Tottenham host Inter Milan looking for a victory to keep their hopes of qualification into the next round alive, as a defeat or draw would send the Italians through.
Tottenham are on the cusp of getting knocked out of this season’s Champions League group stages as only a victory over visiting Inter Milan could keep any hopes of qualification alive. Spurs sit third on the group with 4 points from their four group games, three behind second-placed Inter and six behind table-toppers Barcelona.
Spurs have endured a tough time in this season’s continental competition, as their only win came on matchday 4 against PSV Eindhoven. If Spurs are to lose or draw against Inter Milan, they will hand over second spot and a place in the next round to the Italians. In other words, this is a must-win game for the North London side, and any hopes of progression hang with the result of this clash.
A win over Inter could certainly put Tottenham back in the mix for qualification, although they will also need to beat Barcelona when they meet for their last group game and hope the Italian side lose against PSV. The hopes are thin, but it indeed is doable for Spurs who, of late, have sprung into superior form domestically.
Inter, on the other hand, come into this tie in a rich vein of form domestically. Luciano Spalletti’s side emerged comfortable winners over Frosinone in Serie A and shall take confidence from if for their crucial clash against Tottenham. One could be excused for not considering Inter one of the teams from this group to qualify, for Barcelona and Spurs were favorites, but the Italians have proved their doubters wrong.
During matchday 1, Inter came back from behind to beat Tottenham, then defeated PSV and registered a draw against Barcelona. The Italians did lose against the La Liga side but certainly, believe in themselves to hold their own against Spurs. Inter very well know a draw would be enough to seal their passage into the next round, but Spalletti is expected to name a side with the aim to win the game.
Team News & Tactics
Mauricio Pochettino is expected to field his strongest possible lineup to face Inter, for this is the most crucial game for his side so far this season. They, however, have a substantial list of injury problems as they head into this clash. Mousa Dembele, Vincent Janssen, and Davinson Sanchez are long-term absentees and not expected to come back into the side until the next year.
Defensively, Pochettino is stretching his options with the Kieran Trippier still injured. The England International’s absence means Serge Aurier could retain his place in the starting lineup, while Ben Davies is expected to take his place at left-back.
Centrally, Toby Alderweireld is a sure starter, while the other central defender is a late decision for Pochettino. Jan Vertonghen returned from his injury problem to take his place on the bench against Chelsea, although Juan Foyth’s performances have been encouraging.
Sissoko played a great game against Chelsea and could certainly be expected to retain his place alongside Eric Dier. However, Harry Winks form in the Champions League will encourage Pochettino to start the English midfielder ahead of the Frenchman. However, barring this possible midfield change, Pochettino is not expected to tinker with the squad much that won against Chelsea last weekend.
Christian Eriksen is expected to take his place as Spurs’ No.10, while Son Heung-min is also set to start on the right side of attack. Dele Allis will continue on the left, meaning Lucas Moura will have to be content with a place on the substitutes bench. Harry Kane will certainly start as Tottenham’s central striker.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1) – Lloris; Aurier, Foyth, Alderweireld, Davies; Dier, Sissoko; Son, Eriksen, Alli; Kane
Luciano Spelletti will make some minor changes to his playing squad when they take on Tottenham. Defender Sime Vrsaljko comes back into the side after being out from the weekend’s game with a bicep injury and takes his place at right back. Spalletti will stick with De Vrij, and Skriniar in central defence with Asamoah set to play left back.
A midfield two of Vecino and Marcelo Brozovic has been Spalletti’s preferred pairing, and they should continue in their roles. Rajda Nainggolan and Politano should form the attacking three alongside either of Ivan Perisic or Keita Balde on the left side, but taking form and quality into consideration, the Croatian is expected to get the nod.
Spalletti has often changed is formation based on captain Mauro Icardi’s availability. While the Argentine is fit and raring to go, the manager is expected to stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation used over the weekend. Icardi has 10-goals in his last 11-games for the club and will undoubtedly be a threat Tottenham need to be aware of.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1) – Handanovic; Vrsalko, De Vrij, Skriniar, Asamoah; Vecino, Brozovic; Politano, Nainggolan, Perisic; Icardi
- Inter have lost both of the last two games playing away to Tottenham, as Spurs, on both occasions put three goals past the Italians.
- Inter are desperate for a clean sheet against Tottenham, something they haven’t managed in their last five meetings.
- In the last five games between the sides, its always been the home side coming out victorious.
- Italian sides have four wins in their last five games at Wembley; however, this will be Inter’s first visit to the national stadium.
- Harry Kane has played a part in 15-goals in his last 14 Champions League games, scoring 13 and assisting two.
Player to Watch
Harry Kane has had an indifferent season so far, both domestically and in the Champions League, owing to fatigue and a loss of form initially. Of late, the England captain has hit his stride and is scoring regularly for club and country. Now is the time for Kane to show his real self and come into this game to impose himself and help Tottenham win against Inter.
It was Kane’s late goal against PSV during the last matchday that kept the slim hopes for his side alive in the Champions League. However, he knows that a win against Inter is a must and he would need goals to come in to help his side’s cause for qualification into the next round.
Tottenham 2-1 Inter
Going by current form, Tottenham could edge their Italian opponents in this game. Tottenham’s impressive win over Chelsea over the weekend could be the blueprint for Pochettino and his side to secure another victory in style at home.
Inter have also been in good form, but their unpredictable nature and the fact that Tottenham are in their best form of the season so far, the North Londoners could edge out this one. Expect goals on both ends, as well as an energetic game where the action will be plenty, although Tottenham could be decisive under pressure and claim all three points against Inter.