Mark van Bommel warns PSV Eindhoven about do or die Tottenham test

Andy Sims 17:41 23/10/2018
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PSV Eindhoven coach Mark van Bommel admits it is do or die for both his side and Tottenham on Wednesday night.

Spurs travel to the Netherlands to take on the runaway Eredivisie leaders with both teams needing a win to keep their Champions League hopes alive.

Neither side have picked up a point so far in Group B following defeats to Inter Milan and Barcelona, so the clash at the Philips Stadion is a must-win for both.

“Winning means you are still in the group, but if you lose it’s almost over,” said Van Bommel.

“Spurs have a lot of quality players and weapons to win games, but we have that also.

“In my opinion Inter Milan, Barcelona and Tottenham are almost equal, there are no big differences.”

Spurs are facing a team who, on the domestic front at least, are probably the most in-form in Europe.

They are five points clear at the top of the Eredivisie having won all their nine matches so far with a goal difference of plus 33, having thumped Emmen 6-0 on Saturday.

Spurs are also enjoying their best start to a Premier League season despite their players’ supposed tiredness following the World Cup.

Harry Kane has still not hit his stride this term and looked jaded again during their 1-0 win at West Ham on Saturday.

“I think all the top teams in Europe have that problem, I don’t think Spurs are playing badly, they can play in several ways,” added Van Bommel.

“It’s difficult, they played a long road in the World Cup and have some injuries but I think they are doing well.

“Part of being a striker is if you don’t score you are concerned, but if the team is playing well the goals will come.

“They have a lot of quality, if you are such a quality player it is only a matter of time before you start scoring again.

“If we only concentrate on Harry Kane it will be difficult to have an eye on the others, they have quality players not only up front but in midfield and with Kieran Trippier providing the crosses.”

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The facts and stats as Barcelona take on Inter Milan without Lionel Messi

David Cooper - Writer 14:33 23/10/2018
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Luis Suarez is back for Barcelona.

Barcelona head into a huge Champions League clash against Inter Milan without the one and only Lionel Messi, who is recuperating from a fractured arm. But it’s a scenario they’ve coped with before.

In fact, during a group stage game in 2009/10, Barca left both Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench as Pedro and Gerard Pique did the business in a 2-0 win over the Nerazzurri in the group stage.

Check out more quick-fire stats below to whet your appetite ahead of Wednesday’s big game at the Nou Camp …

Barcelona’s total win percentage in the Champions League with Messi in their ranks stands at 60 per cent, with 78 victories in 131 matches, as well as 33 draws and 20 losses. However, in the 22 UCL games that Messi has been absent, that figure leaps up to 77 per cent with 17 wins in 22 games and only three defeats.

Inter captain Mauro Icardi touched the ball just 14 times in the Milan derby last weekend before popping up for the 92nd-minute winner to down the Rossoneri.

Barcelona are unbeaten in 27 Champions League home matches, a run that started in September 2013 (W25 D2).

Barca have been the victors of their group in the last 11 seasons – a competition record – and have reached at least the quarter-finals in all of those campaigns.

The Nerazzurri’s last competitive game against a Spanish side saw them fall to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid in the 2010 Super Cup in Monaco.

Barca and Inter have met on just six previous occasions, each coming in the last 15 years. The Catalans took four points off their opponents in the 2002/03 group stage as well as 2009/10, before losing to the Nerazzurri in the semi-finals later that season.

Barca have won all three previous home matches against Inter, scoring six goals without conceding.

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How Man United can contain Ronaldo during Juventus clash

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Cristiano Ronaldo returns to Old Trafford on Tuesday night as Manchester United welcome Juventus for their Champions League group stage clash.

A late goal meant Jose Mourinho’s side had to settle for a draw against Chelsea, but they now shift focus to stopping their former number seven.

Ronaldo has started to come good for Juventus, scoring five goals and providing three assists in his last seven outings.

Here’s a look at how Mourinho will attempt to win the tactical battle with Massimiliano Allegri.

DEEP-LYING WINGERS

Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have rarely started together under Mourinho but did so at Stamford Bridge on the weekend in a seemingly attack-minded setup.

However, both players were clearly under strict instruction not to press the Chelsea backline and drop deep to support their respective full-backs instead, only flooding forward in the break.

It helped deny space for the Blues to pass through and also for Eden Hazard to exploit. A similar ploy could be used against Juventus and Ronaldo.

There’s no point man-marking the former Red Devil, who will float across the forward line, but deep wingers would ensure that United’s shape remains compact, denying space for Ronaldo.

NUMBER 10 ROLE

What also worked well against Chelsea was Juan Mata’s role as a number 10.

He linked play between midfield and attack beautifully while his movement in the transition was excellent as well, not only offering the Reds an out-ball but also a platform from where they could attack.

His off-the-ball shadowing of Jorginho restricted the playmaker and a similar job on Miralem Pjanic would help contain Juventus. If fit, Marouane Fellaini could be used instead.

The Belgian would offer more steel in midfield and an aerial threat but given the Bianconeri’s strong central defence, crosses may not be the best route to goal and Fellaini may slow down potential counter-attacks.

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