This match is something of a dead rubber, seeing as both sides are eliminated from the Champions League. However, with the side finishing third in the group gaining access to the Europa League, there is at least something to play for.
Should Spurs win or draw they will progress to Europe’s second tier competition, with the Russian side CSKA Moscow requiring a win at Wembley if they are to continue their European adventure this season.
The atmosphere at Wembley may be somewhat flat and subdued and therefore it is up to the Spurs players to give the fans something to shout about.
A large amount of the failure associated with this year’s Champions League will be forgiven, if Spurs were to be successful in the Europa League – there is clearly demand amongst Spurs fans for this competition highlighted in the large travelling numbers to Dortmund last spring, who unfortunately saw their side lose to a superior BVB side.
Spurs go into this tie off the back of a near perfect display against Swansea City, as they ran out 5-0 winners, and really dominated their Welsh counterparts in almost every way imaginable. This, coupled with Manchester City’s slip up versus Chelsea, meant that Mauricio Pochettino’s men closed the gap on the top four to just three points – representing job well done for Tottenham considering they are yet to hit top gear this season. Spurs won 0-1 in Moscow in the corresponding fixture – their only registered three points in this competition to date. Rest assured, in front of a ‘home’ crowd at Wembley Stadium, Pochettino will likely expect nothing less than a positive result and performance – even if he gives some fringe players a run out.
CSKA Moscow have been in decent form domestically in the Russian Premier League, as they currently sit third in the table. The red and blue “horses” or “militarists” have won just two out of their last six Russian Premier League fixtures, with draws against Rubin Kazan and Amkar Perm and defeats in the Moscow derby (the ‘other’ Moscow derby that is) to Lokomotiv Moscow and Spartak Moscow in the ‘main’ Moscow derby. CSKA are eight points off of league leaders (and fierce rivals) Spartak, and as this is the only position that guarantees Champions League football next year, CSKA may have one eye on progressing to the Europa League this season and winning that to salvage this campaign. Therefore expect the Russians to take tonight’s match up very seriously, especially as it will be the last game in charge for Head Coach Leonid Slutsky.
Predicted line ups
Tottenham Hotspur predicted starting XI:
CSKA Moscow predicted starting XI:
Injuries and Suspensions
For Spurs this may be the fixture that sees Toby Alderweireld return after a few weeks out. However, Pochettino will be without Erik Lamela and Vincent Janssen.
For CSKA, Aleksandrs Cauna remains side-lined with an ankle injury.
Home advantage (as well as recent history between these two) points to a Spurs victory. Pochettino’s men should have enough quality to see off the Russians. However, with progression to the Europa League at stake, and the possibility of success that brings – taking pressure off of any potential domestic disappointments; both sides will be gunning for this one.
Our prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 CSKA Moscow
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