After producing a strong comeback in the first leg in Italy, Tottenham Hotspur will be confident of getting the result they need to progress to the last eight of the Champions League when they host Juventus at Wembley on Wednesday (7.45pm, live on BT Sport).
Tottenham were two goals down inside the opening 10 minutes in Turin two weeks ago, with Gonzalo Higuain scoring both of them, but reacted well to impose themselves on the game and eventually secure a 2-2 draw thanks to goals from Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen.
It was an impressive display against a side with as much Champions League experience as Juventus, losing finalists in two of the last three seasons, and one that again showed just how far Spurs have come as a team since last season’s early elimination. After group-stage wins over Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid, it was another performance to savour.
Mousa Dembele was imperious in midfield, Eriksen flitted about in search of space to link things together, while Kane provided a cutting edge up front. Spurs looked like they were enjoying themselves. Coach Mauricio Pochettino has said that he wants them to play similarly on Wednesday. It is the sort of match he and his team have worked to be a part of.
Their home form gives further reason to believe they could be capable of progressing to the last eight. They have only lost once at Wembley this season in league and Champions League play and that defeat, to Chelsea, came way back in August. That is their only home match in those competitions that has produced a scoreline that would see them eliminated if repeated on Wednesday. They come into the game on the back of four consecutive home victories.
[quote style=”boxed” float=”right”]Spurs have only lost once at Wembley this season in League and Champions League play[/quote]
It would, though, be unwise for Spurs to get ahead of themselves in the build up to the second leg. The defensive errors that provided Juventus with their goals, in addition to a further penalty smashed against the crossbar by Higuain, cannot be repeated, while they are unlikely to find the Italian champions quite such passive opponents at Wembley.
In Turin, Juventus struggled to react once Spurs took control of the game. Even once the score had been pegged back to 2-2, it was the away side who looked the more likely to score a late winner. But with a couple of weeks to prepare a revised game plan, they will surely be stronger in midweek. They have generally been very good over the last few months.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side last suffered defeat in a 2-3 reverse away to Sampdoria in mid-November and had been on a 11-match winning streak prior to the first-leg draw with Spurs. They have since racked up a further three victories, all by a score of one to nil. They have kept an incredible 18 clean sheets in their last 20 matches in all competitions.
On Saturday, while Spurs recorded a comfortable 2-0 win at home to Huddersfield, with two goals from Heung Min-Son, Juventus struggled to make inroads against a good Lazio side before a wonderfully taken, last-gasp strike from Paulo Dybala secured victory. Alongside Napoli’s surprise 2-4 defeat at home to Roma, it leaves them just a point behind the leaders with a game in hand. A seventh consecutive Serie A title now isn’t out of the question.
Dybala’s return was a welcome one, but it is tempered somewhat by the possible absence of Higuain for Wednesday’s tie. Fernando Bernadeschi is also likely to miss out. But Spurs have absences of their own. Serge Aurier is suspended following his yellow card in the first leg, but more importantly, central defender Toby Alderweireld will not be fit enough to take part.
Tottenham’s first-leg display and their two away goals suggest they should be the favourites to advance, but Juventus are wily enough operators to make that task a difficult one. Spurs, though, have nothing to fear. They have already defeated Dortmund, Madrid, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United at Wembley this season and can be fancied to make it through to the last eight of the Champions League with another victory on Wednesday.
Our preview’s Tottenham Hotspur vs. Juventus Betting Tips Verdict
These are this preview’s Spurs vs Juventus betting tips, at the pick of the odds from the top rated UK online bookies: