Everybody knows and agrees that the Champions league is the grand stage where old stars shine and new stars are born. The game has not ceased to amaze us, as we were treated to a sumptuous meal of amazing, fast, eye catching moments in this week’s Champions League games. To further leave us with watery eyes and wide open mouths as to how we so love this game, was the English team spurs and the Spanish galaticos match at Wembley on Wednesday night. We bring to you the things we learnt from the game. Read.
WEMBLEY GRADUALLY BECOMING HOME
Moving to a new home takes some sort of psychological adjustment which makes settling down take some time. Tottenham moved to Wembley Stadium this season due to the building of their new stadium, which will require part of their old home, White heart lane being demolished. Before the move, they had played their European games in the stadium last season. In the four European home games played last season, they won only one, a 3-1 win against CSKA Moscow in December, then went on to loss three. Also, the loss to Chelsea in their second game this season meant that they had lost their eight out of eleven games in Wembley. Since the National stadium was rebuilt till that Chelsea game, Tottenham have played 12 games and have won only twice, loosing eight times and drawing twice.
Mauricio Pochetino is a man we know who has done an amazing work at Spurs since his appointment, finishing in the top four twice in three years. The Wembley curse as it was tagged was to be tackled, and sure that’s what he has been doing. In the 8 games Tottenham have played since the loss to Chelsea, they have won 5, drawn 2 and lost 1. Bettering their record in 9 years.
The game against the super power of La Liga has allayed all fears that Wembley really holds a curse for the young Tottenham side. Haven beaten Dortmund 3-1 at home in their first champions league game, they have now done same to Real Madrid to top their table and have bagged qualification into the knock out stages of the competition with two games remaining. And this they have done on home soil, on said cursed Wembley. It wouldn’t be a mistake to say that for the boys at North London, Wembley is gradually turning to home.
FOOTBALL IS PSYCHOLOGY
Losing 3-2 to Westham in the ELF cup was a bad pill to swallow to some Tottenham fans, then the 1-0 loss to Manchester United which was a major-minor setback, depending on how you see it. In these two losses, one thing characterizes them; Harry Kane was absent. Tottenham by all stretches is not a Harry Kane team, as they have proven times and times again that they can cope without they star man.
In football, psychology is as important as playing the game itself. Without their star man, Tottenham were lacking intent and ambition when going forward I their match against Manchester United. Not that they didn’t have the fire power to score, as the attacking force of Tottenham comprising of Alli, Eriksen, Son, Llorente can score goals, but the absence of their star man had a dent on their psychological prep for the match.
On his return to the team to play Madrid after his injury lay-off, it was clear that the presence of Kane had boosted the confidence of his fellow players in the team. Although he wasn’t 100% fit his contribution though not in goals were felt. Setting up Christian Eriksen for Tottenham’s third goal of the game. The presence of Kane was a sure boost for the team as they beat the La Liga champions.
HARRY WINKS NOT HARRY KANE
Position: Central Midfielder
Team: Tottenham Hotspur
Harry Winks made his first team debut on 27th November 2014 in the UEFA Eroupa League group stage game against FK Partizan in a 1-0 home win at Whiteheart lane, replacing Paulinho after 87 minutes. August 27th 2016, he made his Premier League debut, replacing Christian Eriksen in the last minute of the match in a 1-1 draw at home to Liverpool. On November 19, 2016, he made his full debut against Westham, performing well and scoring his first ever goal for spurs to level the match at 1-1. Tottenham went on to win the match 3-2.
Injury to the team’s two established midfielders, Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama put the young English man into the fray, recovering from his own injury, he started the season as substitutes in three early games. He made his first start of the season in the Carabao cup win against Barnsley. He has gone on to make 8 more appearance in all competitions.
Credit must be given to the young lad for his performance s this season. Most notables his display in the two legged ties against Los Blancos. Teeing up against Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Isco can be a daunting task for an established midfielder but the 21 year old excelled. Showing a composure and awareness bellying his age. His pass to Trippier in the buildup for spurs opening goal was full awareness to spot a team mates run.
This wasn’t a night about Harry Kane, but the other local hero, one of their own, the other Harry. Harry Winks.
MADRID WERE LOW ON CONFIDENCE
This was Real Madrid first Champions’ League group stage loss since 2012. Coming from their defeat to Girona in the Spanish La Liga they were low on confidence. That game was their first ever competitive fixture between them. They had issues in the game which they carried over to Wembley on Wednesday night. They weren’t the Madrid that shredded Bayern Munich apart in the knockout stages of the competition last season and then went on to lift the Champions league. Their confidence was dented and it clearly was showing. They headed into the game bereft of confidence.