Tonight marks a huge game in a Spurs fan’s calendar; they travel to the Camp Nou for a game to define their European progress. Barcelona have already qualified comfortably and cannot be knocked off the top spot which could potentially lead to a rested side and an enhanced Tottenham chance.
Unfortunately for Spurs they’ve got some big stats to get past with Barcelona unbeaten at home in the Champions League since 13/14, (26 Wins, 2 Draws) with Lionel Messi scoring an absurd 29 goals across those games in which he didn’t take part in a handful. It almost goes without saying that if Messi is to play tonight he’s going to be troublesome for the Spurs defence and even more so with the injuries to Serge Aurier and Kieran Trippier who have both been rendered unfit through groin injuries for tonight’s game.
*stats shown from soccerway.com*
Pochettino has hinted that he’ll be giving a first Champions League game to 21 year-old Kyle Walker-Peters, whose job it will be to mark Lionel Messi (if he starts), but either way it’s going to be a baptism of fire for the English full back. Further injury problems include Davinson Sanchez (hamstring) and Mousa Dembele (ankle), that will allow a defensive pairing of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, who’ve been unable to play together consistently due to Vertonghen’s injury issues this season but now they’re both back it’ll stand Spurs in good stead tonight.
Defensively, Barcelona aren’t as accomplished as they have been in previous years, they’ve conceded 19 in 15 games in the La Liga this season and in comparison they conceded 29 across the entire 38 last season and in their last 8 games both teams have scored in 6 of them. With Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen being rested and playing minimal minutes this weekend, they should be fresh and ready for this evening but Eriksen has majorly lacked in the goalscoring aspect of his game this season so all eyes will be on Harry Kane.
Inter face PSV at the San Siro in a game that based on form will be expected to win. Inter move into this game level on points with Spurs but due to the head-to-head ruling, Spurs will qualify if they match Inter’s result tonight.
A MUST WIN for Spurs it seems, but it’s an impossible game to call without seeing what kind of line-up Barcelona rock up with this evening.