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Champions League PREVIEW | AS Monaco vs Tottenham Hotspur (22/11/16)

With one foot in the door, Monaco now need to just inch over the line. In one of the most competitive groups in the Champions League, the principality side have more than proved their worth and a draw against Tottenham Hotspur at home will see them into the knockout stages.

That is easier said than done against a side yet to lose in the Premier League this season and roused after a come-from-behind victory against West Ham United at the weekend.

With the North London club realistically needing the three points to survive, Monaco cannot afford to take this one lightly in their quest for qualifying for the last 16 of the competition.

Team News

João Moutinho returns for the hosts after missing the last few games through injury. The Portuguese maestro may start in a 4-2-3-1 line-up similar to that used in the reverse fixture at Wembley back in September.

Radamel Falcao should get the nod up front after starting on the bench against Lorient at the weekend but came on to grab his fifth goal in his last three appearances. Nabil Dirar misses the game due to family reasons not disclosed by the club.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has admitted the club will wait until the last moment before deciding whether to start Harry Kane for the crucial tie. The forward has just returned from a seven-week layoff with an ankle injury and the Argentine may save him for the club’s league fixture against Chelsea at the weekend.

There are also doubts over Moussa Dembélé (foot) and Dele Alli (knee) and neither are expected to play 90 minutes should they pass fit. Should Tottenham lose or draw this game, a Bayer Leverkusen win in the other fixture will knock them out of the competition.

Danger Men

Kamil Glik (AS Monaco) – There’s no two ways about it, Monaco know how important a point is and defending will be key in this one. Glik is comfortably their best defender and while he’s come up big at the other end too, the Polish international has to perform well if Jardim’s men want a positive result.

He isn’t just a good defender, he affects the players around him and improves them as well, most notably the young and initially poor Jemerson. With him on song, it will allow Monaco to nullify Spurs and attempt to catch them with a counter right hook down the other end.

Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur) – This man has to start this game, especially if Kane does not pass fit or does not start the game. The difference the South Korean made against West Ham after coming off the bench was startling and without anyone else affecting games to any huge degree this season, play the man in form.

Son can get in behind, he can create and score but most importantly, he puts the opposition on the back foot. Without him, Monaco can sit on their laurels but with him out there, their defence has to remain on red alert.

Prediction

It almost feels like this one is too easy to predict. Tottenham will go gun-ho with attacking intent, pushing their full backs forward and with one fell swoop, one mistake leaves them terribly exposed and punished. They get their glimmer of hope in a late equaliser, knowing that it might not be enough after the CSKA/Bayer result earlier in the day could kill them off.

Jardim just knows how to defend a lead, especially with Fabinho and Tiemoue Bakayoko sitting in front of a defence and undoubtedly Andrea Raggi playing as an extra centre back playing at full back. They get what they need from the Stade Louis II, leaving Spurs either hanging by a thread or heading into the Europa League.

Result: AS Monaco 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur

N.S.

 

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