After playing out a 1-1 draw a fortnight ago, Real Madrid and Tottenham prepare to battle it out for top spot in Group H on Wednesday at Wembley.
So far in this group, both sides have identical numbers. They both beat Borussia Dortmund by a 3-1 scoreline and APOEL Nicosia 3-0, before going on to play out a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu. As things stand, both sides now have 7 points to their name.
Both sides are coming off the back of narrow, frustrating losses in their respective leagues. Tottenham lost 1-0 to Manchester United while Real Madrid were beaten 2-1 by minnows Girona. Needless to say, the two sides go into this fixture hoping that they will come out as victors and group leaders by the end of the night.
Team News & Tactics
With Dele Alli, Mousa Dembele and Danny Rose all fit and available, it is likely that they will slot straight back into the starting eleven. Mauricio Pochettino will likely ditch the two striker combination and may instead choose to go with a more familiar 3-4-1-2 for his side.
Davinson Sanchez is expected to return to the lineup and slot in alongside Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen in the back-three, while Danny Rose and Serge Aurier will likely start as wing-backs. Belgian midfielder Dembele should set up shop at the heart of midfield alongside Eric Dier, as Victor Wanyama remains absent.
Dele Alli is in line to make his first Champions League start of the season, having served his suspension and he couldn’t have picked a better opposition himself. Christian Eriksen, along with the young Englishman will likely act as the two attacking midfielders in behind star striker Harry Kane.
With Kane recovering from a hamstring injury, Pochettino should have his strongest possible starting eleven on Wednesday night, and will be aiming to continue piling on the visitors’ misery.
Probable Starting XI (3-4-2-1): Lloris; Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen; Aurier, Dier, Dembele, Rose; Eriksen, Alli; Kane
With Keylor Navas, Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane and Gareth Bale all missing, only two changes are expected to the starting eleven that played out a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu a fortnight ago. However, Zidane should stick to his 4-3-1-2 formation.
Kiko Casilla will start in goal, while Nacho Hernandez is the likeliest candidate to take Varane’s place at the heart of defence alongside Sergio Ramos. Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric will likely make the midfield while Isco, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo should start upfront.
Should he decide to rest Benzema or any of his midfielders, as they started in their weekend loss to Girona, Zidane could try and go with a 4-3-3 with Isco and Marco Asensio on either flank, with Ronaldo as the sole center forward and Dani Ceballos or Marcos Llorente in midfield.
But, the stakes in the game being as high as they are, the Frenchman is likely to stick to his strongest possible eleven at the moment, in order to get a positive result and grab the lead in the group.
Probable Starting XI (4-3-1-2): Casilla; Achraf, Ramos, Hernandez, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Isco; Ronaldo, Benzema
- Going into this tie, Real Madrid are unbeaten in 5 matches against Tottenham Hotspur.
- Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane have both scored 5 goals in this competition, more than anyone else this season at the start of this matchday.
- Real Madrid have failed to score on only 1 occasion in their past 53 Champions League matches.
- Tottenham Hotspur have failed to beat Spanish opposition at home in European competition.
- Cristiano Ronaldo has scored a goal in each of his three UEFA Champions League outings this season.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Real Madrid
Both sides are coming off frustrating losses and will be desperate to get back to winning ways. Real Madrid are the far more injury struck side, while Tottenham are almost at full strength and will have the advantage of being at home in front of their fans.
However, we predict yet another hard fought 1-1 draw at Wembley tonight. Zidane’s men will be missing out on the services of a number of key players, but they have the quality in their ranks to come away with a victory.
But as Spurs have shown this season, they aren’t pushovers, or to be taken lightly and we expect Real Madrid wouldn’t be too disappointed to leave with a point to their name.