It’s been a long time coming, but alas, Tottenham Hotspur have their UEFA Champions League spot back after a five-season hiatus. Competing against Europe’s elite isn’t the only thing that the north Londoners can look forward to, as they kick off their campaign at Wembley Stadium for the first time versus AS Monaco.
The Ligue 1 outfit are no strangers to Spurs, of course, with the away side losing 4-1 in their last visit to White Hart Lane. Monaco are, however, a year wiser and have since bolstered their squad with the likes of Torino’s Kamil Glik, French full-backs Benjamin Mendy and Djibril Sidibé and their loan returnee Radamel Falcao.
Here’s how Tottenham’s opposition presents themselves ahead of their Group E clash:
The club from the Principality will look back on a pair of 4-0 victories versus Angers SCO and Toulouse with some pride, as well as inflicting one of only two defeats amassed by Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain with a 2-0 win, helping the Group E side finish third in the league table behind Olympique Lyonnais.
For Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim, that meant trying to battle his way into the Champions League group stages via the qualifying rounds with a team that conceded more goals (50) than any other in Ligue 1’s top six, whereas the 57 goals scored was also the lowest count among those in the top four.
Serving as obstacles in Monaco’s route to the Champions League group stages were Turkish club Fenerbahçe and Villarreal, beaten on aggregate, respectively, by 4-3 and 3-1.
The Monégasques are currently sitting pretty at the top of the Ligue 1 table, picking up 10 points from a possible 12 so far this season. Among the successes of the new season is their second consecutive triumph over PSG, winning 3-1 this time around, and, more recently, the 4-1 demolition job against Lille as early as last Friday.
On the other hand, prior to Monaco’s last two games, the Ligue 1 club started their league campaign with a 2-2 draw at home to EA Guingamp and a timid 1-0 victory over Nantes, whereas they’ve also scored just four goals from open play this season.
One to Watch – Bernardo Silva
Despite not being blessed with big names, there are plenty of rough diamonds in Monaco’s set-up, in particular Thomas Lemar, Tiemoué Bakayoko and 17-year-old Kylian Mbappe. The pick of the bunch, however, could well be Bernardo Silva.
Originally placed on the right flank, the left-footed playmaker is often given licence to roam inwards, which earned him seven goals from 32 league appearances last season. The 22-year-old Portuguese starlet is already underway on goal scoring terms this season with strikes versus Villarreal and a late equaliser against Guingamp back in August.