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UEFA Cup Odds: Spurs will be made to regret Carling Cup hangover

Europa League RSS / / 11 March 2008 /

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Juande Ramos' side faces a very tough trip to PSV on the back of defeat in the first leg and it's a huge ask for them to go through now, says Dan "the Betting Man" Fitch

There are many things that I regret in my life, but few come close to the chagrin I felt when I woke up the Monday after the Carling Cup Final and realised that I hadn't booked the day off work.

This was a particularly stupid oversight on my part, because whether my beloved Tottenham had won or lost against Chelsea, my natural reaction to either occurrence was always going to involve huge amounts of alcohol.

Somehow I managed to get out of bed and stagger into Betfair HQ, stinking of booze, speaking in a throaty rasp worthy of Shane McGowan and clearly still drunk. When my drunken state finally abated, the inevitable horror of the hangover kicked in. This occurred around Wednesday.

As undignified as the experience of that Monday was, at least I could find solace in one fact. Drunk though I may have been, at least I wasn't drunk in Faces nightclub, Ilford.

When Juande Ramos told his victorious team to go out and celebrate, he may have imagined that they would do so in the manner that his Sevilla side did when they won a cup; with an expensive meal in a top restaurant, washed down with one or two too many glasses of champagne.

But for the English footballer there is only one question when looking for a place to celebrate a famous win. Where is Danielle Lloyd going to be? Having found the said Lloyd, the Spurs team set about getting absolutely annihilated, leaving Ledley King in the not unfamiliar position of being barely able to walk after a match.

The resulting hangover lasted even longer than mine. The following weekend Tottenham lost 4-1 at Birmingham and proved that despite the implementation of Juande's brave new world, some things will remain forever Spurs. They followed this up with a better performance against PSV, but were still off the pace and lost 1-0.

On Wednesday night Tottenham have the chance to make amends for this result, when they face PSV again, in the away leg of the UEFA Cup tie. This will be a tough task against a side that defended very well at White Hart Lane, but if there's one thing that Tottenham can do, it's score goals.

Tottenham go into the second leg on the back of their first victory since winning the Carling Cup. When you've been suffering from a footballing hangover, there's no quick fire remedy cure quite like having to play West Ham at home and Spurs took full advantage of the Hammers' current haplessness.

Such was the woeful nature of West Ham's defending, not too much can be read into Spurs' 4-0 win, other than the fact that it came as a well-timed confidence booster. This was particularly true for two of the scorers, Darren Bent and Gilberto, who both must have been low on confidence.

Despite Gilberto's goal, I would be surprised if he were selected against PSV, given the problems he had in the first leg. With Lee Young Pyo seemingly not being considered for selection these days and Alan Hutton cup tied, Chimbonda should line up with either an out of position Teemo Tainio, or my preference, Jamie O'Hara.

With Jenas still out, Huddlestone will continue alongside Zokora, but of course there is always the question of whether King will be fit to start. For such an important game, I think that the risk will be taken, though with Dawson fit again it is not quite so vital.

PSV have the advantage of not having played their scheduled weekend game against Ajax, due to the Dutch police strike. The fresher side are [1.43] to qualify with Tottenham [3.05]. Though favourites to go through, the punters obviously don't think PSV can win the cup, with the Eindhoven side at [13.5] to Spurs' [14.0].

In the match odds, PSV are [2.68], Tottenham [2.92] and the draw [3.4]. I think the latter is the most likely result, with Spurs having left themselves with too much to do. Hangovers, after all, do tend to come attached with a bucketful of regret.


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