There have been some huge games at White Hart Lane before, obviously. There have been some truly spectacular North London Derbies. I wasn't alive and following football in 1951 or 1961, but the runs to the title must have been something special. Last year's win over Chelsea was certainly in the running for biggest games ever at the Lane. However, this might top them all. The UEFA Champions League is a different level, and Inter Milan are the defending champions. We sit in second place in our group and we control our own destiny. This might be the biggest game in the history of White Hart Lane.
Inter Milan put in a mediocre performance on the weekend, although they were able to scrape all three points against under-achieving Genoa, thanks to an awful howler by Portgual's #1, Eduardo. Other than a possible swap-out of Davide Santon, Inter's lineup figures to look exactly the same. Rafa Benitez could throw everyone a curve ball and select Diego Milito and/or Goran Pandev, but Jonathan Babiany and Coutinho have been performing well.
As hard as it was for Spurs to keep the ball in the leg at the San Siro, it's going to be even harder tonight with Esteban Cambiasso returning to the Inter lineup. The Argentine international was one of Inter's best players in their run to the Champions League final, with his spectacular performances against Barcelona standing out. His addition is a big blow to Spurs, but you have to play the team that's put in front of you.
This is the space where I would talk about tactics if Harry Redknapp believed that tactics were a real thing.
Right now, I'm sitting at my computer trying to figure out how optimistic I am about today's game. I've waffled back and forth, coming up with all kinds of wacky scenarios in my head. Finally, I've come to a conclusion. Harry Redknapp will determine my optimism.
This weekend, against Manchester United, Spurs generally played good football and were always in the match. However, they were significantly handicapped by the selection of a handful of players. After Robbie Keane and Jermaine Jenas's performances against Man United, Harry should have no incentive to pick them. Peter Crouch and Tom Huddlestone are likely to re-enter the lineup. Also, this blog's namesake, Ledley King, is supposedly healthy, so we shouldn't see Younes Kaboul in this match. Assuming that Harry selects a starting eleven that doesn't make all of us want to run head first into a brick wall, I'm pretty confident that we will at least have a good showing.
Projected Lineup, Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-1-1): Cudicini / Assou-Ekotto, King, Gallas, Hutton / Bale, Modric, Huddlestone, Lennon / van der Vaart / Crouch
Projected Lineup, Inter Milan (4-2-1-3, because I'm a snob) Julio Cesar / Santon, Lucio, Samuel, Maicon / Zanetti, Cambiasso / Sneijder / Coutinho, Babiany, Eto'o
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Inter Milan