Barcelona vs Tottenham: The Manchester clubs have made it to the round of 16 & the pressure is on Tottenham & Liverpool to advance through. While Liverpool take on a stern Napoli, Tottenham go up against the 5-time champions, Barcelona. The Catalan club are already through to the next round & they’d like to finish the group stage on a high. In the reverse fixture, Match Day 2, Barcelona beat the Spurs 4-2 & after going 4 games unbeaten they are the favourites to win this fixture as well. Tottenham, on the other hand, have had a topsy-turvy round of fixtures. They beat Chelsea with flamboyant aplomb but where taken to the cleaners by Arsenal a couple of weeks back. Can they beat Lionel Messi’s Barcelona or will they succumb to the immense pressure at the Camp Nou?
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona
Match Date: 12th December 2018
Kick-Off: 1:30 am, IST
Ernesto Valverde will be without the quartet Sergi Roberto, Rafinha, Malcolm & Samuel Umtiti. The manager also confirmed that Luis Suarez will play no part. The ace striker will be given some much-deserved rest.
Serge Aurier & Kieran Trippier are both out with injuries. Kyle-Walker Peters is likely to start. Moussa Dembele & Davinson Sanchez have also been ruled out. Against Barcelona at the Camp Nou, the injury worries might just cost Tottenham a place in the knockouts. However, they’ll also depend on the other fixture. Inter Milan play PSV Eindhoven in the other group B fixture.
EXPECTED PLAYING XI
Jasper Cillessen(gk), Nelson Semedo, Gerrard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Juan Miranda, Carles Alena, Sergio Busquets, Arthur, Philippe Coutinho, Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembele.
Hugo Lloris(gk), Kyle Walker-Peters, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Harry Winks, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Lucas Moura, Harry Kane.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Lionel Messi is the best player on the planet. He’s the best the game has ever seen. With him in the opposition line-up, the defenders might run behind shadows. He’s that good. As far as his record against the English sides is concerned – 28 (22 goals & 6 assists) in 29 Champions League appearances. Against Espanyol last weekend, he produced two smashing free-kicks. Both looked effortless, had all the quality in the world & found the back of the net. The Spurs have to keep this man quiet if they fancy beating the Catalans.
Harry Kane has scored 9 goals in the Premier League so far but hasn’t looked at his best whatsoever. He’s still managed to score 4 goals this Champions League campaign. Kane has the ability to produce goal-scoring chances out of nothing & if he fires, Tottenham more often than not are on the winning side. He’ll be the player to watch out for.
If both the games from group B end on parity, the Spurs advance through. A loss for Tottenham & a win or a draw for Inter will mean they progress. If both teams lose, then the goal difference will be the deciding factor. For this fixture, Barcelona are certainly the favourites. Tottenham tend to play the best football under pressure & if their star players hit top gear they’ll give Barcelona a run for their money. The prediction for this game. 2-1 Barcelona.
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