Big Match Breakdown: Real Madrid v Tottenham
This will be a huge test for Spurs
Tottenham Hotspur have been one of the best teams in the Premier League in recent years. But on Tuesday evening they’ll have a chance to compare themselves against Real Madrid, the best in Europe.
The Santiago Bernabeu hosts arguably the Champions League tie of the week. And the Coral News Team have all of the lowdown ahead of the big game…
Head to Head
The history of this fixture doesn’t offer Tottenham much encouragement. They’ve not scored a goal in any of the previous four meetings. Madrid have won three of those. The other was a goalless draw.
The most recent meeting came in the 2010-11 Champions League quarter-finals. The La Liga giants won 4-0 at home and 1-0 at White Hart Lane.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side are in good form heading into this one. They’re on a run of five consecutive wins and have kept three clean sheets in a row.
Madrid haven’t been at their best so far this season but have still managed to rack up four straight wins.
Both sides have six points from six in the Champions League so far. The winner on Tuesday will take control of Group H.
The Likely XIs
Pochettino could be without several key players. Dele Alli is still suspended, so Son Heung-Min is likely to come into the starting XI.
Danny Rose or Ben Davies are both doubts at left wing-back. That could force Jan Vertonghen to move out wide, with Eric Dier moving back into defence.
That means Mousa Dembele could be rushed back into action alongside Harry Winks in central midfield.
Zinedine Zidane also has some injury worries. At right-back, 18-year-old Achraf Hakimi is in line to make his Champions League debut in Dani Carvajal’s absence.
Gareth Bale is unlikely to be fit to face his former club too. Isco is expected to start behind a front two of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema as a result.
Tottenham will look to target young Hakimi at right-back. He’s only made two La Liga appearances to date and could struggle to deal with Christian Eriksen’s clever movement.
On the other side, Marcelo is one of the world’s best attacking left-backs. However, he does leave space behind that Son Heung-Min could exploit.
Spurs won’t have their usual attacking thrust on the left if Vertonghen starts there instead of Rose or Davies. But it could make them more solid defensively. That may come in handy against a front trio as talented as Madrid’s.
Madrid will want to dominate the ball. They’ve got two of the best passers in world football in Toni Kroos and Luka Modric. It’s vital that Tottenham don’t get pulled out of shape. They’ll need to remain patient and well-organised before breaking on the counter.
Zidane’s team are five points off the top in La Liga but they’ve been imperious in Europe in recent years. As well as winning the Champions League in each of the last two seasons, they’ve only lost one European game at home since April 2012.
Tottenham will take hope from Madrid’s stuttering home form so far this season though. Madrid have only won two of five games at the Bernabeu in all competitions. Spurs are 11/2 to cause an upset and get the win.
Much of the pre-match build-up has focused on Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing