Tottenham Hotspur have been handed a boost with the news that Paulo Dybala will not be fit to play for Juventus when the two sides meet in the Champions League last-16 clash on Tuesday night.
The Italian giants confirmed their 19-man squad for the first leg on their official website and the Argentine star was a notable absentee.
Dybala has been sidelined with a hamstring issue since early January and clearly manager Massimiliano Allegri does not feel it is worth risking one of his prize assets.
Tipped as Lionel Messi’s natural heir with his national side, the 24-year-old has been one of the leading attackers in European football over the past few seasons since signing for the Old Lady from Palermo in 2015.
He has a tally of 59 goals in 122 appearances across all competitions for the Serie A title holders, including 17 in 28 outings this term, although he failed to find the net during the Champions League group stages.
Having largely played as a support striker during his time in Turin, Dybala’s absence will likely see Allegri drop an extra player into the midfield to tighten up the ranks against an in-form Spurs team.
However, with Gonzalo Higuain having rediscovered his goalscoring touch just at the right time, there is still plenty for the Lilywhites’ defence to be concerned about.
The former Real Madrid man has six goals in his last four appearances and bagged a hat-trick in the 7-0 demolition of Sassuolo earlier this month.
Other players missing for Juve include Blaise Matuidi and Juan Cuadrado, who are suffering with a hamstring problem and hernia respectively.
Whilst this is not a full-strength side for the hosts, they still have the necessary firepower to trouble Tottenham and it could make for an intriguing tactical battle.
Neither Allegri nor opposite number Mauricio Pochettino will be keen to give up ground with a second leg still to play in March, but if Spurs can keep it tight at the back and knick an away goal, it would put them in pole position to make it through to the quarter-finals.