Wading away the fear of an early exit from the UEFA Champions League with exceptional performances in the ‘group of death’, which included the defending champions Real Madrid and German giants Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham Spurs are potentially the new threat in Europe’s most prestigious league. Anchoring their presence as the league proceeded, Tottenham ended their group stage campaign as leaders with 16 points, the most by any team in this season. However, the fear of an early elimination may just have escalated again in the minds of Tottenham fans, after the team drew Juventus in the first phase of the knockout stage.
Juventus, on the other hand, looks unshakable with 11 successive wins in all competitions, including the 2-0 away win against Fiorentina last Saturday. Adding to the woes among Tottenham fans, the team has only conceded one goal in their last 16 matches, an all-time club record. Locking horns for the first time in any competitive match on late Tuesday in Turin, the teams are well aware of the significance of a positive result.
Harry Kane – the man of the moment
Hailed as the most lethal center forward in Premier League, the battle between Tottenham’s number 10 Harry Kane and Juventus’ number 1 Gianluigi Buffon is something the football fans would be looking forward to in this epic clash. Scoring 23 times in 26 appearances for Tottenham in the ongoing Premier League season, Harry Kane is certainly a nightmare for the defenders and goalkeepers. Kane deserves a fair amount of credit for Tottenham’s domination against teams in the group stages of the Champions League. The ‘Tottenham Goal Machine’ guided his team through to the next round of the competition by scoring six times in the group stages, including a hattrick against Apoel Fc. Acknowledging Kane’s heroics, the Mirror, British national daily tabloid, wrote: “Where there’s a Kane there’s a way – that’s how it feels with Tottenham right now”, adding, “They have a player in the form of his life in Kane, who is capable of solving any problem.” The English striker recently overtook Newcastle legend, Alan Shearer’s record by scoring 39 goals in one calendar year.
Standing on Kane’s way will be Italy’s most experienced and prudent goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. Buffon’s goal of conquesting the European dream was shattered last season, after Los Blancos retained the title in some scintillating style. The Italian goalkeeper on Saturday made his 500th appearance for the club against Fiorentina, where he managed to keep a clean sheet.
Tottenham’s run in the season
Tottenham’s record in this season may portray them as a bit inconsistent, but their recent form depicts a totally different tale. The team after going down to Manchester City at the Etihad in December is yet to lose a game in Premier League. Smashing United 2-0 at home and managing a late equaliser in a nail-biting contest against Liverpool at Anfield, earlier this month, the team has echoed its abilities to rise to the occasion.
Conceding a single goal in the last 16 matches have certainly earned compliments for the Italian side, but the strength and availability of a wide range of options in Tottenham’s squad, adds more contest in the clah. The team has managed to score in 24 out of the 27 matches that have been played in the Premier League season so far.
Dele Alli who has been another key element in this Tottenham’s success, put up a blistering show against Real Madrid, when the Los Blancos last visited England. The star midfield not just guided his team to a superb victory, but also resonated the fact that ‘this team cannot be taken lightly’.
Tottenham’s performance against Arsenal
Mauricio Pochettino’s men were superb in the North London derby, which was played this Saturday. The final scoreline may have been 1-0, but the match under Tottenham’s control throughout the 90 minutes. The team continued to attack the ball, ending the game with a total of 18 shots, out of which six were on target. Meanwhile, the Gunners who looked amateur in the midfield just managed a single shot on target.
Overwhelmed with the team’s effort, manager Mauricio Pochettino, when asked about the upcoming Champions League tie against Juventus in a press conference, said, “When you beat Arsenal and United, it means you have the quality to beat big teams in Europe too. Of course, Juventus is a great team, one of the best in Europe and they have a lot of experienced players who know what it is to compete in the Champions League. In three seasons they have played two finals.”
He added, ” For us, we don’t have that. But our belief, our confidence, our form are good, and we will be ready to very competitive.”