Philippe Coutinho vs Kyle Walker-Peters
This will be the most significant matchup on the field. Inexperienced Walker-Peters against the immeasurable talent of Philippe Coutinho.
The Brazilian midfield maestro is impressing in Blaugrana colours, and has become a mainstay of Valverde’s side. His playmaking and dribbling ability make for a devastating combo. To add to that, he has a beautiful curling shot which is known to test goalkeepers.
Walker-Peters will have his hands full in dealing with the Brazilian. His inexperience makes him the man to be targeted by Barca. If he can keep Coutinho silent, then Walker-Peters will have announced himself to the world.
Sergio Busquets vs Dele Alli
At the age of 30, Sergio Busquets has slowed down a bit. His defensive instincts, however, and passing ability remain sharp as ever.
Busquets will the man tasked to contain Dele Alli, who’s enjoying a purple patch if recent games are to be seen. Alli was on the scoresheet in Spurs’ last game, a 2-0 win over Southampton.
Alli’s strong frame and direct running inside the box present the biggest challenge for Busquets. The Spanish midfielder will have to be resolute in taking contact or giving it to Alli in threatening situations. Busquets will also have to communicate with his fellow players during set-pieces in order to prevent Alli from taking advantage.
Clement Lenglet vs Harry Kane
Pochettino knows that he’ll have to rely on his talisman to get the desired result at the Camp Nou. That doesn’t mean good news for Clement Lenglet.
On his day, Harry Kane is unplayable. He’s strong in the air, possesses a strong and accurate shot and also has a deceptively quick burst of speed in one-on-one situations. He, however, can also remain quiet as seen in multiple games this season.
The cause for concern, however, will be Barcelona’s sub-standard defense; a reason for which is Lenglet’s difficulty in settling in at the back. In La Liga itself, Barca has conceded 15 goals. A number that is pretty high considering that half of the season has not finished.