Tottenham Hotspur vs Barcelona: 3 talking points ahead of Wembley showdown
This Wednesday, Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona meet in an official game for the very first time as the iconic Wembley Stadium plays host to what's set to be a tantalizing encounter.
Both sides endured contrasting fortunes in the Champions League opener, as the Blaugrana cruised to a 4-0 win over Dutch outfit PSV Eindhoven, while the Spurs were consigned to a defeat by Inter Milan's late surge in a 2-1 loss. But when it comes to the domestic scenario, Harry Kane and co are cruising after a stuttering start, whereas the Spanish champions are winless in their last three games.
These sides did meet during the International Champions Cup earlier in the summer, playing out a pulsating 2-2 draw that was settled on penalties, which Spurs edged. But this is set to be a more glamorous affair, with plenty of talking points sure to emerge. Here are three of them ahead of the kick off:
#1 Barcelona need to bounce back
We know they will. Yet, it's a testament to the crisis cloud that's currently hovering over the Catalan capital that you have to state the obvious. It's true that Barcelona haven't been their usual selves since the 4-0 battering of PSV in Champions League opener. In fact, they've won none of the three games in its aftermath and allowed arch-rivals Real Madrid to pull level on points.
Manager Ernesto Valverde is walking a tight rope. Neither Lionel Messi nor Luis Suarez have scored in the last two games (the latter hasn't found the net in the last four actually). These are some of the most difficult days at the club, and the time has come to reverse the fortunes again. Spurs could be a tall order, and the 3-1 victory over Real Madrid last year at this very stadium suggest the ability this side possesses.
Barcelona have drawn a barrage of criticism for a series of atrocious performances, but Valverde has all the tools to pull back on track. Even Messi has gone on to state the importance of the Champions League this season after the Joan Gamper victory, and now here's a chance for the team to add substance to those words.