Basel preview: no chance of a Swiss Roll-over

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Scott Parker, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Tottenham Hotspur v FC Basel, Europa League

The squad’s on its knees, our league form has capitulated and we, the supporters, are showing about as much composure as a Noe Pamarot challenge in the penalty area.

So are we gonna go hell for leather in a Europa League away tie we appear to have little chance of coming out of on top? You bet we are.

For those who have any gripes with the notion of AVB putting out a full strength side this evening, far from simply pressing the ‘x’ button in the corner of your web browser, you’re probably best off watching Cowboy Builders on Channel 5 instead this evening. We all know the team he’s likely to put out, so let’s just get accept it for what it is and move on.

Can we scrape through this evening? It’s certainly not as impossible as some are making out, but it’s likely to be bloody difficult.

Having looked labored enough in the first-leg WITH the services of both Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon in our team, we head to Basel with neither of our holy duo for the second game on the spin.

But before someone decides to wheel out that stat about Basel’s home record for the 1000th time this week, carrying on the recently completely unfounded streak of optimism The Hotspur Way has adopted, we can go through this evening.

Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Everton perhaps suggested that while we’re all correct in continuing our season’s grieving for our forward line, it’s how our rearguard holds out, that is really going be to the key to how we both cope tonight and how we do moving forward for the rest of the campaign.

Quite frankly, we’ve looked garbage defensively for well over a fortnight now and as mentioned the other day, the drop in performances at the back seem to have eerily coincided with the savaging we took away to Inter Milan last month. Coincidence? Not likely.

We showed during the weekend that even if it doesn’t look particularly pretty, we can still offer a goal threat with, or without Gareth Bale in the side. That might come as something of a surprise to 99% of the idiots that comment on the Daily Mail sports section, but even if we haven’t won too many matches without him, we can still score goals and we can still play some decent football.

If we’re going to go through tonight, Daws and Super Jan are going to have to be on their best behavior and ideally ensure that they’ve exorcised the Victor Anichebe-sized demon out of their systems. William Gallas’ injury is something of a blessing in terms of our hopes of going through in this contest, but as much as we’d all like Hugo Lloris to start, the odds are Brad Friedel will be in-between the sticks. Not the end of the world.

Basel have a formidable defensive record, but off the back of arguably his best performance all season, we now seem to possess an Emmanuel Adebayor refreshed from the seven month holiday he’s been on since joining the club. Mousa Dembele, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Clint Dempsey aren’t necessarily match winners, but all three are capable of pulling something out of thin air. Tonight would be as good a time as ever to do so.

Gut feeling? You can’t help but feel that it’s going to take something special to steer through this one and come the final whistle, our defensive horror show last week may well have left us with a mountain too high to climb. Impossible, however, it most certainly is not.

Probable line-up (4-1-4-1?): Friedel; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Naughton; Parker; Dembele; Dempsey, Holtby, Sigurdsson; Adebayor


You can follow me on Twitter @samuel_antrobus

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