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Spurs Odyssey Champions League Preview - Spurs v Juventus, 07.03.18

Juventus 2 Spurs 2, 13.02.18
Preview of first leg
See the current injury list for all Premier League Teams
All the Spurs Stats you could hope for here! THFC6061 Sports Stats

Spurs' record in Europe:-
The official crest of Tottenham Hotspur
U.E.F.A Champions League
 P  W   D   L   F - A
25 12   6   7  48 - 31
European Cup
P   W   D   L   F - A
8   4   1   3  21 - 13
(Semi-Finalists 1962)
European Cup Winners Cup
P   W   D   L   F - A
33  20  5   8  65 - 34
(Winners 1963)
UEFA Cup/Europa League
 P    W   D   L   F - A
140  78  36  26  276-121 
(Winners 1972, 1984
 Finalists 1974)
  The club logo of Juventus 
P    W   D   L   F - A
206 114 48  44  410-199

We're all licking our lips with anticipation!

The level of hope and anticipation in "Spursland" for tomorrow night's Round of 16 second leg match against Juventus could not be higher. We're all licking our lips, and the excitement meter is way into excessive levels! Having scored two away goals and made that brilliant recovery in Turin, Spurs have the slight edge for this home leg which will be played out in front of (possibly) a record crowd. Certainly there should be twice as many people at Wembley than there were at The Allianz Stadium three weeks ago, and most of them will be baying for a Spurs success and a second Champions League quarter-final as a reward in only their third Champions League season.

The world of football, and in particular Italian football has been severely shaken this week with the tragic news of the sudden death of 31 year old Fiorentina Captain Davide Astori. The effect upon Davide Astori's family cannot be truly understood by those of us lucky enough not to have been struck by such personal disaster. Astori had been due to play for his club on Sunday, but was found to have died in his sleep in the hotel room where his club was lodged. Sunday's Serie A games were postponed, and there will be a minute's silence as a mark of respect before all this week's Champions League and Europa League games.

Quite how this tragic passing will be felt by the Juventus players remains to be seen. Paulo Dybala and Gianlugi Buffon are amongst those who have publicly expressed their grief. The Juventus squad contains individuals who have played with Davide Astori at club and/or International level. Just imagine being at a hotel for an away game when your captain, or any team-mate doesn't wake up.

I suspect that we will see an even higher level of determination by the Italian side with Astori in their minds. Spurs will have to be in tip-top form.

Juventus were not affected by Sunday's postponements, having played Lazio (away) on Saturday tea-time. A last minute Dybala goal gave them a 1-0 win, and although they lost one game to the weather since our visit to Turin, Juve have won all three games since then 1-0, one of which was a cup match. The "Bianconeri"'s unbeaten run has thus been extended to 20 matches, during which Spurs have been the only team to have scored two goals in a game against them. Spurs are also in good form, and have an unbeaten run that extends now to 17 games.

Statistics are in Spurs favour in one or two respects. In previous knock-out stages of this competition after a 2-2 away draw, the home side has succeeded in 65 out of 82 games, which is a rate of 79.3%. Juventus have yet to win a European away game in London in any European competition, although they do have a good overall recent record against English clubs, having been unbeaten in 7 games at home and away.

The first of those three domestic games played by Juve was the Turin derby, in which star striker Higuain was injured and had to go off after just 15 minutes. Whilst he hasn't played since, Higuain is named in Juve's 21 man squad. Bernardeschi was also injured in that game and will be missing tomorrow. Also out is Mandzukic, who suffered a thigh injury on Saturday against Lazio.

Spurs will be without Serge Aurier, who serves a one match suspension due to the booking he got in Turin. Toby Alderweireld is still not match fit for a game of full intensity such as this. Otherwise, Mauricio Pochettino has a full squad to pick from. I envisage the same team as that which started against and beat Huddersfield on Saturday with the exception of Trippier for Aurier.

Here we have a game between two sides that are well matched indeed. Arguably the one thing Spurs do not want to do is to concede an early goal which would give the Italian side the opportunity to defend their lead to the hilt. After all, they have that history of three recent 1-0 wins! However, I really do fancy Spurs to be on their game and to win on the night, perhaps by the odd goal. My nerves would be eased greatly if we could manage to keep a clean sheet! 0-0, 1-1, 1-0, 2-1, or any win would do us. COME ON YOU SPURS!

Did you know? - In 2010, Fulham, led at the time by Roy Hodgson, reached the Europa League Final, where they lost to Atletico Madrid. On the way they knocked out Juventus (still recovering their status after that enforced relegation) in the Round of 16. Juventus had won their home leg 3-1, but then Fulham won the home leg 4-1 to go through with goals by former Spur Bobby Zamora, and future Spur Clint Dempsey plus two by Zoltan Gera. The Juventus squad included Trezeguet and Del Piero.

Referee Szymon Marciniak and his team of on-field officials are all from Poland. The same referee, and officials, were in charge of our game at The Bernebeu in October when we drew 1-1. That is the only previous occasion we have seen this referee. Mr Marciniak has officiated some high scoring games this season. Last Thursdau he was in Qatar refereeing a Qatar Stars League game which ended 4-3. He was in charge of Denmark's World Cup play-off win in Ireland which ended 5-1, with an Eriksen hat-trick and also Liverpool's 7-0 win over Spartak Moscow in December. An Eriksen hat-trick tomorrow would be lovely, but we don't want the away side scoring more than 1 goal, unless we win the home leg of this tie!

"It was Twenty Years ago today!" - Reviewing our progress match by match in a poor 1997/98 season

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