Tottenham Hotspur vs Barcelona
It has so many hallmarks to be a Champions League classic.
Two attack-minded teams with defences which can be breached too easily at times locking horns at the home of English football.
No wonder us fans are salivating at the prospect.
Much of the Champions League 2018 news in the build-up to this has focused on the comments of the Catalan’s star man Lionel Messi.
After a 2-1 defeat at Leganes last week, Barcelona needed the introduction of Messi to help them earn a point on Saturday in a 1-1 draw at home to Athletic Bilbao.
He then was shown a yellow card after the full-time whistle for airing his frustrations too much for the official’s liking.
It capped a disappointing few days for the club and led to the mercurial number 10 to call for a fast improvement by his team.
There’s no chance coach Ernesto Valverde will not start Messi and Sergio Busquets this time. It is precisely this game they were rested for at the weekend.
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi at the bench during their La Liga match against Athletic Bilbao
Sergio Roberto, who started in place of Busquets, likely will miss the trip to England after coming off injured against Bilbao, as will Samuel Umtiti.
New signing Malcom has also been left out of the 20-man squad.
Despite not playing particularly well and dropping seven points from three games, Barcelona certainly should not panic.
They remain top of La Liga and very much possess an excellent squad, if not quite the dominant force they have been at times over the past decade.
Of course, Barcelona have fond memories of Wembley, the scene of their 1992 and 2011 European Cup triumphs.
This is a crucial spell for the club with fixtures against Valencia, Sevilla, Inter Milan and arch-rivals Real Madrid all to come during October.
After their defence was breached so emphatically in the past week, Harry Kane and co will fancy their chances.
Remember, Spurs beat European Champions Real 3-1 at Wembley last season and cannot afford another defeat after going down late on in their opening group match to Inter Milan a fortnight ago.
Spurs have injury problems of their own with Dele Alli still absent from the home midfield with a hamstring strain.
He missed Spurs’ Premier League match at the weekend along with Christian Eriksen (abdominal) and manager Mauricio Pochetino was forced to replace both Jan Vertonghen and Moussa Dembele at half-time.
Both Belgium internationals are doubts as is goalkeeper Hugo Lloris who has missed the past six matches with a thigh problem.
Pochettino had more players at the latter stages of the World Cup than any other club manager and it’s no coincidence, he believes, that many of his players are picking up niggling injuries after failing to have a proper summer break and then missing the majority of pre-season training.
The impressive Pochettino spent six years at Espanyol as a player and then manager but he has admitted that has made it ‘impossible’ to ever manager the Catalonia giants in the years to come, despite many casting an envious glance at the Argentinian’s progress.
Pochettino was heavily linked with a move to Real in the summer following Zinedine Zidane’s decision to step down.
He admits interest in his work is further validation for his work in North London and appreciates the club and his reputation continue to grow.
That is just another reason why this match could be the most compelling of the week.
Only twice before have these two clubs met in a competitive fixture.
That was in the 1982 European Cup Winners Cup semi-final.
A late Graham Roberts goal earned Spurs a 1-1 draw in the first leg at White Hart Lane on a night in which Barcelona were strongly criticised by the English media.
Barca won the second leg at the Nou Camp courtesy of an Allan Simonsen goal to progress to the final (2-1 on aggregate) which, by chance, was also played at the Nou Camp and saw them defeat Standard Liege 2-1.
||Tottenham Hotspur vs Barcelona
||Total Goal 2-3 @ 2.09
|October 4, 03:00 (GMT+8)
Despite a poor week by their standards, Champions League 2018 betting odds favour Barcelona.
1X2 Barcelona @ 2.06shows that with Spurs priced @ 3.40 and the draw @ 3.45.
If you fancy Spurs to lead at the break, there’s a tempting First Half 1X2 Spurs @ 4.10 and an appealing First Half 1X2 Barcelona @ 2.63. The First Half 1X2 draw is a safer option @ 2.11
Asian Handicap -0.75 Barcelona @ 2.38 contrasts with Asian Handicap Spurs + 0.25 @ 2.12.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:
| = €20 (Highly confident)
|| = €10 (CONFIDENT)
|| = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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