Champions League Group B Tottenham v. Inter
Group B is starting to narrow down who will be advancing. Right now Tottenham is on the outside looking in, and need a win to get themselves back in contention. If they lose today, they are likely out of the running for the knockout rounds. Even with a win today, they would need a multiple goal victory over Inter to be even (or better) on goal differential.
Tottenham was one of our midseason dark horse candidates for the Premier League. They were identified as a candidate Mauricio Pochettino informed the world during the summer transfer window that he was happy with his team and didn’t play on making any signings. If I remember correctly, this marks the first time that a Premier League team has not made a signing to start a season. Technically this is a home game for Tottenham — but it’s being played at Wembley, which has been the farthest thing from a fortress for this side.
Tottenham in the Premier League has been a completely different team, at least in most regards. Despite being 3rd-place in the league, they have home form that is mid-range (10th) though they have the best away form in the league. Their away results average 2 goals scored and less than 1 concession per game. They’ve managed a remarkable 21 points out of a possible 24 from their away games. At home they average 1.6 goals per game and 1 concession per game, for a total of 9 points for a possible 15.
In the two Champions League games they’ve played at “home” so far, they have scored an average of 2 goals per game, and allowed 2.5 goals per game. Perhaps luckily for Tottenham, Inter’s away form in the competition has not been fantastic either (also having a negative goal differential).
Inter is sitting safely in second, for the time being, trailing group-leading Barcelona by 3 points. While they aren’t in immediate danger, they’d love to at least secure a draw here knowing that their final game will come against PSV Eindhoven who have managed to secure only one point.
So far at home Inter has been neck and neck with one of the games we covered earlier, Napoli. Inter sits in 3rd-place trailing Napoli by one point (surrendered at home), both of which trail runaway Juventus who lead by 8 points. In league play, at home Inter is averaging 2.14 goals per game while conceding just under 0.60 goals per game. In away games, they drop to 1.67 goals scored per game and concede 1 goal per game.
In the Champions League, Inter has secured 7 points from a possible 12 after a 2-0 loss to Barcelona and a 1-1 draw with them as well. They’ve won previous games against both of their remaining opponents (Tottenham and PSV Eindhoven). They have the away game against Tottenham and a home game against PSV. In home games they’ve managed 1.5 goals per game while conceding 1 goal, while in away games, they’ve managed the opposite (1 goal scored, 1.5 conceded). This should set up for a very interesting game where both sides come into the match from their weaker side (Tottenham at home, Inter away).
What to expect
Tottenham need goals and they will have to go for it. They told the world they were ready to challenge for trophies this year and their Champions League campaign has been very disappointing so far. Yes, they were drawn into a hard(er) group, but they still won’t want to crash out having not made at least the knockout stages. Inter will be far happier with a damage mitigation approach, but I doubt they will just roll over to the Tottenham pressure. Tottenham play Barcelona for their final game and can’t go into it needing points, so it maybe be now or never for Tottenham.