Tottenham Hotspur v Apoel Nicosia preview: Spurs eyeing another home Champions League win
Last Updated: 06/12/17 7:24pm
Tottenham will be aiming for another home win in the Champions League when they host Apoel Nicosia in their final group game on Wednesday.
Spurs have won their last three European games at Wembley by a 3-1 scoreline - including both fixtures so far this season - and are already guaranteed to top Group H ahead of Real Madrid with a superior head-to-head record.
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has stressed the importance of a strong finish in the Champions League after failing to win any of their last four Premier League fixtures.
"It's so important to finish well in the Champions League. As a team we need to build another good moment," he said.
"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."
Apoel have never won an away game in the Champions League (D6 L7) and must better Borussia Dortmund's result to be certain of finishing third and progressing to the latter stages of the Europa League. If both sides draw, Dortmund will finish third due to their superior goal difference
Pochettino confirmed on Tuesday that Dele Alli will start against Apoel after missing the first three games of the group stage through suspension, while Georges-Kevin N'Koudou and Fernando Llorente are also "possibilities" to feature.
Youngsters Kazaiah Sterling and Luke Amos will be part of the squad for the game, but Toby Alderweireld and Victor Wanyama remain sidelined while Erik Lamela is ineligible for selection.
Boy Waterman, Zhivko Milanov and Carlao will not feature for Apoel due to injury, but Giorgos Donis is otherwise expected to have a fully fit squad to choose from.
This is the second competitive meeting between Tottenham and Apoel after the English side's 3-0 win in Nicosia back in September.
No Cypriot side has ever beaten English opposition in European competition, in 14 attempts (D3 L11).
However, Apoel's only previous away trip to face an English club ended in a 2-2 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the 2009/10 Champions League group stages.
Tottenham have faced Cypriot opposition more times than any other English club in European competition, scoring 15 goals and conceding only three in those five games (W4 D1).
Apoel are winless in their last 13 Champions League games (D3 L10). They have also failed to score in nine of those 13 outings.
Meanwhile, Tottenham are in the Champions League group stages for the third time after 2010/11 (quarter-finals) and 2016/17 (group stages). It's also the second time they will finish top of their group after 2010/11.
Despite playing only eight games in his Champions League career, Harry Kane has already scored eight goals. He netted his first hat-trick in the competition in the reverse fixture last September.
Dele Alli has been directly involved in four of Tottenham's last five goals in the Champions League (2 goals, 2 assists).
Mickael Pote has scored both of Apoel's goals so far in this season's Champions League.
Well, I'm going for Spurs to get back on the winning trail. Apoel were awkward at home before Spurs put their foot on the gas impressively.
I suspect Mauricio Pochettino is getting a bit frustrated with a few players and I think Christian Eriksen will be rested. I think the double-header with the Republic of Ireland took a lot out of Eriksen, physically and mentally, so he could do with a checkout.
There will be a few changes with Fernando Llorente and Moussa Sissoko coming in, but they should still have enough quality to complete a fantastic set of results in the group stages.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-0, Llorente to score first (13/1 with Sky Bet)
Tottenham are Sky Bet's 3/10 favourites for the victory, with APOEL price at 10/1, while the draw is a 9/2 chance. Sky Bet have tweaked their Price Boosts ahead of Pochettino's expected rotation, including Heung-Min Son enhanced from 4/1 to 7/1 to bag a brace.