Date: 3rd October 2017 at 4:48pm
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After delightedly devouring the German ‘appetiser’ and the Cypriot ‘main course’ in September, Spurs fans will be keen to tuck into the double ‘dessert’ on offer during October and November in the Champions League. For those with a sweet tooth, a Spanish serving of Los Merengues (The Meringues) in the shape of Real Madrid will surely have every mouth positively watering with anticipation. Add a sprinkling of Bale and Modric to spice things up with two familiar ingredients, the table is set for the finest of dining indeed!

Group H couldn’t be more finely balanced between Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur. Equals in every respect heading into the game, the two sides will be tuck into both games the with ravenous hunger of securing their passage to the next phase of the competition. Wins, points, goals; there’s absolutely nothing to separate the pair leading the chase for qualification, other than the most basic alphabetical order.

Playing the Numbers Game

Making accurate football predictions is no easy task. Ahead of Stoke City against Southampton recently, expert betting tipsters checking the numbers and previewing the odds leaned towards the high possibility of a 0-0 draw between the two sides, noting that current Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino had achieved a plethora of goalless draws with Alaves in LaLiga last season. As the same experts dissect the statistics between teams from different leagues clashing on the continental stage, they will certainly be calculating every angle in finite detail ahead of the upcoming Champions League encounters between Tottenham and Real Madrid.

Just to complicate those predictions further, Before the mid-October game at the Santiago Bernabéu in the Spanish capital, even the respective results for Spurs and Los Blancos against other opponents in Group H is exactly the same. 3-1 against Borussia Dortmund, check! 3-0 against APOEL, check!

Current form, results, positions in their respective domestic leagues; the difference is genuinely as slender as a toothpick. Fans of statistics will also be splitting hairs, poring over all the data and encountering miniscule differences. By the end of September when looking at the Premier League numbers for Tottenham, compared to those of Real Madrid in LaLiga during the season so far, there’s barely anything between the two from a statistical point of view.

When taking a look at the statistics at whoscored.com for Tottenham, then doing exactly the same to look at the numbers for Real Madrid, the parity between the two teams until the end of September was remarkably even. Just 0.1 difference in goals per game; 0.1% difference in average possession; less than 4% difference in passing average; even dribbles per game numbers are staggeringly close.

The two encounters have the real prospect of being decided by the slightest of details, but as we all know, there’s a great deal more to a game of football than just the statistics. On the day and when the referee blows his whistle for the action to begin, so many factors can come into play and make the ultimate difference.

Should Old Acquaintances be forgot…

Don’t worry, we’re not going to break into a rendition of Auld Lang Syne by famous Scots poet, Robert Burns, but there are certainly old acquaintances within the ranks of Real Madrid that can never be forgotten by Spurs fans: Luca Modric and Gareth Bale.

Should either or both feature in the two encounters, nobody will blame sentimental Spurs fans from pondering what might have been, had two such fantastic players remained at the club. Such thoughts will always pass through the minds of Tottenham supporters, especially over the last couple of years with the team riding higher in the Premier League, edging ever closer to the prospect of winning the title.

Whether dwelling in the sweet memories of watching Modric and Bale strut their stuff at White Hart Lane, or still bitter about their inevitable departure once the Madrid giants came knocking at the door, their inclusion will certainly add extra flavour and passion to these Champions League duals.

Many fans questioned the apparent lack of loyalty from Modric when Chelsea kept on pushing for his signature, as the Croatian claimed he had a verbal agreement in place with chairman, Daniel Levy. Tottenham managed to resist their persistence, but ultimately could do little once Real Madrid entered the fray.

Since then his creativity and vision has been an integral part of their success both domestic and European. Now 32 and although his playing time is shared a little more as Zidane rotates his squad, the impact he can make with a single precision pass to change a game, can never be understated.

It was during his time at Tottenham that Bale genuinely became a world-class player. Always keen to learn and improve, adapting well positionally, developing and honing his talents as a powerful marauder down the left flank. No surprise that Real Madrid were ready to splash out on a world record transfer fee for the Welsh international, at the time.

Facing a Spanish press inquisition throughout a first season plagued by injuries, Bale has gone on to provide an exceptional response to the critics with the quality of his contribution, especially forming a pivotal part of the ‘BBC’ (Bale, Benzema, Cristiano) attacking trident.  Last season the injury niggles returned, but he still played a major part in helping Real Madrid secure yet more silverware.

Can Spurs Beat Real Madrid?

There’s absolutely no doubting that over the last couple of seasons, Real Madrid have proven they are the most powerful Spain, Europe, and the world. Amidst a marked change in transfer policy by club president, Florentino Perez, rather than focus on the most expensive ready-made stars in the transfer market, their ranks have been strengthened by hugely talented younger prospects.

