FOOTBALL JOURNALIST Adam Goodwin (@agjournalism) has perused the Champions League contest between Tottenham and Barcelona on Wednesday night in search of value.
Tottenham v Barcelona | Wednesday 3rd October 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
After facing Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League campaign, Tottenham will now face Spain’s other titan, Barcelona, at Wembley on Wednesday.
After losing their first game against Inter Milan, Spurs will be keen to get some points on the board here, but it won’t be easy against the five-time winners. They actually beat Real Madrid 3-1 at Wembley last season and have a decent record in this competition.
Before their last two games in the Champions League, Mauricio Pochettino’s went eight games unbeaten (W7-D2-L0), including victories against Madrid and Dortmund and a draw away at Juventus.
However, Tottenham are going through a injury crisis of some sorts, with six first-team players unavailable. Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Serge Aurier and Michel Vorm are all out with knocks, so Pochettino will have to head into this game with a far from full strength XI.
Harry Kane’s recent form is a positive and the Spurs man will be full of confidence after his brace at the weekend. There were questions over Kane’s start to the season but it looks as though the England man has now put them behind him and will be raring to go ahead of this one.
Kane scored seven goals in seven Champions League games last season and looks a good bet to score again at 10/7.
Barcelona out of sorts
Barcelona fans have been calling for Ernesto Valverde’s head after a poor run of form that, strangely, still sees them top La Liga. Draws against Girona and Athletic Bilbao and a defeat to Leganes sees them head into this game completely out of form.
Barca’s last win came in the Champions League and was a 4-0 rout against PSV. They’ve only won two of their last nine away games in this competition though and that won’t boost Valverde’s confidence when they head to London on Wednesday night.
Three of those games were draws and I actually think that’d be a good result for the Catalans here, especially as they got maximum points from their opening game.
Lionel Messi showed his usual brilliance in that 4-0 win over PSV, bagging a superb hat-trick at the Nou Camp. He’s now scored 103 goals in 126 Champions League games for Barcelona – a truly incredible feat.
The Argentinian magician will be looking to improve his sides fortunes with another special performance at Wembley on Wednesday night.
The betting angle
There are a lot of factors at play here, making it an intriguing encounter. As I mentioned earlier, I think Barcelona would take a draw in the circumstances, but Tottenham will undoubtedly fancy their chances of taking all three points.
At full strength, I’d fancy Spurs to win this one but without Erisken and Alli, I’m going to plump for the draw at 3/1 (BetVictor).
I also like the look of both of these sides’ star men to get on the scoresheet and to both improve their incredible goal records in the Champions League.
Seeing as they’ll both be heavily relied upon by their respective sides, I like the look of Harry Kane and Lionel Messi to both score at 3/1 (SkyBet) too.