Tottenham are finally back in the UEFA Champions League!
It’s been just over two years since Tottenham competed in Europe’s elite competition but it feels like a lifetime, Jose Mourinho was the manager in that game against RB Leipzig and Tottenham fell apart with a 3-0 score line proving how far Tottenham had slumped.
Fast forward to today and things around Spurs have become a lot rosier, Antonio Conte is now at the helm and Spurs have started their Premier League campaign unbeaten and are now all set to face French side Marseille at home in their opening Champions League clash of the 2022-2023 season.
What to expect from Marseille?
Marseille, much like Tottenham, have started their domestic campaign unbeaten. ‘Les Olympiens’ have won five of their opening six games, scoring an impressive 13 goals in those games which puts them joint top with French powerhouses PSG in the Ligue 1 table (Sky Sports).
Marseille are under the guidance of newly appointed manager, Igor Tudor, after a dramatic turn of events saw Jorge Sampaoli resign as Marseille manager following a reported ‘disagreement’ over the clubs’ transfer strategy as he felt the club should have done more to keep Arsenal loanee William Saliba on a permanent deal (METRO).
Marseille usually like to dominate the ball as they have averaged 54.8% of possession this season, for comparison Tottenham have only averaged 50.5% (SofaScore). Marseille are also a little less secure in possession in comparison to Spurs, Tottenham average 122.5 possession losses per game whereas Marseille average 137 possession losses (SofaScore).
It’s also important to factor in who Marseille have faced so far, as they’ve faced 5 teams that placed 9th or lower in Ligue 1 last season, with the one anomaly being OCG Nice who finished 5th.
Marseille also, like Tottenham play a 3-4-3 / 3-4-2-1 formation which will certainly be interesting to watch as the teams could go man for man formation wise which is something Tottenham don’t encounter too often domestically due to many English sides opting for four at the back.
Tottenham: Antonio Conte made five changes for the game at home to Fulham where Tottenham as Romero and Bentancur returned to the side following injuries.
Conte’s squad is likely to be improved a little more for tonight’s Champions League opener as he confirms that ‘Moura is not still available’ (Evening Standard), suggesting that the Brazilian is Tottenham’s only expected absence and winger Bryan Gil should be available.
It’s also worth noting that Oliver Skipp would have had a further few days back training with the squad following his ‘hairline fracture in his heel’ that he unfortunately suffered at the start of the season and therefore they may be hope to see the Tottenham academy graduate return in some form soon.
Marseille: The French club haven’t included Cedric Bakambu and Bamba Dieng in their Champions League squad, expectedly after their ‘deadline deals collapsed’, meaning that neither will be facing Tottenham (Independent).
Another positive for Spurs fans is that former West Ham winger Dimiriti Payet is expected not to be involved due to a ‘calf issue’, in addition to this another former player for a Tottenham rival is also confirmed to not be involved in tonight’s game as ex-Arsenal player Alexis Sanchez is suspended (Evening Standard).
Players to watch:
Tottenham: Richarlison, the new Brazilian recruit has been electric during his cameos off the bench for Spurs and was equally impressive on the weekend against Fulham, if he gets a start against Marseille, which may be likely due to Tottenham’s heavy fixture list, he could cause havoc and offer a bit of dynamism to Spurs’ attack; it will also be interesting to see if manager Antonio Conte chooses to drop Son or keep the same attack that faced Fulham four days ago.
Marseille: Matteo Guendouzi, Tottenham fans will certainly not have forgot this man. The former Gunner isn’t one to back away from feistiness and most Spurs fans will remember the many disputes that the Frenchman caused and became involved in during the few North London derbies in which he played in.
The midfielder picked up 6 assists last season (SofaScore) and was a helping factor in Marseille’s Champions League qualification due to him being in every one of their league games last season.
Kick-Off: 8:00 pm (UK)
Location: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Tottenham Form: DWWDW
Marseille Form: DWWWW
Referee: Slavko Vincic
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