Tottenham’s first Champions League game will be against AS Monaco, the same opponent from last season’s Europa League, group stage. The N17 club drew 1-1 away and ousted the Monegasques from the competition, winning 4-1 at home; will Mauricio’s Pochettino squad repeat the same feat ?
Monaco is a different team from last year’s one; like Tottenham the “Rocher” kept the same manager Leonardo Jardim and added some good, solid players during the Summer window. The result is a first place on Ligue 1 Table, a win vs Paris St Germain (at home) and an impressing thrashing of Lille(4-1 Away).
Nevertheless, Paris are currently having several problems in and out of their multi-million worth pitch; new Manager Unai Emery hasn’t yet decided how to fare with his International player’s fitness and Lille are not anymore contenders for a European adventure. Does it mean that ASM’s wins weren’t worthy, the debate is on, but the answer will be on the pitch.
Monaco’s players enjoy a 100% good form since the beginning of the season; Fabinho, the Brazilian right-back, had converted penalties in each of his last four outings, all this season and scored a wonder goal from open play in last’s Saturday’s game vs Lille. The 22-year-old could mean trouble for the English club.(3 L1 games, 3 goals)
His teammates score too, Joao Moutinho, Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Boschilia, Adama Traoré, one goal each, plus the French defender Djibril Sidibé 1 goal +1 assist. Let’s not forget the newcomer from Serie’s A Torino, Poland’s international defender Kamil Glick, a player who can score and defend at the same time !
Radamel Falcao started the season well, but he got injured, after scoring twice, during the play offs; will he be fit enough to play at Wembley, Jardim is very discreet on this matter. “We’ve got ten points, we’re first, we play well; it’s important to continue like this” declared the Portuguese coach after the game at Lille, happy to prepare the team’s trip to London, in such good conditions. One can be sure that the Portuguese still remembers the success at Arsenal 3-1 in the round of 16(2014/15 UEFA Champions League campaign).
Part of Tottenham’s home White Hart Lane, is currently undergoing construction work, with a section being demolished to make room for a new stadium , thus obliging Tottenham to play Champions League matches at Wembley; Harry Kane is very excited to play with his teammates , believing that a change of scenery could lift the team:”If there are 85-90.000 Tottenham supporters in there, it’s only going to make you play better”said the young International who plays frequently with England in the Home of English Football.
Former Spurs Manager Harry Redknapp, is more cautious: ” The atmosphere on a European night at White Hart Lane is incredible, he said. I still think that they win the group , but still it’s a big loss”.
Tottenham’s skipper Hugo Lloris, native of Nice, (Monaco’s best enemies) will face once again les Monegasques with some thoughts of “déjà vu” (Derby de la Côte d’Azur W1 D3 L1)
The game will start at 7.45 am, at Wembley, London.