A 2-1 victory at home to a top European side could be viewed as a good result. But with Lyon grabbing what may turn out to be a crucial away goal, Tottenham travel to France knowing that the tie hangs in the balance.
If Spurs are to progress, they themselves may need to score. Therefore, attack could be the best form of defence for the north London side.
Tottenham have been far from solid at the back this season. Injuries and tinkering with the back line by manager Andre Villas-Boas has produced inconsistent defensive displays, with Kyle Walker remaining the only constant.
To travel away from home and attempt to shut up shop and inviting pressure could be playing with fire. It just isn’t in Spurs’ nature to contain a side and nick a 1-0 victory, and they don’t necessarily have the players to perform such a task, either.
With the blow of losing Sandro to injury, Tottenham’s discipline in the middle has been lost. As far as replacements go, they don’t come much better than Scott Parker, but the two are slightly different players.
Sandro is content to hold the fort in the middle and provide expert defensive protection, allowing Moussa Dembele the freedom to express himself. Scott Parker is a bulldog, a terrier. And whilst his work rate is second to none, his busy style often drags him out of position, allowing space in the middle of the park.
Tottenham’s full-backs hardly allow them to play a defensive minded game, with both Walker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto being more competent in attack than defence – a common trait of the modern full-back.
Walker in particular caused havoc in the first leg with his overlapping runs and his combination play with Aaron Lennon, and it’s these qualities that could see the north London side through to the next round.
With a team containing the in-form Gareth Bale, the pace of Lennon and the guile of new signing Lewis Holtby, Tottenham’s best option could be to take the game to the Ligue 1 outfit.
If Spurs signal their intent early on in this encounter and go on the front foot, silencing the partisan crowd in the process, they could take a big step toward progressing.
With the score at 2-1, a Lyon goal changes everything. If Tottenham go into this game with a defensive outlook and go a goal down, Lyon will have the initiative, it will be tough for Spurs to then change their mentality and it could become a long night for AVB’s men.
If Spurs can control the game, as they are capable of doing, they would be giving themselves the best possible chance of progressing.
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