It’s hard to tell whether Jose Mourinho’s remarkable nine year unbeaten home record coming to an end this past Saturday will be a blessing or a hindrance for their Champions League quarter final opponents Tottenham. Harry Redknapp’s side will enter the footballing theatre of the Santiago Bernabeu to take on Real Madrid with the same philosophy that they always have: attack, attack, and attack.
Maybe the most difficult thing is to deduce what result will actually be the best one for Spurs to take back to White Hart Lane. Obviously not conceding in the Bernabeu will be utmost in Redknapp’s thinking but a 0-0 draw is likely the result that the “not so special anymore” One will be aiming for if his raft of Galacticos aren’t fit for the clash.
Let’s make the case for a few of these results.
First off, the Peter Crouch 1-0 away win, does exactly what it says on the tin. You frustrate the opponent for much of the game then score on the break with a scuffed finish from a striker you loan from London Zoo for Champions League clashes on the continent. The problem with this result is that it instilled a little bit too much confidence in the last-16 second leg with Milan.
They did win that encounter. Given the firepower Madrid possesses is far superior to that of Milan and Cristiano Ronaldo can conjure something out of nothing, 1-0 might not be anywhere near enough.
Then you have the Mourinho patented 0-0 home draw. It’s the tactic employed to make sure the flawed away goal rule can be used to maximum effect. Why the world of soccer persists with the rule at this stage of the competition is puzzling as the draw is completely at random and therefore any advantage is that too. If there’s anyone who can exploit the rules, it’s Mourinho though.
Lastly, there’s the likely outcome that Madrid will win by one or two goals. This will have a lot to do with whether Ronaldo and Marcelo make the game after recovering from injuries and what mish-mash of “defenders” Redknapp ends up sending out. Ronaldo versus Sebastian Bassong is Mourinho’s wet dream of a match up and the Spurs gaffer may be better off playing Sandra (his wife) at centre half.
The tie of the round deserves all the billing it’s getting and will provide a fascinating narrative for anyone watching – especially if Redknapp does go all out as he has done in the past rounds.