Reigning Champions League champions should know

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Real Madrid - Champions League, Group H - November 1st, 2017

what happens when they visit Spurs.

The last time the reigning holders of the Champions League title came to London to play Spurs it ended 3-1, the visiting team and the stadium may have changed but the scoreline didn’t as Real Madrid left, defeated 3-1.

It is so much better when teams come to play, it’s a blueprint for all future visitors to Wembley, don’t park the bus, play some actual football, hey you’ll get stuffed but it’s all entertaining stuff.

This is a different Champions League campaign from last season. For one thing Spurs actually look interested this time. Real Madrid in town will do that.

And when they come to play there’s space, space Spurs love, love to exploit. Yes the visitors have the ball but who cares about possession when it leads to very little – as it does when Spurs have it against those that park busses. With a defence that gets in the way and is willing to stop any attack, a keeper making saves and the odd bit of luck, like Ronaldo blocking goal bound shots. Spurs can’t half prosper on the break.

This was much like the Dortmund game, except Harry didn’t score and the goal that Madrid scored was just a consolation not an equaliser.

Nope Kane didn’t score but he didn’t half play his part.

For the opener, well there wouldn’t have been one if he hadn’t chased down a lost cause and pressurised the Madrid player into conceding a throw, when he was just going to let the ball run for a goal kick. From there his quick throw found the ball with Winks, his brilliant ball was right onto the foot of of Trippier – yes he was offside but it wasn’t given so cry about it in your own time – his first time cross was prodded over by Dele.

It should have been the second of pretty much exactly the same type of goal as Trippier had earlier played in a first time volley cross but Dele had been hesitant, dropping back on his heels when he should have been ready for a tap in. Just a shame Harry had set it all up instead of being there for the finish, don’t think he would have hesitated.

Harry didn’t have a major part in the second but his presence probably pulled a defender or two away from Dele, after he got the ball from Dier. Putting Casemiro on his backside, his shot deflected off the pathetic Ramos. The deflection, lucky eh. Well if you look at it from behind the goal the keeper goes to his right after the ball is deflected.

Kane’s run and pass was a part in the third but it was a sum of its parts goal.

First the blocking in the box to prevent Madrid, then the cool pass out from the edge of his own box by Winks, then in receiving that pass, Dele’s turn, run and pass to Harry, his run opens up the middle and his ball to Eriksen is perfect as was the Dane’s finish.

There’s been a lot of hype over Winks in recent weeks, a lot of it has looked a bit rose coloured glasses stuff but this was by far his best outing. Tripper showed again why selling Walker – who was only on the bench for his new club – was a good idea.

Yes Madrid got one back, Ronaldo stopped doing his double teapot, moaning and whining to score. But no matter how much the TV commentators wanted it – Martin Tyler especially – Spurs didn’t let this one go. When you spend so much of your life wishing your life away as you plead for the clock to go faster as Spurs cling onto a slender lead, the joy in the “oles” ringing around Wembley as Spurs passed the ball was ecstasy.

This was glorious, Man U, West Ham, somewhat forgotten the only down side was the absence of Toby for an hour and for however long he’ll be out for. It didn’t look good after he pulled up at the end of a gallop into the Madrid box. Though it puts more of a gloss on the victory, to hold off Madrid without Alderweireld but with Sissoko, imagine losing to a side that contained Sissoko for an hour, well Spurs fans don’t have to, who knows if Perez pulls a Levy he could be off to Madrid come January. Davies and Hugo were also injured and it looked like Pochettino would have to replace both but they soldiered on, though it might not so bright for the captain.

So after last season’s debacle, Spurs get the group of death and qualify after just 4 games, top of the group, unbeaten with the only dropped points an away draw at the reigning champions… and Wembley looks and sounds a lot more like home…

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