Five talking points ahead of Apoel Nicosia v Tottenham

25 September 2017 07:39

Tottenham will look to take one step closer to the Champions League knock-out stages on Tuesday when they face Apoel Nicosia in Cyprus.

Here, we take a look at five talking points ahead of the match.

Can Tottenham build on Dortmund win?

After last season’s disappointing Champions League campaign, Spurs got off to the perfect start in Group H with an impressive victory over Borussia Dortmund. They cannot afford to undo their good work with a slip-up against Apoel, who are likely to end up bottom of a tough Group H. If Tottenham win, they could well sit in a commanding position to qualify given Dortmund host Real Madrid this week.

Who will fill Dembele’s shoes in midfield?

Mousa Dembele’s niggling foot injury is a cause for concern for Mauricio Pochettino, not just because he is so key to Tottenham’s work going forward but because central midfield is not an area Tottenham are blessed with options. Harry Winks is regaining sharpness following an ankle injury and Moussa Sissoko is improving but neither offer the same strength and guile as the Belgian.

Will Dier drop back into defence?

Jan Vertonghen’s suspension creates a gap in defence for Pochettino, who could push Eric Dier back into defence, therefore lightening his midfield, or throw the 19-year-old defender Juan Foyth in at the deep end. Alternatively, Spurs could revert to a back four, which could allow the rather rusty Fernando Llorente to partner Harry Kane up front. None of the options are without flaws.

Is Spurs’ squad about to be exposed?

Tottenham struggled last season to cope with some key absentees at this point in the campaign when the Champions League and Premier League combine to create an exhausting schedule. Pochettino said 12 months ago his squad was too thin and he will be hoping he does not come to the same conclusion again this time around.

Can Apoel capitalise on home advantage?

Apoel have not made it past the group stage of either the Europa League or Champions League since their surprise run to the latter’s quarter-finals in 2012 but they can prove an awkward opponent on their home patch. Their fans create a vibrant atmosphere in the tight GSP Stadium and if Tottenham arrive complacent, the visitors might find the task more tricky than they expect.

Source: By PA Sport Staff


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