Such a conscientious change in policy would suggest that Real Madrid are building a lasting legacy, and one that could easily dominate for years to come.  However, even with no signs of any weakness in their Champions League encounters thus far, on the home front in LaLiga, results have been far from impressive.

Injury problems and suspensions haven’t helped their cause, but given the strength and depth available in their squad, fans are entirely unforgiving of any result in LaLiga that doesn’t come with three points attached; especially with arch-rivals Barcelona winning all seven of their opening games of the season, and with the added baggage of a much-criticised summer in the transfer market.

Wastefulness in front of goal and defensive lapses have seen Real Madrid drop important points at home, early in the battle for LaLiga and in games they were expected to win. They dominated against Valencia, but drew 2-2. That was followed by a frustrating draw against newly promoted Levante, which finished in a 1-1 draw. Real Betis then snatched three points at the Bernabeu with an injury time winner, as Los Blancos did everything but put the ball in the back of the net.

Recently, the Bernabeu hasn’t felt like the impregnable fortress it has seemed for the last few seasons, meaning that if Tottenham can stay solid defensively, there’s every chance that they too could nick a positive result in the Spanish capital. But make no mistake, Pochettino’s men will have to be at their absolute best, defending and attacking as a tightly cohesive unit.

The worst case scenario is that even if Spurs were to lose both games against Real Madrid, they could still qualify relatively comfortably from Group H, providing they repeat their performances against APOEL and Borussia Dortmund. However, there has arguably never been a better time to face the Spanish giants in front of their infamously demanding fans, given their questionable home form so far.

A positive result away would make for a sensational atmosphere at Wembley in the second encounter, and Pochettino’s team would be filled with even more confidence. If Harry Kane can continue his scoring form against such an opponent, even better!

If you want to be considered amongst the best, you have to beat the best. That’s never truer than when faced with the prospect of taking on Real Madrid. But with enough confidence, determination, and a little luck, of course, there’s every chance that Tottenham can serve up two unforgettable and magical nights, on the biggest stage of the European game. The taste of such a sweet dish would be delightful!

 
Comments
  • Aside from cerebrospinal fluid, what's on your mind?

  • Harry Hotspur October 3, 2017 at 6:41 pm
  • mystic arnold October 3, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    I expect what ever happens during the first half the half time break will be the sell Harry Kane to Real,Barca anyone but Spurs show

  • Matt October 3, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Interesting stuff on the H’s earlier Alderweireld blog. Wonder if Levys incentives schemes which can bring players to six figures weekly have something to do with performance levels as well as Poch s coaching. With that and long term extensions I’d say boy done good.

  • gloster1861 October 3, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Spurs are dining at the top table now, and the players would have dreamt about playing Real Madrid. These are the top dogs, the sort of opponents Alan ‘chippy’ Shearer never played against.

    Kane has gone further than that whining twat ever managed. He once scored a penalty against mighty Rosenborg in the CL I believe.

    • gloster1861 October 3, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      Win, lose, or draw, these are two great games to savor. Maybe the price of Alli’s antics will actually register in his thoughts when he sees his team mates going onto the pitch at the Bernabeu.

  • 61SpursNut🌰 October 3, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Curry, chips and a chop suey roll coming up …

    • sideshowbob October 3, 2017 at 6:30 pm

      can’t keep it down ?

  • sideshowbob October 3, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    At least Sunday wont be a total write off, there is the Khazakstan-Armenia game at 5pm…

    • sideshowbob October 3, 2017 at 6:26 pm

  • sideshowbob October 3, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    jiggery pokery going on, this place is bewitched ,i tell thee

  • SpurAndy 🍒π October 3, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    It references Whoscored the arch nemesis of Aitch. Def not his work.

  • AccringtonSpurs October 3, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    I fancy Son to get a long range screamer in one of the legs

    • sideshowbob October 3, 2017 at 6:02 pm

      active shooter in the top tier

  • sideshowbob October 3, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    it’s a guest blog from Harry Secombe

  • sideshowbob October 3, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    It usually ends up that way…. Just sayin

  • mattspurs October 3, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    I think it will all come down to a bit of cheating by Ramos – he’ll either get sent off or get someone sent off.

    • AccringtonSpurs October 3, 2017 at 5:57 pm

      My thoughts exactly…

    • melcyid October 3, 2017 at 9:06 pm

      Ithink Toby should chin Ramos in the tunnel before kick off.

  • Northstand Nutter October 3, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Never though I would ever read such a sentence, especially from you ‘aitch.

    “Group H couldn’t be more finely balanced between Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur. Equals in every respect heading into the game…”

    • ronwol196061🇨🇦 October 3, 2017 at 5:11 pm

      Its more Leftish than Rightish but more Ronglish than Leftish

  • ronwol196061🇨🇦 October 3, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    I think our defence can hold them along with the defensive part of midfield.Apart from the quality they have the mental issue for us would be the thing that beats us.
    Im convinced we can hold them if we are focused