looked like Monaco might extend their lead, a Spurs corner on the right was swung in by Lamela to the near post and Toby Alderweireld made it his with a short, but powerful run and the ball flew past Subasic in goal to narrow the lead to 2-1.  It was against the run of play, but was welcomed, as the Spurs fans raised the roof (well, it was open, but you know what I mean).  Right on the stroke of the half-time whistle, Lamela swung another right wing cross in and Dele was running in on it, but could not quite stretch far enough to reach the ball, with only a touch required to take the ball into the net.  The goal had made Pochettino's half-time team-talk a little easier,  but he will not have been happy with the way the side approached the first half and the second would need to show a considerable improvement.

Having had Rio Olympic gold and silver medal winners paraded at half-time, their support of Spurs must have hoped that they would also have inspired a better display.  Mousa Dembele came on for Son and  we hoped his long absence would produce a performance to turn things around.  Two minutes in, Dele almost produced a golden moment, taking a ball to the right of centre, about 25 yards out, he took a touch and hit an instinctive volley that would have gone in had Subasic not pushed it over by diving back to tip it over.  If Alli had hit the corners rather than the centre of the goal, the keeper could have been struggling.  Kane had a shot with not a lot else on, but a block took the ball out for a corner.

Monaco seemed to be targeting Alli and Glik had already been booked, when a run to the near post saw Alli upended by Fabinho as the corner was about to be taken.   The Monaco man got a ticking off from the ref, but as they went to take the corner again, exactly the same happened.  People around me were getting excited as they thought Spurs had a penalty, but with the ball not in play, the ref couldn't give that, so he settled for a yellow for the Brazilian. 

A period of pressure brought Spurs a series of corners, but no end product to them.  Dembele was using his strength to hold onto the ball and was instrumental in pushing Spurs further forward, as Alli was playing in the forward midfield unit now.  The French side were doing little attacking now.  An 18 yard diving header by Falcao went way off target, then Lemar had a shot blocked by Davies, as the Spurs defence tightened up.  With 15 minutes left, Tottenham had a couple of good opportunties to get an equaliser, with Alli meeting Walker's low pull back, but failing to get enough on his curler to trouble the goalie, while substitute Vincent Janssen did well to hold off Jemerson as he went forward after the ball and then put it into Harry Kane's path, only for the Spurs striker to fire his shot from the edge of the area straight at Subasic, who saved easily.  Alli had another effort, but it sliced off the side of his boot as he went for a volley to Sissoko's cross. 

A couple of final corners brought no direct threat to the Monaco goal and the Ligue 1 side went off to celebrate in front of their 1500 fans.  Tottenham were guilty of being too slow on the ball and in their build up in the first half and when things were changed around, they had plenty of possession, but failed to work the Monaco goalkeeper enough to get shots on target.  The crowd responded well to the Spurs players at the end, although quite a few had gone to beat the queue at Wembley Park tube station.

Alli's starting position in the defensive midfield hindered Spurs going forward in the first half, but his move forward after the interval made a difference, as did Dembele's introduction.  Kane benefitted as he wasn't stranded up front, but his finishing failed to find the net tonight.  The defence was also better in the second period, giving Lloris little to do.  Raising the tempo forced Monaco onto the back foot and when Sissoko came on, he showed his strength and ability to put the ball into the box from wide positions.

Personally, I think all the talk about the Wembley effect is nonsense.  We have seen Spurs perform like this at the Lane and elsewhere in the past.  It is not being "Spursy" as the current media label has it.  It is not wilting under the pressure.  It has nothing to do with our previous four defeats at Wembley - especially as few of the players probably know about that, let alone played in many of those games.  It is the inconsistency that the team has been noted for over the last twenty odd years I have been supporting them.

It looked like that had been shaken off in the Premier League last season and unbeaten so far this season, it might indicate that the level of performance is stabilising.  However, the excuse that they are a young side will also not wash.  They played very well last season until the last few matches and they have the capacity to do so again.  Playing against the top sides in the Champions League is a new experience, but they played some very good teams last season in the Europa League, so, yes, it is a learning curve, but not one they should be afraid of.  The other two sides in the group will be tough opponents too, but Spurs have to match them and then better them if they seek to go further in the competition.

Steve Marborough




AS Monaco were originally formed as a  team named Moneghetti, who were nearly as good 'as Monaco' Town, taking over from them as top dogs in the Principality and driving the original team out of existence.


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What you thought
East Stan Well, although the result meant that the Champions League home matches got off on the wrong foot, overall, it felt like a good start to our Wembley tenure.  Don't forget we are here all season in 2017-18.

Monaco did well in taking their chances, proving the old saying, that at this level, you will be punished for giving away opportunities.  But they were also cute in winning cheap free-kicks off the inconsistent referee, by going to ground at the slightest touch,  breaking up play and making it frustrating for Spurs, who were not getting decisions when savagely brought down.  It might be something we learn to do, although we are not that sort of side.

The fiasco over Alli being pulled down by Fabinho in the box was laughable.  The referee told him about it and then he went and did it again.  I know it couldn't be a penalty, but the blatant disrespect of the referee should have earned him a red.  That and his reaction to the assistant linesman behind the goal, as well as Glik being right in the ref's face.  Hardly surprising they don't get the respect they crave when they don't stand up for themselves.

Two sloppy bits of defending cost us tonight and the players need to realise quickly that they have to cut that out now, otherwise it will be a short run in this competition. 

We need to go as far as we can, as the revenue from progressing that far, added to the receipts from the turnstiles will help boost the coffers at a time when money is being channelled into the new ground. 

Gav (Southend) It was weird that all the talk of the bugger pitch at Wembley actually saw us playing so narrow.  Lamela and Eriksen both came inside and when Son went wide, he was invariably lacking support to make a pass.  Monaco did a good job on us shutting us down when we had the ball, but they did tire, which was when we should have made the most of the possession. 

Monaco did a good job in pushing their full backs forward to stop the attacking runs of Davies and Walker, forcing everything inside anyway.  We did have chances, but not as many nor as clear cut as usual.

We have been away from the top European competition for six years and have to relearn how to play at his level.  We did OK last time and I believe that can happen again. 




Other scores during this round of games :
Paris St. Germain (FRA) 1 Arsenal 1 Tuesday
Basel (SWI) 1 Ludogrets Razgad (BUL) 1 Tuesday
Dynamo KIEV (UKR) 1 Napoli (ITA) 2 Tuesday
Benfica (POR) 1 Besiktas (TUR) 1 Tuesday
Barcelona (SPA) 7 Glasgow Celtic 0 Tuesday
Manchester City 4 Borussia Monchengladbach (GER) 0 Wednesday
Bayern Munich (GER) 5 Rostov (RUS) 0 Tuesday
PSV Eindhoven (HOL) 0 Atletico Madrid (SPA) 1 Tuesday
Bayer Leverkusen (GER) 2 CSKA Moscow (RUS) 2 Wednesday
Real Madrid (SPA) 2 Sporting Lisbon (POR) 1 Wednesday
Legia Warsaw (POL) 0 Borussia Dortmund (GER) 6 Wednesday
Club Brugge (BEL) 0 Leicester City 3 Wednesday
FC Porto (POR) 1 Copenhagen (DEN) 1 Wednesday
Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) 3 Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 0 Wednesday
Juventus (ITA) 0 Sevilla (SPA) 0 Wednesday



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


Position before match :  N/A
Position after round :  4th


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


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