Ben & Rob’s preview - Forest
Sat 27 August 2022, 12:00|Tottenham Hotspur
N17 Live presenter Ben Haines and Club commentator Rob Daly are back to preview Sunday’s long-awaited trip back to The City Ground in the Premier League (4.30pm) and take a quick look at the UEFA Champions League draw - Eintracht Frankfurt, Sporting and Marseille in Group D.
Rob: “A lot of fans will be looking forward to visiting The City Ground for the first time in many years. A lot has been made of the fact Forest have signed so many players because they had such a small squad, but they’ve done good business. Amongst those, they’ve bought in a striker from the Bundesliga who I’ve seen a lot of in Taiwo Awoniyi, he’s already scored once, also Morgan Gibbs-White, a player I’ve always liked. Steve Cooper has showed that he’s a manager who can assemble a team quickly. He’s not only done that at club level, but also on international level on many occasions with various England age groups, winning the Under-17 World Cup in 2017. Forest rode their luck at times in their first home game against West Ham a fortnight ago, but got the win. Cooper then sensed an opportunity at Goodison Park last week, made attacking changes and went 1-0 up only to get caught out late by Demarai Gray. From a Spurs point of view, we’re coming to the end of the run with a week between games because the Champions League is back, plus Premier League fixtures, Carabao Cup as well, so it’s regular football every three or four days until the international break. The mood is good after the win against Wolves. I don’t think we’ve yet seen the team at their brilliant best, so it’s a good sign that there are already seven points on the board.”
Ben: “I’ve been really impressed with Forest since they got going in their second game against West Ham. They couldn’t really get any control in their opener against Newcastle, who were the better side. They were brilliant against West Ham, a raucous atmosphere, they rode their luck a little, West Ham had a goal disallowed and hit the bar, but they showed great character to hang onto that 1-0 win. I like Harry Tofolo at the back, Lewis O’Brien and Jesse Lingard coming in. Brennan Johnson showed great composure in his finish against Everton. He’s one to watch this season.”
Ben: “The obvious one is the 1991 FA Cup Final, us up against a classic Forest side with the likes of Stuart Pearce, Des Walker. I remember Steve Stone scoring a few times against us, then getting sent off in one game at White Hart Lane (1998, we won 2-0). My abiding memory though of games against Forest in the 1990s was having to wait until the end of Match of the Day for a couple of minutes’ highlights! I’ve never been to The City Ground, it’s been 23 years in the Premier League, so I’m sure many younger Spurs fans will be looking forward to ticking this one off their list.”
Rob: “I loved the draw. In terms of the teams Spurs have played in recent Champions League campaigns it feels like a different set of opponents, which is exciting. There are two great places to visit in Marseille and Lisbon, but the tie I’m most excited about is Eintracht Frankfurt. They have one of the best atmospheres in Germany. It’s going to be a ferocious place to go to, Deutsche Bank Park, a brilliant, modern stadium and while they're not the exact same group of players that won the Europa League last season - in particular, they’ve lost Filip Kostic, who was so important at left wing-back - they’re still a really good team. Kevin Trapp, the goalkeeper, will stay despite interest from United, Daichi Kamada, a technical, attacking midfielder and Japanese international is fun to watch. They’ve also got Mario Gotze, who scored the winner in the 2014 World Cup Final. In terms of atmosphere, Frankfurt v Spurs will be unbelievable, and for someone who has covered the Bundesliga for many years now, along with working for Spurs, I cannot wait.”
Ben: “I’ll cede to Rob’s knowledge of German football... but I can tell fans about Marseille and the Stade Velodrome, as I was out there for the Euros in 2016. It's stunning! Marseille are an interesting side with the likes of Jordan Veretout, Alexis Sanchez has signed, Dimitri Payet is a key part of it. I watched them train at St George’s Park over the summer and they were really impressive - physical and aggressive. You can fall into a trap of thinking, ‘this is relatively straight forward’ in terms of teams we could have played, but the other three teams will be thinking the same as us! Overall though, at the beginning of the day, if someone had said these were the three teams we’d get in the group, I guess every single Spurs fan would have taken it.”