AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: Spurs v Barcelona

Both Tottenham and Barcelona have been through rocky old periods to start their season – isn’t that a strange sentence to read – but Barcelona can go a long way to sealing Champions League progression with a win at Wembley.

They face a Tottenham side that have stopped a nasty rot, ending a run of three winless games with a big week where they won twice on the road in the Premier League and made it through their EFL Cup tie on penalties. They were deserving winners of their last two Premier League games against Brighton and Huddersfield, with the significant bonus of three goals for talisman Harry Kane, who has quickly broken any idea of his drought over the past week.

Facing Barcelona is a different matter however and Pochettino has injuries at the wrong time. Stand in goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga kept a clean sheet at the weekend but Hugo Lloris is still missed and Dele Alli will miss the clash with a hamstring complaint. Christian Eriksen didn’t play against Huddersfield after an abdomen injury at Brighton last weekend and isn’t a certainly to make it and both Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele were taken off at halftime.

That is a serious list of absences and facing Barcelona is a whole new assignment to taking on Brighton and Huddersfield, even if the Catalans are having form struggles of their own. A draw against Girona, defeat against Leganes and another stalemate against Athletic Bilbao have capped a pretty bad week for Ernesto Valverde’s side, who had been crusing through the season beforehand.

Before their fiery Derby with Girona, Barcelona hadn’t missed a beat and they were leading 1-0 when defender Lenglet was dismissed in the 35th minute for elbowing Pere Pons. They were also comfortable against Leganes before two goals in two minutes turned the game around and they dominated the late exchanges against Bilbao.

Tottenham Hotspur v Barcelona
UEFA Champions League Group Stage
20:00 BT Sport 2 / BT Sport 4K UHD

HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches)
APR 1982 EURO CUP WINNERS’ CUP Barcelona 1-0 Tottenham
APR 1982 EURO CUP WINNERS’ CUP Tottenham 1-1 Barcelona

Valverde needs to arrest the run of form quickly, but he has less injury concerns than Mauricio Pochettino with Lionel Messi set to come back into the side from kick-off and Ousmane Dembele’s movement ought to cause even more problems for a defence shorn of its leading lights. Luis Suarez has looked good to start the season and Philippe Coutinho, settled into the midfield, has had much success against Spurs. The visitors can take this.

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