10th of December 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
Tottenham play their last chance to reach the first knockout round of this season's UEFA Champions League, they travel to face Barcelona on Tuesday at Camp Nou and victory is the only choice for the Spurs. The reverse fixture was a spectacular one, which Barcelona eventually won 4-2 with goals from Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic and a double from Lionel Messi, while Harry Kane and Erik Lamela scored for the Spurs. That was the first direct match between the two sides in an official competition, the only previous meeting was a friendly one last summer, which Barcelona won on penalties after a 2-2 draw in regular time.
Barcelona have already secured their place in the next round and they are also certain of finishing at the top of Group B as they are six points ahead of Tottenham and Inter. The Blaugrana have won four of their five group matches so far, the only setback was the 1-1 draw at Inter Milan at the beginning of November. Last weekend they grabbed a comfortable 4-0 success in the Barcelonian Derby against Espanyol, their fourth consecutive victory in all competitions. Sergi Roberto, Rafinha, Malcom and Samuel Umtiti are all injured and won't be available for Tuesday's match, while head coach Ernesto Valverde might choose to rest some players ahead of next weekend's LaLiga match at Levante.
Tottenham have their fate in their own hands, if they beat Barcelona then they will finish second in Group B, regardless of what Inter do at home against PSV Eindhoven. The Spurs earned this advantage with the 1-0 victory over Inter in London at the end of November, that result gives them the edge over the Italians on away goals because the reverse fixture was won by Inter 2-1. Tottenham suffered a heavy 4-2 defeat in the North London derby at the beginning of December but they recovered with back-to-back wins over Southampton and Leicester last week. Manager Mauricio Pochettino has an injury crisis to deal with, as Serge Aurier, Kieran Trippier, Victor Wanyama, Davinson Sanchez and Mousa Dembele are all out of contention and Erik Lamela is doubtful.
Barcelona: Cillessen - Semedo, Lenglet, Vermaelen, Alba - Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur - Dembele, Haddadi, Coutinho
Tottenham: Lloris - Alderweireled, Dier, Vertonghen - Walker-Peters, Eriksen, Winks, Rose - Alli - Moura, Kane
My prediction: Tottenham to win 3-2, the Spurs have something to play for and their determination might make a difference against a superior opponent.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Barcelona win - 2.10
Draw - 4.20
Tottenham win - 3.20
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Well, Spurs probably could not believe their luck after a late equalizer and in the same time Inter not managed to win their game at home to a group underdogs PSV.
Generally I think Tottenham deserved their luck with the performances they've shown over the course of the group matches but they could really done themselves a favor by not loosing a couple of games from a leading positions which in fact made their qualification not only uncertain but really unlikely to be honest.
In the end the two teams who were the best performing ones from this group have been qualified for the next stage I believe.
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