Tottenham vs Real Madrid preview, betting tips and prediction: Ronaldo could make himself at home at Wembley
Real Madrid with a -1 handicap @ 13/2 with Paddy Power
Real Madrid to score the first goal after 22 minutes with Paddy Power @ 23/10
Draw HT/Real Madrid @ 9/2 with Paddy Power
The whole of Europe may well have sat up and taken notice of Tottenham Hotspur after their impressive draw against Real Madrid in their last Champions League outing. To go to the Santiago Bernabeu and not only win but look like they belonged was huge for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
Spurs’ form has dropped drastically since that great result, though, and suddenly they come into this game off the back of two defeats in all competitions and some doubts over star striker Harry Kane’s fitness. The goal machine, who is constantly linked with a big-money move to Los Blancos, missed the loss at Manchester United on Saturday after picking up a knock against West Ham on Wednesday night. Son Heung-Min replaced him from the start at Old Trafford, aiding their ability to press high and play on the counter attack. United didn’t have the pace and presence Real will, especially with Cristiano Ronaldo going the other way. Gareth Bale could return from injury to face Spurs for the first time competitively since leaving the club in a then world-record transfer in 2013.
Both of these sides are in good shape in their group, level on seven points at the top and with a six-point gap to both Borussia Dortmund and APOEL. Spurs lead on goal difference, but that could all change in what will be the biggest test of their Champions League mettle yet, especially at Wembley where they have struggled so much overall. But the Premier League 4-1 win over Liverpool showed just what they are capable of in big games at the national stadium. This one will be a really interesting game.
Our tips are mainly backing a Real Madrid win; it will be a tight start because Spurs won’t want to take the game to their visitors with too much vigour. Kane being fit is crucial for Spurs’ goal threat, but as they showed in Madrid, they are very good in defence. Davinson Sanchez was immense, but he missed out at the weekend and there are doubts as to whether he’ll play; Dele Alli is available after serving a European suspension. It could take a while for Real to assert their dominance, but our primary tip is with a -1 handicap at 13/2.
Key battle: Fernando Llorente vs Sergio Ramos
Pochettino faces a real conundrum if Kane isn’t fit, does he go for Son again or start Llorente up front? They may have more joy if they for Llorente instead. Son is very good at pressing and offers a lot of pace, but that would suit the likes of Ramos and Raphael Varane more than if they can get balls into the more physical Llorente.
It is not in Spurs’ usual philosophy to go direct, but a lot of Real Madrid’s quality comes from the midfield and bypassing the likes of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos as much as possible will help give Spurs a foothold in the game.