Tottenham may been going through something of a domestic blip as of late but the same cannot be said for their form in the Champions League. Not only have they secured qualification with a game to spare but they have gone one better and finished top of the group.
That means that Mauricio Pochettino is afforded the opportunity to rest key players and you could argue it is much needed with Harry Kane looking particularly fragile as of late. He is one of a handful players who will not feature tonight.
Also confirmed not to start tonight are Hugo Lloris, Kieran Trippier and Eric Dier. This does mean that the game takes on the mantle of a dead rubber but ultimately Mauricio Pochettino has earned that right after five impressive performances in this competition before tonight.
It may be a fringe first team this evening but a win is still expected and will be very much welcome after the blip that the club are currently going through at the moment, they have failed to win any of their last four league matches and now find themselves 18 points behind Manchester City in the Premier League.
The race for the title is very much up in smoke and now the focus will be on trying to get back into the top four so come the end of the season they can return to this very competition, if that is not the case then the only way they will feature in Europe’s premier club tournament next season is by doing it the hard way.
That of course meaning that they go on and win this edition of the Champions League, that may well be wishful thinking after their current domestic form but you only need to cast your mind back to a few weeks ago when they beat Real Madrid at Wembley and all was very rosy indeed.
Since then bar a win over Crystal Palace which in itself was nothing to write about, Tottenham have failed to win any of their next four domestic outings. The only glimmer of light as of late has been the 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund last week which secured first place in the group and in theory an easier draw in the Round of 16.
I saw in theory as there is still Bayern Munich or Juventus lurking and as things stand there is a 33% chance of Tottenham being paired with either. Odds that then increase to 40% should Liverpool not top their group, so it is fair to say that Spurs fans may well be casting an eye on Merseyside tonight.
As for matters at Wembley, well APOEL did give Tottenham a small fright in Cyprus before Harry Kane went up through the gears. Whether they can do anything like the same this evening I am not too sure. Spurs should win this one but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter either way. Bring on the Round of 16 draw.
Here is what social media thinks will happen – you can still vote on the outcome
Time for some scientific polls now
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) December 6, 2017