Real Madrid host Tottenham Hotspur at the Santiago Bernabeu tonight, as both sides look to cement their place at the top of Group H in the UEFA Champions League.
Both sides have absolutely identical statistics going into this tie, 2 games played, resulting 2 victories, with 6 goals a piece, having conceded only once in the competition so far. Both sides registered 3-1 victories over APOEL Nicosia and also beat Borussia Dortmund 3-0.
However, in terms of equality, that’s as far as it goes and Tottenham will be facing a force unlike anything else they’ve come up against this season.
Since the last time they met in this competition, Real may have prised away both of their top players in Luka Modric and Gareth Bale, but Mauricio Pochettino has turned his side in legitimate Premier League contenders and Real Madrid will know better than to underestimate this young Tottenham side.
Los Blancos will be without a number of players for this tie. Gareth Bale, Mateo Kovacic and Dani Carvajal are all set to miss out due to injury. Zidane however, will have reason to celebrate, now that Keylor Navas and Luka Modric have both been declared fit.
The Frenchman will likely stick to a 4-3-1-2 formation, and Raphael Varane will likely come back into the team to partner Sergio Ramos in the center of defence. 18-year-old Achraf Hakimi is still expected to start at right-back after an impressive performance against the Azulones.
Isco, Casemiro and Luka Modric will likely replace Marcos Llorente, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez in the starting XI. Isco will likely play in just behind Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, both of whom started up front and scored over the weekend.
Probable Starting XI(4-3-3): Kiko Casilla; Achraf Hakimi, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Luka Modric; Isco, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo
Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, Ben Davies, Erik Lamela and Victor Wanyama will be missing this match due to injury. Dele Alli will be serving the last of his 3-match suspension, while Danny Rose and Mousa Dembele are doubtful, despite having trained and traveled with the team.
Pochettino will likely use a 3-4-2-1 formation for this tie. Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez should make up the back three, while Kieran Trippier will be deployed as a makeshift left-wingback, with Serge Aurier on the right flank.
Eric Dier and Harry Winks will most likely make up the central midfielders if Dembele isn’t declared fit, while Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min will likely be the two attacking midfielders behind Harry Kane.
Probable Starting XI(3-4-2-1): Hugo Lloris; Davison Sanchez, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen; Serge Aurier, Harry Winks, Eric Dier, Kieran Trippier, Son Heung-min, Christian Eriksen; Harry Kane
- Tottenham Hotspur have lost 3 and drawn 1 out of their 4 matches against Real Madrid in European competition.
- Real Madrid have not been defeated in their past 29 Champions League group games.
- Harry Kane has been involved in all 6 of Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League goals this season, scoring 5 and assisting 1.
- Real Madrid have won 21 of their past 23 Champions League games at the Santiago Bernabeu, with their last defeat coming in October 2009.
- Real Madrid have failed to score on only once in their past 52 UEFA Champions League group stage games.
Real Madrid 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Real Madrid are the most high profile side that Tottenham have faced in a long time, and while they do have some top class attacking talents of their own, the gulf of quality between the two sides is just far too great. We predict a victory for Los Blancos, but it will be a hard fought one if Spurs play to their full potential.