Ex-Arsenal man backs Spurs to do the job in Champions League semi-final

Former Arsenal star Charlie Nicholas has backed Tottenham Hotspur to beat Ajax in their Champions League semi-final, per Sky Sports.

What’s he said?

Spurs progressed to the last four after beating Manchester City over two legs, with the second leg perhaps the most controversial tie in the Champions League this season.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men lost 4-3 on the night but their third goal was vital, Fernando Llorente diverting the ball past Ederson with a combination of his hip and his elbow. The referee, Cuneyt Cakir, awarded the goal but ruled out Raheem Sterling’s last-gasp winner due to an offside in the build-up. With Spurs having won the first leg 1-0, they advanced on away goals.

Ajax, meanwhile, defeated Juventus 3-2 on aggregate, having thumped Real Madrid 5-3 in the Round of 16.

And Nicholas believes that the English club have the talent required to best their Dutch counterparts in the first leg at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday.

He said: “Tottenham are hitting this awkward spell at the moment. Are they the favourites? They have never been here before. Ajax, as players, have never been there before but their side have on some occasions.

“This young side do not have any fear, they have five or six super young players who know how to get the job done. Dusan Tadic didn’t have the consistency at Southampton but he and Daley Blind have been great.

“Tottenham, on their day, with the pace of Lucas Moura, alongside the skill of Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli, are guaranteed to score. I feel Ajax will play and open up the game, Spurs could afford to let Manchester City come onto them, but they will see more possession here.

“I see Tottenham securing the first-leg advantage ahead of next week’s return in Amsterdam.”

Surprise prediction

As an ex-Arsenal man, this is something of a shocking prediction from Nicholas.

Indeed, this is a really difficult tie to predict for anyone who has followed both clubs in Europe.

Ajax have beaten two European giants already this season, eliminating both Juve and Real from the competition, and it would not be a surprise if they were to dump Spurs out too.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men, though, ran rampant against Borussia Dortmund – winning 4-0 on aggregate – and also earned a draw with Barcelona in the Camp Nou in the group stages.

The semi-final, then, could go either way and it is a surprise that Nicholas has come off the fence with a prediction that Arsenal fans are sure to disagree with!