Tottenham exceeded expectations in the Champions League last season after being handed a tough group and Mauricio Pochettino will want to make more progress in Europe’s top competition this time around to highlight the continuous evolution of his youthful and exciting Spurs team.
The Champions League draw for this season’s Group Stage took place on Thursday and Spurs find themselves taking on some prestigious names in Group B – Barcelona, Inter Milan and PSV. With that in mind, Football FanCast’s expert writers attempt to answer one simple question: where will Tottenham finish in Group B?
“Drawing Barcelona and Inter Milan is as difficult a tie as Tottenham could have asked for but Spurs perform better against the bigger sides, shown by their triumph over Real Madrid last year. Taking points off Barca will be tough but Inter’s priority is likely to lie in Serie A as they aim to end Juventus’ dominance. Spurs will also be encouraged by that Gareth Bale performance at the San Siro and will look to secure another memorable result.”
“Less than a decade ago, the notion of Spurs heading into a Champions League group including Barcelona and Inter Milan and fancying their chances of coming through it would have been absurd. Yet, now that is the very scenario we face. Pochettino’s well-drilled and dogged lot will be determined to show their quality on the greatest stage and taking the scalps of Barca and Inter would be a spectacular way to do it. If Spurs can keep their key men fit then there is no reason they shouldn’t aspire to take top spot in this tough group.”
“Being placed in a group with Barcelona would not instil confidence in many teams, but Tottenham have proven that they can more than hold their own on the elite stage. Barca have vulnerabilities Spurs can exploit as long as they are at the top of their game. So many people ridiculed Spurs for not recruiting any new signings in the transfer window, but their winning run has kept the critics quiet. They are no longer that young team that needs time to gel – they are ready and capable of taking home a trophy this season. The only thing that could perhaps hold them back is a lack if belief given what has happened before, but with the right mentality they have the quality to top the group.”
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“Spurs’ “struggles” in the transfer market were blown way out of proportion, and keeping Toby Alderweireld will prove to be better than any signing they could have made. Barcelona showed against Roma last season that they are vulnerable, and Spurs have a strong enough spine to take them down. Inter Milan are a bit of an unknown quantity with so many new faces, but that could actually harm them just as much as it helps.”
“Tottenham look to have a real winning mentality about them this season that they perhaps haven’t always had in the past, and they will take that confidence into the Champions League with them when they come up against Barcelona and Inter. Spurs shouldn’t fear either of those clubs right now, and their ability to get results at home and with the attacking players they have on the road, they will reach the knockout stages again.”