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Juventus have not named a number of key players in their Champions League squad to face Tottenham Hotspur at the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday in Turin.
Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado, Blaise Matuidi, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Andrea Barzagli are absent from the two-time competition winners’ squad.
Spurs face a few troubles of their own also, with Toby Alderweirled and Harry Winks both missing the trip to Turin.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) February 12, 2018
Key players out
Dybala, Cuadrado, Matuidi, Lichtsteiner and Barzagli deal the Old Lady a huge blow ahead of the visit of Tottenham in the Champions League.
These absentees leave Juve light in squad options, particularly in defence with no Lichtsteiner and Barzagli.
Dybala is no doubt a massive blow for Juventus, but such is the quality of their squad the other four are players not usually in the starting eleven.
Tottenham’s Toby troubles
Alderweirled was a notable absentee from Tottenham’s North London derby squad that beat Arsenal 1-0 on Saturday.
Having completed 90 minutes against Newport during the week, it seemed likely he would return against the Gunners.
The 29-year-old has been dealt yet another setback, being left at Hotspur Way to work on fitness, having met with manager Mauricio Pochettino and his assistant Jesus Perez after Liverpool.
Juventus vs Tottenham preview
For Juve, it has been a spell of utter dominance, winning all 11 of their last fixtures in Serie A, including a 2-0 victory at Fiorentina last time out.
Despite so many impressive displays, the Old Lady still find themselves sat second, behind leaders Napoli, in what has been quite an enthralling race for the title in Italy this season.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side reached this stage of the competition after finishing runners-up to Barcelona in Group D.
For Tottenham Hotspur, this game concludes what has been a tough run of fixtures; but also a period in which they have really flourished.
Taking seven points from their last three league games, coming up against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal, they travel to Italy at just the right moment in time.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side made it to the last-16 of the competition having taken a joint-English record tally of 16 points to top a group containing both Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund.
Read 101 Great Goals’ full preview line-ups & football betting tips for Juventus vs Tottenham here.
Chelsea star Alvaro Morata has handed the club a major boost in terms of his fitness if the latest post on his Twitter account is to be believed, with the player claiming he’s back and ready to train with the club once more after being out for some time.
Training session done! Going back home! pic.twitter.com/rS5QSzyzmx
— Álvaro Morata (@AlvaroMorata) February 10, 2018
It could well be the case that Morata is building up his fitness again after being out for so long, and according to manager Conte, he doesn’t know when the player will be back and ready to take part again – though Chelsea will almost certainly be hoping the player is ready for their second leg against Barcelona, if not their first.
It seems there’s no set date for him to return from injury, with Conte cryptic at best when speaking about a set timeline.
On Friday Conte had said: “We are talking a lot about bad results, but sometimes we forget we are facing a serious situation. Players like Morata, for us, are very important and have been missing for a long period of time.
“I don’t know how long he will be out. We are struggling a lot to find a solution to solve the pain in his back. If you ask me whether he needs a day, a month or the rest of the season, I don’t know. I don’t know.
For this reason, I’m a bit worried. You know very well the importance of the player.”
One thing Morata has been talking about is his former club Real Madrid, who have been linked with Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois in recent months, and it seems that while the forward was happy to put his thanks to Chelsea on record, the main point of his comments was to make it clear that Madrid will always be his home and a key club for him – another thing that Chelsea fans may worry about.
Premier League leaders Manchester City are ‘likely’ to have winger Leroy Sane available for their Champions League matchup with Basel on Tuesday night.
Blistering wide-man Sane has been on the sidelines since picking up an ankle injury during City’s FA Cup 4th round victory over Cardiff two weeks ago, following a horror challenge from Blubirds’ defender Joe Bennett:
Pep Guardiola revealed in his post-match press conference following the clash that Sane looked set to be sidelined for ‘a while, a few weeks or months’, with City later confirming that the former Schalke star suffered ligament damage to his ankle.
Guardiola went on to put a timetable on Sane’s return in the days that followed, with the former Barcelona boss having estimated ‘six or seven weeks out’ for the 22-year-old.
Ahead of schedule
However, over the last couple of days, a surprising update on Sane’s condition has revealed that the winger has incredibly already returned to light training.
Guardiola confirmed as much over the weekend, but also revealed that ‘I don’t think he will be back for the Champions League’ (vs Basel).
‘Most likely’ scenario
But, in yet another update coming courtesy of reliable journalist Jose Alvarez Haya this evening, signs now point towards Sane being included in the Citizens’ squad set to travel to Switzerland tomorrow:
— Jose Alvarez Haya (@10JoseAlvarez) February 11, 2018
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The European champions had initially turned their attention towards signing Athletic Bilbao keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, only for the Spaniard to sign a new contract with the Basque club.
Spanish football expert Guillem Balague claimed last week that Madrid have reignited interest in both Courtois and De Gea, adding that the former would be easier to sign.
And according to the Independent‘s Miguel Delaney, the hierarchy at the Bernabeu, despite coming minutes away from signing De Gea in 2015, believe Courtois will be an easier option to pursue once the transfer window opens.
The Belgian recently noted in an interview that Madrid – where his young family still lives – was still very much his home and claimed he wanted to go back there at some point in his career. And a sizeable offer from Florentino Perez – possibly in the region of £100m – may be too good for Chelsea to turn down.
De Gea, on the other hand, is thought to be relaxed with life in Manchester under Mourinho, and certainly isn’t angling for a move away like he was in 2015 during Louis van Gaal‘s time at the club.
Spanish journalist Guillem Balague claims that Real Madrid feel as though they will be unable to sign Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane this summer.
The Spanish giants understand that the 23-year-old has a strong affinity to Spurs and Mauricio Pochettino and is currently not interested in leaving North London.
Instead, Los Blancos may well turn their attention to their prime target, Chelsea winger Eden Hazard.
Balague claims that despite interest from the defending European champions, it is currently unlikely that Kane will be departing Tottenham this summer.
The club are preparing to move into their impressive new 62,000 seater stadium next season, with Spurs desperate for their vice-captain to lead them out for the first game.
“Are they going for Harry Kane this summer? There will be suggestions, there will be rumours but they think Harry Kane will not leave Tottenham this summer.
At the moment they are not convinced he will move in the summer, with the emotional link to Spurs and to Mauricio Pochettino, but also while Cristiano is there Harry Kane has not got much to do.
In any case, Real Madrid may use Harry Kane to distract from the focus of their real attention which is Chelsea forward Eden Hazard.”
Best in Europe
Ahead of Saturday lunchtime’s highly-anticipated North London derby, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has labelled Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane the best striker in Europe.
Wenger when asked if there is a better striker in Europe than Spurs’ talisman:
“If you look at the numbers then, no.
I can talk and talk and talk, but it’s the numbers which will show that. The best way to defend is to have the numbers and take the game to them.”
Meanwhile, the French coach also commented on his own strikers, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette:
“Our strikers are top class as well and we want them to express their talent.”