Tottenham face Juventus in a massive Champions League clash at Wembley tonight – knowing that victory will see them through to the quarter-final stage.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men hold a slender advantage over their opponents, by virtue of the away-goals rule, having scored twice in their 2-2 draw in Turin. While Spurs will be hoping for a defensive shutout, Juventus will have plenty of players who can cause damage and turn the tie on its head.
With this in mind, we’ve created a combined eleven, with injuries taken into account, ahead of tonight’s massive match – and this team would certainly take some real stopping.
Gianluigi Buffon – Juventus
Hugo Lloris is a safe pair of hands in the Spurs goal, but Buffon has been at the pinnacle of the game for the best part of two decades. A goalkeeper who has achieved unheralded success, his experience and ability to make incredible saves at the age of 40 make the Italian legend one of the first names on our teamsheet.
Mattia De Sciglio – Juventus
Tottenham tend to rotate their full-backs quite regularly, and De Sciglio represents the most consistent option on the right. His defensive calmness, ability going forward and excellent vision give Juve another dimension in attack – and if he gets the nod from his manager this evening, it is likely he will cause Spurs plenty of problems, by stopping their attack and assisting his own.
Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham
Vertonghen has established a reputation as one of the best defenders in the Premier League in recent seasons – his comfort on the ball and ability to play out from the back suits Spurs’ style perfectly, and he is a colossus in the air, winning ball after ball and breaking up the opposition tonight. The loss of Toby Alderweireld to injury could prove a big one for Tottenham, but Vertonghen is on form – then they may not have to worry.
Giorgio Chiellini – Juventus
Like Buffon, Chiellini is a fountain of experience. He may not be the quickest anymore, but his defensive knowledge is second to none – he senses danger and simply puts a stop to it without fail. He has marked many of the world’s greatest footballers out of games down the years and will be looking to add Harry Kane’s name to that list this evening.
Alex Sandro – Juventus
Having Alex Sandro in your team is very similar to having an extra winger. The Brazilian constantly gets forward thanks to his excellent dribbling ability and provides plenty of assists with his varied range of crossing. He also puts a shift in in the backline, and with his stamina – Juve can cause Spurs plenty of problems down the left-hand side tonight.
Mousa Dembele – Tottenham
The beating heart of Tottenham, Dembele is regarded by many as a silent genius. He is a picture of composure on the ball, waiting for the right moment to set his side on the front foot, while also breaking up plenty in midfield and offering a calming presence within the team. When the ball is at Dembele’s feet, Tottenham look at ease. When it’s not, they know he will win it back for them nine times out of ten.
Miralem Pjanic – Juventus
Exceptional vision and set-piece ability set Pjanic apart from most other midfielders. The Bosnian also is well able to find the net on his own, and if offered space – can be absolutely lethal.
He can pick the killer pass or score the crucial goal and could be key this evening to Juve’s hopes of triumph.
Heung-min Son – Tottenham
A player in a rich vein of form, Son’s work off the ball is just as good as his work on it – his runs create plenty of space for others to run into, and when granted an opportunity – he rarely ever misses.
If he replicates his recent domestic performances, then Juve are in for a torrid time at the hands of the South Korean.
Paulo Dybala – Juventus
A world-class player in the making, Dybala shows glimmers of ability that not many other players hold. His playing style is similar to that of his countryman Lionel Messi, and with 15 goals in 15 Serie A starts – Dybala is quite prolific at the same time.
If he gets the ball, it’s incredibly difficult to get it back off him, and Spurs will have to be at their best to stem his threat.
Christian Eriksen – Tottenham
Like Pjanic, Eriksen is a hub of creativity that can be the difference in games with such fine margins. He often creates a wealth of opportunities for the likes of Kane and Son, and with his ability from dead balls can cause problems as well. Scored in the first leg and could be highly influential in this one too.
Harry Kane – Tottenham
Fast making a reputation as one of the world’s greatest striker – Gonzalo Higuaín simply cannot match the Englishman on his day. Normally relishes the big games, and if Tottenham go through this evening – it is incredibly likely that Kane will add to his tally of 37 goals this campaign.
A remarkable talent.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena