Tottenham need more than Kane to beat Barcelona

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Injuries to key players in Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham side couldn’t have come at a worse time for the north Londoners.

If losing Dele Alli wasn’t bad enough, to hear that Christian Eriksen, Serge Aurier, Jan Verthongen and Moussa Dembele were out too would likely have sent even the most optimistic Spurs fan into meltdown.

Hugo Lloris returns in goal in one bit of good news for ‘Poch,’ who will be heavily reliant on the talismanic Harry Kane doing the business.

However, as Inter already showed, the Lilywhites will need a lot more then England’s centre-forward at his best if they want to overcome a bruised Barcelona.

Ernesto Valverde’s side somewhat surprisingly dropped points in all three of their most recent league games against Girona, Leganes and Athletic Club. The latter managed to stop a run of 14 successive defeats at the Camp Nou, whilst Lega were bottom and Barca top at the time the former were hugely impressive in victory.

Further, the Blaugrana haven’t been at their best in their away Champions League fixtures, which does offer Tottenham a glimmer of hope. As do the injuries to Sergi Roberto and, particularly, Samuel Umtiti.

But that’s all they have to hold on to. A glimmer.

The hosts have to attack because a draw or loss is no good to them. Having lost to Inter last time out, just one point after two games would render them on the periphery for qualification purposes.

And expecting Kane to pull the rabbit out of the hat each and every time is a dangerous tactic.

It’s anathema to the way that Pochettino likes to play the game, but more considerate forward play may pay more dividends than an all-out assault on Barca’s defence.

In Lionel Messi, Barcelona have the one player who can, and likely will, take advantage of any spaces on what is an expansive and lush Wembley pitch.

Being compact and tight in all facets is the minimum requirement from the hosts. They’d do well to look at cutting the service into Messi rather than allowing his colleagues to feed him.

Once the Argentinian maestro has the ball at his feet, he always finds a way, but if the supply line is taken care of, much of Barcelona’s play is moribund.

One of the major areas where Spurs will have to be at their very best is on the right side of defence.

Kieran Trippier’s excellent forward play should limit the forays of Jordi Alba and Ousmane Dembele, but both will enjoy the challenge of getting in behind and isolating Toby Alderweireld.

Indeed, there will be chess matches all over the pitch, and whether Pochettino decides on a 3-4-2-1 or any other formation, whoever pulls on that white shirt needs to be on it from first to last whistle.

If Barcelona smell blood early on, this could get embarrassing.

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