If Tottenham are to qualify for the Champions League last 16 then their task tonight is to beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou or hope that Inter Milan don’t pick up more points than them in their home clash against PSV Eindhoven.
The chances of Spurs winning in Barcelona are slim given that they were beaten 4-2 at Wembley in the corresponding fixture in October. In addition, few English clubs taste success at the Camp Nou, with Liverpool the last to do so in 2007.
One glimmer of hope for Mauricio Pochettino’s players is that Barcelona have already qualified as winners of group B so there is less incentive for them to go flat out against their visitors.
“The idea was to come to Barcelona already qualified [and] we deserved better results in Milan and Holland,” said the Spurs manager. “If we want to deserve qualification we have to win.”
Keeping an eye on Inter
Asked if he will be following events from Milan and relaying the news to his players, Pochettino said: “We are going to know what’s going on. It’s important to know what’s going on but focus on what we have to do.”
Barca are up for it
Barcelona have omitted Luis Suarez from their matchday squad because of a knee twinge. The Spanish press claims that coach Ernesto Valverde has hinted that Lionel Messi may also sit out the match as he looks to give some of his front-line players a rest. But he dismissed suggestions that he is taking the tie lightly.
“Inter has nothing to fear,” said Valverde. “We respect Inter and Spurs but we have done our main job. We like this competition and we will go out with the idea of winning, which is what we always do.” Group B permutations
Uefa.com explains what can happen on matchday six in group B.
- Tonight’s fixtures: Barcelona vs. Tottenham; Inter Milan vs. PSV Qualified teams: Barcelona are group winners Who can still qualify in second: Spurs and Inter Milan Spurs are second on head-to-head away goals so will go through if they win in Barcelona, or at least if Inter do not pick up more points than them Inter will finish second if they pick up more points than Spurs
Team news and possible starting XIs Barcelona team news
As stated former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez won’t play against Spurs while Lionel Messi could start from the bench. Brazil midfielder Arthur Melo is in contention to play but Malcom, Samuel Umtiti, Sergio Roberto and Rafinha are on the injury list.
Tottenham team news
Spurs are without injured full-backs Kieran Trippier and Serge Aurier. The BBC reports that Kyle Walker-Peters could start for the first time in a European tie.
Juan Foyth is not available for the Champions League but Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen will start after being rested for last Saturday’s trip to Leicester. Erik Lamela is also fit to play after recovering from a thigh injury.
“We are going to be ready to compete in our best condition,” promised Pochettino. “We need to think like this if we are going to do something important.”
Possible starting XIs
How the two teams could line up tonight at the Camp Nou, according to talkSPORT.
- Barcelona possible starting XI: Cillessen, Semedo, Vermaelen, Lenglet, Miranda, Oriol Busquets, Alena, Arthur, Coutinho, Messi, Dembele Tottenham possible starting XI: Lloris, Walker-Peters, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Rose, Dier, Winks, Eriksen, Alli, Son, Kane
Matchday six fixtures and TV guide Tuesday 11 December
- Group A: Club Brugge vs. Atlético Madrid (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra 4); Monaco vs. Borussia Dortmund (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra 3) Group B: Barcelona vs. Tottenham Hotspur (8pm, live on BT Sport 3); Inter Milan vs. PSV Eindhoven (8pm, live on BT Sport ESPN) Group C: Red Star Belgrade vs. Paris Saint-Germain (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra 2); Liverpool vs. Napoli (8pm, live on BT Sport 2) Group D: FC Schalke 04 vs. Lokomotiv Moscow (5.55pm, live on BT Sport 1); Galatasaray vs. FC Porto (5.55pm, live on BT Sport ESPN)
Wednesday 12 December
- Group E: Ajax vs. Bayern Munich (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra 2); Benfica vs. AEK Athens (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra 3) Group F: Manchester City vs. 1899 Hoffenheim (8pm, live on BT Sport 2); Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Lyon (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra 4) Group G: Real Madrid vs. CSKA Moscow (5.55pm, live on BT Sport 1); Viktoria Plzen vs. Roma (5.55pm, live on BT Sport ESPN) Group H: Valencia vs. Manchester United (8pm, live on BT Sport 3); Young Boys vs. Juventus (8pm, live on BT Sport ESPN)
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