Match Preview: Spurs v Marseille (the French are coming!)

Match Preview: Spurs v Marseille (the French are coming!)

John McCain once said of the French: “You know, the French remind me a little bit of an ageing actress of the 1940s who was still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn’t have the face for it.”

What has that got to do with anything? Nothing really, but I just thought I’d mention it… seeing as the two nations have great affection for each other…  And a bit of humour goes a long way… especially when confronting the French!

Well, there you go… yes, we face Marseille at our Tottenham stadium this Wednesday (7th) in the Champions League.

Olympique de Marseille, also known simply as Marseille, is based in Marseille, It was founded in 1899; the club plays in Ligue 1 and have spent most of their history in the top tier of French football.

The club adopted the name Olympique de Marseille in 1899 in honour of the anniversary of Marseille’s founding by Greeks from Phocaea some 25 centuries earlier, with the name Olympique coming from the ancient Olympic Games. So that is a titchy bit about them coming into existence.

I’ve already booked my flight to Marseille in November and looking forward to it… but in the meantime… home we are!

Where is the Promised Land? Well, if you are a football fan and have high hopes for your team, then it is in the UEFA Champions League, and we return to the promised land this Wednesday in a Group D fixture against Ligue 1 giants Marseille.

Match preview

Spurs

It all started at the end of last season when we pipped Woolwich to the fourth spot in the Premier League, which meant that we were in the Champions League, while they get second best and play on Thursday nights in the Europa-piss-pot-league.

We remain unbeaten in the Premier League after six matches and claimed our fourth win of the season when we beat Fulham  2-1 on Saturday, where the record-equalling Kane and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg scored to cement our third-placed standing in the table. Equal on points with City, in second, and one pint behind Dial-Square (Woolwich, their original name).

Let us not forget, we were runners-up to Liverpool in 2019, then experienced life in the doldrums of the Europa Conference League last year before withdrawing from the tournament, which may now have been a godsend given our league achievements.

Victory over Fulham represented our sixth competitive home win on the bounce. We have marched from each of our last three group-stage appearances in the Champions League, most recently being eliminated by RB Leipzig in the 2019-20 last-16. [That game I remember well, as it was my/ our last game before COVID. I was at that game, and even though we lost, I have fond memories of being out there with friends watching the game and meals before and after… what a day! Just sad about the result… anyway, we are here now… with a different team and a different manager; all wrapped up with greater expectations].

Marseille

Our opponents have recent form when it comes to a continental run, as they made it to the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League last year after finishing third in their Europa League group. Still, their hopes of glory were dashed by eventual runners-up Feyenoord.

They recently occupied a spot in the Champions League two seasons ago, Marseille have failed to make it out of the group in their last two appearances in their league competition, and they have also suffered 12 defeats in the tournament versus English opposition before they meet us in this competition for the very first time.

Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions):

WDWWDW

Marseille form (all competitions):

WDWWWW

Team News

Spurs

Rodrigo Bentancur and Cristian Romero return to the first XI for the win over Fulham, which leaves Bryan Gil and Lucas Moura as Conte’s only two injury concerns for Wednesday’s game.

Conte has some thinking to do over Richarlison, who demoted Dejan Kulusevski to the bench and provided the assist for Hojbjerg’s opener before seeing a late strike ruled out. I don’t believe Richarlison deserves to be dropped for this game.

Clement Lenglet was commended for his showing at the weekend and could keep his place in the first team given his Champions League experience.

My possible starting lineup:

Lloris; Romero, Lenglet, Dier; Emerson, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Perisic; Richarlison, Kane, Son

Thoughts

Marseille’s defence does not enthuse too much confidence. An in-form Kane alongside Richarlison should see plenty of goals.

I believe that the side Conte is building can win in what we should see as an entertaining midfield clash.

It is impossible to ignore Les Olympiens’ good start to the new campaign, however, we are brimming with confidence, so I expect us to win by something like 3-2, nothing like my usual predictions this season… I am giving them some credit for scoring at least one goal against us, maybe two.

My Prediction: 3-2

Antonio Conte and Fabio Paratici have worked hard over the summer to bolster our squad for the Champions League. I expect to see something special this season because of it… maybe a trophy or two… even challenging for the Premier League title… Can we do it? I believe we can. Let us see what happens this Saturday when we face City, on their turf.

Now for something completely different… and let us be United in laughing together (I hope you like the pun… “United”?)

United v Dial Square/ Woolwich (and yes, the score was 3-1 to United).

Manchester United’s £82m new boy Antony scored on his debut, and Marcus Rashford got two as Erik ten Hag’s men ended Woolwich’s 100% start to the season at Old Trafford. YES!

Woolwich have been lucky until now, facing easy opponents, then they meet somebody with a bit more meat on them (not too much… as they’ve been shit this season… but just enough to overwhelm the Gooners) to show them what is what.

United’s Brazilian (that is not a euphemism for trimming a lady’s garden) opened the scoring 10 minutes before half-time in the effervescent duel of the two dimmest in the classroom, sweeping a shot into the far corner.

After the break, Woolwich equalised, and then Rashford hit two to sink the invaders of North London 3-1. Finally getting their just deserts.

Sadly Woolwich remain top. However, after their false start to the season, manager Mikel-Mouse Arteta will be troubled at how easily his side were opened up. It was always there; they were just lucky at their start to their season. While the likes of City and us had tougher challengers.

On Saturday, we face real tough competition (City), while Woolwich face the poor part of  Liverpool, yes, the Toffee chewers of Everton. Like last time when we supported United (over Woolwich), we will be supporting the poor half of Liverpool over the invaders of North London.

Joining Mel and I to Tottenham will be Janette, her first game since last season… and she is looking forward to it (of course she is, what a silly statement!)… as we all are (and on we go again with another slaphappy declaration… it must be in the air… probably something to do with dizzy heights of Champions League football and our Premier League position… and it can only get better!). Amen!

COYS!

Up the Spurs!

Glenn

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