Matchday Thread – Spurs vs. Juventus
Ever since the 2-2 draw which was valiantly (and a bit fortuitously) obtained at Juve`s Allianz stadium last month, Spurs fans have been looking forward to the return fixture at Wembley. High on confidence given the 2 away goals they take into Wednesday`s game, and on the back of 17 games without losing, THFC approach this game thinking they have every chance to progress.
However, in their way stands Juve, a hugely experienced team which has many times overcome the odds to produce a moment of magic. While Spurs should be confident ahead of the game, this confidence should not become complacency, and the team will again need to be at their best to seal qualification.
The good news is that Mauricio Pochettino will be able to count on almost all of his players. With the exception of Toby Alderweireld (who is unlikely to recover in time for the game) and Serge Aurier (who is suspended – which some Spurs fans consider a blessing given his personal performance in the first game), the rest of the squad is available for selection.
Juve, on the other hand, will have to do without Juan Cuadrado, Mattia De Sciglio, and Federico Bernardeschi, and are waiting to hear on the availability of Gonzalo Higuain, who has missed a few games but should be back in contention on Wednesday. However, 3 Juve players are likely to feature in the second game after missing the first one: Paulo Dybala, Blaise Matuidi and Andrea Barzagli.
We`ve discussed Spurs` recent form; they have won every game they have played since the first Juve game and made their way into the Premier League`s top 4. However, Juve have also won every game they`ve played since the first meeting, not conceding a single goal in the process. In that time, they have closed the gap on Serie A leaders Napoli and currently stand second, one point behind Napoli, with a game in hand. This game will again, more than ever, oppose 2 teams in top form.
Ahead of the game, both teams have been talking up their chances, with Pochettino claiming Wembley is Spurs` home and that we feel comfortable there, and Heung-Min Son saying Spurs don`t fear Juve. Juve`s coach Massimiliano Allegri was on record after his side`s win against Lazio, to say that his team were ready for Tottenham and while he respected our ability to make things difficult for Juve, he also thought Spurs would be easier to break down than Lazio, who according to him, defended better.
There you have it: Juve believe our weakness is at the back and will try to exploit that. On the other hand, we feel we match up against anyone and we certainly won`t be intimidated by Juve.
My personal prediction: I don`t see us giving away cheap goals/penalties this time, and I don`t see Juve scoring more than one goal in this game. I think we`ll create very few chances because Juve are as good as it gets defensively, but I think we`ll score at least one, possibly 2 goals if we`re clinical. Realistically, I`m going for Spurs – Juve 1-1, with us qualifying to the next round on away goals.