Following a weekend of postponed fixtures, Tottenham are back in action with a top of the group clash with Sporting CP in Lisbon. The Lilywhites remain unbeaten this season after avoiding Man City on Saturday and look to continue their form in Portugal.
Firstly, let’s have a look at Spurs’ opponents for tomorrow. Having beaten Eintracht Frankfurt with a 3-0 win in Germany, Sporting definitely made an early statement to their future Champions League opposition.
A former Tottenham winger, Marcus Edwards, was amongst the goals for the Leões. Edwards has previous in Europe having scored two in five in the Europa League with Vitória SC, including a goal against Arsenal.
The team from Portugal’s capital currently sit 7th in the Primeira Liga, having mixed results. The side lost 2-0 to the ten men of Chaves and they appeared to be in for a rough season ahead. However, they now won three games on the bounce in all competitions without conceding, scoring nine goals in the process.
Their recent run of results, along with clean sheets, is something Rúben Amorim will hope his players can continue on Tuesday night.
As for Tottenham, there is currently only one slight doubt for the matchday squad, right winger Lucas Moura only returned to training late last week. Conte commented, “He [Lucas] has this inflammation in his tendon and I hope to recover him very soon because especially up front we need him.”
The Brazilian sized hole in our attack, in the meantime, has been more than filled by new fan-favourite Richarlison. His brace in the Champions League was special and would almost guarantee his place in the side for upcoming fixtures.
Elsewhere in the Spurs attack, Heung-Min Son is struggling for form having not found the net this season. The current holder of the Golden Boot has previously been very effective going forward in Europe, with Conte hoping for the same efficiency this time around.
The implementation of first time passes round defenders in the side’s 2-0 home win against Marseille is usually devastating on the counter. However, the high press of the French side in the first half meant very little joy came from flicking the ball on, unless it was a pinpoint pass.
Despite not starting in the previous two fixtures, the impact of Dejan Kulusevski has been clear to see. The range of attributes he brings are well suited to an attacking wing-back, which appears to be something Conte is keen to explore when the team is struggling.
With Clement Lenglet having back-to-back starts in the side it will be interesting to see if he keeps his spot, or if the ever reliable Ben Davies will return. Davies was brought on against Marseille and despite misplacing a pass, the Welshman was quick to put his head on the line to retain the clean sheet.
It will be a defining game in Tottenham’s European campaign. A real indicator to not only the strength of Sporting, but just how close the Lilywhites are from ending their trophy drought.
Antonio Conte’s record in the Champions League isn’t his greatest strength, having failed to go past the quarter finals in his last five attempts. Despite this, having reached the Europa League final with Inter, will the Italian indulge Spurs in European glory once again?