Pochettino Faces a Real dilemma
Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham face a defensive crisis just days ahead of their crucial Champions’ League clash with Real Madrid at the Bernabau on Tuesday.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that still unwell left back Ben Davies, is unlikely to play in the first leg of the group H tie.
He told ESPN when asked if the Welsh International would be available:
“It’s difficult. I don’t believe so. I hope he can be involved again as soon as possible, but we need to assess him again. But I am not so positive. I hope I am wrong and tomorrow he will train with us.”
Fans and club had been hoping for a Danny Rose return, whose speed and experience would make him first choice. He has returned to training following his injury, but is not yet fully match fit.
Facing the attack of the Real Madrid home side will be task enough without the positional puzzle.
Davies missed Tottenhams’ first Premiership Wembley win on Saturday, forcing Jan Vertonghen into his role. The Belgian was then switched left wing-back to for the second half. Whilst he made a good left back, he’s a brilliant centre back. A position where Pochettino prefers him.
With a lack of options, it’s likely Vertonghen will start again in this role, if Ben Davies does miss the tie. With Victor Wanyama sidelined,Tottenham are hoping that doubtful Mousa Demebele will put in a shift. Especially if Eric Dier moved into midfield.
The sight of them both boarding a flight with the team has given fans optimism that the two could feature at least on the bench.
While Spurs are tinkering with defensive tactics, they will rely on the deadly form of Harry Kane to perhaps snatch that all important goal. Though it was colleague Christian Eriksen who netted the winner at Wembley on Saturday, fans will be hoping he continues his goal fest in Spain.
Gareth has Baled out
Pochettino, squad and fans may take some consolation in that ex-Spurs hero Gareth Bale is still injured and unlikely to face his old club. Luka Modric looks likely to start.
Real Madrid are without midfielder Mateo Kovacic and right-back Dani Carvajal. Madrid boss Zinedene Zidane will be happy that Karim Benzema is expected to return. Also back in the side is goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who was rested following a knock.
With injuries in mind, most Spurs fans would take a draw or a clean sheet at the Bernabau, but of course hoping Harry Kane will show Real Madrid how many noughts are on his price tag.
Pochettino is likely to continue putting faith in Harry Winks, who shone in Spurs’ last Champions League tie against Apoel Nicosia. Though inexperienced, his style, suited to ‘La Liga’ and his composure will be an asset and will guarantee him a place in the squad.
Spurs Champions League ties this year have seen more success than last years disastrous campaign, a solid win over Borussia Dortmund, and again against Apoel.
Tottenham are looking to improve the Real Madrid statistics, as they haven’t won any of the last four meetings. They have lost three and drawn one.
Tottenham Hotspur play Real Madrid on Tuesday 18th October at 19.45pm at The Bernabau Stadium.