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Tottenham Hotspur’s fortress Wembley, Tottenham hotspur vs Barcelona 12:30am IST, Thursday, UEFA Champions League

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Barcelona need to bounce back at Tottenham Hotspur’s fortress Wembley

You don’t often see Barcelona losing points in three consecutive games, but it has happened this season. Now, Blaugranas need to bounce back at Tottenham Hotspur’s fortress Wembley.

It’s a difficult challenge knowing Hotspur’s strong hold at Wembley in UEFA Champions League fixtures. It’s their fortress where they saw off teams like Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, and Apoel Nicosia last season scoring three goals in each of those games.

Barcelona will find it difficult but they’ll have to accept that challenge. They can’t show a long face once again to their worldwide fans who watched them play poor football in their last three games.

However, you can’t blame them enough if they lose points against Spurs at Wembley. They are a good team playing at their fortress where they have enjoyed a great success in recent years, but Barcelona can’t give that excuse with their popularity and team strength.

Ernesto Valverde is much to blame for his failure with rotation policy and short of strategies playing away from home in Champions League. Out of their last 16 Champions League away games, they have won only five, lost six and played five draws.

Four of those defeats have come in their last 9 away outings. We all know what happened in Rome in last season quarterfinal, what happened in Juventus a year before at the same stage.

They only won one away game last season as they beat Sporting Lisbon 0-1, and that also come because of an own goal. Catalans played 0-0 draw against Olympiacos and Juventus at group stage, and then goes on to play 1-1 at Chelsea and Roma was a disaster resulting in 3-0 loss.

Barcelona need to improve their away results if they want to win Champions League this season. Lionel Messi has promised to his fans to deliver Champions League again after becoming captain. So far he has been true to his words offering a hat-trick performance to his fans in 4-0 victory over PSV Eindhoven, but he also needs to make sure his team gets away results.

It will be first real test for Messi & Co. They have a busy October and they need to improve their performances if they don’t want to drop any further points whether it’s Europe or domestic league. Their next five games are: Tottenham (A), Valencia (A), Sevilla (H), Inter Milan (H), and Real Madrid (H).

None of them will give them time to rest and they have been vulnerable with their rotation policy. Their first choice playing XI needs to pick up their game. Gerard Pique can’t make the same mistake he has been committing in domestic competition.

Their very next opponent, Tottenham Hotspur have their worries but they’re good. They’ll be missing attacking-midfielder Dele Alli, but Erik Lamela has been a revelation after recovering from his injuries. Harry Kane has returned to his form scoring a double against Huddersfield in his last outing. Lucas Moura is doing well upfront with Kane as well.

Spurs do have some injury worries. Jan Vertonghen and Moussa Dembele were taken off at half-time against Huddersfiled for muscular injuries. It may be of a concern but Mauricio Pochettino knows best how to use his squad. He may have given them a rest for Wednesday’s big game against Barcelona.

Barcelona also doesn’t have good news for their fans. They will be travelling without suspended Samuel umtiti, injured Sergio Roberto, and new signing Malcolm. Academy products Sergi Samper and Carles Alena have also been left at home.

Probable lineups:

Tottenham Hotspur: Gazzaniga, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Trippier, Rose, Dier, Winks, Moura, Lamela, Son, Kane

FC Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Busquets, Rakitic, Vidal, Coutinho, Messi, Suarez


Barcelona to win 2-1

I don’t see Tottenham Hotspur making much impact with their key players missing in Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen. Barcelona is a different beast to whoever they have faced until now, although I can’t rule out Blaugranas’ defensive lapses.


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