There was nothing to separate these two sides when they met in the Spanish capital just a fortnight ago and that’s reflected in the standing where Real Madrid and Spurs are neck and neck,
level on seven points and with an identical goal difference. Maurcio Pochettino’s team will see this game as their chance to knock Los Blancos off the top spot in the group and claim it for themselves. Madrid meanwhile will be attempting to redress what has been a miserable few days in which they are still licking their wounds from
Saturday’s shock defeat to LaLiga newcomers Girona. Zidane’s team looked jumbled and disoriented at the Montilivi – and worse still, that result dents their title credentials as they now trail leaders Barcelona by eight points and cannot afford to slip up again. Not that Sunday’s woes should have a direct impact on this game; the best remedy for Madrid right now would be a positive result in London.
Since their visit to Madrid , Spurs have experienced the heady rush of humiliating Liverpool 4-1 to losing both of their last two games but the bare minimum. A second string
Tottenham side were dumped out of the EFL Carabao Cup by city rivals West Ham and this weekend, Manchester United employed ultra-direct, route 1 tactics to squeeze a 1-0 win at Old Trafford. Harry Kane missed that game with a hamstring injury but he should be fit to return against Madrid.
A win for either team tonight would assure their place in the Last 16 regardless of how the other game in Group H, between Borussia Dortmund and APOEL, turns out.
Tottenham team news
Dele Alli watched his team from the Bernabéu stands but he is back from suspension and firing on all cylinders. Harry Kane has been absent since the 4-1 trouncing of Liverpool but returned to training on Tuesday and is believed to be over his fitness worries. Pochettino is confident Kane will feature but didn’t want to confirm 100% on the eve of the game and told reporters, “We have one more day to assess him but today he was good in training”. Midfielder Victor Wanyama is back training but won’t be risked; Erik Lamela is available again after overcoming a long-term hip injury.
Man to watch: Dele Alli. Whether Pochettino goes with Harry Kane or Fernando Llorente up front, Madrid will have to contend with the livewire Dele Alli. Now back from after serving a three-match ban, Alli is raring to go and Spurs are stronger and more of a threat when he’s on the pitch. He’s behind Harry Kane as the team’s second top scorer on five goals and is just as adept at setting them up for his team mates as he is at putting them away himself.
Real Madrid team news
Zidane’s team looked off-colour against Girona. Cristiano Ronaldo was increasingly frustrated by his fortunes in front of goal and their back four was turned inside out trying to deal with attacks coming in from both flanks. Apart from Kiko Casilla taking over from Keylor Navas, Zidane fielded the same XI which entertained Tottenham on MatchDay 3, and employed the same 4-3-3 system, only this time, Casemiro and Kroos were left unable to drop back as they were already tracking two players each in a four-man Girona midfield. Madrid haven’t been helped by injuries and centre-back Raphaël Varane picked up a hamstring injury in Girona which means he is doubt. Zidane will be without Keylor Navas,
Gareth Bale, Dani Carvajal and Mateo Kovacic.
Isco took a knock at the Motilivi and didn’t train with the group on Monday but is in the squad and should be declared fit to play. Under-19s keeper
Moha Ramos has been recalled as Kiko Casilla’s deputy.
Man to watch: Marcelo. Had a howler against Girona but we think he’s allowed an off day. The Brazilian left-back keeps getting better and better with each season and now he’s completely in his element. He can take command out on the left and allow Cristiano to drift into more central positions; Marcelo has an unlimited array of skills to call on and so often supplies the killer ball in for Madrid or go it alone and score himself. He’ll be back to his best on Wednesday without a doubt.