Champions League: Tottenham vs Juventus – Lineups, Preview and Predicition
After an impressive comeback in Turin, Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to advance to the Champions League quarterfinals.
19:45 GMT, Wednesday 7th March, Wembley (London, England), BT Sport
In the first leg of this Round of 16 fixture, Tottenham became the first side to draw with Juventus after being 2-0 down at half-time since the Italian giants moved to the Juventus Stadium back in 2011.
However impressive the Turin comeback is, however, Spurs still have a lot of work to do if they are to make it through to the next stage of the Champions League.
There are a few things going in their favour though: Juventus are plagued with injuries and are still being pushed right to the end in the Serie A title race.
However, the Bianconeri will have Paulo Dybala back in their ranks for the second leg, a big boost to their chances.
Spurs, though, won’t be too perturbed. Coming into this fixture off the back of a 17 match unbeaten streak in all competitions, they are certainly in a rich vein of form.
At home in the Champions League this season, they have engineered wins over Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, and so a win against Juventus is far from being beyond the realms of possibility.
Last Time Out
Tottenham 2-0 Huddersfield Town (Premier League)
Tottenham strolled to success against Huddersfield at Wembley on Saturday, controlling the game to such an extent that their victory never looked in doubt.
In the end, the home side had 75% of the possession, as the Terriers sat back and soaked up pressure.
That didn’t stop Son Heung-min from scoring a brace, though, as the South Korean international continued his and the Lilywhites’ hot vein of form.
The result means that Tottenham temporarily climbed to third before Liverpool beat Newcastle later in the day.
Lazio 0-1 Juventus (Serie A)
On Saturday, the Italian champions had to leave it late to see off a determined Lazio side in Rome.
With Paulo Dybala back from injury, it wasn’t too surprising to see him back on the scoresheet too, an encouraging sign for the club from Turin.
While Lazio had their moments, Juventus had the lion’s share of possession and made it count, albeit leaving it late as Dybala fired home in the 93rd minute.
With Napoli losing later in the day, Juventus finally overtook the league leaders as they took pole position in the chase for a seventh straight Scudetto.
With Toby Alderweireld still not returned from injury, Davinson Sanchez will keep his starting spot in Spur’s usual 4-2-3-1 formation.
Mauricio Pochettino continues to prefer Ben Davies to Danny Rose at left-back so the Welsh international should maintain his starting berth.
Andrea Barzagli will return to the starting Juventus eleven after recovering from injury, allowing Juventus to return to a more defensive 3-5-2 formation.
Paulo Dybala will also return to the starting XI and will hope to make a similar impact to the one he made against Lazio at the weekend.
His strike partner, Gonzalo Higuain, though, is still a doubt for the game. If he doesn’t start, expect him to be replaced by Mario Mandzukic.
Key Battle: Harry Kane (Tottenham) v Giorgio Chiellini & Medhi Benatia (Juventus)
While Higuain and Dybala will be difficult to contain for Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez, the match itself will hinge on how well Juventus’ defence can contain Harry Kane.
The exploits of Spurs’ number 9 are well documented and there are many people who consider the Englishman the best striker in the world right now.
Just like in the case of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, it’s usually a case of how many he will score in a match. But if any defence can keep him quiet for 90 minutes, it’s Juventus’s.
Higuain to return?
Gonzalo Higuain caused havoc for the Tottenham defence in Italy as the home side raced into a 2-0 lead early in the game. The Argentine was clinical in scoring his two goals but has suffered an injury since, putting his involvement on Wednesday night in jeopardy.
Mario Mandzukic would be another option for Max Allegri, but if he’s fit, Higuain will get the nod, especially with the Old Lady needing to score at least one to progress. Tottenham likely won’t allow another crazy ten minutes to happen again. Juventus’s number 9 will be looking for another repeat, though.
Tottenham may not have any silverware to show for their improvement under Pochettino but the North London outfit have a lot to be proud about.
Despite having nowhere near the budget of the likes of the Manchester clubs, Chelsea or even Arsenal, they’ve been one of England’s most consistent sides over the past few years.
On their day, they can beat anyone, as they’ve shown multiple times, much to the dismay of the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United. While the Premier League is a foregone conclusion, the FA Cup and the Champions League both provide great opportunities to win a trophy.
If they beat one of European competition’s most established sides over two legs, then anything is possible.
Prediction: Tottenham 2-1 Juventus
Tottenham should get through to the Champions League quarter-finals for just the second time in their history, but it won’t be easy. Despite the fact Juventus are infamously hard to break down, Spurs showed that they’re more than capable of doing so in Turin in the first leg.
That being said, Juventus definitely have enough about them to win at Wembley. It’s easy to forget the Bianconeri have made two of the last three finals, so they know how to get a result with the odds stacked against them.
Whatever happens, though, this promises to be one of the best Round of 16 ties this year, especially after what happened in Italy.