Tottenham are facing a difficult test in the Champions League as they welcome Barcelona to Wembley. It is going to be an uphill task for the Premier League team to qualify from their group after a disappointing defeat to Inter Milan two weeks ago. They were leading but conceded two late goals to put them into a tough position at this early stage of the competition. Last season, they managed to beat Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid in the group stages. Mauricio Pochettino will need to mastermind a similar result on Wednesday to put his side back in the driving seat.
It has been steady progress for Tottenham since the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino, but it will feel like a backwards step if they fail to qualify from the group stages of the Champions League. This season has been a frustrating one for the club as they failed to sign any new players and their new stadium has been delayed further. In addition to that, they have dropped points in the league and are already four points off the lead. It isn’t a lot, but it is ground to make up at this early stage. A positive result on Wednesday could kickstart their season.
Barcelona haven’t been without fault at the start of the new campaign. They easily dispatched PSV Eindhoven in the previous Champions League game, but their league form has been patchy at best. They have failed to win their last three La Liga fixtures against Girona, Leganes and Bilbao, taking only two points. Furthermore, Los Cules have picked up two red cards in their last four matches across all competitions. They are far from unbeatable and Tottenham should go into this week’s match with every confidence of picking up the three points.
- Tottenham have kept only one clean sheet in their last seven Champions League matches.
- Barcelona scored the most goals during gameweek one of the Champions League with four.
The England captain is beginning to make a name for himself on a global stage after a strong showing in this competition last season and following that up by winning the golden boot at the World Cup. There have been some concerns about his fitness levels in recent weeks, but he returned to form with a brace against Huddersfield Town. It will be hoped that he now has the confidence to return to his best over the coming weeks starting with a goal-scoring performance against Barcelona. This is shaping up to be a huge match for Tottenham as they attempt to get their first win on the board. If they had gained at least a point against Inter Milan, they wouldn’t have needed to target this game in such a way. Despite the disappointing summer, Spurs will still consider themselves to be a threat in this competition after reaching the knockout stages last season. If they are to progress, they will need their best players to step up in both matches against Barcelona. They rely on Kane for goals and he needs to stand up on Wednesday. The visitors have kept just one clean sheet in their last six games across all competitions. They can be got at.
This is another opportunity for Lionel Messi to shine against Premier League opposition and he could be the difference on Wednesday if he performs as everybody knows he can. The Argentine recently missed out on individual honours at the recent Fifa awards, as Luka Modric walked off with the top prize. However, the 31-year-old remains the greatest player in the world in the eyes of many. It has been a few years since he last helped Barcelona win a Champions League and he will be motivated to do well in the competition this season. Against PSV, he was at his very best and scored a hat-trick in a convincing victory. A similar performance at Wembley will announce Los Cules as serious contenders, despite their recent struggles in La Liga.
Dele Alli will be missing for the home side after picking up a hamstring injury. Tottenham could face major selection problems, as Hugo Lloris, Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele are all doubts.
Sergi Roberto won’t feature for the visitors after being taken off injured in their recent league match against Bilbao. Nelson Semedo will deputise at right-back. Meanwhile, Samuel Umtiti will be missing through suspension.
It will be a great occasion for Tottenham on Wednesday as they get to test themselves against one of the greatest teams in European football. The result can’t be confidently predicted until the teams are announced. If the home side are without the players listed as doubts, it will be an extremely difficult task for them to win the match. They are a less effective side without Christian Eriksen and would be relying on their wide players for creativity. A score draw looks to be the best prediction at this stage.
Tottenham 1-1 Barcelona