Tottenham’s efforts in the Champions League this season have been like night and day when compared to their offerings 12 months before. At present they are making this European competition lark look pretty simple as they took maximum points from their first two matches.
It’s six points from six for Mauricio Pochettino’s men as they have already picked up wins against Borussia Dortmund and APOEL Nicosia but now it is the biggest clash of them all as they prepare to go up against the winners of the last two editions of the competition, none other than Real Madrid.
But with two wins from two Tottenham arguably find themselves in an almost ideal position where they can travel to the Spanish capital with the pressure well and truly off. If we look at previous points tallies to get out of the group stages then the magic number is 10.
And with Tottenham already 60% of the way there then a trip to Madrid does not have the added impetus of having to get a result against Zinedine Zidane’s men. Of course it would be great for the North London outfit to get a result, not only to get even more points on the board but to really prove themselves in a test against the best that Europe has to offer.
At the same time though when the draw was made for the group stages pundits and fans alike would have looked at the ties against Real Madrid as ones that Tottenham would go into as the relative underdogs and by extension expectations would have been low for the side that finished runners up in the Premier League last season.
But could that low level of expectation actually do Tottenham a huge favour when they travel to the Santiago Bernabeu next week. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that Spurs have a free hit as such but in reality the result of this match does not matter all that much.
Obviously I’m not advocating that Tottenham lose 5-0 in Madrid as that will do no good for either confidence or momentum for the club but when you look at the way the group is set up and how the table currently stands then it is Dortmund away which is the real swing fixture.
Again if we take 10 points as the amount needed to get you over the line then Tottenham only need four points from as many matches. Nothing is a given in football but if you were to assume that a win against APOEL could be bagged in December then it then becomes a requirement of just one point from three.
Therefore you could make a case that even if Tottenham lose both games to Real Madrid then they only have to draw in Dortmund to make sure they pick up the necessary points so that they can reach the Round Of 16, a feat they failed to achieve last season.
Of course Tottenham could take the fact that they are paired with the competition holders this week and do what many would term as the unthinkable and get something from their clash with Los Blancos. The scenario for them would be even better if they were to pick up a draw on Tuesday.
That would then mean they would require a solitary win from the rest of the group stage and many have identified the tie against the Cypriot champions APOEL as where another welcome three points will be picked up and added to the account.
That would mean leaving qualification until the final Matchday but with the form that Harry Kane is in right now then who is to say that he will not score in a few days time and continue his already impressive start to Champions League proceedings during this campaign.
The England international has already scored five goals from just two matches and he will be looking at the tie against the defending La Liga champions as the perfect opportunity to not only test himself against the world’s best but to truly arrive on the biggest stage if he has not already done so.
Both teams picked up slender wins at the weekend with Tottenham getting the better of Bournemouth and Real Madrid edging past Getafe in a local derby, the Champions League holders were not at their brilliant best but then you could say the same about Spurs also.
It’s fair to say that they would have both looked at Saturday’s fixtures as hurdle’s that need to be cleared in time for tonight and when you look at the fact that they have identical records in terms of league results and points you could argue that there is little to split them at present.
Real Madrid will obviously go into the game as favourites and rightfully so but at the same time Tottenham can go into this one with the pressure off and who knows just what might happen. I’m not going to predict anything but I’ll see you on the other side.