Lennon urges everyone to 'Imagine'
It might have been John and not Aaron Lennon who penned the world renowned cult song, but its lyrics will ring true for the Spurs players and fans. They may say that they are dreamers, but at 19:45 on Wednesday they will not be the only ones, they will dream...and as the Spurs motto goes, to dare, is to do. Can Spurs really create a miracle, overcome the hugest of odds and progress through to the semi-finals?
The thousands of Spurs fans that populated the historic Plaza Mayor and Plaza de España in Madrid a week ago were full of such pre-match optimism (and cerveza) that their brilliant team could perform on Europe's highest plinth and take on the might of the famous Real Madrid. That optimism soon evaporated into the balmy night sky above the Bernabeu as within fifteen minutes, they were a goal down and down to ten men.
The rest of the first leg will be consigned to the Champions League history books where the physical approach of Emmanuel Adebayor (5/1 first scorer) and the attacking flair of Cristiano Ronaldo (9/2), Mesut Ozil (8/1) and Angel Di Maria(11/1) left the Spurs backline horribly exposed.
The second leg, in reality, should be something of a non-contest and if, and it's a huge if, Spurs can overcome the first leg deficit, then Harry Redknapp should be knighted as Sir Harry, Lord of the Lane. In the two seasons that they have played in Europe's elite competition, the men from north London are unbeaten in eight matches. If they are to progress they will have to emphatically make it nine matches without defeat.
The match betting for this game sees the visiting side installed as 6/4 favourites compared to the 9/5 on offer for Redknapp's men.
The weight of Champions League history is also against Spurs. The biggest first leg deficit overturn belongs to Deportivo La Coruna who famously knocked out AC Milan 5-4 on aggregate after losing 4-1 at the San Siro.
The most optimistic home fan inside White Hart Lane will cling to the facts that Real Madrid haven't been great away from home in Europe and in fact, haven't won an away knockout game since 2000. One of those defeats away from the Spanish capital was a 4-0 defeat on English soil, to Liverpool in March 2009. (Correct score 4-0 - 40/1)
The team news for the second leg surrounds Aaron Lennon. After being mysteriously absent from the starting line-up in Madrid, the England winger should return. Striker Peter Crouch is suspended after being red carded in the early stages of the first leg and will have to watch from the stands. Jermain Defoe (6/1 first scorer) played as a lone striker after Crouch's dismissal but Harry does prefer a big man up top with Van der Vaart (6/1) playing just behind so Roman Pavlyuchenko (8/1) could get the nod. Tom Huddlestone and Younes Kaboul are also back in contention after playing in the weekend's 3-2 victory over Stoke.
There are no injury worries for Jose Mourinho but he is without Pepe who is suspended following a rash challenge on Gareth Bale last week. Mourinho very rarely alters from his best eleven but with the likes of Ricardo Carvalho, Sergio Ramos, Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria all on two yellow cards and a booking away from missing the semi-final first leg, he may just have to change his methods.
The William Hill Match Winners for this game centre around Emmanuel Adebayor and Aaron Lennon. Former Gunners striker Adebayor continued his incredible goal scoring form against Tottenham by firing in two headed goals at the Bernabeu and can be backed at 10/1 to score two or more once again. Lennon returns to the wing for Spurs and will be looking to make amends for missing out in Madrid, can the wide man score and Spurs win at 25/1.
My recommendation for this game is for a scoring draw. I reckon either 1-1 at 6-1 or 2-2 at 14-1 on what might turn out to be a hugely frustrating night at the Lane.