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Preview: Tottenham – APOEL

APOEL Nicosia cling to their slim hopes of claiming a Europa League (EL) spot when they take on a Tottenham Hotspur side who have already qualified for the Champions League (CL) round of 16 as Group H winners.

 

Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:

Spurs are comfortable leaders after matchday five (13pts, W4, D1) with a three-point cushion over Real Madrid. Combine that with their superior head-to-head record, no matter what Madrid accomplishes against Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham will finish above the Spanish giants.

APOEL are at the other end of the table (2pts, D2, L3) but level with Dortmund. With everything to play for at Wembley, the visitors will hope for a win that, coupled with some help from Madrid, will pitchfork them into the EL.

The hosts, however, are running against the tide having lost six of their last nine European away matches (67%). APOEL are without a win in 13 CL matches (D3, L10) since beating Lyon 1-0 in the 2011/12 CL round of 16 second leg.

A ray of hope for the visitors is the recent slump in Tottenham’s form. After only one loss in their first 13 games (W9, D3, L1) in all competitions, Tottenham have since lost four in nine (W3, D2, L4). To put that in context, Spurs have seen their loss percentage go from just 8% to 44% – a whopping jump of 5.5 times!

This season Tottenham have won four of their five CL matches (80%). In the process, they have scored 12 (avg. of 2.4 goals) and have conceded just four (avg. of 0.8). APOEL, on the other hand, have lost three of their five matches (60%) in the group phase and have scored just two (avg. of 0.4) whilst conceding 14 (avg. of 2.8).

Four out of five of Tottenham’s CL games (80%) have seen over 2.5 goals, although their recent form has seen the goals dry up – with now four out of their six recent matches (67%) ending with under 2.5 goals scored. There’s no such let-off for APOEL who have seen all seven of their recent matches (100%) finish with over 2.5 goals.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino: “It’s so important to finish well in the Champions League. As a team we need to build another good moment. It’s a good opportunity to play well, to finish well. Our group stage has been fantastic; we deserve to finish first but we need to create momentum by winning games.”

 

Missing players

Tottenham: T. Alderweireld (thigh injury), V. Wanyama (knee injury)

APOEL: C. Carlao (injury), Z. Milanov (injury), B. Waterman (doubtful).