Tottenham Hotspur prepare to welcome Barcelona to Wembley this evening on the back of a questionable run of form and with a lengthy injury list to deal with.
A clash with the Catalan giants is one which the supporters should be relishing, but with the likes of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen all sidelined it’s fair to say that confidence is far from brimming.
Vertonghen has been a mainstay at the heart of Tottenham’s defence in recent seasons and the quality and consistency of his performances have formed the backbone of a sturdy defensive unit, so Pochettino is bound to be concerned by his absence.
With Lionel Messi and co arriving in the capital Tottenham will need to be at the very top of their game to nullify their fluid attacking threat, and with Vertonghen sidelined it’s time for Eric Dier (valued at £36 million by transfermarkt) to silence his doubters with a colossal performance.
Vertonghen’s injury may well force Dier to start at centre-back – a position in which he is arguably more comfortable – and undertake the unenviable task of going toe-to-toe with Luis Suarez.
The former Liverpool striker will be chomping at the bit to make his mark on proceedings tonight after struggling for form against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the last-sixteen phase earlier this year.
A return of 3 goals from 9 appearances in all-competitions so far this season is not the type of record which should strike fear into the Tottenham players, but Suarez is the type of player who thrives off the big occasion and, under the spotlight of the British media, he will be desperate to make a decisive impact.
Dier’s determination and willingness to embrace a physical encounter will be key to stopping the bullish Suarez from putting Tottenham in real trouble after just 2 fixtures in Europe, and it’s about time he rewarded Pochettino’s trust with an exemplary performance to remember.
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