CL Preview : Real Madrid vs Tottenham
Tottenham Hotspur eye crucial points at Real Madrid
Tottenham Hotspur are now in Madrid to play Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in a must-see Champions League clash on Tuesday night, as they look to earn a reputation as a decent continental side.
On the back of Argentine gaffer Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival, Tottenham have been making great strides in Premier League, but they have largely underperformed in the European tournaments, with group stages in Champions League being their best finish under him.
Additionally, the Lilywhites have hardly took the fight to the La Liga and Champions League holders in the past having lost 6-0 over two legs in Europa League and Champions League. Their recent visit to the Tuesday’s venue, in particular, will ostensibly not be something they’d look at for inspiration having succumbed to a 4-0 defeat there in April 2011, courtesy of goals from then-Manchester City loanee Emmanuel Adebayor, Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel di Maria.
However, coming off victories over Borussia Dortmund and APOEL Nicosia by hefty margins, they’ll look to buck the trend. They’ll have to make do without their key stars, though, with Erik Lamela and Victor Wanyama failing to make the flight to Spain due to injuries. Additionally, Dele Alli, who has been excellent in midfield, will not be in the squad as the crunch clash marks the third of his three-match ban he received in Tottenham’s final European game last season.
All is not lost, though, as Real Madrid themselves have key players on the sidelines. Former Tottenham hero Gareth Bale will only be watching from the stands, as he still hasn’t recovered from a calf injury. Joining him on the sidelines are Daniel Carvajal and Mateo Kovacic. First-choice custodian Keylor Navas is a major doubt due to a groin issue, with Luca Zidane also doubtful.
The home club sits third, five points behind Barcelona, in La Liga, but they’ve proven that their position in the table means little to nothing, as they’ve secured huge wins against Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund in other competitions. Coming off six wins in seven games, they’ll look to claim Tottenham’s scalp, thereby all but confirming their knockout stages qualification.
In order to ensure Tottenham don’t claim an against-the-odds wins, though, they should be able to render England international and Tottenham’s chief goal source Harry Kane futile. Having scored 11 goals in 10 appearances – averaging a goal per 79 minutes – he’ll look to prove himself against the best defence he has come up against this season. Even Zinedine Zidane sang his praise in the pre-match press conference, branding him a complete player who’s good at everything he does.
He’ll surely receive all the supply he needs from the midfield despite playing away from home and at the lion’s den, with his manager pledging to press high and play aggressive football in the opposition’s half. The Real Madrid coach, however, sounded calmer in front of the press, as he acknowledged Tottenham’s quality before claiming he hopes to secure maximum points later today.