Spurs v Juventus - preview panel
07 March 2018|Tottenham Hotspur
The preview panel returns for tonight's huge Champions League Round of 16 second leg against Juventus and providing insight - Michael Dawson, our former skipper who led the team at this stage of the UCL against AC Milan in 2011 and Italian football expert Adam Digby.
THE LEGEND - MICHAEL DAWSON
Modern-day Spurs legend, central defender who spent nine years at the Club, making 324 appearances. A leader who gave everything for the cause, Michael captained the team in the UCL Round of 16 against AC Milan in 2011 and took over the armband on Ledley King's retirement in 2012. Now at Hull, 'Daws' was the studio pundit for Sky Sports for the first leg in Turin.
"I think this will be a tight game but then again, that’s how I thought it was going to be in Turin. I’m sure Spurs were disappointed to give the goals away in the manner they did so early in the first leg and you thought ‘here we go’ but the way they reacted was fantastic, and full credit to them. In many ways, it reminded me of Inter away back in 2010 – okay, not quite as bad a situation as we found ourselves in there (4-0 down at half-time in the San Siro) - when Gareth Bale burst onto the scene. Despite losing 4-3 (Bale famously scored a hat-trick in the second half) the players were so confident in how we came back and we carried that into the home match that we won 3-1. I'm sure it will be the same for the Spurs lads after Turin.
"The way they came back and the way they played in the second half, I'm sure they will believe they can win at Wembley. I can see that as well. I always found the key against Italian teams is to have a compact shape. If they are compact and don’t give away an early goal - because Juve have players who can hurt you, and Dybala’s back - Spurs can hurt anyone and are a team I love watching. I’m always confident Spurs will score goals, even against a team like Juventus and I’m confident they can do it. That would be fantastic."
THE PUNDIT - ADAM DIGBY
Italian football writer for beIN SPORTS USA, FourFourTwo, Bleacher Report and Sport360, author of 'Juventus: A History In Black & White'.
"It has been an odd few weeks for the Bianconeri, who have taken major positives from winning their city derby against neighbours Torino, a Coppa Italia semi-final against Atalanta and a top-of-the-table clash with Lazio all by 1-0 scorelines. However, they’ve also seen a league game postponed for bad weather, while also looking on as seven other matches were postponed on Sunday following the tragic death of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori. They’ve been solid defensively but lacked any real cohesion going forward, something Max Allegri will hope Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain can provide. The latter has missed the last two games with injury but looks set to be fit for Wembley, while the former made his first start in two months against Lazio. Popping up with the winning goal right at the death, it was the kind of unpredictable moment that bodes well for a high pressure encounter like the one with Spurs.
"As good as Spurs have been and were in the first leg, I have to agree with (Juve defender) Giorgio Chiellini who told Il Giornale: "If we play our game, we win.” The problem is, all too often this season, Juventus haven’t done that as we saw in the first leg where they allowed Tottenham back into a game that Juve really should’ve killed off. If they are anything less than their very best on Wednesday, it is hard to see them winning on the night, which obviously hands the initiative to Mauricio Pochettino’s men. The past few games have seen the Old Lady rediscover her ruthless streak however, and we’ll see just how much difference having their two best attacking players on the field together can make."