AGAINST the percentages, Tottenham Hotspur fought again from 2-Zero down of their Champions League last-16 first leg tie to earn a totally credible 2-2 draw away to Italian champions Juventus.
With the return fixture at Wembley Stadium subsequent up for Spurs, Mauricio Pochettino’s focus might be on defending their slender away targets lead and making certain his facet progresses to the quarter-finals of Europe’s premier membership competitors.
This might be no imply feat, although. Juventus, though extra famend for his or her defensive prowess, have a squad filled with succesful attacking expertise and Tottenham should be at their greatest to maintain them at bay.
Our associates at Soccer Whispers have taken a have a look at what Spurs can do to safeguard their away targets benefit.
Simply 10 minutes into their last-16 journey to Turin, all appeared misplaced for Spurs. A rapid-fire Gonzalo Higuain brace – the primary an impressive volley from 18 yards, the second a low, thumped penalty – had given Juventus a 2-Zero lead on the Allianz Stadium.
The Bianconeri have solely misplaced as soon as on dwelling soil this season, a 2-1 reverse to Lazio approach again in October and, extremely, had solely conceded 5 targets in 17 fixtures in their very own stadium in all competitions up till that time. A Spurs comeback appeared desperately unlikely.
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However Pochettino’s males proved resolute, by no means permitting their heads to drop as they wrestled management of the remaining 80 minutes and fought their approach to a 2-2 draw.
Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen supplied the targets as Spurs dominated – though Higuain hanging the bar along with his second spot kick of the sport simply earlier than half-time meant the Premier League facet rode their luck, too.
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If group stage wins over Actual Madrid and Borussia Dortmund hadn’t already introduced Tottenham’s arrival as actual gamers within the race for this season’s Champions League, the best way they overcame the percentages to deal with Juve definitely would have. However the job is barely half achieved.
Spurs have the benefit going into the house leg, nevertheless it’s solely a slender one. With a view to see the job by way of and e book their place within the quarter-finals, the North London facet should be strong on the again in order to not give up important away targets.
Juventus boast Serie A’s second-best assault this season as they pursue a seventh successive Scudetto. Whereas present league leaders Napoli have grow to be the apple of many a impartial’s eye with their expansive attacking type, Massimiliano Allegri’s champions have outscored them (2.42 targets per sport towards 2.Three), with solely fourth-placed Lazio (64) topping Juve’s whole return of 63.
The hazard males for Juventus are Higuain and Paulo Dybala, with the Argentine duo bagging a mixed 29 league targets to date this time period.
Spurs will know all about Higuain from the primary leg, however Dybala, regularly returning to kind and health, performed no half in that sport. On the weekend, making his first begin since Three January, the 24-year-old striker netted an outstanding stoppage-time winner towards Lazio on the Stadio Olimpico.
Juventus will seemingly line up in both a Four-Three-Three or Four-2-Three-1 formation at Wembley, with dynamic winger Douglas Costa Allegri’s greatest choice to assist Higuain and Dybala – though the highly effective and versatile Mario Mandzukic is one other risk.
Tottenham should be at their organised and disciplined greatest to close the Italians out. However Pochettino has one in every of Europe’s greatest defences at his disposal, along with his fees snug in both a three- or four-man backline.
Though reported Manchester United switch goal Toby Alderweireld is more likely to miss the sport by way of harm, Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez are dependable central defenders, whereas Victor Wanyama and the superb Mousa Dembele supply safety from midfield.
Offered Spurs can minimize out the form of particular person errors that led to the concession of two penalties in Turin, they’ve all of the instruments to frustrate Juventus and progress to the Champions League quarter-finals.