If Tottenham Hotspur are to play post-Christmas Champions League football then they clearly have work to do this autumn after an opening Group E loss to Monaco. History says it’s no time to panic though.
Perhaps it was the unfamiliar surroundings of their temporary European abode, or the whispered Tottenham curse at Wembley, but Mauricio Pochettino’s charges could not quite muster the performance a record 85,000 strong crowd were baying for.
Still, had Harry Kane scored with a chance he might usually have gobbled up in the 79th-minute, then the Lilywhite mood heading down Wembley Way afterwards needn’t have been so glum.
But as the frustrations of the game are digested on whatsapp chats across the capital and beyond, solace could yet be at hand in the pages of Champions League annals.
Flicking back through the last decade, there are some shining examples of English clubs who have dug their way out of similar matchday one predicaments and even gone pretty darn deep in the tournament.
Here are three of the most encouraging:
2015/16 – Manchester City 1-2 Juventus
Tottenham lovers needn’t really read much further to lift their spirits. Manuel Pellegrini’s mob succumbed to the same scoreline last season as the Etihad faithful filtered out with shoulders slumped and heads bowed.
Yet, in probably a far more difficult group on paper than Group E now, containing Europa League champions elect Sevilla as well as Italy’s finest, City would go on to win the group and make the semi-finals.
2014/15 – Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Arsenal
The Gunners have struggled badly against Germany’s big two in top-tier European competition in recent times and this result was a foreboding one.
But, Arsenal being Arsenal, they still managed to hit their round-of-16 ceiling that season having finished second in the group.
2013/14 – Chelsea 1-2 Basel
The return of Jose Mourinho had everyone buzzing at Stamford Bridge ahead of a fresh European adventure. However, the script writers had a day off and Swiss-based small fry Basel pulled the Blues’ collective pants down.
Jose had almost the last laugh though, taking his side into the last four, before Atletico Madrid ended their journey.
Optimistic Spurs or anyone else who believe in the talents of this current crop of Tottenham players can back the Premier League side at 3/1 to win Group E ahead of Monaco, CSKA Moscow and Bayer Leverkusen.
This bet is aided by the latter two teams sharing spoils on day one, while it is 8/11 the Lilywhites simply qualify for the round of 16.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.