Tuesday, December 12The Voice of London

Spurs are playing Real Madrid at an ideal time: match preview

Harry Kane could start for Spurs against Real Madrid tonight having trained yesterday after sustaining a hamstring strain 10 days ago.

The Tottenham striker was badly missed on Saturday at Old Trafford but could return tonight for Spurs’ biggest game of the season so far against the Spanish giants.

Real Madrid will be without key players tonight as Tottenham welcome them to their temporary home Wembley for a huge clash in the Champions League group stage.

Keylor Navas, Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane and former Spurs winger Gareth Bale are all out injured, which will see Real Madrid field a weakened side in London.

18-year-old Achraf Hakimi will likely start at right back for Real Madrid, next to Nacho in the absence of Varane.

Of course, Madrid’s squad depth is enviable and they still enter the tie as slight favourites

Mauricio Pochettino may seek to exploit Madrid’s weakened right side of defence with the pace of Heung-Min Son.

Dele Alli also returns after a three-game European ban which will give the Spurs attack an extra edge.

The Madrid hierarchy will have a close eye on Alli, as they are reportedly targeting him as their next major signing.

The 21-year-old is eager to make his mark on the game and speaking to the Spurs media team, he said:

“Obviously it’s been hard to be sitting on the sidelines watching and knowing that you can’t play but the team have been doing really well so hopefully I can get on the pitch.”

Alli also spoke about the confidence the team has gained from getting a point at the Bernabeu two weeks ago.

“it will definitely give the boys confidence going into the game, knowing that we can compete against them and that we are a really strong side.”

Despite losing their last two games and the uncertainty surrounding Harry Kane’s fitness, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino reiterated Alli’s point, insisting:

“We are very confident. He [Kane] is on the list. Maybe it will be possible for him to play. he was training with the group and was good, at the same level as the team.”

Real Madrid are enduring a rough patch of form, finding themselves already 8 points adrift of arch-rivals Barcelona in the league.

Vice-captain Marcelo spoke about how Los Blancos are trying to tackle the issue.

“We’re doing a bit of everything. We know in the league all matches are difficult regardless of who we play. We can’t just turn up and expect to win.”

However, Madrid’s Champions League form is much better. When asked why there was such a difference between their form in the two competitions, the Brazilian explained:

“Perhaps it falls down to the motivation of each player. It is normal in the Champions League we have very high motivation in this tournament. ”

Madrid’s highest performer so far this season, Isco, picked up a knock at the weekend while playing in a 2-1 defeat to Girona, but should be fit enough to start.

He would be a big miss for the Spanish side, who have become more reliant on his creativity to break down teams since his breakthrough into the starting eleven.

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane spoke highly of Pochettino in his pre-match press conference, insisting: “He’s doing a fantastic job at Tottenham Hotspur, building a club that has very high aspirations. The results speak for themselves.”

Despite the injury problems facing their own squad, Spurs catch Real Madrid at a good time when they are out of form and missing two important defenders.

Pochettino’s side could seal qualification tonight if they win, in a group also featuring Borussia Dortmund, that few predicted they would get out of.

Words: Reuben Pinder | Subbing: Oliver Browning

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