The UEFA Champions League resumes this week as Premier League contenders Tottenham Hotspur prepare to cross the Channel to meet Ligue 1 side AS Monaco.
Hosts Monaco are riding high at the moment, sitting second in the French league table and top of Group E in the Champions League. Manager Leonardo Jardim’s side smashed Lorient on Friday, winning 3-0 on the road, temporarily drawing level with Nice atop the Ligue 1 standings. Radamel Falcao opened the scoring for the Principality outfit and after a couple of seasons spent trying to resuscitate his career in the Premier League, the Colombian striker looks to have rediscovered his scoring touch.
A comfortable win and a Friday kickoff mean that Jardim’s side is likely to be well rested and confident as they welcome Spurs to the Stade Louis II on Tuesday. Having gone undefeated since a 2-1 loss to Fenerbahce in the qualifying stages in July, Monaco’s record in the Champions League this season is every bit as impressive as their domestic form.
Their last outing in Europe’s premier club competition was a comprehensive 3-0 win at home over CSKA Moscow earlier this month. While Falcao will garner the headlines, the club has also benefited from the excellent goal-scoring form of Thomas Lemar and Fabinho. Meanwhile, at the other end, Monaco’s defense has only allowed one goal in their last four games across all competitions.
Monaco have also shown a tendency to surprise English opposition in the Champions League and facing them on their own patch in their current form would be a daunting proposition for most teams.
Tottenham, however, will head into Tuesday’s clash riding high on the momentum of a dramatic, come-from-behind win over West Ham United on the weekend. That game saw Harry Kane score twice and the return to fitness and form of the England striker will be a big boost to Spurs’ hopes as they prepare to take on a Monaco side that remain undefeated at home in all competitions this season.
While Monaco have been dominant at home and abroad, Tottenham have seen their share of ups and downs this season. The win against West Ham was far from comfortable and Mauricio Pochettino’s side must count themselves lucky not to have dropped points at home to a West Ham team that, let’s face it, have been awful this season.
Sunday’s win was also their first victory since beating Manchester City way back in early October. Yet despite their inconsistencies in the Premier League, Spurs still somehow remain fifth in the domestic standings. Their European form however, is a different matter.
Spurs have only won once in the Champions League this season, a 1-0 win away at CSKA Moscow in September. Last time out they lost 1-0 at home to Bayer Leverkusen and in their previous meeting with Monaco at White Hart Lane back in September, they lost 2-1.
While the return of Kane is good news going forward, the ongoing absence of injured center-back Toby Alderweireld has left Spurs shaky in defense; as evidenced by the fact that the North Londoners have conceded seven goals in their last five matches. Spurs will also be without Erik Lamela for Tuesday’s clash while Dele Alli remains in doubt.
Currently sitting second from the bottom of the group, Spurs are up against it and in need of a win if they hope to qualify for the next round and keep their European campaign alive into the New Year.
That could be a bridge too far for an inconsistent Tottenham playing on the road against one of the most in-form sides in Europe at the moment.
Catch AS Monaco vs. Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League this Tuesday, November 22 at 2:30 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1.