Both Spurs and CSKA are headed out of the Champions League, with a win or a draw sending Spurs to the Europa League for Thursday night fixture congestion. Manager Mauricio Pochettino claims (publicly, at least) that it will be good for the club, but his lineup on Wednesday will be a better telling of whether he believes it. The first matchup between these sides, in Moscow, ended 1-0 to the visitors through a solid performance from Son Heung-Min, capped off by a 71st minute winner through CSKA keeper Igor Akinfeev’s legs. CSKA are undefeated in six and could very easily find themselves playing in the Europa league with a win in what will be a sparsely attended Wembley Stadium. Spurs were rampant over the weekend, putting five past Swansea City, with Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen each getting a brace. They’re more than capable in putting away CSKA, as long as Spurs can find the motivation to earn a Europa League slog.
Spurs return to the Champions League for the first time since 2010-11 after their third place finish in the EPL last season. For manager Mauricio Pochettino, it’s an opportunity to cement a new era for Spurs - one where they are seen as a consistent top four finisher, legitimate contender for the title and feared in Europe. As a part of their expanded ambitions, they brought in needed reinforcements through the Eredivisie top scorer Vincent Janssen and defensive midfielder Victor Wanyama. CSKA Moscow, Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen don’t make for an easy group, but one the new Spurs should expect to get out of.
Last season, CSKA brought the Russian Premier League back to Moscow, making it their third title in four years. They managed to do so on the back of only 51 goals, 11 of which came from their leading scorer, Ahmed Musa, who is now at Leicester City. In the Champions League, they finished bottom in a group that included Manchester United, Wolfsburg, and PSV Eindhoven, scoring five goals across six matches. While goals may be scarce, they’ll be solid defensively with Russia’s most-capped player Sergei Ignashevich, in central defense and Igor Akinfeev in goal.
Has been named Danish Footballer of the Year for three straight seasons. Known for pinpoint passing and long-range strikes.
Had a hot streak of 9 goals in 6 matches last season on his way to 28 goals across all competitions.