Wednesday 1st November. 7:45PM. BT Sport
At the halfway point in this year’s Champions League group phase, Tottenham and Real Madrid sit joint top of the group of death with an identical record of seven points, seven goals, and two conceded. As the sides prepare to meet at Wembley, a virtual guarantee of reaching the last 16 is on offer to the winner. And if it lives up to the billing, this could be one of the best matches of the competition so far.
Both sides have endured their problems, but they are each capable of producing some truly breathtaking football too. Prepare yourselves for 90 minutes of undiluted drama.
Spurs Out To Underline Intentions
A well-earned 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu has given Spurs the confidence to consider themselves a genuine contender to go deep into the competition. In spite of a poor week on the domestic front, a big performance here could be a catalyst for further success, not least as it would put them on course to top this incredibly difficult group for a supposedly easier route to the quarter-final.
The hosts will be sweating on the fitness of star man Harry Kane, however. Even if he does beat the race against time, there will be question marks as to whether he’ll be at 100%. Given the quality of Real Madrid, anything less would limit his and Tottenham’s hopes of a victory.
Spurs do boast plenty of other quality players, but the likes of Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli arguably don’t perform against the big sides as regularly as Kane. Still, the latter was particularly disciplined in the Spanish capital, and could have a big impact against an away side that has endured its own problems.
If Jan Vertonghen and co. can avoid giving up avoidable goals, like the one against Manchester United, a famous Wembley win could be on the cards.
Pressure Mounting On Madrid
Sunday’s shock loss at Girona has left Zinedine Zidane’s man eight points adrift of rivals Barcleona in La Liga, and the Blancos are now facing a little pressure for the first time since the Frenchman’s promotion to head coach. Nonetheless, they remain one of the favourites for their preferred competition, and will be eager to fire a signal of their intentions here.
Former Spurs man Gareth Bale looks unlikely to play, although there is a slight chance. Even if he is fit, though, it’s hard to see the Welshman knocking Isco, who has been Real’s brightest spark, out of the team. In truth, keeping the Spaniard quiet could be Tottenham’s biggest challenge.
The other big task for Spurs will be to keep Cristiano Ronaldo off the scoresheet. The Portuguese star’s ability to run the show week after week may be fading, but he still turns it on for the big games in Europe. With give goals to his name already, he’ll be desperate to get on the scoresheet at Wembley.
With Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Casemiro looking to control the midfield areas, a vintage Madrid display could blow Spurs out of the water. The Blancos are vulnerable right now, though, and will expect a difficult contest. Whatever happens, it should be a great spectacle for the neutral.
Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid Betting
The defending champions are favourites to grab the win at 15/13 with Ladbrokes while Tottenham can be backed at 2/1. The draw is available at 13/5.
Spurs are more than capable of winning this one, especially if they hit Real on the counter with the efficiency that they used to beat Dortmund earlier in this group phase. Nonetheless, they may have to surrender the possession to the visitors for large portions.
Without it necessarily being a backs to the wall job, we’d expect Spurs to concede quite a few corners. Even if it’s not the nine they got at the Bernabeu, we’re backing the visitors to edge this stat.
All eyes will probably be on Ronaldo. However, we’re backing Benzema to get on the scoresheet at odds of 6/4.
The Frenchman has 43 European goals in the famous white but is yet to open his account for 2017-18. With chances expected, back him to end that run at Wembley.