Tottenham Hotspur face a difficult task after inexplicably throwing away a two-goal lead against PSV Eindhoven – Mauricio Pochettino quipped that qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League was mission impossible, on Tuesday evening in the Camp Nou it could become a reality.
Barcelona has already qualified, sit top of Spain’s La Liga after an emphatic 4-0 away win against Pochettino’s former side Espanyol.
Added to that, Barcelona are unbeaten in 28 home games in Europe’s premier competition, the last defeat coming against an inspired Bayern Munich in 2012/13 season.
The gravity of Tottenham’s challenge cannot be underestimated – they have to match Inter Milan’s result who have what looks like a straightforward home game against PSV.
In essence, Spurs have to go the Camp Nou and win, although a draw could see them go through if Inter draws or worse.
Pochettino and his players will no doubt relish the challenge, though they will be battle weary and missing up to eight players for the game, meaning that Pochettino may have to trust in the inexperienced talent of Kyle Walker-Peters at right back and will have to do without the likes of Sanchez, Aurier, Trippier, Lamela and Dembele.
If Tottenham is to the triumph they will need to somehow stop the magical and mercurial Lionel Messi, whose display at Wembley in Barcelona’s 4-2 triumph was both mesmeric and clinical. Pochettino will no doubt have a game plan and will not be afraid to attack.
I am sure that Tottenham will put up a good performance, we only need to look back to last season where they were undefeated against Real Madrid, Juventus and Dortmund to know they are capable of getting a result.
Sadly I see a draw as the best possible result they can achieve, meaning they will need a favour from PSV, which I can’t see, all of this meaning that Tottenham will have to settle for a place in the Europa cup.
The beauty of football though is anything is possible so let’s see if Pochettino and his charges can achieve mission impossible.