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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Why Ten Hag is living on borrowed time

After an encouraging first season, Manchester United...

UCL 2017/18: How Tottenham can beat Real Madrid

Real Madrid may have won three out of the last four Champions League tournaments, but that doesn’t mean they’re unbeatable. This season particularly Los Blancos have shown they have several weaknesses that can be exploited by their opponents. Zinedine Zidane’s men currently trail Barcelona by 5 points and look set to finish 2nd this season.

Tottenham Hotspurs or the ‘Harry Kane team’ as Pep Guardiola likes to call them, face the daunting task of playing at the Bernabéu. But here’s how Harry Kane & his men could do the unthinkable in Madrid.

Here’s how Tottenham can beat Real Madrid.

Target Achraf Hakimi

During the week Zinedine Zidane gave us the all clear that Dani Carvajal would soon be returning to action. The Spaniard was diagnosed with a rare heart condition, but thankfully the condition is not set to rule him out of a playing career. In his absence, the 18-year-old Achraf Hakimi has stepped up to play at right-back. The Moroccan youngster has done well, but his naivety is there for all to be seen.

Mauricio Pochettino must start Heung-Min Son and instruct him to constantly run at the right-back and stay high up the pitch down the left flank. This would either force Hakimi back, thus rendering him useless, or expose his poor positioning, thus giving Son acres of space to exploit. Ben Davies in support would also create several 2v1 situations on that side as Madrid’s wingers rarely track back.

Man mark Cristiano Ronaldo

For those who may not know, Tottenham are one of the most organised teams in Europe’s top 5 leagues. They attack as a unit and defend as a team; Real Madrid cannot testify to such a cohesiveness. That’s because the Spanish champions are used to playing teams of a lesser quality, meaning they rely on the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo. However, if the 32-year-old is deprived of space, his effectiveness becomes minimal.

Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably the greatest player we’ve ever seen, but there’s no doubt that his footballing powers have reduced recently. Instead of being able to score solo goals, he relies on the service of those around him. If man marked and kept away from the 18-yard box, Ronaldo’s effectiveness decreases exponentially.

Play on the front-foot

It’s a well-known fact that Real Madrid don’t deal well against teams of attacking quality. Their lack of defensive organisation leaves them susceptible to the counter-attack, but Spurs could go one further. A game plan centred around high pressure, ball retention, overloads and tikki-takka passing would wreak havoc amongst the Madrid defence, especially Sergio Ramos.

Los Blancos are used to teams defending in a low-block against them and Tottenham taking the game to them would catch them by surprise. With players like Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Heung-Min Son and the world-class Harry Kane at his disposal, Mauricio Pochettino could match Zinedine Zidane’s attacking fire, with fire. Real Madrid don’t react well to pressure; they prefer to be in control than under it. So, it’s not ridiculous to think that Tottenham could dominate at the Bernabéu, and win.

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