Real Madrid to Outclass Spirited Spurs?
Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur meet at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Quarter Final on Tuesday evening, with both sides looking to take an advantage into the return leg in a week’s time.
Jose Mourinho is looking to win the competition for a third time, whilst making history by winning it with his third different club. He has a major injury concern regarding star man Cristiano Ronaldo after he sat out the 1-0 defeat to Sporting Gijon on Saturday evening. That was Mourinho’s first home defeat in nine years and one he will not want to repeat just three days later.
Madrid, it seems, will also be without French striker Karim Benzema and full-back Marcelo is a doubt, after they both missed the defeat at the weekend. Some better news on the injury front should see Xabi Alonso return to the team and Gonzalo Higuain made a successful come back from back surgery by playing just over half an hour on Saturday.
Real Madrid have a formidable home record in the Champions League this season, winning all four games with 11 goals and conceding none. A lot of this is down to the four goals of Benzema and two of Ronaldo. They made it to the quarter finals with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Lyon in the last round, but were made to work hard for that victory over the two legs.
Jose Mourinho has said he is willing to gamble on the fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo should the player himself be happy to go against medical advice and play some part in the game. The concern for the Madrid boss is the way they lacked creativity and even resorted to long ball against Gijon on Saturday. That loss has probably ended their La Liga title hopes after Barcelona stretched their lead to eight points with a 1-0 win at Villarreal.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp is hopeful Welsh wizard Gareth Bale will be fit to play in Madrid after he was rested as a precaution for the 0-0 draw at Wigan on Saturday. That was Tottenham’s third draw on the bounce, a sequence that was started with the 0-0 draw against AC Milan that got the North London side to this point.
In the group stages Spurs picked up just two points, but deserved more after finding the net eight times in three games. They did concede nine and that will be a real worry for Harry Redknapp when they come up against the attacking prowess of Real Madrid. The 0-1 away victory in Milan in the last round will have given them the belief and confidence they can go to Madrid and return still well in the tie though.
It is likely that Tottenham will go and try and stifle Madrid early on and any early goal for Real Madrid could leave Spurs on the back foot for the whole tie. They will not want to have to attack Madrid with the very real threat of the counter attack always there. I expect Spurs to be very tight with their accustomed 4-5-1 formation holding back Madrid and looking to Gareth Bale and Rafael Van Der Vaart to break quickly given the opportunity.
Real Madrid v Tottenham Betting Preview
Real Madrid are unsurprising overwhelming favourites for the first leg at 1.43, the draw is 5.1 and Tottenham 9.2 (Betfair). Although I do expect Real Madrid to win, they are plenty short enough even with their faultless home record in the competition so far. There will surely be goals in this one and any early goal could open the flood gates. The 2.96 about Over 3.5 goals is a reasonable price but inevitably I think Mourinho will have his side primed for this one and I expect them to win a shade comfortably in the end. I will go for Real Madrid -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at 2.21 (Betfair). Also an outside punt on a 3-1 Real Madrid victory at 14.0 (Betfair).
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