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Champions League: Will Tottenham crumble against Marseille?

With all four teams still alive in the race for Champions League knockout places, Group D will be the centre of all attention in the final group stage match week of the 22/23 Champions League.

Tottenham Hotspur will travel to the Orange Velodrome as group toppers. But a defeat against their Tuesday night hosts, Marseille, could flatline their Champions League campaign.

Les Olympiens lie at the bottom of the group, but a win will be enough to send them to the next stage of the competition.

Recent form

After two back-to-back defeats against Tottenham and Eintracht Frankfurt to start their Champions League mission, Marseille rejuvenated their European campaign at the expense of Sporting Lisbon.

The Portuguese outfit had players sent off in both matches against Marseille. The Ligue 1 side exploited their numerical advantage in both games and picked up six points.

But Marseille could not keep up the momentum when they took on Eintracht Frankfurt last week.

In a 11v11 affair, the Germans won 2-1 as Daichi Kamada and Randal Kolo Muani hit the target. Marseilles had restored parity through Matteo Guendouzi after Kamada put Frankfurt ahead. But the French giants had no answer for Muani’s strike, and they had to fall back to the fourth place of the group.

Despite the defeat at Deutsche Bank Park, Marseille’s Champions League fate is firmly in their own hands.

A win against Spurs on home turf will give them the ticket for the Champions League RO16. They could also win the group if the Frankfurt-Sporting match ends undecided.

However, Marseille’s recent form does not make room for much optimism in the minds of their fans.

They have only one win to show for their last five matches at the Orange Velodrome. Marseille have also failed to keep a clean sheet in their last six home games.

That’s not an encouraging piece of statistic for a team about to face the attacking might of a Spurs attack featuring Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

But Tottenham also have their own problems to deal with.

They have appeared out of sync in their recent games, and their failure to see off Sporting at home has now put their Champions League future in jeopardy.

Harry Kane sent ruptures around the home crowd as he sent the ball on the back of the net late into the game. But a lengthy three-minute VAR check ruled the goal out for offside and allowed the visitors to leave with a valuable point.

A frustrated Antonio Conte was sent off for his sideline antics, so the Spurs manager will have to watch the Marseille game from the stands.

Marseille will get Samuel Gigot back in defence as he had to sit out the Frankfurt game with a suspension. But it remains to be seen whether or not Igor Tudor picks Gigot over Sead Kolasinac, who has been impressive in the Marseille backline.

Sead Kolasinac has experienced many heated encounters with Tottenham during his Arsenal days, but he will not be the only ex-Gunner to feature for Marseilles against Spurs.

Team news

Alexis Sanchez and Matteo Guendouzi will renew their rivalry with the Lilywhites. Arsenal loanee Nuno Tavares is also expected to start for Marseille.

Spurs will not get Richarlison, who had scored a brace in the reverse fixture, as he is suffering from a calf injury.

Dejan Kulusevski will also be unavailable because of a hamstring problem.  Cristian Romero is expected to be available for selection after being sidelined for the matches against Bournemouth and Sporting.

Will Spurs prevail?

History is not in Tottenham’s favour since no English side managed to win away against a French opposition in European competitions.

On top of that, they are yet to score on the road in the ongoing Champions League campaign.

However, that dry run might come to an end since Marseille will have to attack from the start and that should make it easier for the Lilywhites to hit them on the counter.

But, Tottenham’s shaky defensive performances in recent time makes it hard to believe they will return from France with a clean sheet.

We are expecting Spurs to do the bare minimum and salvage a 1-1 draw against Marseille to book their place in the knockout stage.

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