Tottenham will be looking to bounce back from another difficult weekend with a victory in the Champions League, as they visit Crvena Zvezda. Mauricio Pochettino continues to struggle in the calendar year of 2019, as he saw his teams drop points against Everton. It had looked like a crucial victory was in sight, before a red card to Son Heung-min derailed the performance. The South Korean was inconsolable on the field, as his challenge led to a horrendous injury to Andre Gomes. The mood of the stadium changed and it was difficult for Spurs to hold on. They will be hoping to move on from a difficult afternoon with a win on Wednesday night
Red Star are a difficult team to face, especially in Serbia as the atmosphere can be very daunting for visiting sides. There is no doubting that Tottenham have the talent advantage, but their poor mentality has been there for all to see this season. This fixture provides a banana skin for last season’s finalists. In the previous home fixture in the group stage, the Serbian club came from behind to win 3-1 against Olympiakos, showing their capabilities in this competition.
Few would have expected Tottenham to be struggling to the extent they are heading into November. Christian Eriksen has been a shadow of his former self, while the contractual situations of others has clearly had an impact on performance. The Champions League could provide a welcome relief for the team, as they are still considered likely to make it through to the knockout rounds. Last season, they showed that they can go deep into the competition and they will be hoping to do the same to salvage their campaign.
- Red Star Belgrade are unbeaten at home in the Champions League this season, having played four matches since the start of qualifying.
- Christian Eriksen lost possession on 16 occasions in the match against Everton. This was the most of any player on the pitch.
There are few players known to English football in the home side’s squad, but Marko Marin is one that has a point to prove to Premier League audiences. The German was once considered a huge talent, which earned him a move to Chelsea. However, he was only given a handful of appearances at Stamford Bridge, failing to impress before several loan spells away from the club. At the age of 30, he is in the process of trying to rebuild his career in Serbia. The early performances in the Champions League suggest that he can still influence matches at this level, with two assists to his name. The diminutive playmaker can cause problems for Tottenham on Wednesday, as he can take up difficult positions between the lines. Pochettino’s men have been far from solid this season and the home side should be confident of creating opportunities on Wednesday night. Marin is a former German international, underlining his ability, and he is the main threat for Spurs to worry about.
Lucas Moura could be set for a prolonged run in the team due to injuries and suspensions. Harry Kane missed the weekend due to illness, while Son Heung-min will now be suspended in the Premier League. Although the South Korean is available on Wednesday, he left the field in tears on Sunday and Pochettino may decide to take him out of the firing line just days after the incident. Erik Lamela is another forward player that is currently unavailable. Lucas’ finest moment came in this competition last season and he has regularly impressed when given an opportunity since joining the club. This season, he has managed two goals and one assist across the two major competitions, which is a disappointment. However, this is partly due to the Brazilian being in and out of the team. There is now an opportunity for him and he needs to grab it with both hands. His pace and direct style should be a great weapon to deploy on Wednesday.
Branko Jovicic is the only injury concern for the home side.
Harry Kane is a doubt after an illness. Jan Vertonghen is another doubt for the visitors. Hugo Lloris is a long term absentee.
This is going to be a big mental test for Tottenham, as it will be a difficult atmosphere and the home side will relish the opportunity to inflict more misery. Pochettino needs to be brave in his selections and drop a number of under-performing players. Giovani Lo Celso and Juan Foyth both deserve chances to impress in their natural positions. Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld are two contenders to drop out of the eleven. Based on their performance away at Olympiakos, this could be another frustrating evening for Spurs, unless Pochettino is brave with the selection.
Crvena Zvezda 2-2 Tottenham