As the Champions League enters its second round of group stage matches tonight, our Big Game Focus puts a spotlight on the mouth-watering clash between Tottenham and Barcelona.
The two sides’ respective form so far this season can be said to be the mirror opposite of their opponent’s. Barcelona had a strong start to the season, as they won their first five matches but they have tailed off, without a win in the last three. Tottenham, on the other hand, had a stuttering start to the campaign but have won their last three games in all competitions.
We bring you a comprehensive preview of the match, including betting advice, team news and potential line-up selections.
There have been at least three goals scored in all but one of Spurs’ matches in all competitions so far this season. The same is true for five of the Catalans’ last six games. The two sides met in pre-season this year, a match that Barça won on penalties after a 2-2 draw. Bet on Over 2.5 Goals at odds of 1.55 here.
Both Teams to Score has also occurred in five of the last six games for Ernesto Valverde’s men. Tottenham have themselves scored and conceded in six of their last seven matches. Odds for Both Teams to Score are at 1.45 here.
Luis Suarez has not looked up to his standard best this season, with only three goals in all competitions so far. He might be excited to try and find his shooting boots against Tottenham, a side that history suggests he loves to face. His four goals against the North London side all came in his last three appearances against them. Back him as Anytime Goalscorer at odds of 1.85 here.
Spurs will fancy their chances of getting something from the match in front of their own supporters, given the recent struggles of their opponents and their own upturn in form. Double Chance odds for Tottenham are at 1.80 here.
Mauricio Pochettino has to contend with an injury crisis, as he is missing a host of his first team stars. Dele Alli is sidelined with what is becoming a worrying hamstring problem. Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembélé and Serge Aurier have also been ruled out, while Hugo Lloris remains doubts. Michael Vorm is also out injured, which means that third-choice goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga could retain his spot between the sticks if Lloris is not passed fit.
Samuel Umtiti is both suspended and injured, which leaves Valverde with Clement Lenglet and the struggling Gerard Piqué at the heart of defence. Sergi Roberto departed the field of play following an injury in Barça’s 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao over the weekend, which should create room for Nelson Semedo to start at right-back.
Tottenham: Gazzaniga; Trippier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies; Wanyama, Dier; Moura, Eriksen, Lamela; Kane
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Lenglet, Pique, Alba; Busquets; Coutinho, Rakitić; Vidal; Messi, Suarez